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 an anxiety medication, such as fluoxetine, become addictive? What if you feel withdrawls from such drugs? Personally, I get bad and frequent panic attacks if taken off my meds for over 4 days

-efogg, New Hampshire

When people take medications like antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs their brains do adjust to the medication. If you stop taking them abruptly, you may feel symtoms since your body has gotten used to having the medication. It is important to take medications as prescribed and not discontinue abruptly unless that is what your doctor says to do. Typically a doctor would slowly raise your dose as you start until your symptoms are better, and will gradually reduce the dose when it is time to discontinue.

-Susan Borja

Can animals ever get high or drunk?

-adang, Texas

Yes, adang. We have similar brains to non-human mammals and drugs and alcohol tend to have similar effects on all of us.

-Dave Thomas

can animals get sick or even die if the happen to eat drugs

-hunter101, Texas

Hi hunter101,
Yes, animals can get sick or die from eating drugs. It goes for prescription and over-the-counter drugs too.

-Eric Wargo

can any drugs make you lose hearing'????

-Lunakitty, Texas

Hi Lunakitty - actually yes. Some antibiotics can cause hearing loss as well as some drugs used to treat cancer particularly those containing platinum (cisplatin and carboplatin).

-Michele Rankin

can babies be born addicted to drugs?

-poohbear1, Texas
Yes, babies can be born addicted to drugs. It is very important for a mother-to-be to tell her doctor she is using drugs, so that the baby can be treated as quickly as possible. Treatment can reduce the chance that the child will have developmental problems as he or she grows.
There is more information here:
-Albert Avila

can beer kill you

-laci , Texas

laci - if you drink enough of it yes

-Maureen Boyle

Can being addicted to drugs and alcohol be genetic?

-fdavid, Illinois

hey fdavid, yes genetic factors do play a role in addiction to drugs and alcohol. It is estimated that about half the risk is genetic and half environmental (social support, access to drugs, stress, etc.)

-Maureen Boyle

Can being depressed lead to any physical health problems?

-kblair, Illinois

Depression left untreated is associated with several physical health problems including pain, diabetes, sleep and appetite problems. Good news, there are treatments for depression available.

-Susan Borja

Can certain illegal drugs, like ecstasy, be beneficial to the body in regulated doses?

-mmullen7, California

Hi mmullen7,
Possibly. Ecstasy (MDMA) is currently being studied for its possible benefitsuse in treating conditions like PTSD. Same with marijuana--although people make wild claims for it, there may be some truth to claims that it can be helpful for people with pain, nausea, and a few other conditions.
Great question!

-Eric Wargo

Can cigarette/cigar smoke cause ear infections?

-Corrie, Illinois

Cigarette/cigar smoke can cause ear infections by irrating the Eustachian tubes in your ear. Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run from each ear directly to the back of the throat. When they become swollen or blocked, fluid builds up in your middle ear, causing an ear infection.

-Heather Kimmel

can cigarettes calm your nerves

-staceyahFVSU/4-, Georgia

Dear staceyahFVSU/4 - you've asked a great question. Many smokers feel like cigarettes "calm their nerves." In reality, using cigarettes can make mental health problems, including anxiety, worse. In addition, other tobacco-related health problems, such as shortness of breath, cancer, and gum disease can make people MORE anxious. It would be better to find other ways to calm down, including exercise, sleep, being with friends and family, taking care of a pet, and/or even seeking professional help. Learn how to get help here:

-Heather Kimmel

Can cocaine cause early heart attacks?

-ace, Maryland

Hi Ace,
great question. Yes it can. People who use cocaine regularly are at high risk of coronary artery disease which can result in heart attacks. Also, a recent study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine reports that stopping or reducing cocaine use can potentially reverse the process of coronary atherosclerosis. Never too late to stop!
For more information on cocaine, visit:

-Anto Bonci

can cocaine kill you

-waxlerch, Texas

Hey waxlerch- Yup, cocaine can kill you. There's a chance of death even from the first use. It's also even more dangerous when taken at the same time as alochol- together they produce the chemical cocaethylene, which increases the risk of death. Check out some of these other cocaine facts:

-Emily Einstein

can I get high off elmers glue?

-TGOTT, California

Probably not. Elmers is a water-based glue. The types of glues that kids sometimes sniff to get high are like model airplane glue, which produces strong (and toxic) fumes. Stay away from sniffing any glues (or any household products) -- lots of kids die every year from doing this.

-Eric Wargo

Can I overdose on anxiety medicine?

-Clueless , New York

Clueless: yes you can ... please make sure you take it as directed!

