Note: There is no transcript for CHAT DAY 2018, which was cancelled due to the Government Shutdown initiated on January 20, 2018.

These questions were answered by more than 50 individual scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction. To get as many answered as possible, responses were written quickly based on the personal background and knowledge of each expert. Please note that there was not a secondary review or proofreading of each fact, and if readers have questions or comments about any response, they can ask further questions here.

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can dogs get drunk?

-i am mike, New Jersey

Yes they sure can! Any mammal can.

-Aaron White

Can doing drugs while your an adolecent affect your childrens health someday?


Doing drugs today can impact your future, which can have a direct impact on your child's future. Your child's well being is connected to yours--so you have to make sure that you don't interfere with your health or education by getting involved with drugs. If you become addicted before you get pregnant you risk exposing your child to substances which may have effects on your child's health and well being (beyond what the drugs are doing to you personally). These things may seem a long way off, but the truth is the choices you make now can have an impact for a very long time.

-Aria Crump

Can drinking affect pregencies

-dan24, Wyoming

Drinking while you are pregnant can seriously affect a baby's development. A range of problems, the worst of which is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can result. Babies born with FAS are not addicted to alcohol themselves, but they do have smaller brains, abnormal facial features, and often have life-long learning and behavioral problems. It is the leading preventable birth defect associated with mental and behavioral impairment in the United States today.

-Aaron White

can drinking run in the family?

-janedoe!!, Utah

There is a genetic component to alcohol addiction. That means that if either of your parents is an alcoholic, your chances of becoming alcohol dependent are higher than someone whose parents are not alcoholics. This is true even if you are raised in a home without the alcoholic parent.

-Aaron White

Can drug use be hereditary? If parents are addicted could exposed children become addicted just by contact?

-captain, Kentucky

VERY interesting question! Genes which are inherited determine your eye color and height and can determine whether you become addicted to drugs of abuse or not. However, this is only part of the equation. Having an addicted parent could raise a person's risk for addiction because the risk for drug addiction can be inherited. About 40-60% of the risk for drug addiction comes from the genes a person inherited from their parents. There are other factors such as taking drugs themselves and a person's age that can contribute to their risk for addiction. Want more information on addiction? Check out NIDA's website:

-David Shurtleff

can drugs affect baby size

-Davidp, Maryland

Yes! Studies on drugs such as cocaine have found that growth can be affected. Even smoking can affect fetal growth and is associated with lower birth weights. Some researchers are looking at whether lower birth weights are then associated with later obesity!

-Nicolette Borek

Can drugs affect the way you socialize?

-16312723, Maryland

Yes and no. Yes, if someone is doing drugs, it is likely that their relationships with loved ones are suffering. It is also true that their personalities could be altered from drug use and change their social skills or comfort level. No, if someone thinks that they need to do drugs to party or fit in. IMO, people are the life of the party when they show there true spirit...See more info here:

-Bethany Deeds

Can drugs affect you in any sport?

-Special K,

great question.Of course, any drug that affects your cognitive function or motor coordination, for example, can impair your performance in sports.better play clean, don't you think?

-Ruben Baler

bill nye the science guy said that drugs ccan help you. is this true because thats why i started doing acid

-midgettp, New Jersey

Great question! There are lots of drugs--called medications--that can have very good effects on you. Remember, all drugs are not abused drugs--drugs are anything you take into your body for its effects, whether it is for control of pain, control of weight, control of diabetes, or antibiotics. Even drugs that have the potential for abuse have medical uses. Heroin is an abused opiate; but morphine, another opiate, is a medical treatment for pain. Cocaine not only can make you high, it is also a very effective local anesthetic still used today in eye surgery. Whether a drug is good for you or not often depends on dose and what you are using it for!And I don't think you should blame Bill Nye for your actions with LSD. You need to own that activity yourself, and know that treatment works. To get leads on help, go to anytime; they are open 24/7.

-Nancy Pilotte

both are bad but which is worse, smoking weed or making weed brownies?

-957532, Maryland

smoking weed is worse than making weed brownies(unless you eat the brownies too)

-Ruben Baler

By smoking crack cocaine could it affect your brain(life long term) after one time

-fellowhomie, Virginia

Unlikely, but each 'high' that someone experiences when using crack or any other drug affects the brain and increases the potential for addiction. Use of addictive drugs when you are young (about your age) increases the likelihood of permanent changes in the brain. It is also possible to overdose the first time that someone uses crack, as you can't be positive what dose you are getting or you may be an individual who is particularly sensitive to the drug, so it's best not to use crack even once.

-Joe Frascella

California recently voted against legalizing marijuana, how do you feel about the legalization of this drug?

