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.

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do steroids actually make reproaductive organs samaller?


Important question. The answer is yes, they can. Steroids can cause a whole bunch of medical complications including atrophy (reduction) of the testicles. More info available at Thanks

-Jan Lipkin

Do steroids really down size your genitals?


Yep. Specifically steroid use by men can cause shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, increased risk for prostate cancer.

-Anna Staton

Hello there. Whats worse for you, alcohol or marijuana?


Good question! Although alcohol is legal (but only if you are 21 or older) and marijuana is not, BOTH can cause addiction and BOTH can impair your judgment. This can put you at risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors like getting behind the wheel of a car when you are intoxicated. An analogy would be like asking yourself--would you rather have an obscure but curable disease or come from a poverty stricken country? For more information on the health consequences of alcohol and marijuana check out AND for joining us!

-Marsha Lopez

Hello, is it possible to be addicted to marijuana?


Yes! About 1 in 10 people who use marijuana become addicted. When they stop, they experience a "withdrawal syndrome"--they are irritable, can't sleep, lose weight, and are anxious, often prompting them to start using again. Whats more--long term marijuanna users themselves report not only poorer educational and job outcomes, but less life satisfaction and worse mental and physical health compared to those who don't use marijuana. Check out for more info. Thanks for joining in on Chat day!

-Marsha Lopez

hmmm what happens if i smoke.. will i get raped? :)


Well-first it depends on what you smoke and who you are with. If you smoke a drug that causes you to lose control of your senses or causes you to fall into a deep sleep AND you are with hateful people that would take advantage of you in that altered state...then yes, you run the risk of being raped. Best bet...stay away from smoking and keep your wits about you, and always, stick with friends you trust.

-Elisabeth Davis

How are stress and drug abuse connected?


Drugs can temporarily relieve stress. However with repeated use, your body will activate the stress response when you are not taking them. So while initially decreasing stress, with repeated use they tend to increase it.

-Nora Volkow

how bad can a bad trip from LSD mess you up


Thanks for your interesting question. LSD can be a very dangerous drug that can lead to "bad trips" and bad experiences while on it. LSD is known to cause altered states of perception and feeling, nausea, and it can cause flashbacks (recurring hallucinations). It can also increase body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, and cause sleeplessness. Persistent mental disorders can occur after taking LSD. Lao, people have injured themselves during bad experiences with LSD. For more information, please read:

-Joe Frascella

how bad does marijuana affect your brain?


Great question! Marijuana has direct affects on brain systems. It interacts with some of the receptor systems in the brain and causes a release of the brain chemical called dopamine. Continued use can result in slowed thinking, impaired balance and coordination, decreased memory and difficulties in learning, anxiety, and it can result in addiction.The amount of negative effects on the brain depends on how much marijuana one uses, how early one starts, and individual vulnerabilities one might have to the negative effects of this drug. For young people it is always more harmful to use any drug not prescribed by their doctor because their brains are still developing. Thanks for this message.Thanks for this message.

-Joe Frascella

how can acid kill you?


In some people, acid can lead to altered states of perception, as well as increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Some of these effects can cause death in certain people, but even if they don't kill you, using acid is harmful. Acid can also change your perception which can lead you to do things that can be dangerous, harmful, or even fatal. Thanks for the question.

-Joe Frascella

how can drinknig lead to unprotected sex when it lowers the horimones that get you started?


Drinking causes poor decision making and loss of inhibitions. So it leads to unprotected sex because, like all bad choices, you're more likely to do it when you're not thinking clearly.

-Elisabeth Davis

How can drugs affect pregnancy?


Hi - thanks for your question. Drug use affects both the mom and her baby. Babies of mothers who use drugs can be born early (prematurely) or at low birth weight. Exposure to some drugs, like opiates (heroin, oxycontin, vicodin, morphine) can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome - which means babies can be born addicted, and then experience withdrawal from the drugs. Moms who use drugs may not be taking as good care of themselves during pregnancy as they should - like not going to their doctor, or taking prenatal vitamins, or eating a good diet that can keep themselves and their babies healthy. All of these things can affect the pregnancy. We've got a bunch of studies that look at the long term effects of exposure to drugs during pregnancy. The good news is that a lot of these kids are ok, but sometimes there are subtle developmental effects on behavior, attention, and thinking - effects that may only show up as the baby grows older. Alcohol and tobacco can cause developmental problems too: fetal alcohol syndrome can really affect kids and cause serious birth defects. Here's a link with more information on all the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy: recommend that moms not use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other drugs during pregnancy and tell their doctors if they do so. If moms are having trouble not using, they can ask their doctors for help.

-Nicolette Borek

Dr, Frank Vocci I have a qustion for you if say my friend asks me to hide their weed in my room what do i say?


I would not do it. Tell them that you don't feel right about their use of weed and if you hid their weed, you 'd be agreeing that it's OK. Plus, it's against the law.

-Frank Vocci

drug facts i have a question for you how many brain cells for drugs kill?


Drugs can affect the structure and functioning of the brain and some drugs can kill brain cells and as well as altering the way other brain cells function. The more one uses drugs, the more likely one is to become addicted. Drug addiction can cause many changes to both the brain and body that have negative consequences.Thanks for this question.

