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.

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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

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 you get mentally addicted to weed?

-Rachel, Maryland

Hello, You could get addicted physically and mentally to marijuana. This means that someone can't quit even though marijuanais having a detrimental effect on their lives. There is also a withdrawal syndrome--similar to what happens in Tobacco smokers. Symptoms include irritability, sleep and appetite problems, and craving--which often prompts relapse. Also, in a young person especially, its memory impairing effects can interfere with your ability to function --or to be at the top of your game, even if you are not using the drug while you are in school. Marijuana's effects on learning can persist for days or even weeks after last use. Thus, you may not reach your full potential if you use it, and this is something that long term marijuana users self report looking back on their lives. Also, findings so far show that regular use of marijuana or THC may play a role in some kinds of cancer and in problems with the respiratory and immune systems. For more info. check out:

-Kristen Huntley

Can you get second-hand high from being around someone who is high or someone who is smoking?

-JewCrew13, Maryland

Generally, you can't get high hanging around with someone who is high. You might be able to get high from someone smoking marijuana, if there is enough of the smoke in the area.

-Joe Frascella

Can you get spice at a gas station?

-Caroline, Vermont

I really don't know. But let me know if you find out.

-Ruben Baler

can you have a miscarrige if you are on drugs

-babels, New York

I'm going to answer your question with a question---did you know cigarette smoking alone is associated with risk for infant mortality, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome? Drugs can have a lot of bad effects on babies---if you think you might get pregnant, it is important to get help to stay off drugs.

-Nicolette Borek

Can you have a nicotine overdose, and if so what will happen?


Hi McCreary! I'm assuming you're referring to smoking cigarettes? If so, heavy binge use won't kill you, but can make you feel pretty ill! BUT...I'll bet you didn't know, that nicotine was and is still used as an insecticide. Yikes! Pure nicotine is a tobacco extract and is very toxic to warm-blooded animals (like us!) and a heavy dose or an overdose of nicotine can result in increased motor activity, heart rate and blood pressure as well as narrowing of blood vessels. As a fallout of an extreme condition of an overdose, paralysis of the muscles that control breathing or the heart, can also occur.

-David Shurtleff

Can you hurt youself by taking more than 4 Advil?


Yes, particularly if you do it a lot. Even though Advil is an over-the-counter drug, taking more than the prescribed dose can be harmful. Advil is the market name for ibuprofen, which taken in large doses can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke.This medicine can also increase your risk of serious effects on the stomach or intestines, including bleeding or perforation (forming of a hole). Best advice: read the label of over-the-counter drugs and take them only as recommended.

-David White

Can you loose hair by smoking?

-craigb, New York

The research literature (science discoveries) has no evidence of this. You might think so, because the longer someone has been smoking, that person is also getting older, and age causes hair loss. check out for more information on nicotine and smoking.

-Jim Bjork

can you overdose on crack

-rfer, New Jersey

yes- very easily- Crack users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of crack.

-David Shurtleff

can you overdose on inhalents?

-TR, Kentucky

good question- Inhalants can cause sudden sniffing syndrome- Sniffing high concentrations of Inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs)-not good!

-David Shurtleff