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 here.

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Can some drugs make you see things

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Depends on the drug. LSD and other hallucinogen drugs like psilocybin (mushrooms), mescaline, DMT, and Salvadorium A (salvia) can produce mild to strong perceptual distortions, which can include changes in colors, or in the shape and size of objects. Sometimes even common objects can look like something entirely different. Other types of drugs, such as stimulants, marijuana, or opioids, don't produce such strong perceptual effects. Here's some more facts on hallucinogens:

-Steve Grant

can some painkillers be considered as drugs


Yes, prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin are part of a class of drugs called opioids, just like heroin. These prescription painkillers can be very helpful to people in pain but when they are abused, that is taken in higher doses, more frequently, or smoked or injected, they can be very dangerous.

-Gaya Dowling

Can someone get high off ADHD or ADD medicine?

-dragonslayer1o1, Kentucky

Good morning dragonslayer. The class of medication most commonly used to treat ADHD/ADD are stimulants. I know - if someone is already 'hyper' why would you give them something to make them more hyper?! Because of the biology of the disorder, the truth is, if someone has ADHD taking stimulants is actually calming. You wouldn't get high from taking the medicine, but the medicine will help with things like attention and concentration. However, just like any other medical condition, you should not take medicine for something you don't have, as the effect on your body would be different than what is expected. Addiction to stimulants can happen if they are taken without medical supervision. Want to know more about ADHD? See our Q and A at: here's some further info on ADHD medications:

-Amy Goldstein

can using k2 kill you ?

-ozmann12, Maryland

Thanks for your question.K2, Spice is a fairly new phenomenon. There is no solid indication that this herbal mixture is lethal. But since this mixtures are not regulated nor standardized different batches from different manufacturers could end up containing dangerous contaminants. Stay healthy and take care.

-Ruben Baler

Can weed be eaten?

-marijuanna, New Jersey

Yes, some people put marijuana in baked goods. The problem with eating marijuana is that it takes a very long time for the drug to take effect--about an hour or more. So it is very easy to take more than you intend (or not even know that you have eaten somethinig containing mariujana) because you may not feel anything right after eating something containing it. So be careful out there ! The only medically approved use for THC, the most psychoactive chemical in marijuana, is Marinol, a capsule containing TCH dissolved in sesame seed oil. Check out for more.

-Steve Grant

Can weed cause death?

-NickP, Maryland

Hi! Interesting question...hard to answer exactly because
marijuanais generally not toxic in the sense that if you smoke it, it is going to kill you. But, if you were to get high and then drive, have unprotected sex, or do something else that could be dangerous, the consequences could be serious...even deadly. Approximately 14% of fatally injured drivers test positive for marijuana (sometimes in combination with other drugs)

-Joe Frascella

Can weed cause death?

-NickP, Maryland

Hi! Interesting question...hard to answer exactly because marijuana is generally not toxic in the sense that if you smoke it, it is going to kill you. But, if you were to get high and then drive, have unprotected sex, or do something else that could be dangerous, the consequences could be serious...even deadly. Approximately 14% of fatally injured drivers test positive for marijuana (sometimes in combination with other drugs)

-Joe Frascella

Can weed cause death? (with regular eat habits)

-PoloBoy, Maryland

The worst thing that can happen to you is getting hurt or killed, not directly from the drug, like the way that alcohol or opioids can stop your breathing, but by getting into a car wreck or having some other consequence of altered judgment and perception from being high. The biggest danger has to do with marijuana's effects on judgment, perception, reaction time....Studies have found that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who were injured or died in traffic crashes tested positive for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Learn more on the Sara Bellum blog at

-Steve Grant

Can Weed Kill You On Your First Try?

-CoCo&Chanel2012, Maryland

quick answer: no. and probably not on your second either.

-Ruben Baler

Can you abuse prescription marijuana

-mr. jiggleworm, Vermont

Yes, medical marijuana is the same as the marijuana that is abused. Anything that is prescribed for you by a doctor shoud be used as directed by the doctor. Anything else can put you at risk for problems, especially health problems.

-Joe Frascella

can you bare a child if your addicted to drugs

-babels, New York

You can, but the baby can be affected, and for some drugs (like heroin and other opiates like vicodin) the baby can be born addicted, and will be withdrawing the first days of life. Smoking during pregnancy can have dire consequences - it is associated with infant mortality, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome. Also, some states have laws that babies born with drugs in their systems have to be removed from their moms. If you are addicted to drugs and want to have a baby, get some treatment first! This will help you, as a person and as a parent, and it will help you to have a healthy baby. There are some treatment programs designed specifically for pregnant teens and women that can help you. If you need help with an addiction, you can find a substance abuse treatment facility by calling 1-800-662-HELP or go to anytime, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

-Nicolette Borek

can you be born an alcoholic if it runs in your family?

