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.

Download Full Year

how does diping give you gum and lip kansur


There are many cancer causing substances in tobacco and having them in contact with your gums over time can cause cancer.Tobacco is also addictive.Did you know that tobacco is linked to an estimated 440,000 deaths per year?For more information about tobacco, go to

-Steve Gust

how does drugs cause weight loss?


stimulant drugs make you lose weight because they decrease your appetite-nicotine helps you lose weight also because it decreases your appetite and increases energy utilization by your cells

-Nora Volkow

How does marijuana effect the male reproductive system?


we're still not really sure. in fact this is an area that we are currently researching.

-Nora Volkow

How can you fail a drug test by eating poppy seeds

-Super Mario,

You can test positive for opiates by eating poppy seeds, but we do not know how many seeds you'd have to eat because seeds vary in size and level of opiate.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

how can you get addicted to coke...?


Drug addiction is a complex brain disease.Addiction is described as an uncontrollable urge or craving to seek and use drugs.When addicted, a person's drug use can persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences such as loss of friends and family relationships, and poor performance in school. Drug seeking becomes compulsive,mostly because of the effects of prolonged drug use on brain functioning and on behavior. For many people, drug addiction becomes chronic, with relapses possible even after long periods of abstinence.

-David Shurtleff



AIDS is really several different diseases, but all are caused by infection from HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).The virus is transmitted through the sharing of drug needles that are contaminated with HIV, or though having sex with a person who is infected with HIV.You can find information about the link between drug abuse and HIV infection, with links to the latest research findings and news updates at

-Steve Gust

How can you get off a dependancy?


Good question. I would say that it is definitely possible to stop being dependent on drugs, but it is a very difficult process that requires help from others.Drug abuse treatment is highly recommended to help with this process.For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at

-Eve Reider

how can you help a person that drinks or smoked or that does drugs?


One of the best things to help a person stop using drugs is to get treatment from a doctor or therapist or support group.For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at Because talking with someone about their drug use can be uncomfortable, it might be helpful to ask someone you trust to help, like a teacher or coach to help you figure out how best to help your friend.If your friend isn't interested in getting help,don't give up on them...just look for opportunities to let them know that when they are ready to stop you will be there for them.

-Melissa Riddle

How can you help someone who is badly addicted to meth?


The best way for someone to stop using meth is to get treatment from a doctor, therapist or support group. The sooner they get treatment the better are their hopes for recovery. For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at Because talking with someone about their drug use can be uncomfortable, it might be helpful to ask someone to help you, like a trusted family member, teacher or coach.

-Melissa Riddle

how can you help someone who smokes?


Nicotine is VERY addictive. It's not easy to quit on your own, so one of the best ways for someone to stop smoking is to get help from a doctor, therapist, or support group. Call one of these quit lines and they should be able to help you: 1-800-QUITNOW, 1-877-44U-QUIT, or visit For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at Because talking with someone about their smoking can be uncomfortable, it might be helpful to ask someone to help you, like a trusted family member, teacher or coach. Remember, people are not always ready to stop smoking even if they know how bad it is for their health...all you can do is keep reminding them and be there for them when they decide it's time to stop their addiction.

-Melissa Riddle

How can you tell if someone is addicted?


We usually can tell by interviewing the person and checking for particular signs or symptoms. Typically, the person uses more than intended, takes more time recovering from the effects of the drugs, neglects obligations, suffers medical or mental problems,keeps using drugs despite negative consequences,and may show symptoms of withdrawal(such as tremors or sweating) if he or she stops.

-Frank Vocci

how do i encourage a friend to stop taking drugs


This is a very important question. The first thing you can do is listen to what they have to say, about their drug use and about why they are using. If they don't know about the negative health effects of using drugs on their body, brain and life, visit NIDA's website ( and there is a lot of information you can share with him/her. If they are already aware of most of the negative consequences their drug taking has on their health, school, family, etc and they may be prepared to make a change. If that is a case, you can help him to find a treatment that is suitable for him/her by going on to If they are not ready to get help, don't give up on them. Find times to reach out and hopefully some day soon they will be ready. Helping them to go through the process of getting in to treatment, keeping in touch with them while they are in treatment and then supporting and encouraging them when they are in recovery are the best things you can do for your friend struggling with addiction.

