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 sipping on condeine kill you?

-imclean101, Georgia

Codeine is a very weak opiate. Other opiates are morphine and heroin. Sipping, or taking orally, is the safest way to take opiates. However, I would not sip it at all unless a doctor has instructed you to, and you should take it in the amount prescribed. Sipping can add up, and you can overdose if you take a whole lot!

-David Thomas

can smoke affect babies

-anisha, Pennsylvania

Absolutely! A mom smoking while pregnant as well as secondhand smoke in the environment can affect babies before and after birth. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for stillbirth, infant mortality, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, preterm birth, and respiratory problems. Carbon monoxide and nicotine from tobacco smoke may interfere with fetal oxygen supply - and because nicotine readily crosses the placenta, it can reach concentrations in the fetus that are much higher than levels in the mother. Nicotine concentrates in fetal blood, amniotic fluid, and breast milk, exposing both fetuses and infants to toxic effects. The more a woman smokes during pregnancy, the more infant birth weight is reduced, and that's not a good thing. Smoking during pregnancy can also affect cognition (learning and understanding) and is associated with behavioral problems. In addition, smoking more than a pack a day during pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of the child becoming addicted to tobacco if he or she ever starts smoking. Even second-hand exposure to cigarette smoke can cause problems. For example, strong associations have been found between second-hand smoke and low birth weight and premature birth. Exposure during the postnatal period has been associated with a number of physical health outcomes, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory illnesses (asthma, respiratory infections, and bronchitis), ear infections and cavities, and increased medical visits and hospitalizations.

-Nicolette Borek

can smoking a joint be a form of birth control

-some guy, Kentucky

I am not aware of any evidence that suggests marijuana would be a viable mode of birth control. thanks for the question.

-Ruben Baler

can smoking marijuana help asthma?

-boilingsprings, Pennsylvania

There some evidence that it relaxes the bronchioles which can help in the short term, but in the long run its likely to be more problematic because of the general negative effects smoking has on the lungs.

-David Shurtleff

Can sniffing markers make you high?

-nats379, Maryland

Hi natz379,Yes, markers such as Sharpies contain volatile solvents--and when inhaled these solvents can produce a 'high.' The effects of inhalants can be similar to those of alcohol, and include slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, and dizziness. Inhalants can be very dangerous, particularly in children, some of whom have been known to die after a single session of inhaling chemical fumes. Long-term inhalant use can result in muscle spasms and tremors or even permanent difficulty with basic actions like walking, bending, and talking. These effects are similar to what happens to patients with multiple sclerosis. Inhalants also affect other parts of your body, especially when used repeatedly. They can cause serious harm to vital organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver. Certain inhalants can also cause the body to produce fewer blood cells, which may result in a condition known as aplastic anemia (in which the bone marrow is unable to produce blood cells). Frequent long-term use of certain inhalants can cause a permanent change or malfunction of peripheral nerves, called polyneuropathy. Not good, huh!?For more information on inhalants, visit:

-Kristen Huntley

Can depression bring forth the urge to do drugs, even if that person have never smoked or accepted them? -K

-AC2ezio, Virginia

Hi...depression and drug use do often go together. Which comes first is up for debate. The great part of your question is you are talking about an urge to use - so the use hasn't happened yet. That means this is a great opportunity to stop drug use before it starts! While someone may think using drugs when depressed will help them feel better, in the long run it will make things worse as depression is harder to treat when someone is also using drugs. If you or someone you know is depressed rather than giving in to an urge to use drugs, talk to a trusted adult and get professional help. If you or someone you know is in a crisis situation, help is readily available by calling 1-800-273-TALK. Here is some general information about depression: to know more about Depression in Children and Teens? See:

-Amy Goldstein

can dogs get drunk?

-i am mike, New Jersey

Yes they sure can! Any mammal can.

-Aaron White

Can doing drugs while your an adolecent affect your childrens health someday?


Doing drugs today can impact your future, which can have a direct impact on your child's future. Your child's well being is connected to yours--so you have to make sure that you don't interfere with your health or education by getting involved with drugs. If you become addicted before you get pregnant you risk exposing your child to substances which may have effects on your child's health and well being (beyond what the drugs are doing to you personally). These things may seem a long way off, but the truth is the choices you make now can have an impact for a very long time.

