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 you overdose on steriods

-alex, Ohio

Good question, Alex. Steroids can have negative or adverse effects and you can become addicted or dependent on steroids, but people don't really overdose on steroids. It doesn't affect your respiratory system to stop breathing and doesn't cause your heart to stop beating. But it can really affect the way in which your body functions. Thanks for asking!

-Marilyn Huestis

can you please answer this qustion in the next 5 minutes/how can people die from getting drunk

-Jvarughese, Texas

That can be hard to predict exactly. In general, a blood alcohol level above 0.30% is considered potentially fatal. Here's an example: In the last month, several teenagers, mostly college students, died from alcohol poisoning with blood alcohol levels around 0.35%. For a healthy, 140 pound female, reaching this level would require around 10 drinks in a 2 hour period, or around 13 drinks in 2 hours for a 160 pound male. It is important to point out than having any alcohol at all can increase the chances of dying from injuries, such as falls, drownings or car crashes. If you drink enough alcohol, it can shut down parts of the brain that are important for keeping us alive. If those areas are shut down, the heart can stop beating and we can stop breathing. In essence, it's like alcohol flips a switch and shuts the body off.Here are some of the factors that influence how fast people get drunk: How much alcohol they drink and how fast they drink it Whether there is food in the stomach to slow how quickly alcohol gets into the body How much they weigh Whether they are male or female -- females tend to be affected more by alcohol than males Getting drunk faster also makes drinking more dangerous. Drinking quickly can turn off the brain's memory centers and cause 'blackouts', or an inability to remember what you did while drinking. Getting drunk faster can make it more likely that the vital centers in the brain will be shut off.

-Aaron White

can you put

-doug r, Ohio

Hmm. Well, you can probably put many things in peaches, including cinnamon and sugar, or even chicken soup...but why would you want to? As far as heroin is concerned, it would be ineffective if you eat it

-Nancy Pilotte

can you put heroin in peaches

-doug r, Ohio

Hmm. Well, you can probably put many things in peaches, including cinnamon and sugar, or even chicken soup...but why would you want to? As far as heroin is concerned, it would be ineffective if you eat it.

-Nancy Pilotte

can you run faster when you are high on cocain?

-cesarnajera, Oklahoma

I doubt it, although it is possible that someone on any stimulant drug might be able to run farther.

-Ruben Baler

Can you slap the drug addict out of them?

-J Nguyen, Texas

Well, our treatment system would be a lot less expensive if slapping worked, but we don't have any evidence that it would succeed as a long-term strategy! Recovery from drug addiction is a complex process -- NIDA scientists have spent years researching medications as well as behavioral (counseling) strategies that work for people with drug addiction problems. To learn more about science-based drug abuse treatment, check out our publication, 'Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment,' at http://www.nida.nih.gov/PODAT/PODATIndex.html.

-Lori Ducharme

can you smoke

-lthors, Massachusetts

No. The heat would cause the alcohol to vaporize and burn off

-Aaron White

can you smoke alcohol

-lthors, Massachusetts

No. The heat would cause the alcohol to vaporize and burn off.

-Aaron White

can you stop doing drugs without help from family friends, or doctors?

-chenoahsmall, Vermont

Some people quit using drugs without treatment - but I'm not sure they are able to do it successfully without the help from family or friends. For a person addicted to drugs it is extremely difficult to quit. Research indicates that the support of family, friends, and treatment are extremely important. Here is a website about treatment approaches: http://www.nida.nih.gov/PDF/InfoFacts/IF_Treatment_Approaches_2009_to_NIDA_92209.pdf. Another helpful website is: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/peerx/. For more information on drug treatment see: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.

-Redonna Chandler

Can you swim well when your high, or would you just drown like when your wasted?

-GradyW, Indiana

Just had a similar question about driving, and the answer is simple...if you are high, your abilities to drive, swim, or do other activities that require concentration and some physical effort, being high can negatively affect your behavior and performance. For more general information on the science of addiction check out this link: http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

can you tell if someone is addicted to drugs?

