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 swallowing a gallon of

-Thisman12, Maryland

Less than a drop of
nicotinewill kill you on the spot. It is one of the most toxic substances known! For more information, see:
http://drugabuse.gov/researchreports/nicotine/consequences.html

-Joni Rutter

Can swallowing a gallon of nicotine kill you ?

-Thisman12, Maryland

Less than a drop of nicotine will kill you on the spot. It is one of the most toxic substances known! For more information, see: http://drugabuse.gov/researchreports/nicotine/consequences.html.

-Joni Rutter

Can tabacco chewing give you gum cancer? How easily?

-peguinlover99, Michigan

Both chewing and smoking tobacco can negatively affect your body. It's hard to say which will affect your body more, because so much has to do with each person's biology and the amount they smoke or chew. But we do know the more someone uses tobacco (in any form) the greater the effects can be on their body. Overall, chewing tobacco can cause damage to gum tissue and even loss of teeth. It also reduces a person's ability to taste and smell. Most importantly, smokeless tobacco contains cancer causing-chemicals that can cause cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus. This can even happen in very young users who chew tobacco. In fact, most people who develop these cancers used to chew tobacco. Inhaling cigarette smoke pulls more than 4,000 chemicals into a person's lungs. The most dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke are tar and carbon monoxide. Tar causes lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial diseases. Carbon monoxide causes heart problems; smokers are at high risk for heart disease. Whether someone smokes, chews, or sniffs tobacco, he or she is delivering nicotine to the brain and increasing their chances of becoming addicted. Once addicted, it is very difficult to quit, in spite of the severe health consequences. For more information on smoking or tobacco please go to: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes.

-Joni Rutter

Can the effects of drugs last your whole life?

-2341, Iowa

All drugs of abuse can have long-lasting effects on the body and brain. But, if a person is able to quit, these effects can gradually begin to return to normal over a period of several weeks to months. The damage done to the body or brain depends on the drug of abuse and how long and/or frequently a person may have taken that drug. Drugs can affect the way the brain functions and how brain cells send and receives messages. A person that is dependent on cocaine for example can have abnormal brain function for several months before the brain can slowly recover (http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/sciofaddiction.pdf) and there is evidence that long-term cocaine use can result in impaired heart function (http://www.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_notes/NNvol21N5/RIB.html). Also, hallucinogens can cause people to have flashbacks, without warning, well after using them (sometimes up to a year or more after)!

-Kris Bough

Can the THC be removed from

-Zombie Man!, Vermont

Hello Zombie Man. THC is the primary active compound in marijuana. It can be removed by extracting the drugs with organic solvents (with chemicals in a lab). We actually do this in our experiments where we study the effects of drugs in drug users to learn about what a drug does. In our studies, we use placebo marijuana (marijuana where the drug has been removed) as a control in our experiments. So it can be done! Thanks for asking

-Marilyn Huestis

Can the THC be removed from marijuana?

-Zombie Man!, Vermont

Hello Zombie Man. THC is the primary active compound in marijuana. It can be removed by extracting the drugs with organic solvents (with chemicals in a lab). We actually do this in our experiments where we study the effects of drugs in drug users to learn about what a drug does. In our studies, we use placebo marijuana (marijuana where the drug has been removed) as a control in our experiments. So it can be done! Thanks for asking.

-Marilyn Huestis

Can people who suffer from non-prescription drug addiction be prescribed to prescription drugs?

-maddiec, Wisconsin

Yes--but they may require additional medical monitoring. People who are in chronic pain for example may need to be treated with opioid medications, however they would need to also be in treatment for their substance abuse problem and would need additional monitoring by their prescribing physician to prevent a worsening the patient's condition. Also, people may need other types of (non-addictive) prescription drugs to help them recover from their addiction--e.g., drugs to treat a co-occurring mental disorder, like depression.

-Susan Weiss

can prescription drugs kill you?

-aescobar, Texas

Certain ones, absolutely. For example, certain anti-anxiety drugs, when taken in large doses, especially in combination with alcohol can depress the brain's circuit telling the body to breathe, causing death.

-Jim Bjork

can scientists come up with a cure for trying to get people to stop all the drugs in the world?

-IMS716, Louisiana

We are funding researchers to try to do this. One strategy we are excited about is the development of vaccines--these will keep the drug from entering the brain, and interfere with the drug's rewarding and addictive properties. However there is still lots of work that needs to be done before we succeed.

-Nora Volkow

can sharpie markers get you high?