-Petra Jacobs

how does marijuana get you high?

-west hill, Maryland

Smoking marijauna delivers a chemical to the brain called THC, which binds to specific targets on nerve cells (called receptors)triggering the release of signals that cause the sensation of high or euphoria. This brain systems affected by marijuana are normally involved in motivation, pleasure in response to things like sex and food, memory, etc. Drugs like marijuana take over this system and override the normal mechanisms of control.For more information about marijuana, go to

-Barry Hoffer

how does the cocaine make you feel?


Cocaine usually makes one feel euphoric, energetic,hyperstimulatized, and mentally alert.It can also increase sensitivity to touch, sight, and sound. Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability and anxiety. The short term physical effects include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure. Large amounts can lead to violent behavior and users may experience tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, and paranoia. The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Increased use can reduce the period of time a user feels high, and once the 'high' is over, users can feel very tired and depressed. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug, while it can make you feel good the first couple of times, addiction is a very real feeling and is a very high risk when taking this drug of abuse. See for more information.

-Petra Jacobs

How does your body get addicted to drugs?


drugs change the way neurons connect with one another strengthening pathways involved in memory and habits. over time, this can lead to automatic behaviors that make the person take the drugs in a reflexive way. drugs also affect reward and motivation, and can make natural rewards such as food less pleasurable. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at

-Nora Volkow

how effective is drug treatment? why do celebrities go back to rehab again and again?

-plbaby, Maryland

There are lots of different kinds of treatments for drug abuse, and some work better than others. Research has shown some treatments work well, helping people stop using drugs and helping them with other problems that tend to go along with drug use. It's hard to say why celebs like Britney and Lindsay keep going back to rehab. What we do know is that people who finish the entire treatment tend to do better getting off drugs. And people who find friends who aren't involved with drugs tend to do better. Living drug-free often means changing where you hang out and who you hang out with...if people aren't willing to make those changes they can easily fall back into using drugs.

-Melissa Riddle

How else do drugs affect your body other then your health

-Eastern 25,

Drugs primarily impact the brain which therefore influences the way you behave. So, while under the influence of drugs people do things they would not normally do. For, example they may take chances by engaging in risky behaviors that may harm them.

-Jacques Normand

how fast can drugs effect you?


depends on the drug and the way you take it. if you smoke drugs they get into your brain faster and you can perceive the effects in 30 seconds. Injecting drugs into a vein or snorting them also gets them very rapidly to the brain.You can find out more about that at:

-Nora Volkow

How hereditary is alcohol abuse?


Alcoholism is indeed heriditary,which means that the disease tends to "run in families." Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's vulnerability to addiction.Social factors in alcoholic families also play a role, such as stress levels and the amount of drinking that goes on.Here's NIDA's Website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities.

-Kevin Conway

i have freinds that smoke but i dont know how to get them to stop. what should i do?


I'm glad to hear that you are concerned about your friends who smoke and would like to do something to help them quit. You should know that young people are much more likely to take advise from their peers than from health professionals or adults in general, so you have a better than average chance of making an impact. Here is a website with resources that will give you a lot of good information to help your friends quit smoking:

-Joni Rutter

I have heard Marijuana is 4 times worse for you than tobacco. Is that true? If so, how is it worse?


Both the use of marijuana and tobacco can be hazardous to your health since both are smoked and contain carcinogens that can lead to cancer. For more information, see http://www.smoking.drugabuse.govand

-David Shurtleff

I heard that lsd is the worst drug to take. i heard that it can kill you on the first time trying it. is that true?


