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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could you take a drug to stay up late

-Bontaseek, Utah

Some people take prescription stimulants to stay awake, but this isn't smart since it can cause unintended and negative side effects. Of course, caffeine is also a drug that people use to stay up--Starbucks anyone?

-Jen Katt

Dear Dr. Marsha Lopez,I love your axolotls' names!! Huge HP fan... :)and on a more serious note, what is polysubstance use?

-*DN*, North Carolina

Hey *DN* I will let my kids know you like their choice of pet name :)! You ask a fantastic question and one that we struggle with to define ourselves. Generally polysubstance use means using more than one drug (including alcohol), but whether it means co-ingestion (taking at the same time) or being a user of multiple types of drugs across one evening or other period of use or using different types of drugs at different times - all of that depends on how the researcher is defining it. What is important to know is that polysubstance use is pretty dangerous because some drugs interact with each other in ways you might not expect and these users are more likely to end up in emergency rooms with overdose and other adverse events.

-Marsha Lopez

Dear scientist, does it depend on your age for different effects of cocaine? Like for example, if a 13 year old took cocaine, what would the effects be?

-JordynB, Colorado

Hey JordynB: That's a wicked good question! (I lived in Boston for many years and haven't outgrown using 'wicked' :) One big effect is that teens are more vulnerable to becoming addicted! People who begin using drugs as young teens are at greater risk of becoming addicted compared to those who begin drug use as an adult because the teenage brain is still growing, like the rest of you! The part of the brain that controls impulses is not fully formed in teenagers. Scientists have shown that the human brain continues to develop until the age of about 25--no other organ in the human body is like this! Wowza! Check out one of our NIH scientist's work on this: Keep asking good questions and get accurate facts to make healthy decisions for your brain and body!

-Joni Rutter

Dear Scientist,What does Cocaine do to your reason time does it make it slow or fast?

-Stephanie.s, Colorado

Hi Stephanie, Thanks for your question. Cocaine is part of the drug class of stimulants, which typically would speed up reaction times and reasoning times. But, of course, despite its making you energetic, cocaine has lots of negative effects associated with it. Cocaine is powerfully addictive and also increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly afterward. For more info on cocaine, check out:

-Joe Frascella

Do all drugs get you addicted??

-Yramirez, Texas

The effects of drugs depends on your genes, environment and age. If you possess certain genes that might make you more sensitive to the rewarding effects of drugs plus family/friends that use drugs, this combination works to maintain the drug-taking behavior, making it extremely difficult to quit. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to more serious abuse, which poses a special challenge to adolescents. To find out more, go to:

-Will Aklin

do all drugs get you high?

-rcarranza, Texas

Although not all drugs get you high, most drugs of abuse are chemical substances that affect the brain, such as opioids or hallucinogens and can cause addiction and/or habituation.

Here's how: Drugs have a very clever way of hijacking your brain to make you think they are pleasurable: they cause the brain to release a substance called dopamine. But these feelings are short-lived. Dopamine--a chemical in the brain called a neurotransmitter--is closely involved in important aspects of brain function, which makes it a key player in drug abuse and addiction. Dopamine is present in certain regions of the brain that control movement, emotion, thought, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. So, all over! In fact, when you have a nice meal or listen to your favorite music, dopamine signals your brain that something important has happened that needs to be remembered--prompting you to repeat the behavior. Drugs can cause a much more powerful release of dopamine so that such natural pleasures are no longer as pleasurable, because they cannot produce the same 'high' that drug abusers remember and want to experience again. Eventually, people become focused on obtaining and using drugs at every opportunity--although recreating the initial high becomes nearly impossible. Dopamine is also involved in other brain disorders that have nothing to do with drug abuse: the tremors and other symptoms that characterize Parkinson's disease, for example, are the direct result of the loss of neurons that make dopamine. Addiction is a disease characterized by uncontrollable drug craving, drug seeking, and drug use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences, such as losing your job, doing poorly in school, getting arrested, or getting really sick. Addiction develops because of changes to the brain caused by drug use. Initially, all drugs of abuse, either directly or indirectly, increase the activity of dopamine in the brain's reward centers, which is what makes people feel good. However, with continued drug use and excessive activation of dopamine neurons, the brain starts to adapt to the good feeling, so more drug is needed to achieve it. This causes people to become dependent on the drug, which means they feel physically bad when it is not in their system (and go through withdrawal when they don't have it), and to seek and take the drug compulsively--without even thinking about it. Another way that drugs change the brain is to affect the ability to make decisions, such as judging what's important, what's healthy, and what's dangerous. The compulsive seeking and using of drugs even in the face of potentially devastating and deadly consequences is the essence of addiction. Do you know where you can find out everything you wanted to know about drug abuse? Click here for some drug facts! Thx for the great question!

-Joni Rutter

do any drugs other than steroids make you stronger?

-JESUSF, New Mexico

no, but some drugs can make you 'think' your stronger like PCP- not good!!

