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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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: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/economics/econ_facts/index.htm#sales

-Kevin Walton

are drugs bad for you

-password, Ohio

Hi password! All drugs are bad for you and most have similar long-term effects. All drugs interfere with the brain's normal processing and can eventually lead to changes in how well it works. Over time, drug use can lead to addiction, a devastating brain disease in which people can’t stop using drugs even when they really want to and even after it causes terrible consequences to their health and other parts of their lives.  There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA’s teen site here: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Ish Amarreh

are drugs bad for you

-The dukes, Ohio

Thanks for the question, The dukes! Yes, drugs are bad for you. In fact, all drugs (unless they are prescription drugs taken as prescribed by a doctor) are bad for you, and most have similar long-term effects. All drugs interfere with the brain's normal processing and can eventually lead to changes in how well the brain operates.  Over time, drug use can lead to addiction. You can find a ton of info about the health effects of drugs here: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Joseph Frascella

are drugs fun while it lasts

-djosep0284, Maryland

hi josep
for some people yes, for some the experience could be a nasty one. 

-Ruben Baler

Are drugs more addictive than cookies?

-cookie monster, Maryland

Yes, drugs are much more addictive than cookies (even chocolate chip cookies)

-Nora Volkow

are drugs more addictive than REALLY REALLY REALLY good cookies?

-Topples, Ohio

Hi Topples.
Well yeah. Of course they are. Unless, the cookies are laced with a drug (like marijuana), in that case the story changes.
ruben
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-Ruben Baler

Are drugs more common in teens or adults?

-ThatsCool, Minnesota

Hi, ThatsCool. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the rate of current use of illicit drugs in 2013 was highest in the 18 to 25 year-old age group (21.5%), followed by 12 to 17 year olds (8.8%), then by adults ages 26 or older (7.3%). So college aged students tend to use more drugs than any other age range. You can check out all their results on the NIDA website. Any drug use, however, is not cool (no matter how old you are). Remember no one can make you do drugs--it's your choice to live a healthy, drug-free life. If you need help, though, it's OK ask. Tell a friend, teacher, nurse or counselor if you or someone you know needs help with drug abuse.

-Marsha Lopez

Are drugs okay in small amounts?

-ronaldo, Maryland

That's a really good question--and one that we don't really have a lot of information on.  The problem is that going from occassional to regular use to problematic use can happen very slowly without people noticing that they are losing control over their use.  The other concern I would have for a young person is your developing brain (going strong until your early 20s)--would want to keep that as healthy as possible. 

-Susan Weiss

Are drugs really all that bad?

-ronaldo, Maryland

Drugs are chemicals. When you say drugs, I assume you mean drugs that are illegal and not used or needed to treat diseases of the brain and body. Any chemicals that reach the brain affect affect the way it works.  The brain has nerve cells called neurons to keep it healthy.  Drugs make these cells work in ways that it wasn't "designed" to work.  The brain tries to be "smart" and changes itself because of these drugs. If the brain is not working properly, then therapeutic drugs are needed.  But drugs that are not approved for anything therapeutic can have side effects which are serious consequences for our health. There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA’s teen site here: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Harold Gordon

Are drugs really legal in Amsterdam?

-Vronny, Maryland

Hi Vronny,
Great question. Actually they are not legal in The Netherlands, just "decriminalized." That means the police look the other way. 
Eric

-Eric Wargo

are drugs really that bad? cause people say its not that bad but i disagree

-;sodfghado;fi;g, Texas

We tend to think drugs cause harm vs they are either "good" or "bad". 

-Maureen Boyle

Are e-cigarettes bad for you?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Hi Kearsarge - they certainly can be. The liquid in e-cigarettes can cause nicotine poisoning if someone drinks, sniffs, or touches it. Recently there has been a surge of poisoning cases in children under age 5. Testing of some e-cigarette products found the aerosol (vapor) to contain known cancer-causing and toxic chemicals, and particles from the vaporizing mechanism that may be harmful. The health effects of repeated exposure to these chemicals are not yet clear.

-Michelle Rankin

Are e-cigarettes bad for you? and can you get addicted?

-cookie monster, Maryland
We are getting alot of questions about e-cigs today.  The bottom line is that electronic cigarettes are new to the scene and we don't have a lot of scientific data on their safety or effects yet.  Nicotine is addictive, so using e-cigarettes puts you at risk for addiction. While they may be advertised as "safer" than cigarettes, there is a lot we don't know about the health consequences of e-cigarettes.  One thing we do know from research about nicotine is that it can affect the brain's development...and the brain is still developing well into your 20's, so using e-cigarettes is not a good idea for young people.  For more information see:http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-...
-Cindy Miner

Are e-cigarettes dangerous?

-MSUgosparty2, Minnesota

Hi MSUgospart2, that is a great question.  E-cigarettes have become available only recently, so there is a lot we don't know about them.  But there is also a lot we do know. The aerosol, also called vapor, e-cigs produce is not water vapor. E-cig vapor also contains the chemicals in the eliquid, such as propylene glycol and glycerin and other chemicals that are known toxins.  The short-term and long-term safety of inhaling these substances, along with the flavorings, are yet to be fully understood.  However, we do know that nicotine, found in most e-cigs, can be very addictive.  And kids are very senstive to this affect of nicotine.  Since kids are more likely to become addicted to nicotine than adults, it is best to avoid it in all situations, whether it comes from a tobacco cigarette or an e-cig. Check out these resources on e-cigs - http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarette

-Kevin Walton

Are E-Cigarettes healthier than normal cigarettes?

