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 taking crack make you mad and depresses???

-iam awesome, Illinois

Yes. Crack, a form of cocaine, can change your mood in many different ways, including making you very depressed, anxious, obsessive, and paranoid. It does so by changing specific brain chemicals. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek treatment from a healthcare professional by calling 800-662-HELP. Or call 800-273-TALK if you are feeling depressed and need to talk to someone right away.

-Anto Bonci

Can taking more than 1 drug at a time make it worse? like can they have bad effects if they are put together or used together?

-monkeylover123, Illinois


-Nora Volkow

can tobacco effect someones personality?

-tarbuck, North Carolina

Sure can! Tobacco contains the chemical nicotine, which is very addicting. It's one of the reasons people keep smoking even though most don't want to. And have you ever met someone who is trying to quit? They can be very moody, agitated...not like themselves at all. That is what experts call withdrawal!

-Cindy Miner

Can tobacco give you a type of mental illness?

-Prettyme, Georgia

I don't think there is any evidence in the scientific literature that tobacco can give you a mental illness. What we do know is that people with certain mental illnesses smoke at much higher rates than people without mental illness. For example I've seen reports that anywhere to 60-80% of people with schizophrenia smoke. Compare that to the about 20% of all adults who smoke. But let me be clear there is NO evidence that smoking will give you schizophrenia. What is likely happening is that schizophrenics are smoking to ease some of their symptoms...or self-medicate as we say in science speak!

-Cindy Miner

Can too much alcohol cause someone to pass out

-fatpanda22, Illinois

Yes, it certainly can. Alcohol poisoning occurs from a single episode of drinking way too much and it can cause you to pass out. Even if you have stopped drinking or pass out, alcohol in the stomach and intestine can continue to enter your blood stream and circulate throughout your body. Make sure you are aware of the critical signs of alcohol poisoning, which can include: Mental confusion Stupor Coma Vomiting Seizures Slow or irregular breathing Hypothermia, or low temperature Bluish skin color Paleness If you think someone you know may be experiencing alcohol poisoning, make sure to get help immediately. You can call 911.

-Shuly Babitz

can you die from drinking

-JHinojosa, Texas

Yes, you can. If you drink enough alcohol, parts of the brain that are important for keeping us alive can shut down. Then, the heart can stop beating and we can stop breathing. In essence, it's like alcohol flips a switch and shuts the body off. This is what's known as 'alcohol poisoning.'

It is also important to point out that having any alcohol at all can increase the chances of dying from injuries, such as falls, drownings, or car crashes.

-Shuly Babitz

Can you die if you smoke marijuana once?

-REW90, Maryland

not directly, but you could become decision impaired and drive your car into a tree or become infected with HIV. Think about it. be safe and be smart

-Ruben Baler

can you die the first time you drugs?

-danimac123, North Carolina

Hi danimac123, the short answer is yes. There is a lot we still don’t know about how different people are affected by drugs differently, such as who will drop dead from the outset, who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it’s a little like playing “Russian Roulette' if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful resulting brain changes and health conditionsh.

-Marsha Lopez

can you drive while high?

-Bubbler doodz, Pennsylvania

Getting high can seriously impact your ability to drive. Drugs and alcohol affect 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 and drugs 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. Some drugs, including alcohol, can also make you sleepy and increase the chances of falling asleep while driving. So, the short answer is that you just can't drive safely while high. Please don't try!

-Lori Ducharme

can you ever recover form a cocaine addiction?

-Zach H, Maryland

Hi and thanks for your question. The short answer is yes, but of course it's more complicated than that. Cocaine is a tough one, but NIDA is working with scientists all over the country to develop effective treatments. Right now, several behavioral therapies are effective in treating addiction to stimulants, the class of drugs that includes cocaine. These approaches are designed to help the person think differently, change their expectations and behaviors, and increase their skills in coping with various stresses in life. One strategy that is showing positive results in people addicted to either cocaine or methamphetamine is called contingency management, or motivational incentives (MI). These programs reward patients who refrain from using drugs by offering small rewards. MI may be particularly useful for helping patients to initially stop taking the drug and for helping them to stay in treatment.