-Aria Crump

Can drinking affect pregencies

-dan24, Wyoming

Drinking while you are pregnant can seriously affect a baby's development. A range of problems, the worst of which is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can result. Babies born with FAS are not addicted to alcohol themselves, but they do have smaller brains, abnormal facial features, and often have life-long learning and behavioral problems. It is the leading preventable birth defect associated with mental and behavioral impairment in the United States today.

-Aaron White

can drinking run in the family?

-janedoe!!, Utah

There is a genetic component to alcohol addiction. 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.

-Aaron White

Can drug use be hereditary? If parents are addicted could exposed children become addicted just by contact?

-captain, Kentucky

VERY interesting question! Genes which are inherited determine your eye color and height and can determine whether you become addicted to drugs of abuse or not. However, this is only part of the equation. Having an addicted parent could raise a person's risk for addiction because the risk for drug addiction can be inherited. About 40-60% of the risk for drug addiction comes from the genes a person inherited from their parents. There are other factors such as taking drugs themselves and a person's age that can contribute to their risk for addiction. Want more information on addiction? Check out NIDA's website:

-David Shurtleff

can drugs affect baby size

-Davidp, Maryland

Yes! Studies on drugs such as cocaine have found that growth can be affected. Even smoking can affect fetal growth and is associated with lower birth weights. Some researchers are looking at whether lower birth weights are then associated with later obesity!

-Nicolette Borek

Can drugs affect the way you socialize?

-16312723, Maryland

Yes and no. Yes, if someone is doing drugs, it is likely that their relationships with loved ones are suffering. It is also true that their personalities could be altered from drug use and change their social skills or comfort level. No, if someone thinks that they need to do drugs to party or fit in. IMO, people are the life of the party when they show there true spirit...See more info here:

-Bethany Deeds

Can drugs affect you in any sport?

-Special K,

great question.Of course, any drug that affects your cognitive function or motor coordination, for example, can impair your performance in sports.better play clean, don't you think?

-Ruben Baler

can drugs affect your life

-16994369, Maryland

Drugs can affect your life in so many ways -- most of them not good. While you may get an initial feeling of euphoria (or high), most drugs have serious and dangerous effects. Some of them can change your life forever. Take a look at some of the specific drug information on our teen site to get an idea of specific harmful effects of various drugs. Go to

-Jane Lipkin

Can drugs affect your social life ?

-15961589, Maryland

I'm going to anwser this question two ways:(1) You can party with your friends like a rock star and never do drugs! People who are cool appreciate you for who you are and what you are about....or (2) doing drugs can affect your relationships with family and friends in negative ways. You can read more about these effects here:, a Website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities. In addition, the Office of National Drug Control Policy provides additional information specifically for young people. Go to:, to find an interactive drug prevention site for youth. Symptoms of ADHD (link to new fact sheet) and

-Bethany Deeds

can drugs affect your sperm count ?

-HELLO, Maryland

They sure can. Marijuana is one that is known to lower it.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can drugs be processed into food and drinks without anyone knowing?

-2 cool 4 school,

Yes--the addition of rohypnol (roofies) to drinks is a perfect example.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can drugs cause an allergic reaction?


That's an interesting question that requires a little discussion of biology and an undertanding of what a drug is. First, many drugs, whether they are prescription drugs or vitamins, are manufactured in pill form with other, inactive ingredients to make them hold together. Allergic reactions to these are usually to the inactive ingredients or some other contaminant. In order to provoke an allergic reaction, the provoking substance must be relatively large or a protein. Most drugs of abuse are very small molecules, not large enough to excite an immune response. So it is very unlikely that you would get an allergic reaction from the drug itself. But often these drugs are manufactured under dirty conditions (someone's garage) or are cut with an inactive substance of the same color/texture (like lactate) and the contaminants (which you can't identify) may lead to an undesired reaction.

-Nancy Pilotte

can drugs get animals hii

-man cody, Wyoming

Probably. They can't say to us, 'Dude, I am really messed up' but there are a lot of similarities between animals and people in how they act when on drugs of abuse. You should see the spiderwebs made by spiders on drugs. Very messed up... For more information see

-David Thomas

can drugs help you with everyday stress? and can they help you perform in sports?

-bigseltz, New Jersey

Hi there,If you have a level of stress that affects your daily life then you may want to talk to your doctor, maybe he can prescribe a medication (or behavioral intervention) to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with your condition. Regarding sports, there are many (ergogenic) substances that are either known or reported to enhance your athletic performance. Anabolic steroids, erythropoietin, Growth hormone, come to mind, but they are all banned substances with adverse effects.Thanks for the good question and take care

-Ruben Baler

Can drugs lead to diseases or death?