-Kristina, New Jersey

A person can be born with a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic if they have alcoholism in their family. That means that if either of your parents is an alcoholic, your chances of becoming alcohol dependent are higher than someone whose parents are not alcoholics. This is true even if you are raised in a home without the alcoholic parent. However, you can't become an actual alcoholic unless you start drinking alcohol yourself. If you have a family history of alcoholism, it's very important to wait to try alcohol for as long as possible. The earlier a person starts drinking alcohol the greater the chances they will become alcohol dependent. For instance, if a kid with a family history of alcoholism who starts drinking alcohol at age 14-15, he or she has about a 50/50 chance to go on to have a serious alcohol problem. Waiting just a few years lowers the odds significantly! Only 16% of people with a family history of alcoholism develop alcoholism if they wait until age 21 to drink.

-Aaron White

Can you become addicted for life for just one use of drugs


It is difficult to say since it depends on a lot of issues. It can depend on the drug that the person abuses, the biology of that person, the environment in which that person lives. It might also depend on how much of the drug is abused and how that drug is taken (snorting, smoking or injecting drugs since introducing drugs into the body in these ways can be very dangerous). It can also depend on the age of the person. It is thought that teenagers may be more prone to addiction than adults are since their brains are still rapidly developing. Depending on these several issues, a person can begin down a lifelong path to addiction more rapidly. For more info, check out:

-Kris Bough

Can you become addicted to Marijuana??

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Yes. We now know now that long-term use of marijuana can lead to a withdrawal syndrome when you try to stop, which includes irritability and trouble sleeping, among other effects. In addition, continued use of marijuana can lead to decreased school performance and other problems in life. In a recent study, heavy marijuana users said they regretted using marijuana and felt it contributed to them not achieving as much in life as they wanted to do. Read more here:

-Steve Grant

can you comsume more alcohol if youre a guy, or a girl?


That depends on the guy and the girl. However, in general, girls are affected more by alcohol than guys. Girls can feel the immediate effects of alcohol more quickly and for a longer time than guys. Thanks to natural differences in body chemistry and metabolism, girls retain more alcohol in their blood than men do, and also break down and get rid of alcohol more slowly than guys do.

-Aaron White

Can it be good to drink?

-craigb, New York

For adults, one (for females) or up to two (for males) servings of alcohol can help decrease the chances of developing heart disease. However, any more than that increases the risk of developing a host of problems, including liver and pancreas diseases, weakened immune system, and certain kinds of cancers.There are no known benefits of alcohol for teenagers, only negative effects.

-Aaron White

Can marijana be used to help some people?

-15965464, Maryland

Marijuana is not an FDA approved medication at this time--meaning that it has not met the safety and efficacy requirements that all medicines must meet. That said, ingredients in marijuana clearly have an anti-nausea effect; an appetite stimulating effect; and some anti-pain effects. In fact, scientists are very excited and invested in developing medications that work through the same system (the endocannabinoid system) that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, works on. But the hope is to develop medications with less of the side effects associated with marijuana--and one that is not smoked, as this is obviously an unhealthy delivery sysstem.

-Joe Frascella

can marijuana affect sexual activity

-15948967, Maryland

not that I know of.heavy or chronic marijuana could lower a man's sperm count though.

-Ruben Baler

Can marijuana really be prescribed as a drug?

-jm, Vermont

Some states have legalized the medical use of marijuana; however, it has never received approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) which is responsible for making sure that medicines are safe and effective. So states legalizing it have actually bypassed the normal process by which all other medicines are approved. There are definitely medicinal benefits of some of the components in marijuana and scientists are working hard to isolate those and make other compounds that can act on the same system that marijuana acts on (the endocannabinoid system). But smoking is not a good way to deliver a drug, and there are inconsistencies from plant among the ingredients (some 400 or so chemicals); and some of marijuana's risks, including addiction, also make this a cause for concern.

-David Shurtleff

can mary be addictive when used in a BONG?

