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 here.

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Can mushrooms be considered drugs?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Ones with psychoactive components like psilocybin (shrooms) can be...

For more information on hallucinogens (like mushrooms), check out:!

-Nancy Pilotte

Can my body build a tolerance to drugs?

-alicia, Ohio

Fantastic question, Alicia! I assume your talking about drugs that can be abused.  Yes, most people do develop a tolerance to drugs - that means after a person uses a drug for a while, it takes MORE drug for the person to feel the same effect. This is why people who are addicted need more and more of a drug just to feel normal.
Want to know how many teens are using drugs? Check out this infographic:

-Dave Thomas

can my body build up a tolerance to drugs?

-joe45, Maryland

Hi Joe45,
Yes, most people do develop a tolerance to drugs - that means after a person uses a drug for a while, it takes MORE drug for the person to feel the same effect. This is why people who are addicted need more and more of a drug just to feel normal.
Want to know how many teens are using drugs? Check out this infographic:

-Michelle Leff

can Nyquil give you a high or drunk feeling?

-keshawn14, Georgia

Unless you get the non-alcoholic version of Nyquil, it's 10% alcohol. It would most likely put you to sleep (part of its intended effect) before you got drunk on it. If you tried drinking too much of it, you might risk some severe negative side effects of large doses of the other medications in Nyquil.  You would definitely risk alcohol poisoning (not fun...unless you enjoy getting your stomach pumped). The antihistamine in Nyquil might make you feel dizzy, but probably wouldn't really make you feel high...more like disoriented.

-Joseph Frascella

can Nyquil give you a high or drunk feeling?

-keshawn14, Georgia

When taken in a high enough doses cold medicines can be intoxicating. Some teens think “over the counter” cough medicine (which can be bought at a drug store without a prescription) are safer to abuse than illegal drugs. But to get high, they need to take high doses, which can be dangerous.

See the NIDA site for more information:

-Maureen Boyle

can one become immune to their antidepressants like when we have a cold and we fight it off?

-amse0110, Maryland

amse0110: Hello again - another great question! Actually - we can't develop immunity to antidepressants like we can when we contract various infectious diseases, yet we can develop a tolerance to a medication. It is possible that after someone takes a medication for a long time, they might not respond to the medication in the same way that they used to. This is something that someone should talk with your doctor about - they may change the dosage of the meds or select a new antidepressant to try that might be as effective. 

-Denise Pintello

Can one lose weight with cocaine

-sufhsdvk, Maryland

Morning Suf,
Cocaine is a stimulant, and some stimulants are prescribed in weight loss programs.  Cocaine is not.   I suggest diet and excecise.  :)


-Dave Thomas

Can people become allergic to bath salts???

-itsyoGurl, Maryland

Hi againitsyo
people can become allergic to anything.

-Ruben Baler

Can people get drunk off of mouthwash?

-breezywind, Minnesota

Totally depends on the mouthwash. Some mouthwashes contain no alcohol. Others contain alcohol. The amount can vary greatly from product to product. While it's theoretically possible to get drunk off of some mouthwashes, it would probably be disgusting and is not recommended!

-Aaron White

Can people mix drugs with a vape pen without your knowledge.

-MAEGNM, Maryland

Hello MAEGNM--So you put your vape pen down in a room full of pot users.  When you come back, you see them laughing and fear they may have switched your gummy bear cartridge out and put a cartridge with THC or marijuana in.  Possible?  Yes.  Likely without your knowledge--well, certainly not after the first puff.  But it's a good call to always keep your vape pen, and your drink, in your possession--thus it's all on you what you put in your body.

-Lis Davis

can people put drugs in liquid

-chance, Illinois

in some cases depends on the drug and its chemical composition.

-Gaya Dowling

can people smoke marijuana at 16 years old?

-niilane, Maryland

Good question, niilane. They can, but teens are much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of drugs because the brain continues to develop and grow through the age of 25.  You only have one brain, don't mess it up. Check out this video: Development of the Young Brain:

-Joni Rutter

can poppy seeds show positive on a drug test

-kholderness, Michigan

you'd  have to eat a lot of them to get a positive effect, but its possible.  

-Susan Weiss

Can steroids make me more powerful???

-Kim Jong Un, Maryland

Steroids can strengthen your muscles so it will make you stronger if you work out.  The problem is that they do not strengthen your heart muscle and this unbalance can result in heart failure when someone on steroids is invovled in intense physical activity

-Nora Volkow

Can taking more painkillers than the bottle prescribes hurt me?