-warda, New York

absolutely. Go to to learn more...

-David Thomas

can drugs make u die faster


The short answer is yes, they can make you die sooner than you would ordinarily. Overdose is the obvious reason, but drug use can lead to injury or death through accidents, crashes, falls, violence, and infections or diseases one might have acquired while intoxicated. When you are drunk or high on drugs, you often can't make good decisions. Just ask Kim, who took drugs, hooked up with a boy she hardly knew, and got HIV. Read her story at

-Marsha Lopez

can drugs make u ugly

-nidachat, New Hampshire

oh yeah!!! One example that immediately comes to mind is methamphetamine. There are pictures online of people before and after meth abuse. It is unreal!!! Their teeth get rotten, and the skin gets all blotchy! UGLY! For more info on drugs, see

-David Thomas

can drugs mess up your teeth if you dont brush them

-zandra_baby, Pennsylvania

You may have seen posters or pictures of people who use methamphetamine and their teeth are particularly unattractive. We often don't think about it, but teeth and gums depend on a healthy blood supply and enough saliva to remain in good health. Methamphetamine does not really do anything to teeth, but it has profound effects on your gums and the blood that gets there. Methamphetamine is a vasoconstrictor, that is, it makes your capillaries and blood vessels smaller, decreasing the blood (and oxygen supply) to your gums. When teeth and gums don't have enough, the gums dry and don't hold the teeth in properly anymore. Without adequate saliva, your teeth are more prone to decay and you are more apt to get periodontal disease, a particularly nasty gum condition--never a pretty picture.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can drugs with impurities be more dangerous?

-271828, Vermont

Vermont - You are asking a very good question. Yes, this is true. Sometimes the impurities are more dangerous than the drug itself. A good example is 'paraquat' - which is often present in pot. Paraquat is an insecticide that is used in growing pot marijuana. This can produce respiratory failure if the concentrations are high and exposure heavy. Another good example is a terrible problem that happened in the 1990s. Meperidine, a potent opiate-type drug, was being synthesized in a clandestine laboratory. The synthesis inadvertently produced MPTP, a chemical that produced parkinsonism, a serious disease that Michael J. Fox has, in the young people who took the drug. They were permanently affected by taking this drug. Another more recent example that young people need to be aware of is the drug Spice or K2. These drugs are sold as legal pot or marijuana, but they are also chemicals that are produced in clandestine laboratories with no quality control. The chemicals have not yet been tested in humans to test their safety. When you smoke K2 or spice, you are experimenting on yourself. You don't know what you are taking, how much you are taking- these drugs can be up to 100 times more potent than pot, and you don't know what other impurities may be present. I hope this information is helpful.

-Marilyn Huestis

can drugz mest up your life

-amitchell, Pennsylvania

Can drugs mess up your life? You betcha!! Drugs have a very powerful impact on the body, brain, and behavior. Effects of prolonged drug exposure on the body include lung cancer, liver and kidney disease, stroke, increased risk of contracting an infections disease like HIV, and addiction - just to name a few. Exposure to drugs can profoundly affect the brain impacting memory, concentration, attention, the ability to learn new things, and ability to make good decisions. Social consequences include poor school and academic performance, strained family relationships, and even arrest. Mor information regarding the medical consequences of drug use is available at:

-Redonna Chandler

can every drug kill u after a while and can u overdose on painpills

-nidachat, New Hampshire

You can overdose on most every drug of abuse. Yes you can overdose on 'painpills'. they are typically opiates and in high doses opiates depress breathing, thus, overdose can be fatal!

-David Shurtleff

can every drug kill you for a fact?

-love_fletcher, Kentucky

Anything in enough quantity can kill you. Drinking too much water can kill you. Breathing pure oxygen can kill you. Overdosing on aspirin is a leading cause of emergency room admissions and death. Every drug has good and bad effects. That is why you should only take drugs under a doctor's supervision and stay away from illegal drugs.

-Steve Grant

Can everyday items make you high?

-nats379, Maryland

Yep - there are a bunch of simple household chemicals that can be used as 'inhalants' to make you high. But this is extremely risky. Sniffing gas or solvents can have really bad health consequences- and can even hurt your brain. Since teen brains are still in development, inhalants can really cause some damage. Check out the NIDA website for information on inhalants at

-Nicolette Borek