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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why do you think people try and convince others to vape or do drugs with them

-Cassie, Illinois

Hi Cassie. Thanks for your question!! Everyone wants to feel like they 'fit in' with their friends, so maybe someone who is vaping or doing drugs doesn't want to feel alone or like they are the only one who is using. Or maybe someone thinks that if others are doing drugs with them that makes it okay. But it's not. Remember, just like someone can try to convince you to vape or do drugs, you can try to convince them to not. Not all pressure has to be negative; peer pressure can push someone to make positive choices, too!!

-Amy Goldstein

Why do YOU think that students are drinking/using drugs?

-Foxtrot15, Illinois

Hello Foxtrot15
There are several reasons why students/youth may engage in using alcohol and/or drugs. Here are some common reasons or risk factors:
they may get into drugs because of their peers who are already using and face peer pressure;
they may have family members who use drugs/alcohol who model these behaviors;
some youth take drugs to relieve stress, which is temporary, since in the long run it leads to more stress from the negative consequences;
some may use it to deal with boredom and loneliness;
some have a propensity for risk taking behaviors and seek drugs and alcohol to satisfy these impulses.

Here is a link if you would like to read more on this topic:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/talking-to-your-kids-communicating-risks

-Emily Einstein

why do you think there is more binge drinking in the US compared to other countries or is there?

-nico, California

Good question! There is actually more binge drinking among teenagers in most European countries than in the US!

-Cora Lee Wetherington

why does alcohol burn when you drink it?

-KC, Montana

Alcohol irritates the cells in the skin and mucous membranes that carry pain signals to the brain. Thanks for your question.

-Shwe Gyaw

Why does alcohol make you feel happy when drinking it?

-wpierce, Texas

Not everyone feels happy when they drink alcohol. Some people like alcohol because it activates the pleasure areas of the brain and reduces activity in the areas that make us feel anxious or afraid. Unfortunately, when the alcohol wears off the person can feel bad emotionally. If they continue to drink in an effort to get those feelings back, they can develop tolerance and dependence and find themselves trapped in a cycle of drinking to feel better, feeling bad when the alcohol wears off, craving and seeking alcohol, then drinking again. Even if someone likes alcohol because it makes them feel "happy" eventually most people end up feeling much worse than when they started.

-Dave Thomas

Why does alcohol stay in your system for 3 days? Where does it stay?

-klaroque, Wisconsin

How long alcohol stays in someone's system depends mostly on how much they drank. In general, the liver gets rid of one serving of alcohol (e.g., a beer, glass or wine, or shot of alcohol) in about 1.5 hours. So, if someone had two glasses of wine at dinner, it would take about 3 hours for all of the alcohol to be broken down. So it's hard to imagine that someone could drink enough to still have alcohol in their body 3 days later.

-Tisha Wiley

why does dope make my friends crazy

-bubbles, Illinois

Hi Bubbles,
While I don't know exactly what you mean by making your friends "crazy", or which drug you mean by "dope," but there are some reasons why drugs might make people act differently than they normally would. Some drugs can make people impulsive, doing things that they wouldn't normally do and making decisions that they might normally think better of. Some drugs can also lead to disorganized thinking, which might lead to people saying strange or meaningless things. Unfortunately, regular use of some of these drugs can alter the brain to be more and more like this over time, even when the person is not actively using. There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Eric Murphy

Why does Dr. Dave Thomas have a minion in is profile picture. WHY

-Okay Woah, Illinois

No, no, no. You have it all wrong. I am the minion. Some goofy bald man photo bombed the picture!!!

-Dave Thomas

Why do people (largely teachers and administrators) only talk about addiction but no mental health issues?

-Foxtrot15, Illinois

Hi Foxtrot15,
That's an interesting question. I think it is important to talk about both addiction and mental health issues. It is possible that the teachers and administrators in your school talk about addiction because they think it is easier to address that problem: if folks don't start taking drugs, then they won't get addicted to them. It is true that individuals with mental health issues are at higher risk of developing an addiction because they are more likely to start using drugs to deal with their mental health symptoms. However, drug use can have mental health impacts in anyone over time, so addiction prevention is definitely an important topic. It would be great if schools could devote more time to mental health education as well, maybe you can suggest it to your teacher!