-USERNAME, Massachusetts

E-cigarettes are increasingly popular battery-operated devices marketed as a safer alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes. They produce flavored nicotine aerosol that looks and feels like tobacco smoke but without the tar produced by burning tobacco leaves. However, while e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, it is still unclear how safe they are. They still deliver nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug. Also, vapor from some e-cigarette products has been found to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals including formaldehyde. Until more studies are conducted, there is no way of knowing what the health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals may be, whether e-cigarettes are any safer than conventional cigarettes, or if they are useful to help a person quit smoking.

Dave

-Dave Thomas

Are e-cigarettes safer than normal cigarettes? Why or why not?

-Sandra, Virginia

We've received that question A LOT this morning!  There's a lot of info out there about there about e-cigs...that they can help smokers quit, that they are safe to use, they only produce harmless water vapor.  If I heard only that, I'd think they were safe too!  The truth is, e-cigs are not regulated by the government, so we dont' really know what's in them (even though maufacturers say there is nothing harmful), and we don't know how they can impact a person's health. While they do have potential to help established adult smokers quit, but nicotine is addictive and can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain AND research shows that it can make the brain more susceptible to addiction later in life. Also, testing has also shown that e-cig water vapor contains known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals and small metals. Check here for more info http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

-Albert Avila

are E-cigs actually better for you?

-strawberry, Washington

There's a lot of misinformation out there about there about e-cigs...that they can help smokers quit, that they are safe to use, they only produce harmless water vapor.  If I heard only that, I'd think they were safe too!  The truth is, we dont' really know what's in them (even though maufacturers say there is nothing harmful), and we don't know how they can impact a person's health. While they do have potential to help adult smokers quit, nicotine is addictive and can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain AND can make the brain more susceptible to addiction. Also, testing has also shown that e-cig vapor contains known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals and small metals. Check here for more info http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes

-Belinda Sims

Are e-cigs actually better than regular cigarettes, when it comes to first and second hand smoking?

-Chuck Bass, Minnesota

research underway as we speak to better understand e-cigarettes. There are potentially many chemicals in e-cigs and we're not sure fully what there health consequences are.

-Maureen Boyle

Are e-cigs with no nicotine safe?

-glenelg5, Maryland

Hi Glen
with or without nicotine, e-cigs have a lot of other chemicals in them. it is still to early to tell whether or not and to what extent, e-cigs are safe or safer than regular cigarettes.
cheers
 

-Ruben Baler

are elctric cigarettes bad for you?

-Mary-jew-wanna, Maryland
Electronic cigarettes are new to the scene and we don't have a lot of scientific data on their safety or effects yet.  While they may be advertised as "safer" than cigarettes, there is a lot we don't know about the health consequences of e-cigarettes.  There have been a few reports of e-cigarettes exploding when people use them causing some serious injuries to their hands and faces. The bottom line....you don't know what you are getting in these products or their health consequences. One thing we do know, nicotine can alter brain development in young people---and we know the brain is still developing well into the early 20's.  So if you value your ability to think and enjoy life, I wouldn't mess around with it.  For more information see:http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-...
-Cindy Miner

Are high school students more perceptible to use drugs than alcohol?

-chuck is god, Minnesota

Chuck. We collect much information on drug and alcohol use. The use of alcohol or drugs depends on access and availablility. It is easier to get alcohol and cigarettes than other drugs, so more students are using alohol and nicotine.

Every year the University of Michigan conducts Monitoring the Future, a nationwide survey that asks students about their use of drugs and alcohol. You can read about the latest findings here:  http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends

-Roger Sorenson

are Hookah pens dangerous ?/?//?///

-ilovesaron, Maryland

Hi ilovesaron - E-cigs are not regulated by the government, so we dont' really know what's in them (even though maufacturers say there is nothing harmful), and we don't know how they can impact a person's health. While they do have potential to help adult smokers quit, nicotine is addictive, it can can have long-lasting effects on the developing brain AND research shows it can make the brain more susceptible to addiction. Also, testing has also shown that e-cig water vapor contains known carcinogens and other toxic chemicals and small metals. Check here for more info http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

-Belinda Sims

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: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. And, to find out more about inhalants specifically, visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/inhalants. 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

-Dave Thomas

can alcohol change your life

-josue L, Texas

Yes. It can kill you. And that's a major life change. 

-Aaron White

can alcohol make you fat ?

-laurenm, Texas

It certainly can. A glass of wine or a bottle of beer can have around 150-200 calories. That's about as much as a candy bar. Two glasses of wine could have as many calories as a fast food hamburger. The calories from drinking can really start to add up over time. 

-Aaron White

Can alcohol make you pass out quickly

-KevinC, Texas

Yes. If someone drinks enough alcohol quickly enough, the alcohol will hit the brain hard and areas involved in keep you awake and alive can be shut down. 

 

-Aaron White

can alcohol miss up your brain?

-svarney, New Hampshire

Yes, alcohol affects every part of the brain. Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things, and pay attention. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking. It can also affect the part of the brain that controls our movement, making it more difficult to walk and focus.Teens who drink too much risk suffering lingering problems with attention and memory. 

-Aaron White