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 drugs infect the feet?

-PatriotsFan#1, Georgia

Hi patriotsfan.

no, unless you inject them in there...
do you?
don't

 

-Ruben Baler

can drugs kill you

-Denayzha, Georgia

Yes, in high enough doses most drugs can be lethal.

-Maureen Boyle

can drugs kill you

-Denayzha, Georgia

Yup, drugs can kill you. Either from immediate side effects that cause death (like a heart attack or stroke), or from secondary causes, like a car crash while under the influence of a drug, or from the carcinogens (harmful) chemicals in some drugs, like cigarettes, which can cause cancer and kill you.

Thanks for the question, Denayzha!

-Joseph Frascella

Can drugs lead to depression?

-JamieT, Texas

Hi Jamie. Chronic use of some drugs of abuse can cause long-lasting changes in the brain, which may lead to paranoia, depression, aggression, and hallucinations.

-Joel Sherrill

can drugs like weed and cocain actualy screw up easy every day things?

-BONG_BOY, Maryland

thats exactly what drugs do as they have their direct affect on the brain!

-Gaya Dowling

can drugs make people go crazy

-0040853, Florida

Hey there 0040853!  can i call you "853" for short?

Thanks for your great question.

I'm guessing that you're thinking about whether drug use can cause mental health problems. In fact, some researchers are asking the same question themselves! We don't have a lot of scientific data yet, but early indications suggest that marijuana can worsen people's depression or anxiety over time.And thats not a good thing! 

Also, we are looking to see whether drug use can make other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia more likely.

Check out our website for more info: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.

-Harold Perl

can drugs make people go crazy

-0040853, Florida

Yes.  Many drugs cause mental symptoms.  Paranoia and hallucinations are common when people take high doses of cocaine or methamphetamine.  Even marijuana can cause anxiety, paranoia, and may make people susceptible to serious mental illness.  And alcohol can cause brain damage and mental illness---especially when taken over a long period of time.

-Wilson Compton

can drugs make people go crazy

-brecks, Texas

Yes, drugs can trigger pscyhosis (people think other are trying to kill them and might hallucinate).  Some drugs trigger these episodes more frequently than others (e.g., methamphetamine).  Marijuana at high doses can also trigger psychosis and in those that are vulnerable, might lead to schizophrenia

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs make you a lazy shit

-imalazyshit, Maryland

Hi imalazyshit,
It depends on the drug. There's evidence that heavy marijuana use can indeed make you a lazy...person... The technical term we use is "amotivational syndrome." :-)
Eric

-Eric Wargo

can smelling cigarette smoke affect your body in a bad way?

-ShefBoyRD, Maryland

Hey ShefBoyRD....like your spaghetti!  Yes, inhaling the smoke produced by a smoker (second hand smoke) can have bad effects.  That smoke still contains all the same harmful chemicals as the smoke that the smoker is inhaling.  In fatc, over time, exposure to second hand smoke can result in higher risk of disease and death. For more info, and to take a fun quiz, go to http://smokefree.gov/secondhand-smoke-quiz.

-Cindy Miner

can smoking kill you

-kennedi2015, Georgia

Hi kennedi2015 - thanks for the question.  Yes!  Cigarette smoking kills over 480,000 people every year.  Most adults who smoke try to quit every year and find they cannot.  And most smokers started smoking before age 18.  Kids are very sensitive to the addictive properties of nicotine, so the best defense is to never start smoking.  Check out these NIDA resources for more information on tobacco/smoking - https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes and https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes

-Kevin Walton

can smoking kill you

-Denayzha, Georgia

Yes, 443,000 deaths per year are attributed to smoking: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/tables/health/infographics/index.htm

-Maureen Boyle

Can smoking pot damage your lungs?

-Little Bill, Michigan

Hi Little Bill – YES Smoke from marijuana irritates the lungs, causing breathing and lung problems among regular users similar to those experienced by people who smoke tobacco—like a daily cough and a greater risk for lung infections such as pneumonia. Research has not found a strong association between marijuana and lung cancer, but many people who smoke marijuana also smoke cigarettes, which do cause cancer. 

-Susan Weiss

Can smoking weed cause lung cancer

-Nicole, Michigan
Hey Nicole- Marijuana can have harmful effects on the brain and lungs, but we don't know if it causes cancer like smoking cigarettes.  Here's what we do know about marijuana:
  • Many of the carcinogens and co-carcinogens present in tobacco smoke are also present in smoke from marijuana.
  • Marijuana smoking does cause inflammation and cell damage, and it has been associated with pre-cancerous changes in lung tissue.
  • ​Marijuana has been shown to cause immune system dysfunction, possibly predisposing individuals to cancer

Bottom line: Though marijuana most likely pales in cancer risk when compared to cigarette smoking, it's better to play it safe. 

 
 
-Joni Rutter

can smoking weed help with ADHD sypmtoms?

-Fallout, Michigan

There are NO studies to support this, although some doctors are recommending it anyway.  It may help with the anxiety associated with ADHD, but certainly not any the problems with attention, focus or cognition.  plus kids with ADHD are at higher risk of developing problems with addiction--so this seems like a really bad idea.

-Susan Weiss

can smoking weed lead you to feeling rebellious?

