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.

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At what level of alcohol intake would you get alcohol poisoning?

-curious Lion, Kansas

It's tricky to know how many drinks a particular person would have to consume to suffer from alcohol poisoning because it depends on how much a person weighs, whether they are male or female, whether they ate food before drinking alcohol, and other factors. For example, college students who died from alcohol poisoning had blood alcohol levels around 0.35% as compared to the legal limit of 0.08%. For a 155 lbs person, it would take approximately 12 drinks in an hour or two to produce a blood alcohol concetration of 0.35%. It's quite possible someone could die from alcohol poisoning even below this level. If you think someone you know may be experiencing alcohol poisoning, make sure to get help immediately. You can call 911. You can learn more about alcohol poisoning and overdoses at:

-Aaron White

At what point does drugs affect us ? Is it a rate away thing or a later affect?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Hello Sarge--

All drugs of abuse have an immediate and long-term effects.  Usually people use drugs to get the immediate effect and feel the "high." Then, depending on the drug, people get habituated and then they can become addicted. Some drugs like nicotine and heroin and pain killers are highly addictive. Some people say that they just took a few doses of prescription painkillers and they became addicted very quickly. So, the best thing to do is to avoid trying drugs because you never know if you have the predisposition of getting addicted. 

-Ivan Montoya

Be honest, how many people have asked a question relating to breaking bad? (the show aint even that good)

-HrantJamgochian, Maryland

A lot!

-Maureen Boyle

Besides brain damage what is wrong with using weed?

-lilly boladian, Michigan

Lilly Boladian...C'mon.  Isn't brain damage enough?  

-Joni Rutter

Can a animal die from drugs, Pennsylvania

Good morning, -- Certainly. So can humans.

-Joni Rutter

are inhalants the worst drug to do for body

-sneseikabookie, Maryland

Great question, sneseikabookie. Inhalants are really dangerous. As for the worst drug, it really depends on how you wish to define "worst." Do you mean which substance is associated with the greatest numbers of death? At this point, that would be tobacco, which is the leading cause of preventable death in the US. But don't forget that all drugs (including inhalants) have other very serious consequences, other than death.

Get the facts on drugs here: And, to find out more about inhalants specifically, visit: Happy reading!

-Antonello Bonci

Are keg stands dangerous

-heisenberg, Michigan

Yes!!!! Aside from the alcohol, you could fall on your face - and that's certainly not safe!

-Aaron White

Are medical medicines bad for your body after a while using them??

-Kluby, New Hampshire

Hii Kluby,
Depends on the medicine.   When taking medicines for long periods of time, you should follow directions and consult with health care professionals to minimize the possibiliites of side effects and damage to your body.


-Dave Thomas

Are nicotine and caffeine similar?

-NateDoGG, Ohio

Hi NateDoGG (see how I kept the correct capitalization?? It's the details that count).  Nicotine and caffeine are both stimulant drugs, so they both increase heart rate, jitteriness, etc.  In the brain, they act through different mechanisms, but they both end up affecting the dopamine system, so there is a convergence.  Both can cause addiction.  Both are legal (although nicotine is only legal for adults).  Both can adversely affect the developing brain, so think before downing those three Red Bulls or smoking cigarettes!

-Cindy Miner

Are painkillers as addictive as drugs like cocaine?

-a, Maryland

Morning! Pain killers can be very useful in the treatment of pain, but if misused or abused, they indeed can be vary addictive, as is cocaine.

-Dave Thomas

Are painkillers bad for you??

-tplace, New Hampshire

Hi Tplace! Well, painkillers serve a useful medical purpose--to relieve pain and suffering in our bodies, but prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older.

-Bethany Deeds

Are painkllers bad for you?? what do they do to you

-tplace, New Hampshire

They are very bad to abuse.  About 17,000 people overdose and die from them each year in America.  However, when used in moderation and as directed by a clinician, they can help people who are suffering from pain.  You can get more info at:


-Dave Thomas

Are self made drugs more dangerous than other "more professional" kinds?, Pennsylvania

Yes! Synthetic drugs have no regulation in terms of purity (may be toxic chemicals present) or potency, one batch may be highly potent while another is much less. This increases the risk of over-dosing. Below are a couple of links with info about synthetic stimulants and synthetic marijuana.

-Roger Little

Are sharpies, the permanent marker, considered an inhaler?

-bubblegumrocks, Illinois

Hey Bubbles,
Just a passing sniff of a sharpie is likely no big deal.  But there are solvents in the sharpies and constant sniffing is dangerous.  Read more about inhalants here and thanks for the question:


-Dave Thomas

Are shrooms addictive?

-ckoger, Michigan

Sure.   They are hallucinogens and are addictive.  Here is a NIDA webpage which can give you some more information.

-Dave Thomas

are shrooms as bad as lsd?

-TheLlamaQueen, Maryland

Hi TheLlamaQueen (love the name)! Psychedelic compounds in some mushrooms include Psilocybin, which is very similar chemically to LSD.  All effects of Psilocybin and LSD depend on dose and potency, so they can be. Check out to read about Psilocybin and LSD.

-Nancy Pilotte

Are some personalities more addicted than others?

-SAP Program, Vermont

Hey there SAP Program - thanks for reaching out.
A very intreresting question!  This is one that many scientists spend their lives trying to answer. There are personality traits, such as impulsivity, that make people more likely or less likely to become addicted. There are also important brain and bodily differences that make some people more likely to than others become addicted. These may inlcude the way that a person's metabolism processes drugs (or alcohol) or the effects the drug has on brain chemistry.

