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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how long is the high for cocaine???


20 -30 minutes.

-Nora Volkow

how much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck was on drugs


that depends on what kind of drug and how thing for sure...the wood chuck would not be chucking wood as well as it could if it weren't under the influence of drugs

-Cindy Miner

How would smoking or doing drugs affect my physical appearance? will my hair dry out? will my eyes droop? what happens?


Smoking causes less blood flow to the skin. Chroinic smoking causes wrinkling of the skin because the proteins that give skin its elasticity are reduced in smokers. Many drug uses have bloodshot eyes, from lack of sleep or direct drug effects. Stimulants cause weight loss, Loss of fat under the skin of the face results in a bony appearance. Loss of sleep can cause a tired look, and meth and heroin users have poor dental hygeine, resulting in tooth loss. Not a pretty sight.

-Frank Vocci

how many years can drugs take away from you?

-Ranbir Singh,

Smoking cigarettes can take 10 or more years off your life. 3 out of 100 people addicted to heroin die each year. So many heroin addicts don't make it to age 50. By comparison, you have a life expectancy of 78-80 years. For more info, visit

-Frank Vocci

How many years do you get sentenced in jail if you take in a deadly drug?


Jail is really for possessing and selling drugs. How much time in jail someone will get depends on the state or region. What we've been doing recently is working with the courts to provide treatment to help someone stay clean and avoid more jail time.

-Wilson Compton

How much alcohol is needed to become addicted?


There is no one set answer, as it depends on the person. Young people, especially boys with alcoholic biological fathers may need much less exposure in drinking sessions to get hooked.

-James Bjork

How much alcohol is too much alcohol?


Good question. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair brain functioning and make it harder to operate heavy machinery-like a car! So even small amounts are dangerous for a driver. But the indifividual responses to alcohol varies a whole lot so just a little for one person can be too much for someone else. Infofacts on Drugged DrivingThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2007 over 13,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. Government studies say that drugs are used by 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in vehicle crashes, often in combination with alcohol.NIDA is frequently asked whether alcohol is a drug, and where to find information about alcohol abuse. There is another government agency that studies alcohols effects. For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at:

-Wilson Compton

how many questions do you get each minute?


so far we've received 964 questions since 8:00 am this can do the math, but that's alot!

-Cindy Miner

How many teenagers in the United States do drugs?


Every year, we do surveys about drug use among teens in the US. See the website for the latest reports. Overall about 36% of 12th graders used one or more drugs in 2007. Did you know teens are taking better care of themselves? Illicit drug use declined by 24% from 2001 to 2007.

-Wilson Compton

how many teens today are smoking?


Thanks for the question. According to NIDA's Monitoring the Future Survey in 2007 14% of 10th graders and 22% of 12th graders had used cigarettes within the month prior to the survey. For more info please visit

-Anna Staton

how many time do you have to take a drug before you are abusing


Good question Alverto, but hard to answer specifically. There is a lot we still dont know about when abuse results in addiction and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so its a little like playing Russian Roulette if you choose to use drugs. For more information about understanding drug abuse, check out: Thanks for your question.

-Joe Frascella

How many brain cells do you have?


That is a good question! There are several brain cells including neurons and glia. It is estimated that there are 100 billion neurons in the brain and 10-50 times more glia. That is a lot considering that the brain only weighs about 3lbs.!!!!

-David Shurtleff

How many does of drugs do you have to take befoer you actually die from it?


Good question, but hard to answer specifically. It really depends on the drug. Most deaths from illicit drugs are caused by overdoses--about 22,000 in the past year, and this can happen the first time you use a drug or anytime thereafter. Also, about 90,000 people die each year from from alcohol related problems (illness and accidents), and 440,000 die from smoking related illnesses. As you can see, the most deaths are due to smoking cigarettes, which is an accumulation of lots of doses of smoke over a lifetime. But also, there are specific vulnerabilities to drugs that an individuals may have, so in a sense, it is like playing Russian roulette. For more information about understanding drug abuse, check out: Thanks for your question.

-Joe Frascella

how many drug deals are made in chattanooga tennessee?


Wow, that's a hard one! According to [link removed] there were almost 47,000 drug-related offenses in 2007 for Tennassee. For more information on specific offenses check out their website as well as the DEA's at: You can also check out the website for Hamilton County and ask if they can help you with more specific information for Chattanooga.Thanks for your question!

-Marsha Lopez

how many people die from smoking?


In the United States, 440,000 people die from tobacco each year. Check out our teen website for additional information about nicotine and its affect on your brain and your body. Go to and click on Nicotine in the drop down menu called Facts on Drugs. The teen site also has some neat quizzes and interactives you may like.

-Jan Lipkin

how many kids use steroids each year


According to NIDA's Monitoring the Future Survey (which surveys 8th, 10th, and 12th graders) in 2007 1.1% of 10th graders and 1.4% of 12th graders had used steroids within the past year.

-Anna Staton

How many minors get caught with drugs in the US? And what are the charges on them?


Federal statistics estimate 1.9 million people were convicted of drug related offenses in the U.S in 2006. The charges vary from driving under the influence to dealilng drugs. The severity of punishment also varies with the crime but can result in spending time in prison or jail. For kids under 18, probation, time in a juvenile detention center, or an option to participate in drug treatment are common consequences. No one wants to live with the consequences of conviction for any type of crime hanging over their head. In some cases you can loose your drivers license, your right to vote, ability to apply for college and financial assistance, not to mention the stigma which could make it difficult to get a job.