-proudtobeastone, Pennsylvania

Sharpies---or any permanent markers...can be dangerous if sniffed. The chemicals in these markers are considered 'inhalants.' Most inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication. If sufficient amounts are inhaled, nearly all solvents and gases produce a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness. Irreversible effects can be hearing loss, limb spasms, central nervous system or brain damage, or bone marrow damage. Sniffing high concentrations of inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs). The sad thing about inhalants is that the 'high' does not last very long but the side effects can last forever.

-Carol Krause

can sleeping pills hurt your brain if used more than 1 year?

-n,

Some sleeping pills are more dangerous than others. This is why it is very important to use them under a doctor's supervision. If you have concerns about this, or are using sleeping pills recreationally, stop. If you have sleep problems, it is important to consult a specialist like a neurologist, who might prescribe an overnight observation and monitoring of your sleep.

-Jim Bjork

can smoking

-creed 101, New York

The FDA, which approves all therpeutic drugs in the US, has not approved marijuana for the treatment of any disease or condition. I know that some think marijuana isn't addictive, but in fact someone who uses a lot can find themselves not able to give it up even when they want to and realize its messing up their schoolwork or their family relationships. What are your chances of becoming addicted?--about 1 in 6 if you start as a teen, and 1 in 4 if you use every day or nearly every day. see
http://www.drugabuse.gov/MarijBroch/teens/for more info!

-Christine Colvis

can smoking alone cause all kinds of cancer

-IMS716, Louisiana

Yep. Cigarette smoking causes cancers of the lung, oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, uterine cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia. Aren't those good reasons to never pick up a cigarette?

-Carol Krause

Can smoking anything be harmful?

-fort settlement, Texas

Yes, smoking anything can be harmful. When you burn something, many chemicals are released into the air and if you breathe in those chemicals, some can be harmful to your lungs.

-Steve Grant

can smoking marijuana be good for you?

-creed 101, New York

The FDA, which approves all therpeutic drugs in the US, has not approved marijuana for the treatment of any disease or condition. I know that some think marijuana isn't addictive, but in fact someone who uses a lot can find themselves not able to give it up even when they want to and realize its messing up their schoolwork or their family relationships. What are your chances of becoming addicted?--about 1 in 6 if you start as a teen, and 1 in 4 if you use every day or nearly every day. see http://www.drugabuse.gov/MarijBroch/teens/ for more info!

-Christine Colvis

Can smoking weed help your ADHD? a few of my friend's claim it can, but I don't necessarily believe them...and I do have ADHD

-LittlePeep218, Michigan

Don't believe them. Some people like smoking marijuana and say many untrue things to convince other people to use. Marijuana does not make people with ADHD perform any better. Of course, scientists are looking for better treatments for ADHD and we hope to have ways to help people concentrate better and be able to control their hyperactivity better, too.

-Wilson Compton

Can sniffing glue get you high? If so why?

-Mpanther, Iowa

Yes it acts in a similar way to alcohol by disrupting the membrane of the neurons in your brain. It can affect how these brain cells function, including those in the reward centers in the brain.

-Nora Volkow

can u die from multiple drugs

-wreaves, Texas

Yes! Interactions between alcohol drinking and popping certain painkillers combined can cause the brain to stop telling the heart to beat! Micheal Jackson died from an interaction of a sedative and a painkiller. Of course too much of a single drug can kill you too, like a cocaine-caused heart attack.

-Jim Bjork

can u get addictive to pain killers, if u take one like every day nd yout love it so much you cant stop taking it can u die?? thanks, Awoods:)

-Awoods, Texas

Ouch! Who would want to do that? Yes you could die if you do that! You might feel a 'high' but then you have to take more and more just to get the same high and then your whole life is dominated by running around trying to find enough drugs---what a mess! And then you take too many pills because you are desperate for the high and then you overdose. Did you know that more people die every year from painkiller overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined? Painkiller abuse is no joke.

-Carol Krause

Can you be addicted to

-noahsark, Indiana

Yes! Absolutely. Only someone trained to evaluate a person's drinking habits can tell for sure whether they are addicted. In general, a teenager is more likely to become addicted to alcohol if they have a family history of alcoholism (meaning they have parents or siblings with alcohol problems), start drinking at younger ages or have problems with depression or anxiety. According to the National Library of Medicine, people who are addicted to alcohol tend to have the following issues:Craving - a strong need to drink Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've begun Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating or shakiness after stopping drinking Tolerance - the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get 'high' These problems and behaviors can cause tremendous difficulties for individuals and families.If you know someone who might have any of these characteristics, it's important to tell an adult you trust so they can get help. To learn more, check out:
http://www.thecoolspot.gov/real_life2.asp

-Aaron White

Can you be addicted to alcohol at age 15?