You'll find a summary overview of what we know  about how drugs cause addiction here:

-Harold Perl

Are steriods addictive? And what are the poor side effects of steroids?

-Zeus23, Minnesota

hi zeus
Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, steroids are reinforcing and can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when given the opportunity, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may persist in abusing steroids despite physical problems and nega-tive effects on social relationships, reflecting these drugs’ addictive potential. Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drug—another indication of addiction. other effects in my video here
good luck

-Ruben Baler

Are steroids addictive? Because professional players, some stack up around 5 charges. So, you would think they would stop.

-mmorelli, Pennsylvania

Hi Morelli
Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, steroids are reinforcing and can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when given the opportunity, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may persist in abusing steroids despite physical problems and nega-tive effects on social relationships, reflecting these drugs’ addictive potential. Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drug—another indication of addiction.
good luck

-Ruben Baler

are steroids bad for u

-jacob, Massachusetts

Hi Jacob and Cyrus Pierce Middle School! Steroids can have a lot of effects, but first you must know that your own body produces all the steroids it needs...and it needs them to regulate your growth, and are critical for reproductive function.  People who use large quantities of steroids (often to help build muscle or control weight) risk heart disease, liver damage (even in young people), and may stop growing tall earlier than you should.  It also can cause aggression and male-pattern baaldness (who needs that?), and if you are a female who is using anabolic (androgenic) steroids, your voice may deepen permanently, grow facial hair, and develop male-pattern baldness. Oh, and by the way, exercise has been shown to build muscle better than steroids...

-Nancy Pilotte

Are steroids in Asthma medication different form just "regular" ones?

-donuts160, Michigan

hello donuts

totally different. Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (androgens). They promote growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effect) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects). Corticosteroids or glucocorticoids, often just called "steroids", are drugs closely related to cortisol, a hormone which is naturally produced in the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland) and have anti-inflammatory effects.

-Ruben Baler

Are the cigarette companies lying about tobacco?

-curious Lion, Kansas

It's simple...tobacco companies have highly addicting products (nicotine being the main addicting drug) and lots of $$ is made from the sale of tobacco products.  They are now disclosing more about what is in their products.  Check out:

-Kevin Walton

Are their more alcoholics than Drug users in the u.s?

-that kid, Pennsylvania

There are more alcohol users than drug users, for sure. However, there are more drug users than alcoholics. 

-Aaron White

Are there any advantages to using marijuana?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Marijuana for medical use has been in the news a lot lately. There are recognized medical benefits to some of the active ingredients in marijuana. Scientists are studying those ingredients, and the body systems that they affect, in order to develop new medications for a variety of symptoms and diseases, including pain, obesity, and addiction.   A pill form of THC (an active ingredient in marijuana) is already available for certain conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS.  Scientists are also studying ways to use CBD, an ingredient in marijuana that might have some benefits, but does not cause the “high”, for diseases including childhood epilepsy.  However, smoked marijuana is unlikely to be an ideal medication because of its negative health effects, including the risk of addiction and the damage that smoking does to the lungs.

-Maureen Boyle

are there any campaigns to make tobacco products illegal yet? because if there are i'd love to be a part of it

-Fredoinnacut, Maryland

In 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration was granted the authority to regulate cigarettes, roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco the goal is to reduce the disease and death caused by use of tobacco products, not to make them illegal. In fact, the law passed by Congress says that we cannot ban tobacco products.  

-Cindy Miner

are there any common ingredients in popular dugs that may lead to addiction

-becky, Florida

There are different types of drugs that have multiple related products. For example, the opioids are drugs similar to morphine but can be in multiple forms such as heroin, oxycontin, fentanyl, etc. Another example is the group of cannabinoids which are drugs similar to marijuana. All drugs that cause addiction do so by affecting the brain, and although drugs have chemical differences, they all cause addiction by hijacking the brain's natural communication processes. There's detailed information here:

-Ivan Montoya

Are there any differences between rolling weed in a joint to smoke it, or putting it in a bowl to smoke it?

-kearsarge, New Hampshire

Yeah, one way requires a bowl. Kearsarge I hope you become a scientist when you questions from you. Seriously, the psychoactive effects are the same, but you are inhaling burning paper when you roll it. Smoke has irritative effects on the mouth, throat, and lungs.  

-Joni Rutter

are there any good addictions?

-toasterfork, New Hampshire

Generally, to be addicted means you are no longer in control of your behaviors, and you cannot stop, despite the fact that these actions could be harmful. So let's say there are many great behaviors that we can engage in over and over, but let's not become addicted to anything!

-Joseph Frascella

Are there any helpful drugs?

-0444442, Florida

Hi there,
There are plenty of helpful legal drugs but I'm guessing that you mean illegal drugs.   Although some drugs of abuse may have some helpful properties (say they can wake you up), on balance, they are dangerous, especially the way they are taken when they're abused.

-Dave Thomas

Are there any legal drugs aside from medical marijuana?

-Lericia, Maryland

Sure, there are a number of legal drugs that are abused.  The most often abused prescription drugs are opioids - medicines that are used to treat pain.  Note that about 17,000 people overdose and die from prescription opioids each year!  It is quite an epidemic.   


-Dave Thomas