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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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Does using heroine give you AIDS?

-Daddy, New York

Hi Daddy,
You won't get HIV from heroin itself, but lots of heroin users spread or catch HIV because they share their needles and injection equipment with each other. HIV is carried in the blood, and microscopic amounts of blood are left on a syringe after one person uses it.
Great question!

-Eric Wargo

does vape kill you

-food4life, Texas
Dear food4life - GREAT question! Although many of the toxic chemicals from burning cigarettes may not be present in vaping, other dangers may exist. Many of the chemicals in vaping liquids were not meant to be heated and then inhaled, and scientists are still learning about what their health effects are. In addition, these liquids are not regulated, so there's no way to tell what's really in them. Don't trust the labels! In recent years, many childen have been poisoned by nicotine that someone around them was using in an e-cigarette because this form of nicotine is very concentrated.

Stay in control of your health and don't use any tobacco product! Check out these resources on e-cigs -

-Heather Kimmel

Does vaping cause damage to your body system?

-emma, Indiana

Hi Emma, thanks for the question! The aerosol (also called vapor) that e-cigs and vape pens produce is made of many chemicals that were not created to be inhaled, so we are concerned about their safety. Surveys show that many teens don’t even know what chemicals are in their e-cig device. We still don't know all the effects of using e-cigarettes because they are so new. Check out these resources on e-cigs –

-Kevin Walton

Does vaping hurt you as much as smoking?

-IRL, Other

hey IRL, Although they do not produce tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and recent research suggests nicotine exposure may also prime the brain to become addicted to other substances. Also, testing of some e-cigarette products found the vapor to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde), as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the vaporizing mechanism. The health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals are not yet clear.

-Maureen Boyle

Does vaping none nicotine juices hurt you more than actually smoking?

-11470, New Jersey

hey 11470, it depends on what is in it. There is evidence that some of the flavorings contain harmful chemicals.

-Maureen Boyle

does weed effect your lungs?

-llllll, New York

Yes, smoking marijuana can lead to chronic bronchitis and other effects on the lungs.

-Maureen Boyle

Does weed kill people?

-chocolate, Indiana

Chocolate - actually it can especially if you are using marijuana while you are driving.

-Michele Rankin

does weed make your fat

-Gianna18, New York

Morning, Gianna18!
Great question! Yeah, you'd think it might make you fat, because it boosts appetite ("the munchies"), but so far there is no evidence that people who use marijuana are fatter than other people (at least, because of the marijuana).

-Eric Wargo

does weed smell "loud"

-Longjohn69, New Jersey

Hi Longjohn69,
Great question -- I don't know if you can detect the potency of weed from its smell. You stumped the expert! :-)

-Eric Wargo

does your body age faster when you smoke

-Lsands, Texas

Just go online and seach for pictures of people's faces who have smoked for many years. The wrinkes are very obvious and especially around the mouth. But, the more important thing that can happen is that smoking can put your health at risk, as you get older, for heart disease and lung disease, both of which can cut years or decades off your life.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Dose alcohol/drug usage stunt the development of a teenager during times of puberty?

-ghallam, Texas

Yes, it can slow development or stunt it altogehter

-Nora Volkow

dose music count as a stress reliever

-cy@, Illinois

I think so. When I am stressed, listening to music calms me down. I think that is true for a lot of people. So if it works for you, great! Keep on listening!

-Josh Gordon

Even if you have stopped drugs, will your learning rate still be labored?

-dmallo, Texas

It depends on the drugs, how much you took, and how many days since the last time you took them.

Marijuana has the longest lasting effects because it stays in your body longer than the others.

-Nora Volkow

Even though they say it is impossible to overdose o weed, if you smoke 20 pounds of it in one sitting, will you overdose? What will happen?

-Gyrooos, New York

Hi Size,
You'll feel absolutely terrible and will need to spend an embarrassing time in the Emergency Room. You can totally overdose on weed, you just probably won't die (directly) from it.

-Eric Wargo

Expert 3 What age group is expected to be addicted to drugs?

-LSE, Nebraska

Hey, LSE! Substance use disorder was highest among 18-25 year olds in 2015.

-Emily Einstein

for anyone who is naive or has no idea about drugs what would you tell them about drugs?

