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.

Download Full Year

are all drugs sold on the streets clean

-etinoco, Illinois

It is always a big gamble to buy drugs on the street. You really cannot be sure what you are getting. Very often they are not what sellers say they are or are contaminated with other chemicals. Dosage is also an unkown: for example, there are many reports of people getting sick or dying from heroin doses that were stronger than they could tolerate.

-Dave Thomas

Are amphetamines addictive?

-cohen, Vermont

Hi Middlebury!Yep! Amphetamines, like most other drugs of abuse increases the brain chemical dopamine, leading to high levels of the chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Amphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the intense euphoria, or “rush,” that many users feel taking the drug. And with repeated use the brain can 'crave' the drug leading to compulsive drug use- addiction!-yikes! Learn more about amphetamines by clicking here: http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_stim1.php, http://www.nida.nih.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html

-David Shurtleff

Are certain drugs used more in certain areas of the country? for example - midwest finds more teens using and abusing BLANK drug?

-dpicot, Michigan

Great question! Yes, some drugs are more commonly used in certain areas of the country. Methamphetamine, for example, is common in the west and midwest areas of the country, perhaps because methamphetamine labs are more common in the west and midwest (thereby increasing the production of meth in those areas). Prescription drugs are abused everwhere, but this problem is especially severe in Florida, where the supply of prescription drugs is high. Some drugs, however, are really common everwhere -- like marijuana.

-Kevin Conway

Are crack and

-awesomedude99, Maryland

Hello awesome dude. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected. Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which, when heated, produces vapors that are smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated. Basically it can be considered the same thing. If you stay away from it you will remain an awesome dude. Check out teens.drugabuse.gov

-Carol Krause

Are crack and cocaine the same thing?

-awesomedude99, Maryland

Hello awesome dude. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and then injected. Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which, when heated, produces vapors that are smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated. Basically it can be considered the same thing. If you stay away from it you will remain an awesome dude. Check out teens.drugabuse.gov.

-Carol Krause

Can cocaine damage you?

-chaya, Maryland

Yes, and very badly. Please see this link: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/cocaine.html.

-Anto Bonci

can depression drive someone to do drugs?

-larryeast, Oklahoma

Hi larryeast. That is a great question. Yes...depression and drug use often go together, resulting in what's called a 'co-morbidity' - multiple medical/mental health conditions that are occurring at the same time. Sometimes, folks who are depressed use drugs to make themselves feel better (commonly called 'self-medicating'). This is not a good approach to treating depression. If someone is depressed and they are thinking about using drugs, this is a great opportunity for both prevention and treatment (preventing drug use and treating depression). Using drugs when depressed will only make it harder to treat a depression. So, if someone is depressed, best to seek professional help - we have many effective treatments for depression in teens. Here's a link for you to find out more about depression: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

-Amy Goldstein

can doing drugs cause ur baby to be unhealthy?

-jordan, Ohio

Great question! It really depends on several factors, but drug exposure to a baby can cause serious damage. Prenatal exposure can affect a child and affect his or her brain and behavior development. The consequences of drug exposure can range depending on many factors. Negative consequences can be short or long term effects on the brain resulting in problems for example, in memory, attention and behavior. The effects to the baby depends on what drug, how much, and what time during pregnancy. There is an amazing amount of development going on from the moment of conception through birth, and scientists are examining exactly how drugs can affect the developing baby. Some people think that only street or hard drugs can affect the baby, but cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drug abuse such as oxycotin and vicodin also has affects. For example, smoking has been related to infant mortality, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome. And scientists are looking at how smoking might affect gene expression (how genes turn on and off) in the fetus. Pretty amazing stuff. Here's some more info on prenatal exposure: http://www.drugabuse.gov/tib/prenatal.html and http://www.nida.nih.gov/consequences/prenatal/If you know someone who needs help with an addiction, you can find a substance abuse treatment facility by calling 1-800-662-HELP or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov anytime, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

-Joe Frascella

Can drinking

-jckahn14, Indiana

Good question. Both alcohol and drugs like marijuana can cause problems with athletic performance. Marijuana can hurt your lungs and breathing--something all athletes need for peak performance. Alcohol can cause headaches and fatigue after drinking, and in the long term, heavy use of alcohol can damage the body in many ways

-Wilson Compton

can drinking a lot of

-jcarson, Illinois

Yes, it certainly can. Alcohol has powerful effects on the brain and dramatically slows brain functioning. If you drink enough alcohol, your brain can shut down as a result, sending you into a deep, coma-like state. Alcohol can also shut off vital centers in the brain we need to keep us alive, and even cause death

-Aaron White

can drinking a lot of alcohol put in a comma

-jcarson, Illinois

Yes, it certainly can. Alcohol has powerful effects on the brain and dramatically slows brain functioning. If you drink enough alcohol, your brain can shut down as a result, sending you into a deep, coma-like state. Alcohol can also shut off vital centers in the brain we need to keep us alive, and even cause death.