-cvteacher, Pennsylvania

Regardless of personal feelings about the legalization of marijuana, the important thing to remember is that marijuana is a serious drug that can have harmful effects on the brain and body. Teens are at a critical period in the development of the brain. All addictive drugs - including marijuana impact the development of the teen brain and can create problems in function including memory, concentration, decision making, and even the development of addiction. Making marijuana legal might increase its availability and make it more accessible for teens. We have seen this with other drugs - including prescription drugs. The rates of teen abuse and addiction to prescription pain killers and other drugs has risen as the number of presriptions have risen. Whether you are for or against 'legalization' of marijuana increased avilability and use by teens would not be good for their health, development, or brains.

-Redonna Chandler

Can 1 use of any drug make you addicted

-16372550, Maryland

The process of addiction starts as soon as a drug enters your body and brain. But the time it takes to develop a noticeable addiction can vary a lot among people. It really depends on the person, the drug, how and how much you take it, and your genes. The problem is you don't know how prone you are to get addicted or whether you have become addicted until you start and try to stop--and by then, you may have a real problem. So if you have only used something once best not to use anymore. Check out this neat booklet for more:

-Steve Grant

Can a child get harmed by taking an adults prescription medicine?


Absolutely. In fact, even drugs that don't seem fatal or dangerous can harm children (for example, a common cause of unintentional overdose in children is from multi-vitamin's-because of the iron). But for prescription pain killers, children can have serious health issues and even death from accidental ingestion. It's dangerous for anyone to take a prescription medication that isn't prescribed for them-but for children that risk is even greater.

-Carol Krause

Can a person be addicted to fast food? how about video games?

-My Username, Maryland

Looks like it. Addiction is compulsive use despite negative consquences. That fits the bill for compusive eating and gaming. In fact there are clinics for internet addictions. There are some real horror stories of people playing games almost every waking moment, and they stay up most of the time. I mean, I like games but every waking moment....sounds like addiction to me.

-David Thomas

Can a person be arrested, and jailed for taking illegal drugs , or will they just be sent to rehab?

-20142025@PJPHS, Pennsylvania

Hello PA...heard of Lindsey Lohan, right? She's going back to jail for violating the terms of her probation (one of the terms being staying clean). The possession and use of some drugs is illegal. However, if someone wants to stop using drugs there are places to go and get professional help. Treatment programs addressing addiction are confidential places to go and get help to stop using drugs. More information about treatment can be found at:

-Redonna Chandler

Can a person get sick from second hand smoking?

-20142025@PJPHS, Pennsylvania

Yes -- not only can you get sick, and suffer from athasma and other respiratory problems, but second hand smoke can kill you. Of the 444,000 smoking-related deaths each year, 50,000 of these people never smoked a cigarette (i.e., they are the result of exposure to second hand smoke). More informaiton about smoking can be found at:

-Redonna Chandler

can a reptile get drunk


Yes! Although it might need some help drinking it!

-Aaron White

can alcohol affect babies

-johnm, Pennsylvania

Alcohol can affect babies whose mothers drink while they are still pregnant with them. When pregnant mothers drink, their babies can be born with a variety of different problems, the worst of which is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Babies born with FAS have smaller brains, abnormal facial features, and often have life-long learning and behavioral problems. It is the leading preventable birth defect associated with mental and behavioral impairment in the United States today. Babies should never be given alcohol to drink because it can make them very sick. Babies are so small - even a little bit of alcohol can cause problems, and even death.

-Aaron White

Can alcohol affect your ability to have children in the future?

-123, Kentucky

It's not clear whether drinking causes long-term effects on the likelihood of having children in the future. However, drinking while trying to conceive a child can definitely interfere with fertility. In females, drinking can disrupt the menstrual cycle and decrease the odds of conception. For males, alcohol also alters hormone levels and might affect sperm development, interfering with fertility that way. And, of course, it is very dangerous to the baby to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

-Aaron White

Can robots develop a drug addiction? This is a serious question

-arthur r, New Jersey

Serious answer. At this point in time, robots are electro-mechanical devices, so there is no way to administer a drug to a robot. However, robots can be programmed to seek items in their environment such as a power source. It is theoretically possible to program a robot to repeatedly seek out some item in the evironment because it has a large value to it that also has long-term bad effects on its performance. That would kind of be like addiction. You may want to look at the research of Steve Potter at Georgia Tech Univ (, who is using neurons grown in a dish to act as the 'brain' for robots. Drugs can be given to that 'brain in a dish', so it would be very interesting to see how that would affect the performance of a robot. Maybe you will be the person to does the research to answer that question ! Seriously.

