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 the drug K2 kill you?

-lohan362, Pennsylvania

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 toothpaste be a drug?

-craigb, New York

Probably not. Not counting alcohol, something needs to have molecules in it that fit special molecules on brain cells to give a mood effect to be a real drug. So brush every day and be sure to floss!

-Jim Bjork

Can types of weed make you have hallucinations or see things that aren't there?

-i<3bubbles, Kentucky

Yes, there are some weeds that are very hallucinogenic. For example, gypsum weed (common names -- jimson weed, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, thorn apple, tolguacha, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, locoweed, datura, pricklyburr, devil's cucumber, hell's bells, moonflower) can cause very severe hallucinations. That said, one has to be very careful with such hallucinogens as they can be extremely potent, like with gypsum weed. People have gone into comas, convulsions, and have died from very small amounts.Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

can u eat weed?

-Xavier, Maryland

Yes, people do eat weed (marijuana) and get high from it. For more information about marijuana and the dangers of addiction, see

-Joe Frascella

can u get high off of dry erse markers

-sttbrown29, Pennsylvania

Yup. These markers have volatile organic solvents in them. We call solvents like acetone, toluene and ethyl acetate 'inhalants' and they are sequestered by (and dissolve) lipids. The organs in your body with the most lipid are your brain and your liver. 'Huffing' these solvents can also kill you.

-Nancy Pilotte

can u get high off smoking parsley?

-CS, New Jersey

No, but it is delicious when you add it to a meal. And you might like the taste.

-Nancy Pilotte

can u over dose with drinking

-ctodd, Pennsylvania

The major signs that someone is overdosing on alcohol, or has alcohol poisoning include:VomitingSeizuresSlow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness If someone you know shows these symptoms after drinking, call a parent, call 911, just get help -and fast! Don't try to play doctor yourself - get help.For more information on alcohol poisoning, please check out:

-Aaron White

can u over dose with weed?

-BarneY, Maryland

Probably not. But are you tryinig to?

-Ruben Baler

can underaged teenagers get arrested for smoking ciggerettes?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

Well I don't think you can get arrested for smoking them, but your parents might ground you. Smoking is really bad for your body and brain. Consequences of tobacco use include: lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders among others. More information can be found at:

-Redonna Chandler

can you ever fully reverse the effects of cigarette smoking? if so, how long

-jths, New Jersey

It's a gradient thing.the younger you start and the longer you smoke the worse the outcomes.But if you are lucky enough that you can quit (and I mean really quit) soon after starting, you have a fairly good chance of almost fully reversing the bad effects of nicotine.BTW, did you know that cigarretes have radioactive polonium in them? Go tell your smoking friends.Thanks for your question and stay healthy.

-Ruben Baler

can you ever fully reverse the effects of drugs that affect your brain?

-jths, New Jersey

A really good question and one that we don't really have a complete answer for. We do know that abused drugs greatly affect a very important chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain called dopamine and that consistent use of drugs causes alterations in the level of this chemical in the brain (that we can measure using some kinds of neuroimaging). We also know that not using the drug for some time causes the levels of dopamine to at least begin to return to normal levels (using the same kind of neuroimaging). That's just one example -exposure to some drugs can result in changes in brain activity patterns and even changes to the anatomy of the brain and these changes can be affected by many factors - including the age of the person using the drugs. As our understanding of how the brain works and how it's put together gets better, and as our tools for understanding the brain become better, we will be able to more fully understand the effects of drugs and how well the brain is able to recover from drug exposures.

-Larry Stanford

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

Can excessive drug (not alcohol) use damage important organs like the liver and kidney?

-josh9994, New Jersey

Good question, Josh. Excessive use of a number of different drugs of abuse (cocaine, methamphetamine, Ecstacy, marijuana) aside from alcohol can definitely cause organ damage. Check this out:

-David White


-big****bandit, Maryland

Absolutely. Not a scare tactic. Take opioids like prescription pain killers for example. If a first time user snorts these pills (after crushing them), they'll get a big dose of the pain killers in the blood very quickly. Since they never took opioids before, his/her body has not adapted to opioids, so a dose that would not kill a pain patient (for whom they are prescribed to take in pill form orally), kills them on the spot. Other drugs, different story, same result. Maybe they smoke marijuana and then decide to drive home-one car accident ends their life. However, drug addiction tends to be a slow killer...Check out for more information.

-David Thomas

Can helpful antibiotics be created from methamphetamine or Acid?

-Genifore, Georgia

Not that I know of. In fact, there is some evidence that methamphetamine impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to infection, especially HIV.

-Steve Grant

can herion make you commit crimes you never would have done sober

-11gb, Kentucky

Yes - the use of all drugs can cause you to do things you would not do when sober including committing crimes. Drugs have a significant impact on the brain. One of the many things that happens to the brain under the influence of drugs is that decision making is significantly impaired. It is also difficult to control impluses, and people will often do things they would not normally do.

-Redonna Chandler

can huffing air duster hurt you

-chatgoboom, Georgia

Huffing any inhalant can be very dangerous. The lungs absorb inhaled chemicals into the bloodstream very quickly, sending them throughout the brain and body. Within minutes of inhalation, users feel 'high.' But huffing may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs). You can get more information from our teen site at

-Jane Lipkin

can i get addicted if i only smoke once a year

-dreamer, Georgia

Hi dreamer!You ask a question that is difficult to answer. Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. Because smokers inhale only some of the smoke from a cigarette, everyone inhales different amounts, and not all of each puff is absorbed in the lungs, a smoker gets about 1 to 2 milligrams of the drug from each cigarette. Although that may not seem like much, it is enough to make someone addicted. It is hard to say how many puffs will lead to addiction and once a person becomes addicted, it is extremely difficult to quit. People who start smoking before the age of 21 have the hardest time quitting, and fewer than 1 in 10 people who try to quit smoking succeed. For more facts about nicotine and other drugs, check out NIDA's new booklet for teens, Drugs: Shatter the Myths at Thanks for your question!

-Marsha Lopez

can i get super high off hand senitizer?

-patrick, Maryland

While some hand sanitizers do contain ethyl alcohol, the kind of alcohol in alcohol that you drink, they contain lots of other ingredients as well. These other ingredients could make you really sick if you drink them.

-Aaron White

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