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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do different drugs have different dosage rates. For example would i have to take more of tylenol than advil to get high

-zinzi,

Zinzi, different drugs are taken at differing doses and frequencies. It depends on how quickly the drug is absorbed, how quickly it's metabolized (or broken down by the body), and how easily it can get to the brain. Recommended doses--how much and how often--are always on the label and should be followed to avoid negative consequences. By the way, there is no evidence that tylenol and advil can get you high.

-David White

DO PEOPLE DO DRUGS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DIE?OR ARE THEY DRUGS ATTICS?

-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: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse. 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 www.nimh.nih.gov.

-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: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/these-teens-have-the-right-i-d-e-a/

-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 https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_nicotine1.php

-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 http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-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 http://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh and http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/vol1_2009.pdf (appendix D).

-Marsha Lopez

Do stimulants affect people with ADHD differently than people without ADHD?

-Troy, Pennsylvania

Yes, that is likely the case. Everyone's brains are slightly different and can process information and drugs in slightly different ways. For people diagnosed with ADHD, stimulant medications (e.g., methylphenidate and amphetamines) are often prescribed for treatment (http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/ADHD.html). For people without ADHD, stimulants may affect adversely the normal functioning of the brain (http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_stim1.php).

-Kris Bough

do they make drug flavored gum

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Well - I have no idea... but whatever you do don't chew it!!!

-Redonna Chandler

Do think alcohol should be illegal like other drugs?

-porkchop, Utah

The current laws in the United States allow for alcohol to be sold to citizens aged 21 and older. Even though alcohol can be very dangerous, it's safe for some adults to have up to one (females) or two (males) servings per day. However, there is no known safe amount for kids, including teenagers. For this reason, it is not legal for teenagers to drink.

-Aaron White

Do you ever get annoyed or bored answering all these questions?

-mcskwezme, Pennsylvania

Not at all.....we really enjoy all the great questions we get every year. Keep them coming! We've had almost 3000 questions sent to us in the first four hours and we are working hard to answer as many as we can!

-Cindy Miner

Do you feel that alcoholic drinks like "Four loko" should be banned from being sold?

-cvteacher, Pennsylvania

That's a decision for lawmakers to make, not scientists. They might be more dangerous than just alcohol because the caffeine keeps the person awake and allows them to keep drinking when they normally might stop. Plus, too much caffeine can make a person sick all by itself.

-Aaron White

do you have a fun job

-luckysoccer, Kentucky

Yeah I do, and I like everyone I work with who can see this answer on a big screen we have here at Chat Day HQ and on the web!!! Actually, I have a great job. I love science and discovery.

-David Thomas

Do you know any drug that can make beneficial efects onyour body?

-jorgedanipingu, Other

Great question! There are lots of drugs--called medications--that can have very good effects on you. Remember, all drugs are not abused drugs--drugs are anything you take into your body for its effects, whether it is for control of pain, control of weight, control of diabetes, or antibiotics. Even drugs that have the potential for abuse have medical uses. Heroin is an abused opiate; but morphine, another opiate, is a medical treatment for pain. Cocaine not only can make you high, it is also a very effective local anesthetic still used today in eye surgery. Whether a drug is good for you or not often depends on dose and what you are using it for!

-Nancy Pilotte

do you love doing this job?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

Absolutely!

-Nicolette Borek

do you really hallucinate when taking shrooms?

-jaspir, New Jersey

Great question! The answer is a resounding 'Yes!' The active ingredient in mushrooms is a chemical called psylocibin, which is known to produce altered perceptions. For more information on hallucinogens, see www.drugabuse.gov .

-Nancy Pilotte

do you think ganja should be leagel?

-killa cam, Pennsylvania

I worry about it as a scientist interested in the public's health, so no I don't think so. there are risks of using it, just like with most drugs. For one, you can become addicted although many people don't realize that--about 1 person in 11 whose ever used it will become addicted and the numbers increase when you start young or use it regularly (25-50% of daily users). Did you know that there's a recognized withdrawal syndrome linked to marijuana--its similar to cigarettes--irritability, sleep and appetite problems, and craving--which often keeps people using the drug even when they may want to quit.

-Susan Weiss

do you think it is ok for everyone to try drugs once...the non adictive ones?

