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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can u get high off a marker

-synthia_craig, Pennsylvania

Some can make you 'high' depending on the chemical used--and the high would resemble alcohol intoxication. The problem is that some of these chemicals are toxic--they can produce a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness if taken in high concentrations! With repeated use they can irreversibly result in hearing loss, limb spasms, and brain or bone marrow damage. Sniffing high concentrations of inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs)-not good!For more information about drugs, check out!

-David Shurtleff

can u get high off of a sharpy

-supperstar, Pennsylvania

Yes, there are some volatile substances in the Sharpie pens that some people sniff to get high. Inhalants can be extremely dangerous and can cause very serious damage to brain cells.For some excellent information on inhalants, check out: for the question.

-Joe Frascella

can u get high off sharpiess

-lswimmer617, Michigan

Some markers may give off chemicals that can damage the brain and liver if inhaled. There's a question about sharpies that a teen asked last year, and we posted it on the sara bellum blog--take a look:

-Dave McCann

Can using drug while pregant effect your baby???

-idalisgonzalez, Pennsylvania

Hi Ludlow,Absolutely--and not in a good way! In general, the earlier in pregnancy you take a drug, and the longer you keep taking drugs the more your baby will be affected. Alcohol is particularly harmful and opioid drugs (heroin, oxycotin and other prescription pain killers) might lead your baby to have withdrawal symptoms after birth. To learn more, check out 'The Science of Addiction' at For more information on alcohol abuse, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism at

-Joni Rutter

Can using drugs cause depression?

-mathlete_14, Virginia

Great question. Drug abuse and mental illness are related in complex ways. Drugs can make the mood much worse (especially when they wear off) but also being depressed can lead to people taking drugs to feel better. In general, drugs and depression make each other worse. So people with depression have trouble quitting drugs and people who use drugs frequently get really depressed.

-Wilson Compton

Can you die from steroids, even if you take in only once every 2 months?

-lbuffs_32, Virginia

Steroids are only safe if used for a medical condition and under a doctor's supervision. No level of drug abuse is safe, and this is also true for steroid abuse. You should know that steroid abuse can lead to steroid addiction as well as addiction to other drugs. As you can see, even once every two months is a slippery slope. Check out: (that's me by the way!)

-Ruben Baler

Can you die from steroids?

-joshviar, Michigan

We do have case reports of individuals who may have comitted suicide as a result of chronic steroid abuse induced depression. We can also hypotesize that some fatal car accidents may have been caused by drivers suffering from 'roid rage'. However reasonable these connections may sound, we don't have hard scientific data that would confirm the mostly anecdotal evidence that suggests that steroid abuse can be the cause of some deaths.

-Ruben Baler

Can you die if you use too much alcohol

-bratnever, Maryland

Absolutely. Overdoses and death from alcohol happen pretty often. Especially when people drink large quantities of hard liquor quickly they can overdose and die. I've worked in emergency rooms in the past and we saw a lot of teenagers who were nearly dead from alcohol overdose.

-Wilson Compton

can you die the first time using any type of drug?

-jazz, Washington

Yes--although, fortunately its a rare event. But you can die from a drug overdose--in which a drug causes a heart attack, stops your breathing, or causes your body to overheat. Also you can die because drugs affect your judgment and cause you to do something stupid--like driving while drunk or high. The Center for Disease Control reports about 35,000 deaths last year due to unintentional poisonings--which is usually drug overdose, and often related to prescription pain relievers.

-Susan Weiss

can you died from steroids when using ones a day??

-luis, Texas

Hi there! Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male sex hormone testosterone. "Anabolic" refers to muscle-building, and "androgenic" refers to increased male sexual characteristics. "Steroids" refers to the class of drugs. These drugs can be legally prescribed to treat conditions resulting from steroid hormone deficiency (for example, delayed puberty, as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS). Some people, both athletes and non-athletes, abuse AAS in an attempt to enhance performance and/or improve their physical appearance. Steroid abuse can lead to serious, even irreversible health problems. Some of the most dangerous among these include liver damage; jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of skin, tissues, and body fluids); fluid retention; high blood pressure; increases in LDL ("bad" cholesterol); and decreases in HDL ("good" cholesterol). Other reported effects include renal failure, severe acne, and trembling. For adolescents - stunted growth due to premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes; risk of not reaching expected height if AAS is taken before the typical adolescent growth spurt. In addition, people who inject AAS run the added risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, which causes serious damage to the liver and in the case of HIV/AIDS can lead to death.For additional information on AAS, go to:

-Jacqueline Lloyd

Can you get addicted to a drog after on try?