-Aaron White

Can drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana affect athletic performance if you are not under the influence while you are playing?

-jckahn14, Indiana

Good question. Both alcohol and drugs like marijuana can cause problems with athletic performance. Marijuana can hurt your lungs and breathing--something all athletes need for peak performance. Alcohol can cause headaches and fatigue after drinking, and in the long term, heavy use of alcohol can damage the body in many ways.

-Wilson Compton

can drinking and driving always kill you?

-brianna_m, Pennsylvania

Well, it doesn't always kill you, but it does always increase the chances that you could die or get injured yourself, or you can hurt or kill other people.

-Aaron White

can drinking and smoking cause any long term affects on your body if you do it sometimes at a young age?

-alexaandshannon, New Jersey

Hi New Egypt.Absolutely!! Did you know your brain is not fully developed and mature until you're 25 year of age!! And brain developmental factors are important in drug abuse. Since drugs can affect how the brain develops, drug use during adolescence may be particularly harmful to the still developing brain. Drug effects can be also 'cumulative' so the more and longer you use the more likely to have long-term effects- think cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Also, research shows that ealier a person starts using drugs, the more likely they are to have drug and other problems, like with family relationships, grades, etc. So the younger a person starts and the longer they continue to use drugs, the more risk for addiction and other negative effects associated with drugs of abuse. Learn more about how drugs affect a person's brain and life, click on http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/, http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

-David Shurtleff

Can drug addictions afect you personal life?

-sarahv, California

Absolutely. Drugs don't just make you high or only affect you personally. They can affect everyone around you. Think about it -- drug abuse significantly impairs your ability to make good decisions. If you do something that gets you kicked out of school, or lands you in jail, or uses up all your money, or puts you behind the wheel of a car when you have no business being there -- all of those things affect your personal life and the people around you -- in potentially very serious ways.

-Lori Ducharme

can drug make you stupitd

-58494, California

Hey Johnson Middle School, CA! Thanks for your question. Drugs can definitely make you stupid! Here's an example: marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana's adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.

-Joni Rutter

Can drugs actually be helpful at times? If so would patients become addicted to the drugs?

-A. R, Illinois

Yes, drugs can be good or bad, depending on how they're used. Drugs that are used to treat a diagnosed medical condition, even drugs that can be potentially addictive, can be very helpful and sometimes necessary, and should not lead to addiction as long as they are taken under the care of a physician and in the amounts that are prescribed. Also, over the counter drugs are not addictive as long as they are taken for the condition they were meant for, and in the dosages described on the container.

-Jim Bjork

Besides peer pressure, whyy do some people do drugs even though they know what happens to them?

-annemarie.p, Texas

Hello Annemarie--great question, IMO really gets to the 'heart of the matter.' What could be a big reason for you (like peer pressure) may not be the main reason for someone else (an escape from a stressful lifestyle). People start using drugs for a variety of different reasons, but absolutely NONE are worth the consequences of substance use addiction. Here is a great series on our teen site that will give you information about various drugs of abuse. If you have the facts, you will be better able to make healthy decisions about drug use and abuse: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/mom/

-Bethany Deeds

By using drugs to feel better about oneself make you an addict or even an abuser?

-Krazy Panda, Minnesota

Hello Minnesota! I went to Hopkins high! You're technically a drug abuser once you start using drugs so much you start neglecting important things like schoolwork, and start blowing off people who you used to care about. Once you can't stop yourself from seeking out and using drugs, and lose interest in everything else that used to give you a lot of pleasure, then you're an 'addict.' Being an abuser or addict really doesn't have anything to do with why you're using drugs. Abuse and addiction are more about the CONSEQUENCES of drug use getting to be really bad.

