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 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: http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/

-David White

CAN FIRST TIME USERS GET KILLED BY DRUGS?

-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 www.teens.drugabuse.gov 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 https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_inhale1.php

-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 http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/booklet.php. 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 it be good to drink?

-craigb, New York

For adults, one (for females) or up to two (for males) servings of alcohol can help decrease the chances of developing heart disease. However, any more than that increases the risk of developing a host of problems, including liver and pancreas diseases, weakened immune system, and certain kinds of cancers.There are no known benefits of alcohol for teenagers, only negative effects.

-Aaron White

Can marijana be used to help some people?

-15965464, Maryland

Marijuana is not an FDA approved medication at this time--meaning that it has not met the safety and efficacy requirements that all medicines must meet. That said, ingredients in marijuana clearly have an anti-nausea effect; an appetite stimulating effect; and some anti-pain effects. In fact, scientists are very excited and invested in developing medications that work through the same system (the endocannabinoid system) that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, works on. But the hope is to develop medications with less of the side effects associated with marijuana--and one that is not smoked, as this is obviously an unhealthy delivery sysstem.

-Joe Frascella

can marijuana affect sexual activity

-15948967, Maryland

not that I know of.heavy or chronic marijuana could lower a man's sperm count though.

-Ruben Baler

Can marijuana really be prescribed as a drug?

-jm, Vermont

Some states have legalized the medical use of marijuana; however, it has never received approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) which is responsible for making sure that medicines are safe and effective. So states legalizing it have actually bypassed the normal process by which all other medicines are approved. There are definitely medicinal benefits of some of the components in marijuana and scientists are working hard to isolate those and make other compounds that can act on the same system that marijuana acts on (the endocannabinoid system). But smoking is not a good way to deliver a drug, and there are inconsistencies from plant among the ingredients (some 400 or so chemicals); and some of marijuana's risks, including addiction, also make this a cause for concern.

-David Shurtleff

are nicotine withdrawls and depression related?

-theblindmonkey, Kentucky

Nope...Many people who stop taking nicotine (tobacco) can experience depressive-like behavior, like depressed mood, irritability, difficulty in concentrating, trouble sleeping, increased weight gain, but it doesn't mean they are clinically depressed.

-David Shurtleff

Are some people not affected by drugs?

-craigb, New York

Some people are more susceptible and others are less susceptible to the effects of drugs. Very few people can use drugs and not be affected. In fact I have never heard of a person who could take drugs and be guaranteed that there would be no heath consequences.

-Joe Frascella

Can you abuse prescription marijuana

-mr. jiggleworm, Vermont

Yes, medical marijuana is the same as the marijuana that is abused. Anything that is prescribed for you by a doctor shoud be used as directed by the doctor. Anything else can put you at risk for problems, especially health problems.

-Joe Frascella

can you bare a child if your addicted to drugs

-babels, New York

You can, but the baby can be affected, and for some drugs (like heroin and other opiates like vicodin) the baby can be born addicted, and will be withdrawing the first days of life. Smoking during pregnancy can have dire consequences - it is associated with infant mortality, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome. Also, some states have laws that babies born with drugs in their systems have to be removed from their moms. If you are addicted to drugs and want to have a baby, get some treatment first! This will help you, as a person and as a parent, and it will help you to have a healthy baby. There are some treatment programs designed specifically for pregnant teens and women that can help you. If you need help with an addiction, you can find a substance abuse treatment facility by calling 1-800-662-HELP or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov anytime, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

-Nicolette Borek

can you be born an alcoholic if it runs in your family?

-Kristina, New Jersey

A person can be born with a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic if they have alcoholism in their family. 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. However, you can't become an actual alcoholic unless you start drinking alcohol yourself. If you have a family history of alcoholism, it's very important to wait to try alcohol for as long as possible. The earlier a person starts drinking alcohol the greater the chances they will become alcohol dependent. For instance, if a kid with a family history of alcoholism who starts drinking alcohol at age 14-15, he or she has about a 50/50 chance to go on to have a serious alcohol problem. Waiting just a few years lowers the odds significantly! Only 16% of people with a family history of alcoholism develop alcoholism if they wait until age 21 to drink.

-Aaron White

Can you become addicted for life for just one use of drugs

-persia97,

It is difficult to say since it depends on a lot of issues. It can depend on the drug that the person abuses, the biology of that person, the environment in which that person lives. It might also depend on how much of the drug is abused and how that drug is taken (snorting, smoking or injecting drugs since introducing drugs into the body in these ways can be very dangerous). It can also depend on the age of the person. It is thought that teenagers may be more prone to addiction than adults are since their brains are still rapidly developing. Depending on these several issues, a person can begin down a lifelong path to addiction more rapidly. For more info, check out: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_brain2.php#addicted

-Kris Bough

Can you become addicted to Marijuana??

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Yes. We now know now that long-term use of marijuana can lead to a withdrawal syndrome when you try to stop, which includes irritability and trouble sleeping, among other effects. In addition, continued use of marijuana can lead to decreased school performance and other problems in life. In a recent study, heavy marijuana users said they regretted using marijuana and felt it contributed to them not achieving as much in life as they wanted to do. Read more here: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html

-Steve Grant

can you comsume more alcohol if youre a guy, or a girl?

-TABBYCATRAAAAAA, Maryland

That depends on the guy and the girl. However, in general, girls are affected more by alcohol than guys. Girls can feel the immediate effects of alcohol more quickly and for a longer time than guys. Thanks to natural differences in body chemistry and metabolism, girls retain more alcohol in their blood than men do, and also break down and get rid of alcohol more slowly than guys do.