-Tisa, Maryland

Another excellent question. You hear people say that they were addicted after just one use, that the effects of that drug was so powerful, they felt they were immediately hooked. What we find from research is that there are vast individuals differences which is influenced by an individuals genetic makeup. Some people are particularly vulnerable to becoming addicted quickly, others don't seem to be as vulnerable, and may not become addicted right away...but if you keep taking drugs chronically, its highly likely you will eventually become addicted.

-Cindy Miner

can you get addicted to a drug just by bein around it a lot even if your not doin it?

-heylo, Pennsylvania

Interesting question. Keep in mind that if you are around people who are using drugs, you can get into trouble with the law even if you are not using them yourself. If you are driving a car and somone in the car with you has drugs, you can get into a lot of trouble, just by being there. It is best to avoid drugs and to avoid people who are using them!!! Go to our website for teens to get more of your questions answered, to read 'real stories' of people's experiences, and to check out our blog. Leave a comment!

-Dave McCann

can you get so high that you cant remember what you did?

-athompson, Michigan

Yes, you can get so drunk or high that you can lose consciousness or your memory can get totally messed up. For more information about drugs, check out

-Joe Frascella

can you go brain dead because of drugs?

-Karlaa <3, Maryland

All drugs of abuse affect your brain. One can have major problems in brain function because of loss of consciousness, memory loss, anxiety, tremors, depression, anger, lack of sleep, etc. For more information about the effects of drugs, check out and you can send us questions about drugs anytime of the day on our Teen Web site: It might take a few days, because our scientists are pretty busy - but if you're patient, your questions will get answered.Hope that helps!

-Joe Frascella

can you go insane from taking drugs??

-drugsR4squares, Massachusetts

Psychosis (schizophrenia and other dementias) can occur in some people who repeatedly use certain drugs of abuse such as PCP, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Did you know you can send us questions about drugs anytime of the day on our Teen Web site? It might take a few days, because our scientists are pretty busy - but real questions will get real answers!

-David Shurtleff


-vvhs, Arizona

There are a lot of things that happen because of using marijuana and many of them are related to short-term memory loss or making poor decisions. However, marijuana has not been reported to cause flashbacks. You can find out more about marijuana at

-Nancy Pilotte

Can you high off of yur basic garage chemicals?

-Brad, Michigan

Yes- inhalants such as gasoline and paint thinner can give a 'high' resembling alcohol intoxication. The problem is that some of these chemical are toxic--they can produce a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness if taken in high concentrations! With repeated use they can cause hearing loss, limb spasms, brain, or bone marrow damage. Sniffing high concentrations of inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs)--not good!For more information about inhalants, check out

-David Shurtleff

can you lose weight from drugs?

-coaxie, Utah

Drugs like cocaine, methampethamine, and to a lesser extent nicotine can lead to weight loss since they suppress hunger. Other drugs like marijuana can increase your weight since they can give you the munchies. However use of drugs is not a good way to keep weight off since you become tolerant to these effects and when you stop most people go back to their prior weight (or even higher).

-Nora Volkow

can you not get addicted to marijuana and meth if u only do it one timeand what are the side affects on a persion that is only 5' 1" tall and weighs about 99 pounds?

-I do not belong, Oregon

If you only take a drug one time and one time only, then you will not be addicted. The problem is that there is a lot we still don't know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it's 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. However, just because you don't get addicted doesn't mean you won't have bad side effects, especially for someone your size and weight.

-Steve Grant

can you OD off oxycotton?

-andisol, Maryland

Great question! OxyContin is used to treat pain. In people who have serious pain, it can be very helpful but in people who don't take it under medical supervision, it can be very dangerous. Many people have been dying from painkiller overdoses (OD). The U.S. has had an epidemic of death from painkiller overdosing in the past few years.

-Wilson Compton

can you overdose from marijauana

-90cav, Pennsylvania

Probably not. However, you can become addicted to it.

-Ruben Baler

can drugs mess your body up so bad that you lose your private parts?

-browe, Michigan

There are some drugs we know for sure mess up your gear down there, like steroids. Guys can experience shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, development of breasts; girls can experience changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris, and additional hair growth. Most drug research focuses on the brain, but to answer your question-physical loss of private parts is not one of the effects of drug abuse (unless you get so messed up that you have an unfortunate accident).

-Marsha Lopez

can drugs slow your ageing?

-lbpdd, Pennsylvania

Good question. For the most part, drugs can make memory worse and can contribute to more problems as people age.For example, nicotine increases blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration (breathing) and regular users of Ecstacy (MDMA) can experience memory loss.

-Wilson Compton

can ecstasy be provided in such amount that can cause the body to collapsed??