-noahsark, Indiana

Yes! Absolutely. Only someone trained to evaluate a person's drinking habits can tell for sure whether they are addicted. In general, a teenager is more likely to become addicted to alcohol if they have a family history of alcoholism (meaning they have parents or siblings with alcohol problems), start drinking at younger ages or have problems with depression or anxiety. According to the National Library of Medicine, people who are addicted to alcohol tend to have the following issues:Craving - a strong need to drink Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've begun Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating or shakiness after stopping drinking Tolerance - the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get 'high' These problems and behaviors can cause tremendous difficulties for individuals and families.If you know someone who might have any of these characteristics, it's important to tell an adult you trust so they can get help. To learn more, check out: http://www.thecoolspot.gov/real_life2.asp

-Aaron White

can you be addicted to pain killers that are over the counter

-mhernandez, Texas

Hi and thanks for the question. None of the pain medications sold over the counter in the US are addictive. They can cause other problems if not taken as directed. Some countries sell weak codiene pills which can be addictive--but these are not sold in the US.NIDA's teen prescription drug site might be interesting: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/peerx.

-Richard Denisco

Can you become blind or deaf with an overdose of drugs?

-fc bobcats, Texas

Overdoses of drugs taken to get 'high' don't cause blindness or deafness, but more typically produce death by supppressing breathing, or by causing heart attacks or stroke. Some medications that are used to treat diseases can produce hearing and vision impairments, but physicians are trained to manage those risks.

-Steve Grant

can you break a habitt by yourself

-tyreec, Oklahoma

Well maybe ... but most people need support from somewhere - either treatment, family, friends, a coach, or teacher. Drug treatment helps people learn to live without drugs. There are different types of treatment. Medication can help some people with their drug problem. Behavioral treatments help people learn new skills to cope with stress and problems, deal with urges and cravings to use drugs, develop a support system of people who don't use drugs, and increase their motivation to stop using drugs. For specific information about treatment approaches, visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/Treatmeth.html. For assistance locating treatment programs in your area see: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. .

-Redonna Chandler

Can you by the 'magic' mushrooms at the grocery store?

-pwillis, Texas

Nope. The mushrooms that contain psilocybin are not found in grocery stores. Sorry!

-Jim Bjork

Can you die after one time of smoking

-molly22, Iowa

Yes, heroin can make you pass out, plus it suppresses the breathing reflex, and also can cause nausea and vomiting. If you have never taken heroin before you are particular at risk for taking to much which can cause serious problems, including death. Your brain will be very sensitive to the effects of heroin and you can pass out, stop breathing, and even choke on your own vomit. This is the way a lot of celebraties have died

-Steve Grant

Can you die after one time of smoking heroin?

-molly22, Iowa

Yes, heroin can make you pass out, plus it suppresses the breathing reflex, and also can cause nausea and vomiting. If you have never taken heroin before you are particular at risk for taking to much which can cause serious problems, including death. Your brain will be very sensitive to the effects of heroin and you can pass out, stop breathing, and even choke on your own vomit. This is the way a lot of celebraties have died.

-Steve Grant

can you die from doing pot?

-ims623, Louisiana

Yes, indeed drivers inotxicated with pot are at higher risk of accidents, which can have fatal consequences (especially when combined with alcohol--even small amounts).

-Nora Volkow

Can you die from mixing certain drugs?

-LitterBox Nomad, New York

Yes. Mixing drugs and alcohol can be dangerous---and mixing illicit drugs with prescription drugs can be dangerous. It is even dangeous to mix certain prescription drugs. This is why it is so important to only take prescription drugs as prescribed by your doctor, and never to mix drugs with alcohol. We have actually heard a lot about these dangers when famous celebrities die accidently---and later it is reported they mixed drugs,and sometimes alcohol, not knowing how dangerous it would be.

-Carol Krause

can you die from second hand smoke faster than smoking?

-T,

Die faster? Is this a race? If it is, dying from smoking is an awfully slow one. Yet every year in the US, about 440,000 die from smoking (usually over many years), and of these, about 49,000 die from exposure to second-hand smoke. You can prevent this painful process by avoiding smoking and places where people smoke. Take charge of your life and do things that will perserve it!

-Nancy Pilotte