-Aaron White

can alcoholism and drug use cause mental disorders?

-genbeloin, Vermont

Hi. This is a bit of a chicken and egg question - it's not clear which comes first, though we know that they are associated. For example, some people with mental health problems use alcohol or other drugs as a way of 'self-medicating,' while use of drugs and alcohol can lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, depressed mood, and other mental health symptoms. So, no definitive answer on cause - but a great question.

-Amy Goldstein

Can an animal get high?

-rossmand, New Jersey

Yes, drugs affect animals much the same way that drugs affect humans. Research has shown that animals have receptors for drugs in the same parts of the brain as humans. In fact, one way that new drugs are tested to see if they can be abused is to see if animals (typically rats) will press a lever in order to get an injection of a small amount of the drug. The more they press the lever, the more likely the drug will be addictive in humans. This is called 'self-administration'. Animal models of addiction have been very helpful in enhancing our understanding of addiction, leading to better ways to prevent and treat it in humans.

-Steve Grant

can animals get "high"?

-big bird, Kentucky

yes and no - depending on the type of drug, the type of animal, and the quantity of drug the animal consumed. Animals may not react to drugs in the same way that humans do b/c their brains are different from humans' brains in many ways. Because of these differences, they may not 'get high' at all or they may react even more serverely where they end up with more severe behavioral reactions to the drug (such as seizures or maybe even death) depending on the type and quantity of drug the animal consumed...

-Kris Bough

Can animals get drunk?

-hackettstown, New Jersey

Absolutely!

-Aaron White

can animals get high?

-big****bandit, Maryland

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 http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse

-David Thomas

Can any drug permanently afffect you?

-Cheeze,

This is a complicated question with no simple answer, but let me try to answer it.Remember that there are direct and indirect effects of drug use AND there is tremendous variation among people, so each person will react differently to the effects of drugs. One person may be affected by cocaine (for example, developing a heart condition -- a direct effect) and another person might not. There is also huge potential for permanent indirect effects, for example, dying or becoming permanently disabled after a car accident in which you were driving (or be driven by someone) under the influence of alcohol or drugs.Need more information on the effects of drugs? Visit: www.drugabuse.gov and https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/index.php

-Michelle Leff

can any medicine become a addictive drug to a person if used to much

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Drugs that directly affect the brain and its chemistry and connections, like meds that affect mood and sleep, can be addictive. Most people who use drugs for a while do not become addicted, but many do, and we still don't understand who will get addicted. This is why it's important not to take the chance. Once someone is addicted, it's VERY hard to treat, and be forever rid of cravings altogether. More info on how drugs impact the brain is on our teen site at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_brain1.php

-Jim Bjork

can babbys be addicted to crack when born

-master8675309, Wyoming

Hello Wyoming + thanks for your question! Babies exposed to crack in utero usually aren't born addicted, but there can be other aspects of development that are affected. Early on these babies might have lower birth weights or smaller heads, although this difference can disappear over time. Researchers are following groups of kids who were exposed to cocaine and/or crack in utero (in the womb) and following the same kids through infancy, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. They are finding that these kids are more likely to have attention and behavior problems compared to their non-exposed peers, even those from the same neighborhoods and with similar backgrounds. There are other abused drugs that moms take when pregnant that can result in babies being in withdrawal when they are born, namely opiates --heroin, morphine, oxycotin, vicodin and other opiate based pain relievers. Not all, but many of these infants are born with neonatal abstinence sydrome, a set of symptoms that appear to be uncomfortable for the baby, and they go through withdrawal the first days of life. There are treatments for these infants - behavioral and medicine, that can help with the withdrawal. Here's some more information on prenatal drug exposure. http://www.drugabuse.gov/tib/prenatal.html

-Nicolette Borek

can babys be effected by drugs for long term time

-I LOVE BOBIES, Wyoming

It depends, but drug exposure to a baby can cause serious damage. Prenatal exposure can affect a child and affect his or her brain and behavior development http://www.nida.nih.gov/consequences/prenatal/ . The medical consequences of drug exposure can range depending on many factors. Negative consequences can be short or long term affects on the brain resulting in problems in memory, attention and behavior. If someone is pregnant and using drugs, there are treatment programs designed to help them and their baby. If you need help with an addiction, you can find a substance abuse treatment facility by calling 1-800-662-HELP or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov anytime, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Tha

-Cheryl Boyce

can becoming an alcoholic be tied to genetics rather than just an addiction?

-genbeloin, Vermont

Because of genetics, a person can be born with a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic if they have alcoholism in their family. 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. If you have a family history of alcoholism, it's very important to wait to try alcohol for as long as possible. The earlier a person starts drinking alcohol the greater the chances they will become alcohol dependent. For instance, if a kid with a family history of alcoholism who starts drinking alcohol at age 14-15, he or she has about a 50/50 chance to go on to have a serious alcohol problem. Waiting just a few years lowers the odds significantly! Only 16% of people with a family history of alcoholism develop alcoholism if they wait until age 21 to drink.

-Aaron White

Can being an addict or alcoholic be hereditary?

-2 cool 4 school,

What a great question.Addiction is a 'complex' disease. That means that part of the risk (about 50%) comes from your genes. So,addiction does run in a family. But it is definitely not a 'sentence'. Because the other half is contributed by the environment (family, friends, school, etc) whose combined power can either block or boost whatever hereditary risk might be lurking in your genes. So, even if your parents handed down to you really high risk gene variants there is always hope and the possibility to avert disaster in a nurturing, loving, positive, and drug free environemnt.good luck

-Ruben Baler