-David Shurtleff

do any every day medications have life threatening sideffects or contains addicting drugs?

-onedirectionst1, Illinois

'Everyday' medications like ibuprofen, available 'over the counter,' can have bad effects if people take too much. Iburprofen can worsen asthma, for example, sometimes fatally. Along with several other NSAIDs (like tylenol), chronic ibuprofen use has been related to risk of high blood pressure and heart attack, especially if used a lot and in high doses. Other common medications are prescribed and do contain addictive substances, particularly pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin. See for more.

-Jen Katt

do any of the drugs have posion in them if so.. what kind of drugs?

-harrys, Illinois

no, but the way they are manufactured or sold into tablets can result in some instance in the addiction of other, unknown and sometimes hazardous or poisonous contaminants introduced into them.

-Nora Volkow

do bath salts make you eat people

-551817, Texas

I don't know about them necessarily making you want to eat people, or turn you into a zombie or anything, but they could make you aggressive and act in peculiar ways by causing hallucinations and make the user feel anxious and paranoid. Bath salts are a group of dangerous new drug stimulants much like cocaine but much more potent - because they are not regulated they may contain dangerous contaminants or cutting agents. These are generally cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, sometime to dangerously high levels. They also tend to produce hallucinations and cause panic reactions. These drugs are dangerous and can cause death, so it is not surprising that many people react strangely after taking them some ending up in the emergency room with medical complications such as psychosis, that requires treatment. Want to learn more about bath salts? Click here -

-David Shurtleff

do bath salts really make you eat other people

-jbarrares, Minnesota

Hi jbarres, Bath salts are bad news, but they won't make you eat people (probably)! Some violent and cannibalistic attacks reported in the news last year were attributed to bath salts by the media before the facts were known, and those drugs turned out not to be involved. The 'face eater' in Miami turned out only to have marijuana in his system when his blood was tested. But bath salts (technically called synthetic cathinones) have powerful stimulant and hallucinogenic properties--they can cause hyperactivity and delirium and even violent psychosis in a minority of users. For more on bath salts, see Eric

-Eric Wargo

Do club drugs dissolve in water? (so you would know if someone sneaked one in your drink)

-Honeybee7777, Illinois

Hey Honeybee7777! Because some club drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, they can be added to beverages by individuals who want to intoxicate or sedate others without their knowing. This property makes these drugs very dangerous. For more information on club drugs see: Thanks for the great question Honeybee7777!

-Joni Rutter

do doctors use weed for medical uses. what king of medical conditions

-joshm69, Maryland

hi josh. No, in fact there are no approved medications that one can smoke, because even if there is a beneficial compound in the cannabis plant (which probably there is) it would be irresponsible and counterproductive to deliver that compound together with a thousand other chemicals most of which are likely to cause damage. take a look at this doc: you might find it interesting. good luck and thanks for your question. Ruben

-Ruben Baler

Do drug uses cause many people to do commit suicide

-Commment101, Illinois

This is a difficult question to answer. From what we know about drug addiction, drug use can make a mental illness worse (like depression). Also, people with drug addiction can become depressed because of their addiction and the consequences that come with it. Drug use can also impair judgement. Drug use can also lead to isolation (because people lose important relationships, can not keep a job, etc.). We do know that these factors - mental illness, impaired judgement, and isolation - are risk factors for suicide. So, drug use may exacerbate suicide risk, but it is not a clear risk factor for suicide.

-Michelle Leff

do drugs afect people with ADHD difrently then people without ADHD?

-TigerBaby, Missouri

Yes. In people with ADHD, stimulant medications generally have a calming and 'focusing' effect, particularly in children. However, because these medications affect the dopamine system in the brain (the reward pathway), they are also similar to illegal drugs when they're abused--like taken at doses or by routes other than prescribed. For those who abuse stimulants, the range of adverse health consequences includes risk of dangerously high body temperature, seizures, and cardiovascular complications.

-Jen Katt

Do drugs affect ability to sleep? -SNORLAX

-snorrrrrlaxxx, Texas

SNORLAX? Sounds like a Dr. Seuss character. Yes, drugs can affect your sleep, your mood, your family relationships, your achievement in school, your ability to drive, and many other things.

-Jen Katt

Do drugs affect any of your other senses? If so which ones and which drugs affect them?

-ClariceR, Colorado

Yes, and some more than others. For example, LSD can enhance and disturb visual perceptions, marijuna can also increase somatosensory perception making touch or food flavors more intense.

-Nora Volkow

do drugs cause major brain damage

-troll man, Maryland

Yes, they can, and in many different ways. For example, some drugs like cocaine or stimulants can produce a blood flow reduction and stroke, while other drugs can shrink the number of brain cells by activating brain chemicals that cause brain cell death. You can find more information on the health effects of various drugs here:

-Anto Bonci

Do drugs effect animals like they do with humans?

