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 street drugs such as heroin and meth be used recreationally? or are they too addictive?

-SETLAX32, New York

There are people who use drugs occasionally and don't become addicted. In part that depends on their genes and their home/school life.  But that said, there are at least 2 problems with using drugs recreationally--one is that you never know what you are really getting, and whether it might be contaminated with poisonous ingredients.  The second is that some drugs (like heroin and meth) are more addictive than others--depending in part on how they are taken.  Smoking or injecting are among the most dangerous ways because the drugs get to the brain very quickly. And there are other diseases also linked to injecting drugs, such as Hepatitis and AIDS

-Susan Weiss

Can supplements affect growth?

-whiteshoes81, Maryland
Hi whiteshoes.   There is a lot of debate about whether dietary supplements do anything for you.  I have never heard of them making you grow, or stopping growth for that matter.  It's probably better to get everything you need from food! 
-Dave Thomas

Can taking a drug like cocaine or marijuna once potential kill you?

-GEFRE, New York
good question.  My answer is yes, but not necessarily for reasons you might think.  While there are documented cases of people dying from a single exposure to cocaine, there are other indirect ways these and other drugs can have tragic consequences even if you were to just use them once.  Think about it -- drugs impair your judgment, your memory, and how you process information.  If you were to drive a car, or get into a car with a drug-impaired driver, you're seriously increasing your risk of something awful happening.  So it's not just the drug you have to think about -- it's the whole context of the situation and the possible results.  Stay safe and take care!
-Lori Ducharme

Can the effects of drugs, like feeling dizzy or sick to your stomach, last even after you stop doing drugs?

-maryd@aslacadem, New Mexico
Thanks for your thoughtful question.  Most drugs have both short- and long-term harmful effects, although dizziness and nausea are often short-term. However, if the drug has some damaging effects to certain brain areas, long-term dizziness can result. 
You might want to check specific drugs in our teen Drug Facts section: 
-Joe Frascella

can u die from cocaine

-william_yang, New York
Good morning william!
Yes. One can die from the acute effects (intoxication) of cocaine because of its effects on the cardiovascular system: one can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping (cardiac arrest) followed by an arrest of breathing. In addition, there is an increased risk of death from cocaine due to risk of HIV infection from sharing needles when injecting the drug. Depression during cocaine withdrawal can be dangerous because one can become suicidal. Also important that if you drive, ski or skate under the influence you are increasing your chances of dying or seriously injuring yourself and/or others. In addition to these scenarios, mixing cocaine with alcohol or heroin (or prescription opioids) can also result in death from the additive effects of the drugs. 
Thank you for asking! 
-Geetha Subramaniam

can u die from doing to much Steriods

-mary, California

Hi- thanks for question--Steroid use can result in serious damage to the body including kidney failure, liver damage, and cardiovascular problems. Changes in blood pressure can result in heart attack. Some individuals can also develop serious emotional problems resulting in depression and, in some severe cases, suicide. 

-Jack Stein

can you die from drinking too much caffine?

-parislover8, New York

If you have heart disease you can die from excessive caffeine consumption, but this is rare.

-Nora Volkow

can you die from excessive tylenol or any other medical drugs, without taking them with the purpose of addiction?

-asdfghjkl, Maryland

Thanks for your question.  Absolutely!  Many drugs can cause overdose and death.  Tylenol can cause liver failure.  Pain killers can cause respiratory depression.  Stimulants can cause heart attacks and strokes.  For more information on the effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs on teens check out

-Steve Gust

can you die from hallucinogens?

-devondonahue, New York
Hey devondonahue!  It's possible.  Not common, but possible.  At high doses, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration drop. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling, loss of balance, and dizziness. PCP abusers are often brought to emergency rooms because of overdose or because of the drug’s severe untoward psychological effects. While intoxicated, PCP abusers may become violent or suicidal and are therefore dangerous to themselves and others. High doses of PCP can also cause seizures, coma, and death (though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). Because PCP can also have sedative effects, interactions with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can also lead to coma.
I'd suggest focusing on life and pursuing natural highs like hanging with friends and having fun!  Learn more about hallucinogens using this resource - 
-Joni Rutter

Can you die from prescription drugs? What are the effects?

-Gem, New Jersey

Absolutely you can die from prescription drugs! The effects that the prescription drugs produce vary based on the type of drug that it is. Unfortunately, many people are taking prescription opiates now- oxycontin, hydrocodeine and others that are potent opiates. You can die by taking too much of these prescription opiates just like you could die from too much heroin. In fact, more people die from Prescription drug overdoses every year than from heroin and cocaine combined. More info on prescription drugs here:

-Marilyn Huestis

can you die from smoking too much weeed. Please respond.

-BIGMAMA, New York
Good question. No, you probably won't die from weed--that's not the danger. The harms of weed have to do with affecting your brain development, especially when you're young. Studies show marijuana can permanently lower your IQ if you use it heavily as a teenager. 
You can learn more here:
-Eric Wargo

can you die from taking to much cocaine?

-Armen Kasabb, New York
Great question. Yes, you can. Cocaine can produce mental disability, very large brain ischemia (lessened blood flow to the brain), death, or give you heart attacks that lead to death.
-Anto Bonci

Can you die if you drink one cup of alcohol?

-friendlyperson1, New York

Well, if that one cup was just a single serving, like a beer or a glass of wine, it's unlikely that a person will die but even that small amount is enough to cause small changes in balance and reaction times that could make it more likely to have an accident or get into a car crash and die. If that cup was full of all vodka, then yes that might be enough to directly kill you. 

