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 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

Can you die from smoking weed?

-Turtle Brown, Iowa

Yes. Smoking weed affects your judgment and impairs your coordination--take an example of driving while being impaired by weed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s study: in 2009, among fatally injured drivers, 14 percent tested positive for at least one drug (e.g., illicit --including marijuana, prescription, or over-the-counter), an increase from 13 percent in 2005. Also, marijuana use canlead to emphysema, which can be deadly. For more info, please check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_mj1.php#what_is_it, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001153/

-Kris Bough

Can you die if you smoke

-1234, Iowa

It is unhealthy to smoke marijuana, and the more you smoke the more unhealthy it is. The smoke in


marijuana


has many of the same chemicals present in





smoke. In terms of composition it is comparably dangerous and hazardous to your respiratory health

-Dave Thomas

Can you die if you smoke marijuana everyday?

-1234, Iowa

It is unhealthy to smoke marijuana, and the more you smoke the more unhealthy it is. The smoke in marijuana has many of the same chemicals present in smoke. In terms of composition it is comparably dangerous and hazardous to your respiratory health

-Dave Thomas

Can you die insanly with

-J Nguyen, Texas

You can definitely die from heroin if you take a high dose. For more information on heroin, go here:
www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/heroin.html

-Joni Rutter

Can you die insanly with heroin?

-J Nguyen, Texas

You can definitely die from heroin if you take a high dose. For more information on heroin, go here: www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/heroin.html.

-Joni Rutter

Can you die of an overdose ?

-andrea, Maryland

Absolutely. The term 'overdose' typically is used to describe a situation where a person has a severe negative reaction to taking a drug of abuse. Death is one such negative reaction. A very severe one.

-Dave Thomas

Can you die the first time you use drugs?

-fc bobcats, Texas

Yes, and this is because the sensitivity to the toxic effects of drugs varies between people. There are people who cannot break down the drug efficiently, so the body reaches very high concentrations that can be deadly.

-Nora Volkow

Can you drink ethyl

-¥, Massachusetts

Technically, you can consume ethyl alcohol straight, but its very high concentration of alcohol would likely hurt your mouth a lot. Ethyl alcohol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. A typical beer contains around 5% alcohol, while liquor contains around 40%. There are forms of distilled spirits that contain as much as 95% alcohol. Drinking it straight is not a great idea

-Aaron White

Can you drink ethyl alcohol straight?

-¥, Massachusetts

Technically, you can consume ethyl alcohol straight, but its very high concentration of alcohol would likely hurt your mouth a lot. Ethyl alcohol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. A typical beer contains around 5% alcohol, while liquor contains around 40%. There are forms of distilled spirits that contain as much as 95% alcohol. Drinking it straight is not a great idea.

-Aaron White

can you drive ok when you are drunk

-nathanielchambe, Oklahoma

No! Drinking even just a little bit of any kind of alcoholic beverage can seriously impact your ability to drive. Alcohol impacts the part of your brain that controls your motor coordination, your ability to make fast and precise movements, and your vision - all necessary for you to drive safely. In addition, alcohol can impair your judgement, and makes you more likely to take risks like driving through a yellow or red light and driving faster than the posted speed limit. Alcohol also makes people sleepy and increases the chances of falling asleep while driving. Each year, more than 10,000 people die in car crashes due to drinking and driving.In short, alcohol + driving = bad news!!

-Aaron White

Can you expalin what MOLLY is, and why it is so dangerous?

-shannonl, Ohio

Molly is a slang name for for methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Its also known as ecstasy. It is a stimulant which shares its effects with other drugs of the stimulant class. That is, it can make you feel focused and energized, it can produced hyperthermia and reduce your appetite, and it can alter the way your brain works. You can see this by examining the decisions that people make when they are using the drug and when they are not--they are often very different. For more information, go to http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugpages/mdma.html.

-Dave Thomas

can you get a natural safe high without drugs?

-adison_s, Pennsylvania

Good morning Adison,This is a great question! You can absolutely get a 'natural high' by doing things that you enjoy, such hanging with friends and eating great foods (but not too much). You may also want to consider exercising (believe it or not!). Studies have shown that exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which produce a sense of euphoria (well being). So, participating in a sport is an excellent way to boost your mood.One of the great things about natural highs--besides the fact that they don't put you at risk for addiction and other bad consequences--is that they don't have 'aversive' side effects or withdrawal effects. For example, stimulants make people high, but they also make people nervous, edgy, and sometimes paranoid. Opiates cause physical discomofort and blah feelings as they leave the body. With natural highs, you just get the high--well, maybe some sore muscles the next day.

-Dave White

can you get addicted to

-fi, New York

Good question, but it really is hard to specifically answer this. Addiction really depends on lot of factors...such as the drug that you are taking, how much you are taking, and it depends on your own individual vulnerability to the specific drug. We also know that some people can be more sensitive to a drug's effects and therefore can be more vulnerable to becoming addicted than others. What we do know is that we can become addicted to all drugs of abuse and methamphetamine is a particularly addictive drug as it has very powerful reinforcing effects. So the risk of addiction with meth is pretty great.To learn more about understanding drug abuse and addiction, please see:
http://drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/understand.html

-Joe Frascella

Can drugs make you a schitzophrnic while messing up your mind in the process?

-cramirez, Texas

This is a very controversial question. These drugs are often called psychotomimetic because they produce effects that seem similar to psychotic disorders, such as delusional thinking or sensory distortions. However, further studies found that the effects of these drugs are different in many ways from pscychotic disorders. But what is most dangerous about these drugs is that the effects are unpredictable. Some people have severe adverse reactions when they take these drugs, even if they had taken them before and not had a problem. These experiences can be so terrifying to some people that they can be haunted by them for a long time.