-s h a n e 12, Texas

I would say to keep in mind that drugs are all around us. There are illicit drugs (for examlple cocaine), over the counter drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc), prescription drugs, and substances used as a part of alternative medicine. It's important to take drugs only as needed and when prescribed by your health care provider, and to understand that drugs can interact with one another. And very importantly, you should stay away from illicit drugs, prescription drugs that haven't been prescribed to you, and cigarettes (which contain the drug nicotine). Did you know that there are some drugs that are more dangerous when taken with another drug or with alcohol? Did you know that different people can react differently to the same drug, so when you take a harmful drug, for example,marijuana or cocaine or any drug that is illegal, there's no way to know how that drug will affect you?

-Aria Crump

for which do you get addicted the most marihuana or heroine?

-Srmercado20, California


-Nora Volkow

generalWhat makes something be considered a drug?generlageneral

-craig, New York

A drug is simply a chemical that gets put into the body of a human or animal that can affect the body, brain or behavior. Some drugs are excellent medicines and some are dangerous substances.

-Michele Rankin

george koob is addiction genetic

-ulisses, California

Yes 50-60% genetic for most addictions.

-George Koob

good morning thank you for answering are questions

-elopez, Texas

Good morning elopez! You're very welcome!

-Maureen Boyle

has anybody ever accually overdosed on weed?

-klessard, New Hampshire

Hi klessard, while overdosing on marijuana doesn't cause death many people end up in the emergency department after taking too much marijuana or high potency forms of marijuana. Overdoses can cause severe anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis.

-Maureen Boyle

has anyone ever overdosed on weed

-klessard, New Hampshire

Hi klessard, while overdosing on marijuana doesn't cause death many people end up in the emergency department after taking too much marijuana or high potency forms of marijuana. Overdoses can cause severe anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis.

-Maureen Boyle

Has the drug user percentage grown or decreased in the past 10 years?

-Mr.Crocker, New York

Good morning, Mr. Crocker, thanks for being with us today! The answer depends a bit on the drug. According to the Annual Monitoring the Future Survey looking at 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students, both alcohol and tobacco use have decreased pretty steadily over the past 10 years and most drugs have experienced a downward trend over this time as well. On the other hand, one that hasn't seen a similar decrease is use of marijuana which has remained steady over this same time.

-Marsha Lopez

hat happens if I overdose with metylphenidate

-R, Other

Hi R - Taking a large dose of methylphenidate is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia, anxiety and sometimes irregular heart rates or even death.

-Wilson Compton

hat is the average age you die of using drugs for so long?

-tblackburn, New Hampshire

Hey tblackburn! This is a good question, and a hard one to answer- if someone has used drugs for a long time, they might die of a condition that is related to their drug use (such as heart failure or cancer), but their death certificate might not show that drugs were a factor. Overdose deaths from drugs can happen at any age, and can even happen the first time someone uses a drug. Check out this CNN article for information on opioid overdoses:

-Emily Einstein

hats MDMA?

-SLO, Other

Hey SLO, MDMA is a synthetic stimulant - 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine

-Maureen Boyle

Have any advice on how to travel to other dimensions in class that would be greatly appreciated

-Rebecca, Ohio

Hi Rebecca,
A black hole or wormhole might do the trick.
Good luck! :-)

-Eric Wargo

Have any of you tried drugs?

-mynamejeff, New Jersey

This is an important question. Some of my colleagues or their family members did experience problems earlier in their lives. With good treatment services and the support of their families and friends, they have recovered and now are able to lead a full and healthy life. Drug use and addiction is a serious health issue, but don't forget that it's one that is both preventable and treatable.

-Dave Thomas

Are the effects worse when smoking cannabis oil from a weed pen?

-pineapple, New York

HI Pineapplte - by "worse effects" I'm assuming you mean harmful. It's hard to say because how harmful a substance is depends on how much of the substance you ingest and how you ingest it and many other factors including your own individual health conditions, etc. Also, it's hard to know the concentration of the substances in various forms.

-Michele Rankin

Are there any drugs that kill the consumer easily? What consequences does it cause? Mention at least one?

-SVV, Other

Hey SVV! Many drugs can be deadly in different ways- for example, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death! By far, the most drug overdose deaths are caused by opioid drugs, such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. These drugs slow down breathing and can sometimes cause it to stop entirely; the risk of this is even greater if opioids are taken at the same time as benzodiazepines or alcohol. Even if a person doesn't die, prolonged oxygen deprivation can result in permanent brain damage. The drug naloxone can be administered to reverse an opioid overdose and restore breathing. For more information on naloxone, visit:

-Emily Einstein