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

Do drugs change the color of your tinkle!? PLEAAAASE ANSWER! :)

-LOLLLZZZZ <3, Kentucky

they never do. trust me.

-Ruben Baler

Do drugs effect your poop?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

New Jersey - I am curious why you are asking this question. Drugs can affect your poop by making you have diarrhea or making you constipated. Drugs are also deposited in your poop. A good example is that when trying to determine if a baby was exposed during pregnancy to drugs, we can measure the drugs in their poop after they are born. Other than this, there's not much more to say ...

-Marilyn Huestis


-cuz, Pennsylvania

Wonderful question. People - especially teens - may take drugs because it is something new and exciting. They are often curious and want to know how it 'feels' to be high. Another reason people use drugs is to make themselves feel better. Those struggling with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety may take drugs to relieve uncomfortable feelings and body sensations associated with these disorders. Because drugs negatively affect the body and brain there are much better ways to add excitement to life or deal with a mental illness. For more information regarding the negative impact of drugs see: Here's a tip, for excitement, maybe they can try a sport, travel, making new friends, etc. For general information on mental health condition, see

-Redonna Chandler

do people do drugs to be cool to fit in or do people make them?

-shane(, Kentucky

It's probably a little of both don't you think? Going your 'own way' and saying 'no' are skills that everyone needs to learn, and it becomes easier when you practice it! Check this out:

-Bethany Deeds

do people get a quicker reaction from smoking or using a syringe

-some guy, Kentucky

When someone smokes or injects a drug via a syringe, the drug is very rapidly taken up by the body. Sometimes, like with nicotine, this can occur w/ in seconds! There is less of a chance of the drug to be metabolized by the body, so nearly all of the drug injected or smoked is taken into the blood. This is very different when someone takes a drug orally, the body 'processes' the drug very differently. It requires time for the drug can be digested, it may be only partially absorbed in the gut / stomach / mouth, and is more gradually introduced into the bloodstream. This means it also more slowly enters the brain. Because the body has less of a chance to 'protect itself' from the amount of drug when they are taken by smoking or injecting, it can be potentially much more dangerous and an addictive means for introducing a drug into the body in either of these ways.

-Kris Bough

do people just buy illegal drugs from drug dealers?

-luckysoccer, Kentucky

No. Some people abuse prescription drugs like Vicodin or Ritalin and they often get them from friends and family, which is also illegal.

-Gaya Dowling

Do people recieve pleasure from chewing tobacco??? It seems like the MOST pointless drug(They all are pointless). How do you use it? put a gob of it on your gums? I don't understand what chewing tobacco is

-PoloBoy, Maryland

They do it mostly for the same reason people smoke tobacco. Its the nicotine in the leaves that gets them addicted. No, I do not use it. It is super gross!!! The spitting in the cup is not a good look!!! Chewing tobacco can cause mouth cancer too!For more info, see

-David Thomas

do people use drugs as a refuge for comfort

-Davidp, Maryland

What's up, Parkdale??!!! Believe it or not, this is a complex question with a complex answer! People use drugs for different reasons. Some people - especially teens -use drugs because it is novel and exciting. They may be curious about the effects of drugs. Other people use drugs to help them feel better or to cope with situations in their lives -- for example, coping with divorce, stress or a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. There are better ways to both gain excitement and deal with life in general. You can play a sport, make a new friend, or travel if you are seeking the novel. For individuals dealing with stress or mental health issues, they should talk to their doctor...they'll help them deal with their issues in a better way! For more information on drug addiction and treatment, click on

-Redonna Chandler

do sniffing hand sanitizer get you high?

-Jazzy bae, Maryland

Very unlikely!

-Aaron White

Do specific types of people do drugs?

-healthclass, Vermont

That is a much more complicated than you might think. Pretty much anyone with an opportunity to use a drug can be a type of person who uses drugs. There are certain characteristics we call 'risk' and 'protective' factors that might make it more likely someone would use drugs. For example, if you are born and raised in a crack house you are more likely to use drugs than not. Even if you are considered to be at higher risk for using drugs, that absolutely does not mean that you will, and everyone has the ability to make good desicions for their future. A couple of large national studies look at the rates of use in different subgroups, like gender, race/ethnicity, geography, education, etc. and you can check those out at and (appendix D).

-Marsha Lopez

can you overdose on crack

-rfer, New Jersey

yes- very easily- Crack users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of crack.

-David Shurtleff

can you overdose on inhalents?

