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 expensive can drugs get?


Drugs don't seem too expensive at first but people end up using more and more. It can take your all your time and effort to pay for a drug habit.

-Wilson Compton

How long does weed stay in your system?

-Ryan73, Maryland

A long time. Some of the chemicals in weed go into body fat and leave the body slowly. We can detect marijuana use for several days up to a week after a person's last use.The effects on the brain can also last several days, and some studies have shown effects lasting for a month. See for more info.

-Frank Vocci

how long is the high for cocaine???


20 -30 minutes.

-Nora Volkow

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 long does it take to get addicted to a drug?


Good question. Some people report that they were hooked after their first drink, first hit of crack cocaine, first cigarette, or first hit of heroin. Medical professionals use certain criteria to make a diagnosis of drug dependence, For one thing, the pattern of use must be persistent and last over a certain period of time, about a year. See our illustrated and easy-to-read booklet for more info:, please go to: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)301-443-1124 By clicking on the link Students and Young Adults from NIDAs home page you will be able to access resources tailored for students and young adults , whether you are in middle school and doing research on the effects of marijuana use, or high school student looking to find out about drug use and HIV.If you need help, you will also find a link there to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.You will also find facts, trends, statistics, graphics and reports on specific drugs on NIDAs Web sites:

-science of addiction and treatment

How long does it take to get bad/ black lungs?

-RCMS Health,

Not long. There are particles in cigarette smoke that stay in the lungs and accumulate there. Army recruits who smoke have poorer lung function than non-smokers, probably due to inflammation of he airways. Quitting smoking causes a reversal of the inflammation and lung function improves in just weeks. For more on nicotine visit this link at our teen website:

-Frank Vocci

how long does it take to make you addicted to a drug?


Depends on the drug, your genes and your age. The younger you start the less time it takes. Some drugs like metamphetamine produce addiction faster than others. It also depends on the doses used and routes of administration. Forr example when a person smokes or injects cocaine, they are more likely to become addicted than if they snort it.

-Nora Volkow

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

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

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

I smoke weed and I feel it does not do anything to me


Drugs like marijuana can cause problems in ways that surprise many people. It affects decision-making and can lead to accidents. And it can be addictive--addiction is a subtle process where the drug becomes more and more important in your life. It means that you keep using even though you shouldn't and it begins to cause problems for you. Many people are unaware of the problems drugs cause but they still have an effect.

-Wilson Compton

I take vitamins ever day. Does that affect my health? And sometimes when I am sick I take pain killers and vitamins together


It's important to let your doctor know about what medications you take on a regular basis, even something as simple as vitamins. Did you know that it's possible to take too many vitamins? Some vitamins can be dangerous when taken in high doses--this includes vitamin A. But taken in usual doses, vitamins can help to prevent illness and keep you healthy. Painkillers aren't dangerous in combination with vitamins but can be a problem all by themselves. Being careful only to take the smallest dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever to ease pain is essential. And for prescription pain killers (like codeine, hydrocodone, vicodin, oxycodone, percocet, etc.), these should only be taken with the advice of a doctor.

-Wilson Compton

I thought marijuana was all-natural, how can it hurt your body if it's natural?


Good question. Many drugs of abuse come in a "natural" form, meaning that they come from plants. For example, herion comes from poppy plants and cocaine is from the cocoa plant. Marijuana's active ingredient ,THC, is a "psycoactive" and can become addictive. Many who use MJ for a long time can go through withdrawal when they try to stop using it. During withdrawal from MJ, they can experience sleep distribances, irratitability and mood swings. THC can also imapir memory, which is not good if you're trying to learn in school. For more infromation on MJ see

-David Shurtleff

I walk home through a path of smokers. I am afraid I will get lung cancer


I don't think so, if that's your only exposure to smoke. You're right to avoid it though.

-Frank Vocci

i loved doing drugs with my friends but now i think about my futurer and i feel horribal about it


It is great that you are thinking about your own situation with respect to your own drug use. As you probably know, chronic use of drugs can lead to addiction, which can result in changes to your brain and to your body. If your future is a concern (and it should be), you might consider stopping your drug use. If you need help stopping, you should seek treatment help. I would suggest that you try to stop using, as continued use can lead you down a dangerous and difficult path. Please 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: Thanks so much for your question and for your thinking about the future consequences to your drug use.

-Joe Frascella

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 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 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 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 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