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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Can you get addicted to weed?

-zEFRON, Vermont

yes--9% of users; 1 in 6 if you start young; and 25-50% of daily users become addicted

-Susan Weiss

can you get brain damage by sniffing those scented markers?

-Num nums, New Jersey

Yup. The organic solvents in those markers are what we call 'inhalants' and go directly to fatty tissues and membranes and dissolve the lipids. The organs with the most lipids are your brain and your liver. Children can be particularly susceptible to inhalants--some of whom have died after a single session of inhaling.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can you get dependent on Pain killers even though you got them prescribed by a doctor?

-Flamboiantchick, Utah

I love this question! Lot's of people get confused about this. Yes, you can get dependent on prescription pain killers (opioids). However, this is NOT addiction. Drug dependence is when you have a physiological reaction to stopping taking a drug. With long-term opioid treatment, dependence is common.However, addiction is a different story. Addiction is compulsive use despite harm. That is a lot less common when you get the pain killers from doctors for an actual pain condition. For more info, see

-David Thomas

can you get drunk from peroxcide ?

-trios, Pennsylvania

There isn't any alcohol in peroxide, so it wouldn't make you drunk, but it would probably make you really sick!

-Aaron White

Can you get high by smoking paper?

-Num nums, New Jersey

Probably not, but it depends on what the paper is made out of. My guess that most smoking most types of paper would have more bad effects than good, since when you burn paper and inhale the smoke, it releases a wide variety of chemicals, some of which can lead lung problems including cancer.

-Steve Grant

can you get high by smoking seasonings?

-Mercedes, Vermont

I doubt it; although there may be some seasoning out there that might do it, I guess. I just don't know.Let me know if you know of a specific one.thanks

-Ruben Baler

Can you get high from snorting pixie sticks?

-ASHS, Maryland

nope, just some burning in your nose. I heard some doctors say that maggots could grow there, but I think it's just a rumor.

-Ruben Baler

can you get high of smoking banna peels?

-seniorbrwnwater, Kentucky


-Nancy Pilotte

can you get high of smoking nutmeg?

-seniorbrwnwater, Kentucky

This is a myth that keeps popping up.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can you get high off of any prescription or over-the-counter drug?

-starprepacademy, California

No you can't get high off of just any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. For example, people don't get high from antibiotics. Only drugs that activate specific circuits in the brain will make you high. If you want to learn more about how drugs work in the brain to produce their euphoric effects check out our website,

-Cindy Miner

Can you get high off of medicated marijuana?

-saaabrinuh, New Jersey

yes--marijuana makes you high--it doesn't really matter why you are using it. But it depends on how much you smoke and a variety of other factors. You can also get addicted if you use it repeatedly. Also, just fyi, marijuana is not an FDA-approved medication although some states have legalized its medical use

-Susan Weiss

can you get high off of sharpie markers?

-Rocky, New Jersey

I would not describe the feeling as a high (although I've never inhaled myself :) , is probably more like the effect of a heavy dose of alcohol.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get high off sharpies?

-12345, New Jersey

I would not describe the feeling as a high (although I've never inhaled myself :) , is probably more like the effect of a heavy dose of alcohol.

-Ruben Baler

Does marjiunana weaken your immune system?

-fellowhomie, Virginia

great question,there is some evidence from animal studies suggesting that indeed animals exposed to marijuana for a long time have a less robust immune system and less capacity to fight off infections and cancers. We do not know yet whether chronic marijuana use has a similar effect in humans.take care.

-Ruben Baler

Does meth make a person crazy, and kill people?

-Genifore, Georgia

Not all the time. Actually, in all seriousness, methamphetamine is a strong drug. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and severe dental problems. Its really a nasty drug! Want more information, check out:

-David Thomas

Does NIDA always tell the truth

-google, Maryland

We base all of our answers on what we have learned from scientific studies. So everything you read here, we have research data to back it up

-Cindy Miner

Does occasional drug use permanently effect the brain?