-Redonna Chandler

How many people die each year from drug usage?

-HogueAndAzn, Louisiana

Thanks for the question. About 570,000: 440,000 due to tobacco, 85,000 due to alcohol, and 20,000 due to prescription drug abuse.

-Anna Staton

how many people die from drug use average a year?


Hi there. On average over 500,000 people die from drug abuse each year. Most of those are due to tobacco (440,000), then alcohol (about 85,000), and then illicit drugs (about 20,000).

-Anna Staton

i am an strait a AP student, and ive tried marijuana and will i get adicted to it and become dumber


Congratulations on your fine academic achievements, though maybe you should work a little on your spelling.Nobody can say whether a particular person will get addicted to marijuana. Some people do, though, and we we know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she is to progress to more serious drug abuse. Teenagers' brains are still developing--their brain cells are still forming new connections. That helps teenagers cope with all the new experiences of this rich time of their lives, but one consequence is that they are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to drugs. Of course, the best insurance against becoming addicted, for someone who is already using marijuana, is to stop..Don't know about "dumber", but we do know that marijuana interferes with concentration, learning, and memory. A person's ability to study, take in new information, and remember facts and events may return to normal when he or she stops using marijuana. All the things that he or she didn't learn and didn't store in memory while using the drug won't come back, though.For lots more on marijuana, see

-Eve Reider

i do crack , What should i do

-xD4RKN3SSx eXo,

Thanks for your question. Crack can be a very dangerous drug in that it can lead to addiction and can lead to changes within your brain and body. I would suggest that you try to stop using, as continued use can lead you down a dangerous and difficult path. If you can't, you should seek treatment to help you quit. With treatment, you can stop the cycle of addiction and one way to start this process is to call 1-800-662-HELP. We know that treatment does work. Also, it is easy to locate treatment centers in your geographic area at:

-Joe Frascella

i dont like drug users why do people think there cool if they do drugs they look stupid


Brock, I agree! There is nothing cool about doing drugs.

-Eve Reider

I drink a lot, mainly because I know that it helps lower heart disease. So why do people say it bad? I don't think its bad


It depends on the amount of alcohol taken. One or two glasses have been shown to be beneficial in some people for heart disease. It becomes probelamtic though when a person starts to drink larger amounts and/or becomes addicted to alcohol. Alcohol can also be dangerous even at lower doses if you are driving a car or operating machinery, and its effects on the developing brain (that is, the teen brain) may also be harmful.

-Nora Volkow

If a child has an addicted paarent, will that child be more at risk of becoming addicted?


VERY interesting question! A person that has a parent that is addicted to drugs IS NOT DOOMED to become an addict also. On the other hand, having an addicted parent could raise a person's risk for addiction because the risk for drug addiction can be inherited. About 40-60% of the risk for drug addiction comes from the genes a person inherited from their parents. There are other factors such as taking drugs themselves and a person's age that can contribute to their risk for addiction. Want more information on addiction? Check out NIDA's website:

-David Shurtleff

If a person is around drugs as a child and teenager in what ways can they exclude themselves from the wrong situation and put there selfs in the right one,without involving outside forces?


This is a good and important question. When someone asks it, it means they know that drugs are unhealthy, and this knowledge is already a good protective factor.One of the best strategies for avoiding drugs is to get involved with adults who are good role models and other people of one's age who don't use drugs. And, get involved in activities that interest you and don't involve people using drugs--sports, theatre, art, debate, chess, etc. etc. The more someone hangs out with people who are not using drugs the easier it will be for them to avoid using drugs.I'm not sure what you mean by "outside forces." Are you concerned about the person's privacy. If that's it, maybe there still is someone he or she trusts enough to talke with about the issue.

-Eve Reider

I have a friend that does drugs - what should he do?

-xD4RKN3SSx eXo,

It's really good that you are concerned about your friend. One thing you can do is let you friend know that you're worried. I suggest looking online for help or talking to the counselor at your school. You might check out for more information or look at for treatment options. Good luck!

-Wilson Compton



COOL! IS he a fawn or a black pug?

-Frank Vocci

I have heard that a beer a day is good for your kidneys. And i also hear that beer isn't good for you... If you drink a beer a day would you still have a chance of being addicted to it?


alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes an increase in urine volume. I don't think a beer a day will hurt anyone unless you have a history of pancreatic cancer in your family. And a beer a day would likely not make anyone addicted. We think 15 beers or more a week for men is when risky drinking starts and more han 29 beers or drinks a week is heavy drinking, possibly leading to addiction. see for more info on alcohol.

-Frank Vocci

i have no friends. is weed a good alternative?


No, weed isn't a good alternative. It's not even a good idea when you have friends.

-Elisabeth Davis

If my sister is cranky all the time and is subject to frequent moodswings, is often violent, and participates in strange behavior, would it be possible that she is taking drugs? If so, which ones?


It coudl be possible but it could also be possible that she has a psychological problem. This sounds like it deserves a proper medical evaluation to make sure that she receives the proper treamtent--whether it is for taking drugs or from the psychological problem, or both.

-Nora Volkow