-glenelg21, Maryland

YES!!!   ABSOLUTELY!  Taking just a pill or two extra in some cases is enough.   And it happens a lot.  About 17,000 Americans die each year from opioid overdoses.   Be careful with opioids and NEVER take more than prescribed.   If you have bad pain, get help from your doctor.  You can even get help from your pharmacist.

For more info see:


-Dave Thomas

Can the chemicals used to raise yields in marijuana have a different effect on the brain than if it were just grown organically?

-Juan Figueroa, California

Hola Juan
probably no, the critical think that affects the potency or brain effects of marijuana is the concentration of THC that is achieved in the plant.
good luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

Can the fumes from melting fabrics harm thought processes?

-glenelg24, Maryland

Hi glen, 
the fumes of anything, at high enough concentration, can and will affect your brain, your thinking process, and even threaten your life.


-Ruben Baler

Can the mary jane be healthy

-Hoopla, Maryland

Hi Hoopla,
No, probably not. There's no positive long-term effect on the brain, and no evidence it actually cures or prevents most diseases. The question is how bad is it for you. If you're a teen, using regularly is definitely bad. 

-Eric Wargo

can the smell of cigarette smoke on someone's clothes harm you?

-ShefBoyRD, Maryland

Hey again, ShefBoyRd - So this is a little different question than your last one.  It's hard to say if smelling a tobacco odor on someone's clothes can harm you.  What you are smelling is a smoke residue -- something called "thirdhand smoke".   Not much is known about the risk of third hand exposure, there are some studies kids living in homes where smokers live do have some risky exposure from the smoke residue on the walls, furniture etc. The odors on clothes will get washed out, limiting your exposure.   Harm from smelling gym socks... well, that's another story!!

-Cindy Miner

can the smell of meth get you high?

-RaoK, Texas

Hi RaoK - I have a question for you: Does the smell of dinner on the table make you full?  

-Joni Rutter

Can tobacco be swallowed?

-chance, Illinois

Hi chance. Yes, there are some forms of tobacco that can be swallowed. You can learn more about the dangers of tobacco and nicotine at

-Ish Amarreh

can tobacco give you cancer

-lionsadv, Texas

Just standing next to it won't give you cancer...using tobacco-containing products such as smokeless tobacco and cigarettes can. Also, secondhand smoke can also cause cancer.  Read up on the effects of smoking at

-Kevin Walton

can u be affected by people that smoke around u

-seahawks boss 1, Georgia

 That’s a great question…I think you are referring to secondhand smoke. A second hand smoker is often someone who lives with a smoker and inhales the smoke from the burning cigarette or from the smoke exhaled from the smoker.  It might also be a non-smoker who works in a place that allows smoking.  The effects of second-hand smoke can be serious. Children who are exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to have respiratory problems like coughing or infections like pneumonia. This incidence of sudden infant death syndrome is also higher. Adult second hand smokers are more likely to have cardiovascular effects, with over 30,000 deaths due to heart disease. If you or someone you live with is a smoker and would like information about quitting, check out

-Kevin Walton

can u die from mary jane

-cashy, Maryland

Hi Cashy,

It's highly unlikely that someone would die just from using marijuana.  It does raise the risk for heart attacks and for some people they can have a psychotic reaction, which can then cause them to do something to harm themselves (or others).  But mostly, marijuana distorts your perception and so its when people drive while under the influence that they risk death.  Stay safe!

-Lis Davis

can u die from reefer

-Yaya Toure, Michigan

Great question Yaya Toure. It depends on the dose. Most people who take it experience problems in these brain activities:

  • Learning and memory. 
  • Coordination.
  • Judgment.

Since THC affects areas of the frontal cortex involved in decision making, using it can cause you to do things you might not do when you are not under the influence of drugs—such as engaging in risky sexual behavior, which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS—or getting in a car with someone who’s been drinking or is high on marijuana.

Also, decision making, concentration, and memory can suffer for days after use, especially in regular users.

-Antonello Bonci

Can u die if u get high???

-Pedro C., Texas

Yes, most drugs can cause overdose and death if taken in high enough quantities.

-Maureen Boyle

Can u do crazy stuff when ur high???

-Pedro C., Texas

hi Pedro
that's a fact.

-Ruben Baler

can u get high off markers

-Jimmy G Buckets, Illinois

Yes, but you need a lot of them. They are a type of volatile solvent inhalant--solvents are liquids that become a gas at room temperature.  And if you have that many, they may cause liver and kidney damage or changes to heart muscle depending on the solvent that is used in the markers. For more information on inhalants, see

-Nancy Pilotte

can u get high off the smell of marijuana?

-chief_tru706, Maryland

hhi chief
no, you can't. but the smell could trigger cravings if you are a regular user.

-Ruben Baler


-AndreG, Texas


-Joni Rutter