-Steve Grant

Can drugs make you smart or is there even a drug that makes you a little more intellegent?

-popkenblake, Iowa

Thanks, such a great question!there are indeed drugs that can help you focus, pay more attention, or study for longer periods of time. These types of drugs are called cognitive enhancers, but no drug that I know of that will make you smarter or more intelligent.Hope this helps

-Ruben Baler

can extasy harm you besides that its addicting

-cameron, Ohio

Yes, because some research shows that it can damage serotonin neurons in the brain. These neurons help control emotions and a sense of well-being. Using ecstasy increases risk for depression later, even after a person stops using. Some other research on regular users suggest that they have memory problems.

-Jim Bjork

can hand sanitizer get you high?

-smartinez, Illinois

Yes, because it contains ethyl alcohol, the kind of alcohol in alcoholic beverages. However, it can also make a person extremely sick due to the other ingredients in it. That's why the instructions make clear that hand sanitizer is for external use only.

-Aaron White

can heroin kill you

-julian, Texas

Yes, by suppressing the part of your brain that tells your chest to breathe. Even if a person doesn't overdose and die, recent data using brain scans of long-time users shows that heroin actually shrinks parts of your brain-- especially the gray matter! It also can effect the white matter in the brain that connects cells together, though the white matter might recover a bit once people stop using. In addition, the brain gets used to the molecules, and makes adjustments, that might require more and more heroin over time to get the same high. A great risk can be the other junk in street heroin besides the heroin itself. Sharing dirty needles is an EXTREME risk to get HIV and AIDS.

-Jim Bjork

can i smoke everyday and still live?

-pandas, Maryland

Yes, if you are talking about cigarettes, but probably not nearly as long. Even if lung cancer doesn't kill you prematurely, the increased chance of heart disease will.

-Jim Bjork

can drugs affect your sanity (mental health)?

-aescobar, Texas

Yes. Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa. For example, compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, with the reverse also true. For more information, see: www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/comorbidity.html.

-Joni Rutter

Can drugs brainwash you?

-jum, Texas

Not quite sure I know exactly what you mean by 'brainwashing' you. If you are asking if drugs can affect the brain and hijack certain brain circuits, there is growing evidence that drugs can do this. It really is the process of addiction where drugs change the brain such that we are no longer in control of our behaviors. The definition of addiction is a disease characterized by uncontrollable drug craving, drug seeking, and drug use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences, such as losing your job, doing poorly in school, getting arrested, or getting sick. Addiction develops because of changes to the brain caused by drug use. Initially, all drugs of abuse, either directly or indirectly, increase the activity of the chemical dopamine in the brain's reward centers, which is what makes people feel good. However, with continued drug use and excessive activation of dopamine neurons, the brain starts to adapt to the good feeling, so more drugs are needed to achieve it. This causes people to become dependent on the drug, to feel bad when it is not in their system, and to seek and take the drug compulsively--without even thinking about it. Another way that drugs change the brain is to affect the ability to make decisions, such as judging what's important, what's healthy, and what's dangerous. The compulsive seeking and using of drugs even in the face of potentially devastating consequences is the essence of addiction.So I think addiction is a kind of 'brainwash'!To learn more, check out 'The Science of Addiction' at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/.

-Joe Frascella

Can drugs change the person’s character?

-Svelkova,

Yes! While people can act differently when they're actually high at the time, continuous use of some drugs like meth or ecstasy can damage brain circuits that help us keep control over our emotions, leading an addict to become really disagreeable or nasty, for example.

-Jim Bjork

can drugs effect sex?

-master, Michigan

Some drugs can. For example:anabolic steroids can lower sex drivemarijuana can lower sperm countecstasy and poppers are often abused to enhance sexual arousal.Thanks for a great question.

-Joe Frascella

Can drugs give you a stroke?

-pokemonmaster, Vermont

yes

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs in general cause physical and self-control diseases such as anorexia and bullimia?

-Andrew, Ohio

We don't know of evidence linking drug use to anorexia or bulimia.

-Nora Volkow

can drugs kill people?

-Sweetheart101, Virginia

Yes. Cocaine and stimulants can increase heart rate and blood pressure to cause heart attacks and strokes. Heroin and alcohol (and especially a combination of the two) can cause the brain to stop telling the chest to breathe, and people die from overdose for that reason.Finally, driving while intoxicated kills a LOT of people, as another example of how drugs kill.

-Jim Bjork

Can drugs kill sperm cells and vaginal areas?

-leapfrog33, Pennsylvania

Drugs can definitely affect sperm cells and the uterus. They can reduce fertility and affect hormones that are important for reproduction, and certainly affect the ability of sperm to travel, but I don't remember reading that they actually kill the cells. Drugs can still disrupt normal function even if cells aren't killed. Drugs never have one effect, in almost all cases they affect normal function as well. It is important to consider all effects when making an informed decision about using drugs or not. Thanks for your question!

-Marilyn Huestis

can drugs kill u or can they make u go mental

-AliciaT, California

Yes, drugs can be very dangerous and can result in significant negative medical and health consequences, and also can result in death. As for affecting your mental health, certainly drugs are capable of producing psychological, psychiatric and neurologic problems such as psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, panic attacks, seizures.For more information on the effects of drugs, check out 'Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction' at http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/. Additional resources can be found on NIDA's website, www.drugabuse.gov.

-Joe Frascella