Currently, there are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people who are addicted to stimulants, although that is an active area of research for NIDA.

For more information on cocaine addiction and NIDA's research, visit our teen-friendly website,

-Lori Ducharme

can you get addicted to drugs like caffeine

-Zach H, Maryland

The general thought is that while a true caffeine addiction is rare, folks can become physically dependent on caffeine – as anyone trying to stop drinking his or her two regular morning cups o'joe can tell you – but physical dependence is not the same as addiction. Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body simply gets used to (or adapts) the presence of a substance (for example caffeine), and when it is taken away, their bodies react to the substance not being there and they begin to crave it. So don’t worry...your coffee desires won’t lead you to a life of crime or knocking off Starbucks to supply your caffeine habit! Have a great day!

-David Shurtleff

Can you get HIV/AIDS from sharing needles?

-joshm69, Maryland

Hello there. Very good and important question. Sharing needles and risky sex are the two main ways that HIV is spread because these actions expose you to bodily fluids that may be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV shuts down your immune system and causes the disease called autoimmune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) if you do not get and maintain treatment. To learn more about how drug abuse puts you at risk for getting HIV, go to:

-Jacqueline Lloyd

can you get pregnat from drugs??

-emendez, Texas

Hi Sugar Land Middle School. Interesting question! Nope, taking a drug can't make you pregnant -- basic biology. But, while under the influence of illegal drugs and some legal drugs, such as alcohol, the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior increases and this could result in pregnancy as well as put you in a potential rape situation. So, if you think about it like that, then yes, taking drugs may increase your chance of becoming pregnant.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can you get put in jail for doing marijuana?

-947986, Maryland

Hello 947986! Thanks for your question. The recreational use and possession of marijuana remains illegal in all states for adolescents. You could be put in jail for this and it would depend on several variables (the state you are, what amount you had, if you've done this before).

-Bethany Deeds

Can you give an approximation of the number of people who don't get caught dealing with drugs?

-Heisenburg, Maryland

Hi Heisenburg, you're all over this chat! Nope, I can't give you that approximation, not even sure how I would know such a number. But I could go ahead and guess that most people who deal drugs eventually get caught. Thanks for asking though, keep 'em coming!

-Marsha Lopez

Can you name a few ways about how Meth is bad for you?

-Coby1, Georgia

Methamphetamine increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and awful dental problems, aka 'meth mouth.' For more niformation on meth, see:

-Dave Thomas

Can you obtain HIV/AIDS by kissing someone who doesn't have the disease

-Jade, Arizona

Jade- HIV is transmitted by sexual contact or sharing infected needles with someone infected with HIV.

-Jack Stein

can you OD on an inhaler?

-Zach H, Maryland

The short answer is yes but it rarely happens. Deaths from asthma are relatively rare, less than 5000 per year in the US (for comparison, the population of the US is about 330 million people). Whether the use of an inhaler contributes to those deaths has to do with which drug(s) are actually in the inhaler. Inhalers that used long-acting beta-adrenergic agonists were more likely to be problemmatic than those that used used other medications, but overall, the number of deaths is low. People on inhalers should follow their doctor's instructions carefully, and they should be safe and ok. If you have questions about your inhaler, call your doctor's office and ask.

-Nancy Pilotte

can you od on pain relevers

-trealbert, Oklahoma

yes. especially mixed with alcohol. In fact, more people die from prescription painkiller overdose than from heroin and cocaine combined!

-Jen Katt

Can you overdose on cough drops?

-TaraE, New Mexico

Hi Tara. You could choke if one gets stuck in your throat, but cough drops do not contain any chemicals that enter the brain. Cough syrup is another matter, and it depends on the drugs that are in the cough syrup.

-Steve Grant

Can you overdose on Lunesta?