-Steve Grant

can sex become a drug? does it have any negative physical effects in excess?

-starprepacademy, California

I think what you are really asking is whether people can become addicted to sex....clinically there are many people who develop compulsive sexual behaviors that can put them at risk for a number of problems including increased exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

-Cindy Miner

Can Sharpie Markers actually give you a high sensation, and if so why do so many stores sell sharpies?

-20114650@pjphs, Pennsylvania

Yes, they can. They are part of a class of chemicals called inhalants. This class of drugs is huge, and includes lots of cleaners, glues, gas... It is really not practicle to get rid of all of them. Probably best to work being careful when using any of the inhalants.... For more info, see

-David Thomas

Can sharpies get you high?

-hackettstown, New Jersey

If you sniff them too much, yes. Eating them can be a choking hazard! hehe... Like other inhalants, the solvents in sharpies can rob your brain of oxygen and make one woozy if you sniff them too much. Over the long run, one's brain can shrink from excessive sniffing. There is a whole lot of scientific info on this topic and why it is a seriously bad idea at:

-David Thomas

can sipping on condeine kill you?

-imclean101, Georgia

Codeine is a very weak opiate. Other opiates are morphine and heroin. Sipping, or taking orally, is the safest way to take opiates. However, I would not sip it at all unless a doctor has instructed you to, and you should take it in the amount prescribed. Sipping can add up, and you can overdose if you take a whole lot!

-David Thomas

can smoke affect babies

-anisha, Pennsylvania

Absolutely! A mom smoking while pregnant as well as secondhand smoke in the environment can affect babies before and after birth. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for stillbirth, infant mortality, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, preterm birth, and respiratory problems. Carbon monoxide and nicotine from tobacco smoke may interfere with fetal oxygen supply - and because nicotine readily crosses the placenta, it can reach concentrations in the fetus that are much higher than levels in the mother. Nicotine concentrates in fetal blood, amniotic fluid, and breast milk, exposing both fetuses and infants to toxic effects. The more a woman smokes during pregnancy, the more infant birth weight is reduced, and that's not a good thing. Smoking during pregnancy can also affect cognition (learning and understanding) and is associated with behavioral problems. In addition, smoking more than a pack a day during pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of the child becoming addicted to tobacco if he or she ever starts smoking. Even second-hand exposure to cigarette smoke can cause problems. For example, strong associations have been found between second-hand smoke and low birth weight and premature birth. Exposure during the postnatal period has been associated with a number of physical health outcomes, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory illnesses (asthma, respiratory infections, and bronchitis), ear infections and cavities, and increased medical visits and hospitalizations.

-Nicolette Borek

can smoking a joint be a form of birth control

-some guy, Kentucky

I am not aware of any evidence that suggests marijuana would be a viable mode of birth control. thanks for the question.

-Ruben Baler

can smoking marijuana help asthma?

-boilingsprings, Pennsylvania

There some evidence that it relaxes the bronchioles which can help in the short term, but in the long run its likely to be more problematic because of the general negative effects smoking has on the lungs.

-David Shurtleff

Can sniffing markers make you high?

-nats379, Maryland

Hi natz379,Yes, markers such as Sharpies contain volatile solvents--and when inhaled these solvents can produce a 'high.' The effects of inhalants can be similar to those of alcohol, and include slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, and dizziness. Inhalants can be very dangerous, particularly in children, some of whom have been known to die after a single session of inhaling chemical fumes. Long-term inhalant use can result in muscle spasms and tremors or even permanent difficulty with basic actions like walking, bending, and talking. These effects are similar to what happens to patients with multiple sclerosis. Inhalants also affect other parts of your body, especially when used repeatedly. They can cause serious harm to vital organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver. Certain inhalants can also cause the body to produce fewer blood cells, which may result in a condition known as aplastic anemia (in which the bone marrow is unable to produce blood cells). Frequent long-term use of certain inhalants can cause a permanent change or malfunction of peripheral nerves, called polyneuropathy. Not good, huh!?For more information on inhalants, visit:

-Kristen Huntley

can soda be a drug

-rabinj, New York

Non-caffeine free soda contains caffeine. And caffeine is a drug that people can become physically dependent on. But physical dependence is not the same as addiction. It occurs because the body naturally adapts to chronic exposure to a substance (e.g., caffeine or a prescription drug), and when that substance is taken away, symptoms can emerge while the body readjusts to the loss of the substance. Physical dependence can lead to craving for the drug to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. But, that said, if you find yourself unable to stop drinking lots of soda-it's definitely a good idea to ask a trusted adult for help.

-Cheryl Boyce