Learn more here about substance use and mental health, here: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/substance-use-and-mental-health/i...

-Aaron White

why do people add weed in edible foods?

-TY, New Mexico

The popularity of edible weed products kind of surprised us, and the types of products that are out there (especially chocolates and baked goods) have clearly appealed to the public. Some people may use edibles to avoid smoking and harming their lungs. But the THC in edibles is still addictive, and edibles can be particulary risky because its hard to control the amount you get and the timing of when you will feel it (which varies but can take 1 to a few hours). Many people who go to emergency rooms with an overdose have used edible products (including young children). While cannabis overdoses are rarely fatal, people do experience severe anxiety, paranoia and psychosis (seeing and hearing things that aren't there).

-Susan Weiss

Why do people black out when they drink too much alcohol?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Good question! Alcohol shuts off a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is what makes our memories for the events that take place in our lives. With the hippocampus shut off, people can't record new memories. See this NIAAA article for more info about blackouts: http://www.spectrum.niaaa.nih.gov/archives/V10I1Feb2018/features/features-02.html

-Aaron White

Why do people call me gay when I don't smoke marihuana with them?

-remiso76,

Hi Remiso76, if you're asking me, maybe it's because they feel insecure about what they are doing and think that if they can get others to smoke with them that will make it okay or cool. I know it can be hard, but try not to give in to peer pressure or name calling. Here are some tips for avoiding peer pressure: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/good-riddance-peer-pressure.

-Amy Goldstein

Why do people chose to take adderall and what are the benefits and consequences?

-anonymous , Illinois

Stimulants such as Adderall® or Ritalin® are often prescribed for ADHD. When taken as a doctor prescribes, they are generally safe and effective. But because prescription stimulants act on the same brain systems in the same way as some addictive drugs, taking them to get "high" can put people at risk for negative health effects, including addiction and overdose. To learn more about mental health medications: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/mental-health-medications/index.s...

-Eve Reider

Why do people continue to use drugs even though it hurts their family and friends?

-mpapa, New Jersey

Great Question! People use drugs for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. People can know drugs are bad for them, but they may still choose to take the risk, while others may not be aware of all the risks. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. The definition of addiction is that you continue to use the drug despite negative consequences. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/i-wish-that-i-could-be-like-the-cool-kids

There is also a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Carol Krause

Why do people create good flavored e-ciggarettes

-Whyyousomean, Oregon

Hi why...
Simple answer, these corporations are trying to lure kids into buyng their "cool" products and get them hooked. Once they are introduced to the behavior they are more likely to try nicotine laced e-cigs and become fully addicted, and then customers for life (until death)
try to stay cool and away from any vaping.

-Susan Weiss

why do people do drugs

-teletubbies123, Illinois

People do drugs for lots of different reasons. Some people do it to impress people. Some people do it feel good in the moment, kind of like eating junk food. But the effect of using drugs - any drugs - on your brain and body can be severe, especially if you start using drugs when you are in your teens. There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. Stay safe!

-Carlos Blanco

Why do people do drugs even though they know that they are bad for them?

-ER , Oregon

Hi there. Great question. People use drugs for a number of reasons--including availability, the people around them may use, they think it is cool, they are experiencing physical or emotional pain, etc. Most people may not be fully aware of the harmful and addictive effects of drugs. It is important for teens to be informed and know the facts about drugs. This webpage is a great source for you to learn more about different drugs, and how they can negatively impact you: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Jacqueline Lloyd

Why do people do drugs when they are depressed when they know it will get the more depressed?

-Mohammad, Illinois

Hi Mohammad,
That is a great question! While it is hard to know exactly why someone might choose to use drugs, one possible explanation is that sometimes people think more about their immediate future than the long term consequences of drug use. Someone who is depressed might be so focused on feeling less bad as soon as possible that they don't think about the fact that taking drugs might make their symptoms worse over time.

-Eric Murphy

why do people do drugs?

-k, Illinois

People do drugs for lots of different reasons. Some people do it to impress people. Some people do it feel good in the moment, kind of like eating junk food. But the effect of using drugs - any drugs - on your brain and body can be severe, especially if you start using drugs when you are in your teens. There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. Stay safe!

-Carlos Blanco

why do people drink alcohol to get away from their issues?