-kearsarge, New Hampshire

Hi kearsarge,
No, probably the opposite, because weed tends to sap a person's motivation, for instance to do defiant and rebellious things; it also distorts judgment, possibly causing users to think the things they are already doing are more rebellious than they really are. 
Great question!
Eric

-Eric Wargo

can sniffing hand sanitizer really make you high

-jdavis0923, Maryland

Hi jdavis0923,
You probably won't get high from sniffing it, but some kids try to get high by drinking it, because it contains a lot of alcohol. It's actually dangerous because the alcohol is pretty concentrated. Definitely do not try!
Eric

-Eric Wargo

can sniffing natural products like glue give you and instant rush and if so will it really damage your body

-kirito sao, Georgia

Hi kirito sao - What’s clear is that when you inhale toxic chemicals like those in markers, paint thinner, or computer duster, it messes with your brain’s wiring and signals, so you feel almost drunk or dizzy for a while—but if you keep doing it, you can have pretty scary side effects. These chemicals can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, bad mood swings, and headaches. In the long term, toxic fumes can take the place of oxygen in the blood, leading to hypoxia (low oxygen pressure in the body), which can damage your brain and other organs or even kill you. In fact, even one hit of a toxic substance can stop your heart, aka “Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome”—a tragedy that too many teens and parents have experienced. 

-Michelle Rankin

Can someone answer where the chat starts and ends on the scroll...I see questions and answers coming from the top and bottom?

-mjacoby, Ohio

Hi Mjacoby - the most recent answers are at the top!

-Michelle Rankin

can someone get addicted my living with someone who smokes

-cassidyb, Texas

Hi Cassidyb, there are scientific studies showing that kids of smokers are more likely to become smokers.  And the longer they are exposed, the more likely this may occur.  In addition, non-smokers who live with smokers are exposed to second-hand smoke, the smoke that comes off the cigarette itself and the exhaled smoke from the smoker (this is called second hand smoke).  This exposes the non-smoker to nicotine and many of the harmful chemicals found in smoke and can harm the health of the non-smoker. Did you know that over 41,000 people die each year from second hand smoke exposure?  Having the family member quit smoking would always be the best choice for the health of the entire family, and there are a lot resources available to help people who want to quit.  Information about smoking and prevention can be found at www.smokefree.gov.

-Kevin Walton

Can steroids be dangerous to one's health?

-atessier, New Hampshire

Yup.  Anabolic steroid use can lead to aggression and other psychiatric problems as well as impair your kidney; damage your liver; and cause cardiovascular problems leading to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack (even in young people). For other health effects, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/anabolic-steroids.  Good question, atessier!

-Nancy Pilotte

can using steroids every once in a while be harmful ?

-ChailynF, Texas

Your own body produces all the steroids it needs...and it needs them to regulate your growth, and are critical for reproductive function. People who use large quantities of anabolic steroids (based on testosterone) risk heart disease, liver damage (even in young people), and may not reach their full height.  It also can cause aggression and male-pattern baldness (who needs that?), and if you are a female who is using anabolic steroids, your voice may deepen permanently, grow facial hair, and develop male-pattern baldness. The trick is that steroids must be present for a long time to see any effects, so occasional use is not likely to provide any good or bad effect. Other steroids like estrogen, progesterone, cortisol and cholesterol do not have the same effects as anabolic steroids. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/anabolic-steroids for more info on steroids.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can weed cause cancer

-bruh79805, Michigan

Not sure yet about lung cancer.  It is also linked to an aggressive form of testicular cancer that affects young males.

-Nora Volkow

Can weed cause cancer?

-Tundraj, Texas

Hi Tundraj! Because a lot of people who smoke marijuana also smoke cigarettes, it's difficult to tell what increased risk of cancer comes from cigarette smoking, and how much of that risk is due to smoking marijuana. More research is needed in this area, but marijuana is addictive. 1 in 6 teens who use marijuana will get addicted to it, and 25-50% of those who use every day are addicted.  You can find out more about marijuana and addiction here: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

-Joseph Frascella

can weed lead to vomiting?

-RaoK, Texas

yes--in fact people have been showing up in emergency rooms with what's called hyperemesis -- where they can't stop vomiting.   

-Susan Weiss

can weed make people go crazy

-brecks, Texas

Marijuana use has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. However it is not yet clear whether marijuana use directly causes or exacerbates these conditions. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis.  Marijuana intoxication can, at high doses, produce a temporary psychosis, and it may play a role in the development of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals especially those with increased genetic risk. 

-Maureen Boyle

can weeed give you cancer?

-allofme, Maryland

Don't know yet--Its certainly not good for your lungs to smoke anything--and it is linked to bronchitis and other lung infections, but the jury is still out on lung cancer. Surprisingly, there have been a few studies showing a link between marijuana and an agressive form of testicular cancer that affects young men.

-Nora Volkow

can you be addicted to weed?

-rowane, Ohio

yes--about 9% of users become addicted (4M people in the US this past year), 16% of users who start as teens and 25-50% of daily users.  

-Susan Weiss

can you be so high that you could be possible to hurt yourself?

-ASHLEYA, Texas

Hi ASHLEYA - YES! Not only can you hurt yourself, but you can hurt others if you happen to be driving a car.

-Michelle Rankin

Can You Become Addicted to a Drug if You Just Take It Once?

-Kim il sung, Maryland

No, u need to take it several times to become addicted.  However what can happen is that the first time you get exposed to the drug you like it so much that it makes you desire to take it again in the future, and this can initiate a path to problematic drug use or addiction

-Nora Volkow