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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Are bath salts made in a bathtub?

-Superdood, Illinois

No, not in a bathtub. These drugs are called bath salts because they often come in large crystal nuggets similar to crystals that can be added to the water when you take a bath. Criminals call them "bath salts" to keep from being accused of distributing illegal drugs. I have to say, though, "bath salts" are usually made in conditions a lot dirtier than your bathtub and can include many types of contaminants, some of which can be highly toxic.

-Steve Grant

are boys more likely to do drugs than girls

-tyler, New Hampshire

Thanks tyler. It depends on the drug and the age group. In 2017, about the same percentage of teen boys and girls used tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and pain relievers in the past month. Use of tranquilizers were reported by slightly more girls than boys (5.5% vs. 3.7%). For more information, go to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

-Marsha Lopez

are cheerios a gateway drug to cough medicine? sorry to waste your time but I'm curious

-cheezit, Oregon

Hi cheezit
Not a problem.
regular cheerios are not a gateway drug to cough medicine.

-Steve Gust

are cigars and cigerettes the same thing

-NOR5K1, Illinois

for all practical purposes, yes

-Steve Grant

Are consuming edibles less harmful than smoking marijuana?

-Lebron, Illinois

Hi Lebron
Although there might be some perceptions in the community that eating cannabis can't be bad for you. Cannabis effects are the same on the brain regardless of route of administration. In fact, this false comfort may be misleading since edibles are sometime high potency formulations and the effect may not appear immediately, leading to someone eating more and experiencing a delayed, yet massive effect due to the quantity.
However, smoking marijuana has the additional harms of combustion. Effects of smoked marijuana is worsened if combined with tobacco (i.e. chipping) due to the harmful effects of tobacco.
Great question!

-Geetha Subramaniam

Are dab pens worse than blunts or joints or better

-onfoenem, Illinois

Hi, onfoenem. A concern about dab pens is that it's very hard to determine how much you have taken compared to smoking a joint. The potency (strength) of marijuana is increasing a lot, which means that it's easy for a person to take in way more than they intended.

-Steve Gust

are drugs that are illegal in the US also illegal in other counrties

-JS, Oregon

Hi jstehle15. Different countries have different laws so not all drugs that are illegal in the U.S. are illegal elsewhere and vice versa.

-Tisha Wiley

are edibles better for you than smoking weed?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Hi Chamness_a,

When marijuana is smoked, THC and other chemicals in the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream, which rapidly carries them throughout the body to the brain. You can begin to experience effects almost immediately. If marijuana is consumed in foods or beverages, these effects are somewhat delayed—usually appearing after 30 minutes to 1 hour—because the drug must first pass through the digestive system. Eating or drinking marijuana delivers significantly less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equivalent amount of the plant. Because of the delayed effects, people sometimes consume more THC than they intend to. Edibles take longer to digest and produce a high. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster, leading to dangerous results. While a psychotic reaction can occur following any method of use, emergency room responders have seen an increasing number of cases involving marijuana edibles.

-Jinhee Lee

are edibles good for you?

-TY, New Mexico

Hi -- Edibles are not good for you. One problem with edibles is that it's very hard if not impossible to know exactly how much marijuana you're getting, so it's very easy to consume too much. The labels on many edibles are not accurate. Learn more here:

-Steve Gust

ARE electronic and clove cigarettes less additive than regular cigarette smoke

-Angela-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi, Angela-FVSU4H! Electronic cigarettes and "regular" combustable cigarettes contain nicotine, so both of these are potentially addictive. Clove cigarettes are actually regular cigarettes with clove flavoring. Studies show that nicotine acts on brain reward pathways—the brain circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure. Nicotine increases levels of dopamine in these reward circuits. If you use nicotine for a long time, you may become addicted to it. When this happens, you will continue to seek out sources of nicotine even though you know it's harmful. You can experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using nicotine. It is not possible to predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted. A person's genes and the environment each play a role. The bottom line is that we're all different and unpredictable, so any drug use is risky. For more information about nicotine, see:

-Heather Kimmel

are GAMERS more likley to do drugs?

-fee_e, Oregon

Good question! A scientist who wondered the same thing found that teenagers playing video games for 1-5 hours a week had lower rates of drug use than nongamers, but those who played at least 30 h per week had higher rates of drug use.

-Emily Einstein

Are hallucionogens healthy for you, to an extent? (Also, how do you see questions you've already sent, and how do you know they've been answered? Thanks!)

-=Lunarx5x=, Illinois

Hey =Lunarx5x=! You may have heard that there is research being done to determine whether certain hallucinogens can be used as a medicine to treat mental illness. However, there are many negative consequences of using hallucinogens. Hallocinogens cause hallucinations or sensations and images that appear to be real although they are not. They can also cause sleep problems, panic and paranoia, speech problems, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Better to stay away from using hallocinogens! All the questions that we answer will be posted on the web in a couple of weeks. If you go to and look under your name, you'll find your answer as well as all the others. Thanks for sending your question.

-Kristen Huntley

Can a person's mental and physical state of mind change because of drug abuse?

-Chili's, Illinois

Yes, for sure! It is common for people who abuse alcohol and other drugs to become depressed, anxious, and hyper focused on getting and using the drugs. It is not a fun way to live.

-George Koob

Can alcohol actually cause memory loss?

-Icarus, Illinois

Yes. Alcohol intoxication at a high dose can block the laying down of memories of what transpired while intoxicated. That is called a blackout. Chronic moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, particularly with nutritional deficiences, can permanently impair the ability to consolidate new memories. This is called Wernickes/Korsakoff's disorder. We do not know if alcohol facilitates normal aging dementias.

-George Koob

Can alcohol take years off your life?