-qwerty320, New Jersey

Ahh, good question! There are really no drugs that are nonaddictive. 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: www.teens.drugabuse.gov

-Joe Frascella

do you think marijuana should be legal for medical use

-tyler, Pennsylvania

It already is for medical purposes but let me explain this (it's a little complicated). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for ensuring the safety of everything from cosmetics to human and animal medications to our nation's food supply has not approved marijuana to treat any medical illness. That is because smoking marijuana has not been shown in rigorously conducted studies called, clinical trials, to have medical benefits that exceed its risks--the same standard used to approve any medication. However, the FDA has approved certain medications that contain ingredients found in marijuana. These medications are usually prescribed to relieve symptoms in seriously ill patients, such as reducing nausea for cancer patients on chemotherapy or helping AIDS patients to eat more. Also, there is some new and exciting research looking at the biology of cannabinoids, the general class of molecules related to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. This research suggests new ways of treating pain and other illnesses without the dangers of becoming addicted or the health liabilities linked to smoking marijuana. See http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teens/ for more information.

-Joe Frascella

do you think marijuana should be legal why or why not

-killa cam, Pennsylvania

No. Mostly because if its legal, it's likely that more people will smoke it more often and that increases the number of people who become addicted to it (about 9% of users become addicted), the number of people that get into car accidents because of it, and the loss of potential in youth who do less with their lives because they choose to use drugs rather than help solve our world's problems.

-Carol Krause

Do you think that since more drug awareness is being spread that more people will try to quit?

-), Kentucky

We hope so! Today, we know much more about the consequences of drugs and alcohol on health and we are trying to get the word out. Here are some resources for people who want to increase their drug awareness and who want to quit using drugs, including tobacco. If you know someone who needs help with an addiction, you can find a substance abuse treatment facility by calling 1-800-662-HELP or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov anytime, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. For general information about drugs of abuse go to NIDA's website www.drugabuse.gov.

-Belinda Sims

do you think that using drugs might affect the family of the user ?

-tanta, Maryland

You bet it does! First, it is painful to watch someone you care about doing something that harms their body. Second, repeated use of drugs can change the brain and behavior of the user making them cranky, moody, uninterested in the feelings of others, and decrease their desire to spend time with family members. Sometimes people who use drugs say that their drug use only affects them but if you ask anyone who has a loved one using drugs you'll quickly learn that is not true. To read stories from real teens about drug use and recovery, click on https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/category/real-life-stories

-Redonna Chandler

Does a little amount of alcholo affect a kid and their growth?

-16994369, Maryland

It's very unlikely that a small sip of alcohol can do any lasting damage to your body or affect your growth. But, you should know that exposing the brain to alcohol at a young age can increase the odds of developing a drinking problem down the road. To be safe, stay away from alcohol for as long as you can! Definitely until 21 or older because your brain will still be developing until then and the odds of developing alcoholism are much lower if you wait until after 21.

-Aaron White

Does ahlcohol slow down your body?

-Bobbaganoosh, New Jersey

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

does alchol make you go crazy and make you want more of it

-wwhi, Pennsylvania

Alcohol causes changes in the brain that make it more likely that people will do things they normally would never do. Some people like the effects of alcohol and want more after they drink it, but this defnitely is not the case for everyone. Being addicted to alcohol, according to the National Library of Medicine, means that you have the following problems: Craving - a strong need to drink Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've begun Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating or shakiness after stopping drinking Tolerance - the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get "high" Check this out at: http://vsearch.nlm.nih.gov/

-Aaron White

does alcohol have a long-term effect if you consume it once

-luckysoccer, Kentucky

It depends on how much a person drinks that one time. It only takes one time to drink enough to shut down the brain, cause serious damage, or even death. One episode of heavy drinking may also make you do something dumb or get in an accident. A small amount one time probably wouldn't do any long-term damage.

-Aaron White

Does alcohol have any other effects on the body other than the brain and the liver

-howaboutthat6, Kentucky

Yes, it actually affects pretty much every part of the body. It increases acid secretion in the stomach, which can irritate the stomach. It affects levels of hormones in the body, which can influence growth and development, as well as sleep and athletic ability.Drinking heavily over a long period of time can contribute to problems with your liver, as you mentioned, as well as your pancreas, and heart, can impact your immune system, and can increase your risk for certain types of cancer. For more information on how alcohol can impact your help, check out: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.htm

-Aaron White

Does alcohol or marijuana have more negative effects?

-c7f3e, Maryland

They have different negative effects. It's really hard to compare. For teenagers, using either one is associated with lower grades, and more problems at home and in school. Research suggests that both of them can cause long-term problems with thinking and memory.

-Aaron White