LSD can have very profound effects even on the first time you take it. But it is highly unlikely that the drug itself will kill you. It takes an enormous amount of LSD to kill a person. But LSD greatly distorts your perceptions and judgement, so people have died under the influence of LSD by falling off cliffs, getting hit by a car, or doing other dangerous things that they would not otherwise do.

-Steve Grant

I heard that men grow women parts when they take anabolic steroids, is that true?


their breasts can grow and that has to do with the fact that steroids will decrease the production of testosterone

-Nora Volkow

How will ridillen affective you if you do'nt have a.d.d


Ritalin is a stimulant that can affect your heart rate, blood pressure and other vital functions.It can cause nervousness and insomnia.Because it is such a strong medication, it must be prescribed by a physican who can monitor how it is working for their patient. The important thing to remember is that for people with ADD, it can correct imbalances in brain chemistry and is less likely to cause side effects and because it is being taken under a doctor's supervision any problems that arise can be treated effectively--this is not the case if you take it without a doctor's prescription.

-Aria Crump

How will steroids effect your body and health in the long run ?

-Nd CoUgArS 55,

Steroids are human-made substances related to male sex hormones. As you probably know, some athletes abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance by boosting muscle size and reducing body fat .High school athletes,for example, have also been known to use steriods to enhance performance on the field. But the down side is that steroids disrupt the normal production of hormones in the body,and can lead to reduced sperm production and shrinking of the testicles.Other changes include male-pattern baldness and breast development in men-(Yuck!).In the female body, anabolic steroids cause masculinization. This means that females will experience decreases in body fat, coarsening of the skin,and deepening of the voice. Women may also experience excessive growth of body hair(chest, chin, back, etc.) and lose the hair on their head. Examples of other effects are increase of the risk of blood clots and damage to heart muscle. Steroid abuse has also been associated with liver tumors and a rare condition called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form in the liver. Both the tumors and the cysts can rupture, causing internal bleeding.Most important, with continued steroid use, some of these effects become irreversible. If you want to know more about steroid abuse, go to:

-David Shurtleff

Hypothetically, I have a family member that has been on drugs and got help. But, she is now abusing prescription drugs. Would it be alright to tell her that I hope she takes something that's gonna get her out of my life for good?


if this person is your friend or relative you want to help them stop taking prescription drugs.For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the go to the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at

-Nora Volkow

i am intrested in this carrer what should i do?


I hope by "this career" you mean genetics of drug abuse! If so there are many ways to get into a career that involves genetics. An important thing to do is take classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science to build up your basic knowledge in the areas. Here is a good website:

-Joni Rutter

I believe my mom is addicted to vicodin. How do I get her to stop?


I am sorry to hear about your mom's possible addiction to vicodin. It's great that you want to help her.Many women are having this problem. You might want to let her know of your concern that there are many effective treatments. Hopefully, she has discussed this with her doctor or someone else who can help her.For more on treatment, you mom can call the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at Also, for more information on prescription drug abuse, this site may be helpful:

-Cora Lee Wetherington

How much damage to the brain does drugs do?


It depends on many factors including the drug, your age, and your genetics. There are drugs that are more harmful than others such as ecstasy which can produce damage to neurons in your brain at relatively low concentrations.Also when you are young and your brain is still forming the effects of drugs will be longer lasting than when you are old.Your genes also affect your sensitivity to drugs and there are people that are more sensitive to the toxic effects of drugs than others.

-Gaya Dowling

How much dose your life decrease from smoking?


Good question. We have found that smoking causes a lot of medical problems, including mortality (death). You might find it interesting to know that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and for people who develop lung cancer, their life ends quickly and early. Smoking also causes emphysema (long-term trouble breathing and lung damage), cancer of the mouth and tongue and can make heart disease worse. While not everyone who smokes gets these diseases, many unfortunate people do develop major medical problems, and often die much earlier. For more information, see:

-Wilson Compton