-Jim Bjork

can

-adison_s, Pennsylvania

The FDA, which approves all therapeutic drugs in the US has not approved marijuana for the treatment of any disease or condition. That's because it hasn't been proven safe and effective in carefully controlled studies with patients. Marijuana is not likely to become a medicine for several reasons--its a plant that contains many chemicals (over 400), some with unknown health effects; the ingredients vary from plant to plant--medicines need to be able to have precisely controlled ingredients--so doctors know how much to prescribe and side effects can be prevented; marijuana's effects on your ability to think and remember make it not ideal; and finally, anything thats smoked is bad for the lungs. Scientists are however interested in some of marijuana's ingredients that may have possibilities as medicines but with less risks than marijuana itself. See
http://www.drugabuse.gov/MarijBroch/teens/

-Christine Colvis

can 1 beer decrease your smartness

-ZaCh!, Ohio

It is possible that it could for at least a few minutes. In some lab tests, we have detected memory and other impairments in people who have very low blood alcohol concentrations - maybe the result of just one beer.

-Aaron White

Can a beer a day cause

-Kelso C, Arkansas

Very unlikely. Your liver gets rid of one serving of alcohol, like a can of beer, in about 1.5 hours. Alcohol poisoning is caused when your body builds up a very high level of alcohol. Alcohol poisoning occurs from a single episode of drinking way too much. You cannot get alcohol poisoning from drinking a little bit over a long time. However, it is important to know that drinking alcohol during the teen years, presumably even just a serving per day, seriously increases the chances of becoming an alcoholic at some point in life

-Aaron White

Can a beer a day cause alcohol poison over 10 years?

-Kelso C, Arkansas

Very unlikely. Your liver gets rid of one serving of alcohol, like a can of beer, in about 1.5 hours. Alcohol poisoning is caused when your body builds up a very high level of alcohol. Alcohol poisoning occurs from a single episode of drinking way too much. You cannot get alcohol poisoning from drinking a little bit over a long time. However, it is important to know that drinking alcohol during the teen years, presumably even just a serving per day, seriously increases the chances of becoming an alcoholic at some point in life.

-Aaron White

can a food be a drug?

-princess torie, Maryland

Ahh, great question! Some people refer to food as being as addicting as say, cocaine. For some people, they exhibit behaviors that are similar to those of someone addicted to drugs. That is, uncontrolled seeking of food and consumption.Here are some of the characteristics of addiction, can you see why some people can consider a food a drug (substitute the word 'food' for 'drug' below)?Taking the drug more often or in larger amounts than intended. Unsuccessful attempts to quit; persistent desire, craving. Excessive time spent in drug seeking. Feeling intoxicated at inappropriate times, or feeling withdrawal symptoms from a drug at such times. Giving up other things for it. Continued use, despite knowledge of harm to oneself and others. Marked tolerance in which the amount needed to satisfy increases at first before leveling off. Characteristic withdrawal symptoms for particular drugs. Taking the drug to relieve or avoid withdrawal. Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

Can a New Born be Dependent on a Drug right away?

-leprechaun, Iowa

Yes. Unfortunately. Exposure during pregnancy to any number of drugs (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, opioids) can have a variety of profound and/or subtle physiological effects on a new-born baby. http://www.drugabuse.gov/tib/prenatal.html

-Kris Bough

Can a person become addicted to a drug after only one use?

-Bourque, Louisiana

That is a good question. When you take an illegal drug, it affects your brain. Being addicted to a drug means that changes have taken place in the brain that prevent someone from being able to control their urge to seek and use the drug. Everyone's brain and natural brain chemistry are a little different, and while it is unlikely addiction would occur after a single use, the effects you feel could prompt you to want to use again, and from there it would be a very slippery slope. It's hard to say at what point you would become addicted, but we no for sure you can't get addicted if you never take the drug. Really...there are better ways to have a good time.

-Christine Colvis

can a small sip of

-peruman50, Maryland

It really depends. Research shows that having even a few sips of alcohol at a young age can increase the chances of becoming an alcoholic at some point in life. We still do not know why and it is likely that some people are at greater risk than others. So, it's possible

-Aaron White

can a small sip of alcohol make me addicted?

-peruman50, Maryland

It really depends. Research shows that having even a few sips of alcohol at a young age can increase the chances of becoming an alcoholic at some point in life. We still do not know why and it is likely that some people are at greater risk than others. So, it's possible.

-Aaron White

Can abused prescription drugs give you cancer?

-Hank H, New York

not that i am aware of. pretty much everything in high enough of a dose can give you cancer. But you would die of an overdose much sooner...

-Ruben Baler

Can acohol kill you if you drink two bottles?

-joseph, Ohio

If it is two bottles of wine or two bottles of liquor, then yes for sure. If it is two bottles of beer then probably not.

-Aaron White