-casa grande mb, Arizona

Oh yeah... ecstasy overdose is a serious medical emergency. People who overdose with ecstasy can not only collapse but also can die from it. It is known that the overdose is associated with increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), rapid heartbeat, hypertension, heart attacks, brain toxicity, etc. So, that is why the treatment of ecstasy overdose is usually in the emergency room.

-Ivan Montoya

Can Ecstasy really kill you the first time you try it.?

-sclions019, Pennsylvania

Yes--although its a rare event. This can happen for various reasons: 1) MDMA is often associated with vigorous physical activity for extended periods, which can lead to a marked rise in body temperature (hyperthermia), that can in turn it lead to muscle breakdown and kidney failure. In addition, dehydration, high blood pressure, and heart failure may occur in susceptible individuals; 2) MDMA is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, but once in the body, MDMA metabolites interfere with the body's ability break down the drug. As a result, if someone takes additional doses when the effects start to wear off, they can achieve unexpectedly high blood levels, which could worsen the cardiovascular and other toxic effects of this drug; 3) you don't really know what you're getting when you take an ecstasy pill--it can contain other ingredients that are toxic and life threatening; and finally 4) people often mix drugs--which can have unpredictable and sometimes deadly outcomes.

-Susan Weiss

Can I get pregnant if I abuse drugs?

-casa grande, Arizona

Did you know that the part of the brain that helps you make good decisions is the last to develop? The prefrontal cortex - the front of the brain - doesn't fully mature until you are in your 20's. Drugs affect parts of the brain that are still developing - so treat your brain well, and reach your full potential. Teens who are intoxicated can make bad decisions that lead to unsafe sex - and that puts them at risk for an unwanted pregnancy or getting sexually transmitted diseases, even HIV. For more information about how abusing drugs can affect your helath and behavior, check out our teen web site:

-Brian Marquis

Can you get addicted to smoking if you've only done it 1 or 3 times?

-kitty_16, Maryland

Hi Einstein, you guys have lots of great question this morning!Research has shown that, for most people, it takes smoking several cigarettes to become addicted to the active ingredient - tobacco. Whether a person will become addicted to nicotine also depends on your genes (for example, changes in your genes that make you metabolize nicotine more slowly or rapidly), your age (the earlier a person begins smoking, the more likely they are to become a regular smoker), and your environment (do you have friends and family that smoke?). In my opinion, you shouldn't play roulette with your health and future by trying to smoke just enough cigarettes to NOT become addicted. It is really dependent on the individual. Good luck! For more information on tobacco, visit and

-David Shurtleff

Can you get addicted to steroids?

-sangrey84, Pennsylvania

The short answer is yes. But, the mechanism of androgenic anabolic steroid (AAS) addiction is different from the mechanisms that cause people to become addicted to other drugs of abuse. That is, the main effects of AAS do not work through the pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine as with other drugs.However, Animal studies have shown that AAS are reinforcing - that is, animals will self-administer AAS when given the opportunity, just as they do with other addictive drugs. This is more difficult to demonstrate in humans, but the potential for AAS abusers to become addicted is consistent with their continued abuse despite physical problems and negative effects on social relations. Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drug: this is another indication of addiction. Individuals who abuse steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking AAS - these include mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings, all of which may contribute to continued abuse. One of the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms is depression - when persistent, it can sometimes lead to suicide attempts. Importantly, research also indicates that some users might turn to other drugs to alleviate some of the negative effects of AAS.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get addictive after the first try?

-jose#70, Maryland

Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can't predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted. A person's genetic makeup, the genes that make each of us who we are, and the environment each play a role. What we do know is that a person who uses drugs risks becoming addicted, craving the drug despite its potentially devastating consequences.A person may start out taking drugs voluntarily, but as time passes and drug use continues, something happens that makes a person go from being a voluntary drug user to a compulsive drug user. Why? Because the continued use of drugs changes how your brain functions. It impairs your ability to think clearly, to feel OK without drugs, and to control your behaviors. These all contribute to the compulsive drug seeking and use that is addiction.

-Redonna Chandler

Can you get an overdose when taking ecstasy?

-karim09bait, Maryland

Yes- ecstasy (also known as MDMA) is often taken during periods of physical activity. This can lead to a marked rise in body temperature (hyperthermia). Treatment of hyperthermia requires prompt medical attention, as it can rapidly lead to muscle breakdown, which can in turn result in kidney failure. In addition, dehydration, hypertension, and heart failure may occur in susceptible individuals. MDMA can also reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart, which is of particular concern during periods of increased physical activity.For more information about ecstacy, check out

-David Shurtleff