-e, Illinois

Yes it can! Long-term alcohol misuse has been shown to decrease life expectancy. Alcohol has many harmful effects (see Alcohol Effects on the Body) that can shorten a person's life-span.

-Vijay Ramchandani

Can an overdose of drugs lead to suicide?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Illicit drugs raise the risk of suicide, and it doesn't take an overdose for this to happen. More than half of people who die by suicide have alcohol or drugs in their blood at the time of death! If you are already depressed or having suicidal thoughts, get help and don't use drugs or alcohol. If you have suicidal thoughts while taking a drug, stop taking the drug, and get help right away from a friend or trusted adult. People having suicidal thoughts can also get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime, 24/7 (you'll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area).

-Joshua Gordon


-chamness_a, Oregon

Yes, anybody can fall into peer pressure, especially teens who are more vulnerable to peer influences. It is important to have friends and peers who support your healthy behavior, especially when others pressure you into unhealthy behaviors.

-Carlos Blanco

can anyone fall into peer pressure?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Yes, anybody can fall into peer pressure, especially teens who are more vulnerable to peer influences. It is important to have friends and peers who support your healthy behavior, especially when others pressure you into unhealthy behaviors.

-Carlos Blanco

Can babies get addicted to drugs?


Hey Rag!
No, not really. Babies cannot get addicted. Addiction is compulsive use despite harm. Babies to not compulsively use drugs. However, if babies are born to mothers that use opioids, they can be born with dependence on opioids, meaning they will go through physical withdraw without opioids. This is a very sad situation, and we are trying to find ways to help these babies.

-Dave Thomas

Can being fat be somehow related to adictions?

-El Chamaco,

Hi Chamaco
such a great question. I have even published several papers that explore the overlaps between obesity and addiction. they are not the same but they do have similarities. If this connection worries you, you should consult your primary physician who would be in the best position to diagnose and treat any mental or physical disorder.
Thanks for the interest and best luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

can certain drugs enhance human abilities

-default skin, Illinois

Hi default
great question. the answer is yes. But as you know, there is no free lunch. Anabolic steroids, for example, can shorten the recovery time between training sessions, but they can also stunt your growth and shrink your testicles. Some stimulants may allow you to cram for an exam but they will also reduce your creativity. So, it is important to become informed and ask the right questions.
Thanks for your interest
Use your superpower, choose smartly.

-Ruben Baler

can cigarettes cause popcorn lung too?

-JS, Illinois

Thank you for joining us, James!. "Popcorn lung" is another name for a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, which makes you cough and feel short of breath. Workers at a popcorn factory were found to have this disease more than other people, and it turned out that the cause was a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is also present in many vaping liquids, which is a cause for concern. The contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. Although this chemical is also present in cigarette smoke, it's not clear whether it can cause popcorn lung, though cigarette smoke has been linked to COPD and lung cancer. Check out these resources on tobacco:

-Dave Thomas

can I get high off zoloft and/or prozac and if so should I be scared when my psychiatrist bumps up my dose

-meemee sugar, Oregon


No. With prescription drugs like Zoloft and/or Prozac, the dose often has to be increased gradually to a dose that works best for your body. This might go on for weeks until an optimal dose is reached. The dose and response to the medicine will be different for everyone, so try not to compare your dose with others. If you are unsure about how much your doctor is going to raise your dose, or concerned the dose is too high, it's a good idea to ask them or your pharmacist. Also, don't stop taking the drug suddenly either, since medicines like Zoloft and/or Prozac have to be tapered off gradually as well to avoide adverse reactions.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can i have consecuences after quiting smoking or alcohol?


Long term health effects may persist even after someone quits smoking or drinking alcohol, but in general, outcomes are better the sooner someone quits and the longer they refrain from smoking or drinking.

-Emily Einstein

can I inject marijuana?

-Blueface Baby, Washington

Hi Blueface -- Thanks for the question. Since marijuana is a plant, there is no way it could be injected. Marijuana is usually smoked, or sometimes vaped or put into food or beverages. For more information on the negative effects, see our booklet, Marijuana: Facts for Teens:

-Aaron White

can I over dose on gummy vitamins

-BB, Montana

Hi B,
Had to Google this one. Apparently you can. For example, too much vitamin A may result in toxicity and could cause serious problems. Some of the symptoms that have been reported with high doses of vitamin A include drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

Thanks for the question. I learned something!

-Roger Little

Can I swallow an entire bottle of ibuprofen?

-Jeff, Illinois

Not a good idea Jeff!!! Will make you sick and could cause acute organ failure. If you are seeking pain from serious pain, I would go to a doctor...

-Vani Pariyadath

can kids get additive to drug if they take i one time?

-samari-fvsu4h, Georgia

Hi Samari
This is a great question. A common principle is to avoid using addictive or habit forming substances even once, to reduce the risk of becoming addicted. There are some drugs that have a high addiction potential - e.g. nicotine/cigarettes, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin or other opioids where the risk of liking the drug a lot and wanting to use it again/repeatedly is quite high. This then develops into a habit.

All the best!

-Geetha Subramaniam

Can love actually be like a drug?

-Anon, Illinois

Hi Anon,
Great question. Never thought abouot this before quite this way.
But I guess love CAN be like a drug. We need to remember though that drugs can be good or bad. So, I think that healthy "love" can be like a good drug (like a medication that makes you stronger or a vaccine that prevents disease). But other forms of what some might call "love" can include psychological or physical abuse, mistreatment, and even dependence. This type of love (the one that involves toxic relationships) is more similar to a heroin or meth addiction.
B smart B healthy.

-Ruben Baler

can marijuana alcohol vape or heroine cause autism

-wave check 1, Illinois


-Eric Murphy