-Denny Pintello

Can I smoke weed while i'm pregnant

-Amiraah1998, Pennsylvania

Hey Amiraah1998,
Every drug a pregnant woman takes also reaches her baby. The ways in which the baby can be affected depends on the drug the mother takes, how much she uses, and when in pregnancy she uses. For example, research suggests that women who smoke marijuana while pregnant are at higher risk for having a baby born at a lower birth weight. But the good news is that the sooner a pregnant woman stops using drugs, the better the results for her baby. You can read more at

-Maureen Boyle

Can I snort cocaine while pregnant?

-Taleen, Ohio

Hi Taleen - anything you ingest will also be experienced by your growing baby. If you feel that you need help with cocaine use - please reach out to a trusted parent, family member, or friend to get help. Hopefully you feel comfortable talking to your family doctor, because they can help! SAMHSA also has a treatment locator to help you find treatment options in your area Please take care of yourself both for your own sake and for your baby's.

-Michele Rankin

can kids buy otc drugs

-Tyler@Tremain, Texas

hey Tyler@Tremain, yes, legally they can.

-Maureen Boyle

can legal drugs like Prozac, help with drug addiction?

-janemiz, Rhode Island

There are some legal drugs that help with drug addiction. Prozac and other antidepressants are useful if someone has an addiction and also suffers from depression. There are other drugs that are specifically useful for drug addiction.

-Josh Gordon

Can LSD be lethal?

-IRamos, Texas


-Jag Khalsa

Can marijuana affect people faster depending on their age?

-amomin, Texas

Hello amomin,

Sort of. Marijuana and other drugs are more dangerous for people under 25 because their brains are still developing, and there is evidence that marijuana and other drugs can alter brain development. Also, if children or toddlers get exposed to drugs, they can become intoxicated or overdose more easily than adults because of their small body size and other differences. When people get older, they also may respond differently to drugs because of age-related changes.

-Roger Little

Can marijuana be laced with other drugs?

-pineapple, New York

Yes, absolutely.

-Eric Wargo

can marijuana effect your learning skills?

-wallace1234, New York

Hi Wallace1234,
Great question. Yes, marijuana impairs your memory and thinking skills, making it harder to learn. If you use it heavily while you are in school, you will not do as well as you might otherwise. Also, if you use marijuana heavily in your teens, you could permanently lose IQ points -- sounds like a "scare tactic" but a big study in New Zealand a few years ago showed that people who had used marijuana heavily as teenagers lost 8 IQ points!

-Eric Wargo

can marijuana help you with medical problems

-kyle, Texas

Hey kyle, Marijuana for medical use has been in the news a lot lately. The marijuana plant has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of any medical condition. There is early research suggesting that some of the active ingredients in marijuana, like THC and cannabidiol (CBD), may potentially help treat things like epilepsy, cancer, obesity, or addiction. Scientists are studying these ingredients to try to develop new medications. A pill form of THC (an active ingredient in marijuana) is already available for certain conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. However, smoked marijuana is unlikely to be an ideal medication because of its negative health effects, including the risk of addiction and the damage that smoking can do to the lungs.

-Maureen Boyle

Can marijuana help you with PTSD. please answer ( I need the extra credit)

-Zach Lipson, New York

That is a great question. The short answer is no. But there are some studies going on to see if some of the chemicals in marijuana might make a difference.

-Josh Gordon

Can marijuana make you less smart?

-mvarghese, Texas

Yes, particualrly if you smoke regulalrly during adolescence

-Nora Volkow

Can marijuana permanently affect your learning skills?

-aluo, Texas

Hi aluo,
Great question. There's some reason to believe that if you use marijuana heavily in your teens, it can permanently affect your ability to think and learn. This is why we at NIDA are so concerned about teen marijuana use. Your brain is precious, so don't do anything to compromise it!

-Eric Wargo

Can Marijuana that isn't mixed with any chemicals or laced with anything still kill you, if over used. Such as Medical Marijuana?

-Dr.Swag26, Illinois

Hi Dr.Swag26, 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

Can marijuana use help for people who are addicted to much stronger drugs, such as heroin or cocaine?

-trlsb, Illinois

So far, there is no evidence to support this.

-Susan Weiss

Can medical marijuana help someone with severe anxiety and/or depression?

-Clueless , New York

People sometimes say they are using marijuana for that purpose, but so far, there's very little research to support this claim, and marijuana may make things worse in the long run. It can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and attempts, and may also worsen at least some forms of anxiety and depression--especially with chronic use. We need more research to help us better understand what marijuana or its ingredients may be useful for--but so far, the main health problems that have some evidence behind them are nausea, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and some pain conditions.

-Susan Weiss