-kwin, Utah

that's a very interesting question, and one for which we don't have a lot of research to base an answer on. We do know from animal studies that you can find changes in the brain occurring after as little as one use, and these changes can persist but we don't know for how long. It also seems to depend on the drug and the pattern of its administration. For example, when you give certain drugs (like cocaine) once a day or every other day, you can detect a gradual increase in its behavioral effects. This can last for weeks after the last drug exposure. On the other hand, continuous exposure to the same drug can produce tolerance--or a diminshed behavioral response to the drug. Both scenarios are associated with changes in the brain, although they differ. We don't have this kind of information in humans, but I would suspect that even occasional drug use would have an effect--but I don't know how permanent it would be.

-Susan Weiss

does orange juice work for a hangover?

-N.S.K, Maryland

There aren't any cures for hangovers, just ways to treat the symptoms. You can take over-the-counter medications like Advil and Tylenol for headaches. You can drink water to get rid of dehydration. Orange juice might help some people because of the water in it. With enough time, the symptoms will go away. Alcohol acts like a poison in the body and the person will feel sick until the body has fully recovered from the toxic effects of the drug. The only way to prevent hangovers is not to drink.

-Aaron White

does poppie seads have marajuana in them

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Umm....I am not aware of any form of poppy seed that contains marijuana. If you find out that it does, let us know....

-Redonna Chandler

Does pot have any long term effects?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

Yes--addiction for one--in about 9% of users, 25-50% of daily users. This means that someone can't quit even though marijuana is 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 optimally--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.

-Joe Frascella

Does rehabilitation truly work for an addict? What other therapeutic methods can be used to help individuals combat addiction?

-TrishP, New Jersey

'Rehabilitation' can mean a lot of things. Usually, it means going to a residential facility, and getting a variety of treatments while in the facility. There are lots of therapeutic options available that don't involve residential treatment. There are many science-based 'outpatient' treatments that have been developed. Some of the most effective are cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational incentive treatment. Family therapy can also be very effective for adolescents. And of course, where there are effective medications, these can sometimes be combined with these treatments.Sometimes people think that rehab doesn't work because they see people relapsing after rehab. But just because someone relapses doesn't necessarily mean that treatment wasn't helpful or that they are beyond hope. Unfortunately, often people relapse-- even more than once-- before they've been able to learn enough skills (and practice them enough) to prevent future relapses.

-Lisa Onken

Does shooting up heroine affect you more than smoking it?

-fellowhomie, Virginia

I'm guessing you mean heroin, rather than a female hero figure. Injection and inhalation are the quickest ways to get the effect of this opiate; smoking (inhalation) may be a little faster because it blankets the lungs (a large tissue) and enters the brain circulation faster, whereas intravenous administration takes a little more time to get to the brain. But the effects are the same regardless of how you take it. For more information, visit

-Nancy Pilotte

During the Prohibition, more people got drunk because they wanted to rebel and smuggle alcohol. Do you feel that if marijuana was made legal, the number of people who abuse it would decrease as well?

-jths2, New Jersey

I'm doubtful about that, especially in this country where opportunity seems to encourage more and more consumption (of anything). In addition, right now most people stop using marijuana as they get older--responsibilities, not worth the risk legally, etc. If it were to be legal and socially sanctioned more people might continue to use, and more health problems would become evident, including increased numbers of people who become addicted to the drug. Do you think that people you know who use it are doing it to be rebellious?

-Susan Weiss

ectsasy ? what happens when you do it?

-I love Pink! :), Kentucky

Thanks so much for this very important question. Ecstasy (also called MDMA) is a stimulant with pyschoactive properties, which means it affects your brain. When you first take it, it generally causes positive feelings and hyper alertness, and decreased anxiety. However, there are a number of negative effects associated with Ecstasy, including nausea, chills, sweating, cramping, and blurred vision. If you were to take too much, it can cause high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness and seizures. Because of its stimulant properties and the environments in which it is often taken (dances or 'raves'), Ecstasy is associated with vigorous physical activity for extended periods. This is one reason for one of the most significant, although rare, acute adverse effects - a marked rise in body temperature (hyperthermia). In the hours after taking the drug, Ecstasy produces significant reductions in thinking and decisionmaking ability. These changes, particularly those affecting memory, can last for up to a week, and possibly longer in regular users.