-Aaron White

can you die if you drink too much water


hi again Ralf-weiner!  good question.  The answer is yes.  All things are toxic at a given dose--even water.  What happens is that the water depletes the electolytes in the body.  Electrolytes are what makes our heart tick, our kidney's function, our brain think, etc.  Too much water means no electrolytes and you can die.

-Joni Rutter

Can you die off of smoking alot of weed and then getting relly drunk ?

-dannyg, California

You can die by getting very drunk, whether u have marijuana or not

-Nora Volkow

can you die off of spice?

-dave, Alaska

Hi Dave- Spice is a synthetic drug that contains many different chemicals some which may be very dangerous to ingest. A number of emergency room visits were a result of spice use over the past several years. Fortunately, the word seems to have gotten out about its dangers and use is down among teens.

-Jack Stein

can you drink nicotine?

-lalapickel, Massachusetts

Hi ! Nicotine does come in a liquid form which is used in e-cigarettes. However, it is highly dangerous and considered poisonous so beware!

-Jack Stein

can you eat marijuana

-ninja6963, New York
Hi ninja6963,
You can. It affects the body less swiftly when it is eaten in food, although it can actually be more dangerous this way, because it is easy to consume too much before you know it, and have a very bad reaction (such as terrible anxiety).
Great question! 
-Eric Wargo

can you get a headache from smoking to much

-Dwyane, New York

Hi Dwyane...thanks for the question.  Yes, given nicotine effects on one's vascular system (blood vessels) and its stimulant properties, smoking too much certainly can result in headaches.  There are many other negative health effects from smoking, I am sure you already know about.  If you are smoking now, you might consider trying to quit, as it gets harder to quit the longer you smoke. For more information on smoking, check out:

-Joe Frascella

Can you get addicted to drugs the first time that you use them?

-CFPC, New Jersey

Hi CFPC.  For some people the first use of a drug can lead to an overwhelming urge to use again, which can often lead to addiction.  While a true diagnosis of addiction is probably impossible after a single use, there is no doubt that some individuals are more prone to developing addictive patterns after initial exposure.

-Steve Gust

can drugs mess up your whole body

-prettygirl13, New York

Yes, but the effects will depend on the type of drug u use, the doses, and for how long

-Nora Volkow

can drugs really affect your body??

-YOLO!!!, New York
The short answer is "Yes."
The exact impact on you depends on the drug, how it is taken, and a lot of other factors.  
There is a whole lot of info on our website:
-Dave Thomas

Can drugs weeken the body? Say if an active teen around 13 who plays 3 sports can they get affecfted? xoxox billybob :)

-billybob67, New York

Absolutely billybob67! At 13 the body is still developing rapidly and drugs can interfere with normal development. Depending upon the drug, it may certainly affect training and performance in sports. For instance, some drugs may affect your ability to react correctly to different situations, slow you down, affect your vision and speed. And these are only the affects of drugs on your performance- they also affect your health!

-Marilyn Huestis

Can ecstasy kill you?

-amanda_foo, New York

Hey Amanda_foo--yep ecstasy can kill.

The geeky term for ecstasy is MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine).  It can cause the body to get rid of water and this can cause the body to overheat - called heat stroke.  The body's inability to regulate temperature is just one of the bad side-effects of ecstasy.  This is even worse and deadlier when people take ecstasy and drink alcohol at the same time, like while partying. 
Find out more on ecstasy here:
-Joni Rutter

can elderly people get addicted to cocaine?

-friendlyperson1, New York
Hey there friendlyperson1. Great user name! The short answer is YES -- elderly people can be addicted to cocaine or any other harmful and illegal drug. In fact, elderly people may even be more likely than younger adults to be harmed by many drugs. For example, the elderly may be less able to absorb and break down medications and drugs as easily as it used to (so drugs may stay in the body longer, which can increase their effects). Aging brains are also different than young ones and may be at greater risk for harmful drug effects (on memory or coordination, for example). And the elderly could be on medications for medical conditions, and these medications could interact with abused drugs in dangerous ways.
Here's some other information on cocaine if you're interested:
-Harold Perl

Can hallucinogens be placed inside an aerosol can and become weaponized? If so, is there any way we can defend ourselves against them?

-ThleduinAlkara, Pennsylvania

ThleduinAlkara, hey!  What an interesting questions.  Hallucinogens would probably dissipate or be inactivated by heat reactions before having any effects, but I don't know of any data that addresses this question.  How do you defend against this possibility?  Read more.  Do well in school.  Study science.

-Joni Rutter

Can herion kill someone once they inject it?

-alyssaskyglace, Pennsylvania

Yes- heroin use is extremely dangerous. It can result in an overdose resulting in death. Check out for more info about heroin and other drugs of abuse.

-Jack Stein

can heroin be smoked

-marshmallow, Maryland
Hello again marshmallow-- 
Quick answer. Heroin can be mixed with water and injected with a needle. It also can be smoked or snorted up the nose.
-Roger Sorensen

Can homemade cigarettes have the same effect that cigarettes sold in stores

-lj12, New York


-Cindy Miner

Can I goto rehab because of my flappy bird addiction?

I don't know--do you think you need rehab? Unlike drugs, game addictions can usually be cured by finding another fun activity ... or the next game that comes along 
I cured my Angry Birds addiction with Words With Friends. :-)
Good luck! 
-Eric Wargo