-TR, Kentucky

good question- Inhalants can cause sudden sniffing syndrome- Sniffing high concentrations of Inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs)-not good!

-David Shurtleff

Can you overdose on pain killers and kill yourself?

-ilikelions, Kentucky

You absolutely can overdose on pain killers! One of the main side effects of opiates is that they slow your brain and heart function, and depress your respiration, or breathing. With out adequate oxygen to your brain, you will die. As a matter of fact: the number of fatal poisonings involving prescription pain medications more than tripled from 1999 through 2006, outnumbering total deaths involving heroin and cocaine. See for more...

-David White

can you please tell me why people do drugs pleasr

-manman, Pennsylvania

Another great question from Pennsylvania! People use drugs for many reasons- but usually it is to make them feel good. In our brain, we have a brain-reward system. When we stimulate this system with natural rewards like food we love, time with people we love, sex, or a sports victory, we stimulate this system and we feel good. When people use drugs, they artificially stimulate this reward system and produce a strong euphoria. This happens because neurotransmitters in the brain are released creating this feeling. The problem comes when this system is overstimulated and the body responds by producing fewer neurotransmitters or decreasing the receptors in the brain that produce this positive feeling. The individual who uses a lot of drugs may become dependent on the drug to feel good at all, or may even feel very bad when not under the affects of the drug. So - they take more and more drugs to feel better, and have difficulty enjoying life when they are not doing drugs. This response is called anhedonia- an inability to enjoy or have pleasure. Some of the other reasons that people use drugs are to reduce stress, to forget negative things in their lives, and to relax. 

-Marilyn Huestis

Can you really turn into the hulk, if your on PCP

-PH, Virginia

Ummm, no. The Hulk is a cartoon character and is not real. But PCP is very real. Phencyclidine, the real name for PCP, was initially developed as an anesthetic, but it did not work well in that way. People who were given PCP as an anesthetic did not like it and they said it made them feel 'dissociated from reality,' and led the makers to describe PCP is a dissociative anesthetic. It is not used medically today. But this effect is what made it attractive to people who abuse it. It really makes it hard to distinguish your internal state from what is really there--some people have thought they could fly under the influence of PCP and have jumped off of roofs. The bottom line is, they could not. It also enhances aggression and reduces sensitivity to pain, so some of these people are difficult to calm down and seem to be very strong because they are not responding appropriately to the signals their bodies are sending them (like pain). Fortunately, the number of people who use this dangerous drug is very small. For more information, please go to .

-Nancy Pilotte

can you smoke spice and get away with it if a cop finds you?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

What an interesting question ... When spice was first used in Germany and Europe, no one knew how to detect it in urine. We now know how Spice is metabolized in the body and excreted into the urine. The regular test for pot in urine will not test positive if you smoke Spice, but now new tests are available to identify that Spice has been used. The tests are not routinely available, but if a urine test is negative for marijuana, the new test may be used. You might be interested in knowing that marijuana and related drugs build up in your body, especially if you use them frequently. Pot is a drug that likes to be stored in fat. If someone is an occasional user, your urine is usually only positive for one or two days after your last use, but if you use on a daily basis, you build up a large amount of the drug that is excreted over weeks. This residual drug also continues to affect you while it is in your body, including your brain. Recent research shows that your urine, blood and saliva can be positive for weeks after last use. I hope this answer is useful.

-Marilyn Huestis

Can you smoke water vapor?

-craigb, New York

Nope. Have you seen our teen blog? Go to

-Jim Bjork

Can you speed up your body processing weed?

-KoA, Maryland

We are not aware of any way to 'speed' the body's processing of marijuana. THC in marijuana is rapidly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs. Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. In heavy users, however, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana. The best way to avoid testing positive for marijuana is to not use it. More information on marijuana can be found at:

-Redonna Chandler

Can you tell that a person does drugs by looking at their eyes?

-Mr.C2013, Maryland

It would depend on the drug taken, how much the person consumed and how long ago the person took that drug. Some drugs such as hallucinogens can dilate a person's pupils. For more information, check out:

-Kris Bough

can you ever fully reverse the effects of cigarette smoking? if so, how long

-jths, New Jersey

It's a gradient thing.the younger you start and the longer you smoke the worse the outcomes.But if you are lucky enough that you can quit (and I mean really quit) soon after starting, you have a fairly good chance of almost fully reversing the bad effects of nicotine.BTW, did you know that cigarretes have radioactive polonium in them? Go tell your smoking friends.Thanks for your question and stay healthy.