-TerilynYazzie, New Mexico

Hi,
Some people do seek alcohol to deal with stressful and negative events and feelings. However, this relief is usually temporary and does not solve the problem. Over time, alcohol can increase the feelings of stress and have major negative consequences. There are many effective treatments for stress and anxiety, and it is important for people to seek help for dealing with stress and other issues from a professional.

-Vijay Ramchandani

why do highscoolers get so adicted to juuling

-chamness_a, Oregon

Juuling has increased - it is something new and some teens think it is cool. However, using nicotine can be harmful for the developing teen brain. More information on juuling and nicotine can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm and https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/pdfs/Electronic-Cigarettes-Infographic-508.pdf

-Redonna Chandler

Why do kids and teens get addicted to drugs, when they know that it's bad?

-allisonbrennion, New Hampshire

allisonbrennion, That's a great question. Sometimes we do things that we know we probably shouldn't do. But even though teens know they shouldn't do drugs, they may not know all they should about the effects of drugs on the brain and on their health. Teens may be curious or feel the need to be included when others are using. They may believe that they have control and can stop whenever they decide. Trust your instincts--and learn all you can.

-Aria Crump

Why do kids even bother vaping in the first place? I do not see the reasons as to why so I was wondering if you knew.

-Georgiana, Illinois

Great Question! Kids try vaping for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, and curiosity.They also may not realize that most vapes contain nicotine, which can be addictive. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/i-wish-that-i-could-be-like-the-cool-kids

There is also a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Emily Einstein

WHY DO KIDS TAKE DRUGS?

-ladarius-FVSU4H, Georgia

People use drugs for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. People can know drugs are bad for them, but they may still choose to take the risk, while others may not be aware of all the risks. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/i-wish-that-i-could-be-like-the-cool-kids
It is important for people to remember to take charge of their own health and not let others dictate what risks they should take.

-Carol Krause

Why do kids use drugs?

-amo, Illinois

Great question amo! There are many reasons that kids or adults use drugs. Some people use drugs because they are bored or to fit in with a crowd while others use drugs to help them deal with stess and problems they face. Using drugs to deal with problems is counterproductive because drug use can make problems worse. Counselors and others supportive friends and adults can help with real solutions.

-Aria Crump

why does liquor make my friends do bad stuff

-bubbles, Illinois

Alcohol produces disinhibition which gets worse as the dose increases. Disinhibition means your frontal cortex -- the brain's supervisory system -- goes off line so people engage in behaviors that they normally would not exhibit.

-George Koob

Why does marihuana affect different people in different ways? If it's just a process of mouth to lungs to brain? Why some people don't feel anything until more smoking?

-remiso76,

Hello remiso76, this is a great question! While the process of how marijuana moves throughout the body may be the same in different individuals, the extent of its effects on a person is determined by how much marijuana is consumed, how it is consumed, and--importantly--the individual person's own sensitivities to the chemicals in marijuana. In some cases, a person no longer responds to a drug in the way they did at first. So it takes a higher dose of the drug to achieve the same effect as when the person first used it. To learn more about the effects of marijuana on the body, check out: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

-Katia Howlett

why does Montana have lots of people who overdose or get drunk under the age of 18.

-SB, Montana

We're not sure if the problem is bigger in Montana than eslewhere. The good news is that far fewer teenagers drink alcohol across the US now than they did just a few year ago.

-Marsha Lopez

Why does my dad drink so much?

-TB, Illinois

This is a hard question to answer in a format like this. We recommend talking to another adult who you trust about this. A resource like https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/ would be useful to help people you trust discuss your dad's drinking.

-Aaron White

why does snorting cocaine hurt my nose so much

-JQ, Montana

Not only will snorting cocaine hurt your nose, but it will also cause nosebleeds and eventually ulceration in your nose and sinuses. The ulcerations can be so bad that you can end up with a hole in the middle part of your nose. The reason is that cocaine is usually made as either a hydrochloride salt or a free base. When you snort cocaine hydrochloride, it dissolves into hydrochloric acid which causes severe burns. As the free base, cocaine is highly alkaline (like lye or drain cleaner) and that leads to tissue damage as well. Cocaine itself will act as a local anesthetic and numb the tissue, so you end up not realizing how much damage you are doing to yourself.

-Marsha Lopez