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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Why would you inhale something like household cleaners when many of them have warnings about how certain chemicals in them can make you sick? What would make it seem like a sane thing to do?

-ncayon, New Hampshire

That doesn't sound very sane to me. I'll be honest with you--when I was younger, I always thought it seemed like a bad idea, but I never knew just how serious the damage to your brain can be from inhaling substances. It's an awful idea.

-Aria Crump steriods bad for you

-moncia92, Georgia

Steroid use can cause severe mood swings, horrible acne, feminization in males (e.g., shrinkage of testicles) and masculization in females m(e.g. no boobs, deep voice, facial hair, etc). On top of all of this, it can make a person extreme anger ('roid rage') and other problems. Learn more at:, and

-David Shurtleff

Will a person see another person taking meth? Does meth stunt growth or make you appear different before you took meth?

-Jackc, Colorado

It depends on whether or not you are looking at them! Meth is usually taken in pill form. Methamphetamine can limit your growth because it decreases your appetite, and you need nutrients for proper growth...which you aren't getting when using meth. Prolonged use can indeed change your appearance--you will begin to look much older--and you can get 'meth mouth.' This is a particularly unattractive because your gums become more susceptible to disease and your teeth can loosen. Oh, and you 'forget' to brush them. All this happens because meth causes the blood vessels in your gums to become smaller (vasoconstriction) and the gums no longer get what they need to maintain a healthy mouth. Here is more information on Meth and other stimulants: Keep smiling, and don't use meth!

-Nancy Pilotte

Will drinking vinegar and water get rid of mj in your blood?

-Felisa H, Virginia

Vinegar and water will not get marijuana out of your blood, but the liquid, any liquid, will dilute your urine and could result in a negative test. But it is a big risk taking the chance that it will be negative. Your body is very good at trying to keep working normally, so drinking vinegar will not remove the drug from your blood.

-Marilyn Huestis

Will mental disorders become worse with the use of drugs such as cocaine?

-Tea, New York

Yes, because cocaine can make you addicted to it but also can make you paranoid and can lead to anxiety and depression with repeated use.

-Nora Volkow

Will mescaline make me die?

-JWB, Pennsylvania

Probably not. Mescaline is the active ingredient in 'peyote', a cactus plant, and has been used in Native American and other populations for thousands of years. Like with other drugs used in natural settings, it is not likely fatal, because people don't have to take nearly as much to get a mood effect compared to how much MORE they would have to take for it to cause problems with basic body functions like heartbeat.

-Dave White

will people act differently because they took drugs ?

-jshyi, Texas

yes and the effects will depend on the drug they take and the personal characteristics of the user. For example, alcohol can make someone be more aggressive and someone else more social, whereas marijuana can make one person calmer but another person paranoid. thanks for the question and be safe.

-Nora Volkow

Will teenagers get drunk if they drink one bottle of beer?

-bigguy444, Illinois

That's hard to say because alcohol affects different people in different ways. Here are some of the factors that affect how quickly people get drunk: How much alcohol you drink and how fast you drink it Whether you have food in your stomach to slow how quickly alcohol gets into the body How much you weigh Whether you are male or female - girls tend to be affected more by alcohol than boys.

-Shuly Babitz

Wit if your frand is doing drugs wat shoud you say?

-meldridge, New Hampshire

This is unfortunately a common question today -- one that a lot of teens are dealing with or curious about. On the other hand, it's great that you're concerned about trying to help your friend. Be a good friend, someone who can be trusted to provide good information, or at least listen when people need to talk. So educate yourself first about drugs and alcohol and the problems they can cause. Start at our great website for teens at -- it includes some helpful information. Next, encourage your friend to talk to an adult that they can trust -- maybe a teacher or coach or a parent of another friend. If they don't feel comfortable doing that but they are ready to seek help, then you can check out available treatment resources in your community (some are available just for adolescents) at If they're in crisis, then they (or you) can call 1-800-273-TALK to talk to a professional who can help. Most of all, though, be the friend you'd like to have -- you can do a lot of good that way!

-Michelle Leff

Would "spices" be normal cooking ingredients like Oregano?

-623mp, Louisiana

Hi 623mp, No, 'spice' (in this context) refers to synthetic marijuana products. They look like incense or potpourri and consist of herb leaves sprayed with synthetic chemicals that cause marijuana-like effects, but often stronger. Stay away from them -- lots of teens are ending up in emergency rooms from spice. Stick with oregano--it makes things delicious, and it's safe :) Eric

-Eric Wargo

would i regret it if i tryed weed?

-hummer123, North Carolina

You might--different people react differently to it. For one, marijuana today is much stronger than it used to be making it more unpredictable in how it will affect you. Some people become very anxious and paranoid on the drug, which can be very disturbing. Second, marijuana affects your ability to think straight--so you might do something that you wouldn't ordinarily do, which can be embarrassing or even risky (e.g. driving while high or getting into a car with someone else who is high or drunk). Finally, you might really like it and keep using despite its having negative effects on your school performance, athletic skills, relationships, etc. So all in all--its a risk that i hope you will choose not to take.

-Susan Weiss

would it be possible to stop using drugs if you have used it for like 15 years?

-betterthanyou, Maryland

Good morning! It's ALWAYS possible to quit. Personally, I have a family member that used drugs and alcohol for many, many years, and sought treatment 5 years ago and has been clean since then (thankfullyl!)! But...back to your question, yes, it's definitely possible, but if someone has been using that long, chances are that they are addicted, so it may be hard for them to quit on their own or go 'cold turkey'. That's because drugs change the brain in a way that makes a person crave and want to seek drugs...once they stop using, even for a short time, they can have withdrawal symptoms that can be mild or quite severe and this may make people use again (or relapse). If someone you know is trying to quit using drugs, they should talk to their doctor. They can help them by providing help with how to quit drugs, including giving advice, and in some cases, medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms (for example, Chantix for smoking). Most importantly, their doctor can also help them find treatment facilities near them. In treatment, people can learn how to recognize triggers that may make them want to use, manage stress in their lives and teach them how to quit for good! For more information about treatment facilities click on -, or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for advice and more!

-David Shurtleff


-eddiemathis, Texas

Acid, or LSD is a hallucinogen, that causes people to see and experience things that aren't really there. Although it appears no one has ever died from an LSD overdose, LSD may prevent people from making good decisions, thus making the user more susceptible to accidents and personal injury. For example, it may cause temporary confusion. Like being drunk on alcohol, the danger might really come from what a person is DOING while high.

-Dave White

You guys are really great for doing this thanks a lot

-Bulls23, Pennsylvania

thanks...and you guys are awesome for participating!

-Jack Stein