-TaraE, New Mexico

Yes, as with most drugs and medications, overdose is possible. As you probably know, Lunesta is a prescription sleep medication that has been licensed to treat insomnia. As with all medicines, it is possible to take too much Lunesta. The effects of a Lunesta overdose will vary depending on a number of factors, including how much Lunesta was taken and whether it was taken with any other medicines, alcohol, and/or other drugs. As with many medications, people may intentionally take an overdose of Lunesta. Common signs of a Lunesta overdose include drowsiness, trouble breathing, and passing out. If you happen to overdose or know someone who overdoses on Lunesta, seek medical attention immediately. For more information on prescription drug abuse see:

-Joe Frascella

Can you overdose on marijuana? If so, how?

-ErickC, New Mexico

Marijuana is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs in the US and around the world. Marijuana is typically smoked or eaten, with effects lasting for several hours or more depending on its potency. A marijuana overdose can occur when a person takes too much of the drug, often due to the inhibited reasoning that marijuana can cause. Marijuana overdose results in a variety of symptoms that may or may not appear in an individual user, including: Feelings of paranoia or fear Nausea and vomiting An increased heart rates Hallucination and disorientation Marijuana overdose is not thought to cause serious symptoms that can result in the death of the user, and in fatal cases, death is usually due to other drugs or medical conditions of the patient. The few cases in which marijuana overdose was named as the primary cause of death are highly contested and controversial. At levels where death due to an overdose of THC (the primary active chemical in marijuana) is thought to be possible, a user would have to take enormous amounts of the drug, far past what is taken for recreational purposes. Marijuana overdose can cause some potentially serious and unpleasant symptoms, and while overdose from marijuana alone is unlikely, it can occur even in experienced users. Hopes this helps. For more information go to:

-Joe Frascella

can you overdose on meth?

-angeliquem, New Mexico

Methamphetamine is a very strong stimulant that works for a long time. Really gets one's heart racing and raises ones blood pressure. And sure, you can overdose. For more information on meth check out this:

-Dave Thomas

can drugs make you blind

-trealbert, Oklahoma

Yes, they can. For example, drugs such as cocaine can cause a stroke in the part of the brain associated with vision (visual cortex) and make you blind. Get the facts on the health consequences of drugs here.

-Anto Bonci

Can drugs make you break out?

-josafinap, New Mexico

Steroids can! The anabolic steroids that are important for muscle growth also stimulate the oil-producing glands in your skin which can cause acne. To learn more about the problems associated with steroid abuse, click on this link:

-Nancy Pilotte

can drugs make you depressed ?

-huribe, Texas

Many drugs with continued use have been shown to cause depression...for example, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamine, alcohol, ecstasy, marijuana, opioids, etc. For more information on drugs and depression check out: and

-Joe Frascella

Can drugs make you die?

-sly, Texas

Short answer - yes. Many drugs can lead to overdose which cause you to strop breathing. This is especially true for drugs entering the blood stream quickly like those that are snorted and injected. For more information see:

-Redonna Chandler

Can energery drinks make you drunk or possibly kill you if you drink too much?

-007ghost, Maryland

Energy drinks don't make you drunk, but if you drink enough of them, the active ingredient--caffeine can make your heart beat fast, make you anxious or panicky, and land you in the emergency room. Some of the energy drinks contain a lot of caffeine--much more than you would get in a regular cup of coffee. A few years ago there were a number of energy drinks on the market that also contained alcohol (e.g. Four Loko), but those were banned by some states and are no longer available in the same formulation.

-Susan Weiss

can hallucinogens be fun??

-mjk, Pennsylvania

I suppose so, but most emergency room visits by people on hallucinogens are not because of body effects on the heart etc, but because the person is out of control, freaking out by sensory experiences that he or she thinks are terrifying.

-Dave White

can heroin be taken in only one way if not what are some other ways?

-C Garza, Texas

Heroin is a type of 'opiate' drug. It is usually injected, because it gets people to feel 'high' compared to by other means, like swallowing. However, people CAN smoke it or snort it up the nose. Since heroin depresses respiration, too much can stop the heart, especially when a user has been drinking alcohol. One great danger with heroin and other injected drugs, is when people share a needle. This increases the risk of getting HIV/AIDS!

-Dave White