-wakeNbake, Maryland

MJ can be addictive no matter whether you smoke it in cigarette form, use a bong, or put it in brownies. About 9% of people who use MJ become addicted. Take a look at our fact sheet at

-Jane Lipkin

can mary effect your sperm count

-ross, Georgia

There have been some studies to show that marijuana can effect fertility. Studies have shown that marijuana can lower sperm count as well as the motility of sperm. Another study has shown that a woman smoking marijuana can make the sperm of her partner less fertile. Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

can maryguana make canser on you

-15379633, Maryland

Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana smokers show poorly regulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue, which could lead to cancer; however, a recent study found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers. Thus, the link between marijuana smoking and these cancers remains unproven at this time. We do know marijuana smoking can cause other problems in your lungs, especially if you smoke it regularly.You can find a lot of information on marijuana at

-Nicolette Borek

Can monkeys get drunk like humans?

-Special K,

Special K- I don't know if monkeys get drunk like humans, but I'm guessing that physiologically, then can. In terms of other aspects of getting drunk, scientists have found that it isn't just the alcohol that can affect a person's behavior-- the social environment can have a big effect. If 'Monkey see -Monkey do' has any validity, this could be true for monkeys too. :-)

-Lisa Onken

Can Naloxone counteract opiates?

-abed_nadir, Pennsylvania

Great question, Abed! Naloxone and a simliar compound naltrexone both block the effects of opiates and opioids (like heroin, morphine, OxyContin). They are called antagonists because they block the receptors (called opioid receptors) in the brain where these drugs would typically act. In fact, both Naloxone and naltrexone can be used as parts of opioid medications to prevent inappropriate use and consumption. You can find more about opiates like heroin here:

-David White

Can one time moderate use of cocaine lead to permanent brain damage memory problems and cognitive impairment?

-keith, Maryland

Hi Keith, thanks for the question. The simple answer is that one-time moderate use of cocaine most likely will not lead to permanent brain damage and cognitive problems. But quite honestly, there is not yet any way to predict how a drug, no matter the dose or frequency of use, will do to the brain. Wonder why celebrities go in and out of rehab so much? Because it takes time to recover from addiction - and time to find the right treatment. Learn more by reading NIDA's new booklet for teens, Drugs: Shatter the Myths, at

-Joe Frascella

Can pain killers affect you just as much as marijuna?

-Special K,

thanks for the question.Absolutely, if not more. You can actually die from overdosing on pain killers. Opiod analgesics are very addictive powerful drugs that should only be used under close medical supervision and for very specific medical conditions.Take care and stay healthy.

-Ruben Baler

can pain killers hurt your body

-google, Maryland

Yes, even though pain killers can be helpful when when you have an injury, narcotic opioid drugs have a lot of bad effects, including potential addiction. These drugs suppress the immune system and slow your breathing. When people take too much of these drugs they can stop breathing and die. It's a growing problem in this country: treatment admissions for opiates other than heroin rose from 19,870 in 1998 to 111,251 in 2008, over a 450-percent increase. Also, the number of fatal poisonings involving prescription pain medications more than tripled from 1999 through 2006, outnumbering total deaths involving heroin and cocaine.

-Steve Grant

can pcp cause medical death

-TaiBenz187, Maryland

Yes, it can cause cardiac complications, especially if used at the same time as other drugs. Check out our fact sheet on hallucinogens at

-Jim Bjork

can people die if they smoke weed

-BC, New Jersey

Yes, people can die because marijuana can affect their judgement and perception, so they are more likely to get into a car accident, get hit by a car, fall down stairs, or even walk off a cliff. However, one would be probably pass out before you could smoke enough marijuana to stop your heart or breathing. The biggest danger has to do with the effects on judgment, perception, reaction time....Studies have found that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who were injured or died in traffic crashes tested positive for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Learn more on the Sara Bellum blog at

-Steve Grant

can prescription drugs be addictive too?

-blackrulezmore, Kentucky

Absolutely! Opiates are the same whether you obtain them as heroin or as Vicodin or Oxycontin. When they are prescribed, they are given in known amounts for a certain length of time (until they are no longer needed). Many people think that if a doctor prescribes something for pain that they cannot become addicted, but that is not true. The chemicals in pain killers do not know if they are prescribed or not and they behave the same way regardless of how you get them. Did you know that in 2006, prescription pain medications, like Vicodin, were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine COMBINED? For more facts about drugs, read NIDA's new booklet made for teens, Drugs: Shatter the Myths. You can find it (and even order it for free) at

-Nancy Pilotte