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 prescription drugs kill you?

-aescobar, Texas

Certain ones, absolutely. For example, certain anti-anxiety drugs, when taken in large doses, especially in combination with alcohol can depress the brain's circuit telling the body to breathe, causing death.

-Jim Bjork

Can swallowing a gallon of

-Thisman12, Maryland

Less than a drop of
nicotinewill kill you on the spot. It is one of the most toxic substances known! For more information, see:
http://drugabuse.gov/researchreports/nicotine/consequences.html

-Joni Rutter

Can swallowing a gallon of nicotine kill you ?

-Thisman12, Maryland

Less than a drop of nicotine will kill you on the spot. It is one of the most toxic substances known! For more information, see: http://drugabuse.gov/researchreports/nicotine/consequences.html.

-Joni Rutter

Can tabacco chewing give you gum cancer? How easily?

-peguinlover99, Michigan

Both chewing and smoking tobacco can negatively affect your body. It's hard to say which will affect your body more, because so much has to do with each person's biology and the amount they smoke or chew. But we do know the more someone uses tobacco (in any form) the greater the effects can be on their body. Overall, chewing tobacco can cause damage to gum tissue and even loss of teeth. It also reduces a person's ability to taste and smell. Most importantly, smokeless tobacco contains cancer causing-chemicals that can cause cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus. This can even happen in very young users who chew tobacco. In fact, most people who develop these cancers used to chew tobacco. Inhaling cigarette smoke pulls more than 4,000 chemicals into a person's lungs. The most dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke are tar and carbon monoxide. Tar causes lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial diseases. Carbon monoxide causes heart problems; smokers are at high risk for heart disease. Whether someone smokes, chews, or sniffs tobacco, he or she is delivering nicotine to the brain and increasing their chances of becoming addicted. Once addicted, it is very difficult to quit, in spite of the severe health consequences. For more information on smoking or tobacco please go to: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes.

-Joni Rutter

Can the effects of drugs last your whole life?

-2341, Iowa

All drugs of abuse can have long-lasting effects on the body and brain. But, if a person is able to quit, these effects can gradually begin to return to normal over a period of several weeks to months. The damage done to the body or brain depends on the drug of abuse and how long and/or frequently a person may have taken that drug. Drugs can affect the way the brain functions and how brain cells send and receives messages. A person that is dependent on cocaine for example can have abnormal brain function for several months before the brain can slowly recover (http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/sciofaddiction.pdf) and there is evidence that long-term cocaine use can result in impaired heart function (http://www.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_notes/NNvol21N5/RIB.html). Also, hallucinogens can cause people to have flashbacks, without warning, well after using them (sometimes up to a year or more after)!

-Kris Bough

Can the THC be removed from

-Zombie Man!, Vermont

Hello Zombie Man. THC is the primary active compound in marijuana. It can be removed by extracting the drugs with organic solvents (with chemicals in a lab). We actually do this in our experiments where we study the effects of drugs in drug users to learn about what a drug does. In our studies, we use placebo marijuana (marijuana where the drug has been removed) as a control in our experiments. So it can be done! Thanks for asking

-Marilyn Huestis

Can the THC be removed from marijuana?

-Zombie Man!, Vermont

Hello Zombie Man. THC is the primary active compound in marijuana. It can be removed by extracting the drugs with organic solvents (with chemicals in a lab). We actually do this in our experiments where we study the effects of drugs in drug users to learn about what a drug does. In our studies, we use placebo marijuana (marijuana where the drug has been removed) as a control in our experiments. So it can be done! Thanks for asking.

-Marilyn Huestis

can u die from multiple drugs

-wreaves, Texas

Yes! Interactions between alcohol drinking and popping certain painkillers combined can cause the brain to stop telling the heart to beat! Micheal Jackson died from an interaction of a sedative and a painkiller. Of course too much of a single drug can kill you too, like a cocaine-caused heart attack.

-Jim Bjork

can u get addictive to pain killers, if u take one like every day nd yout love it so much you cant stop taking it can u die?? thanks, Awoods:)

-Awoods, Texas

Ouch! Who would want to do that? Yes you could die if you do that! You might feel a 'high' but then you have to take more and more just to get the same high and then your whole life is dominated by running around trying to find enough drugs---what a mess! And then you take too many pills because you are desperate for the high and then you overdose. Did you know that more people die every year from painkiller overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined? Painkiller abuse is no joke.

-Carol Krause

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 you go blind by drinking?

-Saparicio, Texas

That does not often happen from drinking normal beverage alcohol, also known as ethyl alcohol. However, if one accidently consumed methyl alcohol, also known as 'wood' alcohol, blindness can result.

-Aaron White

can you grind up

-rileymcd, Minnesota

why would you want to? that can only be bad

-Susan Weiss

can you grind up marijuana and inject it into your bloodstream?

-rileymcd, Minnesota

why would you want to? that can only be bad.

-Susan Weiss

can you have a negative affect on a drug on the first try

-MasterOfAwesome, Maryland

Hi Rockville High!Some find it hard to believe, but yes - a person can definitely experience really bad effects (like adverse reactions, overdose or death) the first time they use drugs. The effects of drugs on the body can be unpredictable- not everyone reacts the same to a drug, and some can experience negative effects. For a drug like LSD, for example, it's an hallucinogen that can cause profound distortions in perception of reality. Under the influence of LSD people can see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist!. It can also produce rapid, intense emotional swings and result in fear and anxiety, which can be terrifying to people! Another example is cocaine, which can cause increase heart rate, which for some vulnerable people could lead to cardiac arrest. You may not be old enough to remember this, but Len Bias was an All-American b-baller from University of Maryland, and a #1 draft pick for the Boston Celtics a few years back. Len went out celebrating with his friends one night, took cocaine, had a heart attack and died. All that potential down the drain. I'm not trying to scare you here...just giving you the facts. Do me a favor, if you are thinking about trying drugs, go talk to a trusted adults first. Also, learn more about the effects of drugs and addiction by clicking on our teen site: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/!

-David Shurtleff

Can you hurt your body by taking aderol?

-spunky12, Maryland

Adderall is a stimulant often prescribed for ADHD. It can be very helpful for kids who have been diagnosed with attention issues in school. Because it is a stimulant, it can sometimes cause a 'buzz' and some kids think it can make you alert or get you 'high.' However, like all prescription medications, you should only take Adderall if a doctor prescribes it for you. Only a doctor knows how much your body can tolerate and what is safe for you. Thanks for asking such a smart question!

-Carol Krause

can you lose loss of memory when you take

-dsalinas, Texas

Yes, in the short-term, marijuana has been shown to cause memory loss and problems with learning. See
http://www.drugabuse.gov/MarijBroch/teens/for more

-Ruben Baler