-Ruben Baler

can you ever fully reverse the effects of drugs that affect your brain?

-jths, New Jersey

A really good question and one that we don't really have a complete answer for. We do know that abused drugs greatly affect a very important chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain called dopamine and that consistent use of drugs causes alterations in the level of this chemical in the brain (that we can measure using some kinds of neuroimaging). We also know that not using the drug for some time causes the levels of dopamine to at least begin to return to normal levels (using the same kind of neuroimaging). That's just one example -exposure to some drugs can result in changes in brain activity patterns and even changes to the anatomy of the brain and these changes can be affected by many factors - including the age of the person using the drugs. As our understanding of how the brain works and how it's put together gets better, and as our tools for understanding the brain become better, we will be able to more fully understand the effects of drugs and how well the brain is able to recover from drug exposures.

-Larry Stanford

Can you get high off white out?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

I would not call it a high, it is more like the feeling of being drunk and perhaps some loss of consciousness.Bad idea.

-Ruben Baler

can you get mentally addicted to weed?

-Rachel, Maryland

Hello, You could get addicted physically and mentally to marijuana. This means that someone can't quit even though marijuanais having a detrimental effect on their lives. There is also a withdrawal syndrome--similar to what happens in Tobacco smokers. Symptoms include irritability, sleep and appetite problems, and craving--which often prompts relapse. Also, in a young person especially, its memory impairing effects can interfere with your ability to function --or to be at the top of your game, even if you are not using the drug while you are in school. Marijuana's effects on learning can persist for days or even weeks after last use. Thus, you may not reach your full potential if you use it, and this is something that long term marijuana users self report looking back on their lives. Also, findings so far show that regular use of marijuana or THC may play a role in some kinds of cancer and in problems with the respiratory and immune systems. For more info. check out:

-Kristen Huntley

Can you get second-hand high from being around someone who is high or someone who is smoking?

-JewCrew13, Maryland

Generally, you can't get high hanging around with someone who is high. You might be able to get high from someone smoking marijuana, if there is enough of the smoke in the area.

-Joe Frascella

Can you get spice at a gas station?

-Caroline, Vermont

I really don't know. But let me know if you find out.

-Ruben Baler

can you have a miscarrige if you are on drugs

-babels, New York

I'm going to answer your question with a question---did you know cigarette smoking alone is associated with risk for infant mortality, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome? Drugs can have a lot of bad effects on babies---if you think you might get pregnant, it is important to get help to stay off drugs.

-Nicolette Borek

Can you have a nicotine overdose, and if so what will happen?


Hi McCreary! I'm assuming you're referring to smoking cigarettes? If so, heavy binge use won't kill you, but can make you feel pretty ill! BUT...I'll bet you didn't know, that nicotine was and is still used as an insecticide. Yikes! Pure nicotine is a tobacco extract and is very toxic to warm-blooded animals (like us!) and a heavy dose or an overdose of nicotine can result in increased motor activity, heart rate and blood pressure as well as narrowing of blood vessels. As a fallout of an extreme condition of an overdose, paralysis of the muscles that control breathing or the heart, can also occur.

-David Shurtleff

Can you hurt youself by taking more than 4 Advil?


Yes, particularly if you do it a lot. Even though Advil is an over-the-counter drug, taking more than the prescribed dose can be harmful. Advil is the market name for ibuprofen, which taken in large doses can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke.This medicine can also increase your risk of serious effects on the stomach or intestines, including bleeding or perforation (forming of a hole). Best advice: read the label of over-the-counter drugs and take them only as recommended.

-David White

Can you loose hair by smoking?

-craigb, New York

The research literature (science discoveries) has no evidence of this. You might think so, because the longer someone has been smoking, that person is also getting older, and age causes hair loss. check out for more information on nicotine and smoking.

-Jim Bjork

Can you get addicted to perscription drugs?

-powerup12, Kentucky

Yes, absolutely. That's an important question because some people believe that if a doctor prescribes a drug, it must not be addictive. The catch is, these drugs can be addictive when people use them other than as prescribed by the doctor.The most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain relievers like oxycontin and vicodin. In 2009, approximately 1.4 million individuals aged 12 or older were addicted to pain relievers. This risk for addiction is a real threat -- and it highlights the importance of using prescrition drugs ONLY under the close supervision of a physician.Here's more information on prescirption drugs:

-Kevin Conway