-Leah K, Missouri

Why? You're not planning to give your cat 'Fluffy' any drugs are you? Just kidding, Yes- if fact scientists often use animal like specific genetically bred mice and rats as a model to better understand how drugs affect the body and how addiction develops. They use these animals because believe it or not our brains are not that different from other animals like rats and mice and when given the opportunity to take drugs, they show signs of addiction that we see in people! Have a uncontrollable desire to learn more about the use of animal models in research? Click here -

-David Shurtleff

Do drugs have any calories?

-parisp, New Mexico

A calorie is a unit of energy...and most drugs are taken in tiny amounts and provide no nutritional value. So that would be a 'no.'

-Nancy Pilotte

Do drugs have different effects on different people?

-DKendall5587, Pennsylvania

Hey DKendall5587! This is a very astute question....they do, indeed! Here's why: Each person has individual differences that impact how they respond to a drug. People are different, and addiction has many sides to it that make a person more or less likely to become addicted to a drug, such as genetics (e.g., genes that metabolize drugs can be different across people), environment (e.g., drug availability; parents using drugs/tobacco/alcohol) and development (e.g., age--the younger you are when you try a drug, the more likely you are to abuse it), all of which play important and changing roles in determining how a person becomes addicted. No matter what, all drugs of abuse are bad for your body! Get accurate facts on drugs so you can make healthy decisions for your brain and body. See: Keep up the good work and 'Just Say Know!'

-Joni Rutter

Do drugs have similar results on animals as they do on humans?

-iank, New Mexico

Drugs can definitely affect animals. In fact, a lot of the research we support uses animals to examine the effects of drugs. When it comes to conducting tests related to intelligence, learning, and drug abuse, rats are a popular choice due to their high intelligence (believe it or not!), cleverness, and adaptability. Their psychology, in many ways, seems to be similar to humans. The great thing about rats and other animal models is that rats don't have social pressures, they don't care about being popular, or how they look (ever seen a rat with a Justin Beiber hairdo?). Rodents don't know what addiction is. This means that when scientists observe addictive behaviors in rats, they know that those effects are likely to have similar effects in humans. And, the rat brain has many of the same 'parts' as the human brain, just on a smaller scale. Believe it or not, they've been used in biology and psychiatry research since the late 1800's! Since then, rats have been used in many experiments, which have added to our understanding of genetics, diseases, the effects of drugs of abuse. A 2007 study found rats to possess metacognition (knowing about knowing), a mental ability previously only documented in humans and some primates. Thanks for the great question!

-Joni Rutter

do drugs help you become insane?

-123456789, North Carolina

Hi 123456789 Yes they can, there is actually a very strong link between drug use and mental illness, in both directions. Sometimes, people with mental illness use drugs in an attempt to self medicate (e.g., anxiety or depression), in other cases, drugs can trigger or exacerbate a mental illness. your question make sme think that you might find the following document on comorbidity intersting good luck to you Ruben

-Ruben Baler

do people do drugs to releave pain ?

-woodlandms, Illinois

I like this question! Most drug addicts are not having much fun. They tend to be suffering, and the abuse of drugs is mostly to reduce their suffering and pain, both psychological and physical.

-Dave Thomas

do people drug other people?

-HChatigny, New Hampshire

Good question. Unfortunately people do drug other people. The most common cause of this is 'date rape' this is no joke and carries the same penalty as rape. We have no real statistics, but I would guess the next reason is a type of bullying, where they drug them and then take embarrassing pictures and other similar activities.

-Richard Denisco

do people get addicted to drugs they're first time or get addicted the more times they take a drug

-hopesolo, Illinois

People dont get addicted the first time they take the drug. They have to take it several times to become addicted. However, some people require less exposure than others making them particularly more vulnerable to addiction.

-Nora Volkow

Do people get aggressive when they get high

-redneckgirl, Maryland

Depends on the person and the drug taken. Some people get aggressive, whereas others become passive. So there is no specific answer. For more information about drug abuse and addiction go to:

-Joe Frascella

Do people get depressed when they use drugs?

-fun101, Maryland

Sometimes. Drugs can be both the cause and effect--can cause mood changes or be the effect of attempts to self-medicate feelings of sadness or emptiness--usually, in the end, only making things worse for people trying to counter these feelings.

-Jen Katt

do people get more depressed when they use drugs?

-kruiz, Texas

Many drugs with continued use have been shown to cause depression...for example, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamine, alcohol, ecstasy, marijuana, opioids, etc. For more information on drugs, check out:

-Joe Frascella

do people really eat faces when take bathsalts? does that make you a canable

-Shanaynay S, Missouri

Hi Shanaynay, Bath salts are bad news, but they won't make you eat faces or act like a cannibal (probably)! Some violent and cannibalistic attacks reported in the news last year were attributed to bath salts by the media before the facts were known, and those drugs turned out not to be involved. The 'face eater' in Miami turned out only to have marijuana in his system when his blood was tested. But bath salts (technically called synthetic cathinones) have powerful stimulant and hallucinogenic properties--they can cause hyperactivity and delirium and even violent psychosis in a minority of users. For more on bath salts, see Eric

-Eric Wargo