-David White

Elmo said drugs r bad is this true ?

-HELLO, Maryland

Hey, Elmo is right on on this one

-Cindy Miner

everything in moderation, could this hold true with drugs ?

-bn cv, New Jersey

Moderation is generally a good 'rule of thumb'; however, with drugs it is not clear that this holds. For example, the interaction between drugs and the exact effects it will have on the brain and body are not so well predicted. There are lots of individual differences in how we respond to a drug's effects, its addictive properties, etc.We are not sure how any individual will respond to a drug, and that is what we are trying to find with research. I mean we are trying figure out what specific factors make someone vulnerable to the addictive properties of drugs. Some people are very vulnerable; others are not. When someone tries a drug, he or she can never be sure how the drug will affect them. You can learn more about different drugs and their addictive properties on our teen web site:

-Joe Frascella

first time user of alcohol,what is all of the damage that could happen to your brain?


Drinking just once causes a bunch of changes in the brain that usually go away once the alcohol wears off. Alcohol slows down a part of the brain called the 'frontal lobes.' The frontal lobes help us make good decisions and stay out of trouble. Drinking alcohol increases the chances we will make bad decisions and get in trouble. Alcohol turns on a part of the brain called the 'reward system.' This is what makes alcohol feel good for some people. Alcohol slows down an area called the 'amygdala.' This area helps tell us when we are in danger. By slowing this area down we often fail to recognize when we could be in danger and makes it easier to make bad choices. Alcohol also shuts down a part of the brain called the 'hippocampus', which helps us make memories. Drinking too much alcohol can make it harder for us to make memories and even cause 'blackouts.' These are blank spots in our memories that prevent us from remembering what happened while we were drinking alcohol. Finally, alcohol can slow down the 'cerebellum', which is important for letting us keep our balance and walk without stumbling. Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make the frontal lobes smaller. As mentioned above, the frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things and pay attention. Teenagers who drink a lot have problems with these things. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember things. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking.

-Aaron White

For a minor to drink, how much alcohol can really do damage to the person's body?

-ilovefood1, Kentucky

Well, drinking just one time can do some short term damage. That's why people feel sick the day after they drink alcohol. It's not known for sure how much a young person would have to drink to do major damage. However, we know that drinking when we are young can increase the chances of becoming an alcoholic and it is possible to damage the brain by drinking too much. Drinking a lot of alcohol over many years can lead to problems with your liver, pancreas, heart, immune system, and can increase your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer. So, the smartest decision is to wait until the legal drink age of 21 to drink alcohol.

-Aaron White

four loko, whats so bad???

-STEVE, Pennsylvania

Four Loko contains quite a bit of alcohol. One can of beer is 12 ounces and contains 5% alcohol. One can of Four Loko is almost 24 ounces and contains 12% alcohol. That means that a single can of Four Loko contains between 4-5 servings of alcohol. That's a lot of alcohol and can make it quite dangerous, particularly for people unaware of exactly how much alcohol is in one can of Four Loko. Also, the drink contains a large amount of caffeine. The exact amount is unknown as it is not publicized. The combination of lots of alcohol and lots of caffeine can lead to serious side effects from both of the drugs at the same time. The high alcohol content combined with the caffeine content has many parents and other adults worried about kids getting hurt from drinking it.

-Aaron White

FROM BARCELONA: Which is the substance that makes the drug addictive?

-Elisabet, Other

Welcome! It is the drug itself that is addictive. Addictive drugs react with very specific receptors in the brain; they all release a neurotransmitter, dopamine, that some neurons use to communicate with each other. As it turns out, the release of dopamine signals that something different and unexpected is occurring in the environment, and dopamine puts an imprint or special stamp on the event so that you remember it more easily. Addictive drugs usually have very fast or immediate results, and the effects often last only a short period of time. When people begin to depend on the drugs to make themselves feel good, their brains are changing and producing reactions and behaviors that we call addiction. You may be addicted if you spend a lot of your time thinking about the drug or how to get it, or if it becomes more important than personal relationships in your life. But you should also know that if this happens, treatment works--there is hope. For more information, please go to .

-Nancy Pilotte