-Joe Frascella

DRugs are really good for you why do people lie about it, saying its bad?

-taco and jazmin,

Drugs can make you feel good but they can also harm your body and affect the way your brain functions. This can result in imapired memory, decreased attention, and depression. Also in vulnerable people it can produce addiction. That is why people say that drugs can be bad.

-Nora Volkow

Euphoria is a effect of inhalants. What is euphoria?


Many drugs of abuse can cause euphoria, which results from the sudden release of a chemical in the brain called DOPAMINE. Small doses of inhalants can rapidly lead to euphoria and other disturbances of behavior similar to those caused by ethanol (alcohol), and may also induce delusions and hallucinations. Higher doses may produce life-threatening effects such as convulsions and coma. Death may ensue indirectly after, for example, inhalation of vomit, or from direct cardiac or central nervous system toxicity. For more information on inhalant abuse please go to

-Ruben Baler

From what body parts can drugs be taken in?


Drugs can be ingested orally, through the nose, smoked, or injected into the skin, muscle, or a vein. To learn more, look at our illustrated and easy-to-read booklet at

-Frank Vocci

Does smoking affect your sex life?


Tobacco can affect your sex life in several ways. Here's one: who wants to kiss someone who smells and tastes bad? And in the long run, tobacco can hurt the circulatory system and make it harder to have sex. See for more info on smoking. Information about smoking and prevention can be found at

-Wilson Compton

Does smoking weed when you are young effect you in the long run?


Thanks for your question - In general marijuana can affect your short-term memory and learning, your ability to focus attention, and coordination. It also increases heart rate, can harm the lungs, and can cause psychosis in those at risk. We've got a bunch of studies looking at how weed/marijuana use can affect your brain as it is developing. Did you know your brain develops until age 25?! It's important to keep your brain healthy at all times, especially when it is still developing and can be really vulnerable to drugs. To find out more about marijuana, go to our teen website:

-Nicolette Borek

does drug intake have any affect on your acne and skin?


Steroids definitely can cause acne. As for other drugs, if you become addicted-drugs become the most important thing in your life and that said, your skin probably doesn't get the attention it needs.

-Elisabeth Davis

does drugs affect your studying habbats?


Absolutely. Drugs make it hard to focus, make it hard to motivate, make it hard to do all the things you need to do to study. AND if that wasn't bad enough, you do enough drugs and they become what your life is all about-so if you do drugs then forget about studying or doing well in school, because once your addicted doing well in school might just be the least of your concerns. So, if you take drugs that people say help you to study...they don't help and if you end up becoming addicted, then they certainly hurt.

-Elisabeth Davis

does drugs effect the size of growth to ur body?????


The basic answer is yes. Some stimulants have been shown to stunt overall growth. And, of course, steroids can increase some body growth, they can also have other serious medical complications including shrinking testicles. 

-Jan Lipkin

Does drugs make you lose weight?


Hi Denbigh High! Yep, some drugs are or contain stimulants, which when taken can lead to weight loss and appetite suppression. However stimulants can be addictive. Consult for more information on stimulants!

-David Shurtleff

does effect your child?? can your partner be effected by drugs if you use them but they dont??


Hi and thanks for your question. Yes, drug use affects the whole family. Moms' drug use can affect their babies in utero (during pregnancy). And secondhand smoke (from cigarettes, marijuana, and methamphetamine) can affect kids and partners who live with or spend time with the drug user. In addition to the physical effects of exposure to drugs, drug use can damage a person's relationships with their children and partner. Basically, using drugs hurts everyone around you! If you have a loved one who uses drugs, you can get help for them at or 1-800-662-HELP.

-Nicolette Borek

Does every drug get addicting after a certain period of time?


This is a good question. There is a lot we still dont know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, So its a little like playing Russian Roulette if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it.You might want to read the online publication, Science of Addiction, at

-Wilson Compton

Does it mean your addicted if you do it for comfort?


No, when you are addicted you take the drug because your body experiences it as a NEED--just as your body experiences the NEED for food when you have not eaten. But, you should recognize that the shift from "comfort use" to addiction is not a predictable one--so you could wind up addicted even before you realize the full extent of your problem.

-Nora Volkow

Good Morning, My question to you is how can drugs affect your body as well as your mind and the people around you?


When you take drugs they not only go to your brain but to your body. Some drugs effect organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys and hence can result in medical problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Drugs affect the people around you since they affect your brain including areas that are important for social behaviors. And addiction can be devastating to families trying to help the affected person.

-Nora Volkow

has anybody gotten any life changing disease from drugs


Thanks for your question. There are many diseases that are associated with drug abuse. For example, many people are aware that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted via sharing drug injection equipment but HIV/AIDS and drug abuse are linked by more than just needles. The judgment of those under the influence of drugs can be impaired and therefore they may make risky decisions about sex. They could contract any number of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS or syphilis.

-Anna Staton

Hav you ever tried any of the drugs you study?


I have tried nicotine and alcohol

-Nora Volkow

Have you done drugs


I tried a pot bong once when I was 16. I thought it tasted bad, and made me feel nauseus. That ended that.

-James Bjork

have you ever smoked weed


I grew up in the 1960s. Weed was plentiful but not as strong as today's stuff. I smoked it a few times. See for more on marijuana.

-Frank Vocci