-hlgesel, New York

Hi Hlgesel! Thanks for your question. Drug addiction has a lot of symptoms -- or signs that someone has a problem with drugs. Some common symptoms include losing control over drug use, getting into trouble because of drug use, doing poorly at school or work, using more and more of a drug to get 'high', and giving up activities (like sports, hanging out with family) because of drug use. Essentially, drug use becomes more and more important to a drug addict -- more important than other things in life. For more information on how drugs affect your brain go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_brain1.php .

-Kevin Conway

Can your mental health be affected with drugs and cigarettes or because of depression? Are there any other reasons why people kill themselves? Which affect is the worst?

-jum, Texas

hi: This is a really good but really tough question! Drug use and mental health problems can definitely be related, but the relationship is complicated. It is a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg question. Sometimes people use drugs when they are experiencing mental health problems in an attempt to feel better, but often use of unprescribed drugs leads to more problems, such as depression. If someone who isn't already having mental health problems starts to use drugs, the drug use can lead to problems (for example, problems at school, and in relationships with parents, family, and or friends), and these stresses can than affect their mental health. Getting high can also lead to using other drugs; and drug use in general affects your brain functioning. Sometimes, effects such as memory problems can be lasting. We don't know everything we need to know about why people become suicidal, but we do know that mental illnesses such as depression or PTSD and alcohol or other drug-use disorders can increase the risk for suicide, so it is important to get help and stick with a treatment plan. Suicide is often an impulsive act, and use of alcohol and drugs can make people act more impulsively. And at the time that a suicidal person is feeling at their worst, their focus might be on ending their suffering without considering how final suicide is and how many friends and family members would be affected. They may not realize that they can feel better with treatment. Suicide is preventable. For more information about suicide prevention, resources and where to find help in your area, check out these links: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml and http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/getting-help-locate-services/index.shtml and http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/selected-suicide-prevention-online-resources.shtml

-Joel Sherrill

could a baby in the womb get high by their mother smoking

-wramirez, Illinois

Hey Golder College Prep HS. You've asked a really interesting question, one for which we do not have an answer. We do not know if a baby in the womb gets high when the mom smokes marijuana, but we do know that the active ingredient in marijuana do get into the baby's brain where it can affect the baby and later during childhood and longer. Illegal drugs used during pregnancy, such as
cocaineand marijuana, have been associated with a variety of adverse effects, though more research is needed to draw causal connections. Effects may be subtle and generally range from low birth weight to developmental deficits affecting behavior and cognition. For example, impaired attention, language, and learning skills, as well as behavioral problems, have been seen in children exposed to cocaine and marijuana, all of which can affect success in school. So, although we do not know whether a baby gets high when the mom uses illegal drugs during pregnancy and when she smokes during pregancy, the baby is at risk for unwanted outcomes during development. Here's a link that talks about risks of prenatal drug exposure:
http://www.drugabuse.gov/tib/prenatal.html

-Cora Lee Wetherington

could a baby in the womb get high by their mother smoking marijuana???

-wramirez, Illinois

Hey Golder College Prep HS. You've asked a really interesting question, one for which we do not have an answer. We do not know if a baby in the womb gets high when the mom smokes marijuana, but we do know that the active ingredient in marijuana do get into the baby's brain where it can affect the baby and later during childhood and longer. Illegal drugs used during pregnancy, such as cocaine and marijuana, have been associated with a variety of adverse effects, though more research is needed to draw causal connections. Effects may be subtle and generally range from low birth weight to developmental deficits affecting behavior and cognition. For example, impaired attention, language, and learning skills, as well as behavioral problems, have been seen in children exposed to cocaine and marijuana, all of which can affect success in school. So, although we do not know whether a baby gets high when the mom uses illegal drugs during pregnancy and when she smokes during pregancy, the baby is at risk for unwanted outcomes during development. Here's a link that talks about risks of prenatal drug exposure: http://www.drugabuse.gov/tib/prenatal.html

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Do you have a life or are yall computyer?

-548819, Texas

We might be scientists and science writers but we definitely have cool lives--have you read the bios we are posting?

-Carol Krause

Do you reccomend the 12 steps of recovery for drug addicts and alcoholics?

-katiejs, Wisconsin

Some people find these programs extremely helpful, especially in supporting their recovery over the long run. There are also treatments that have been shown by research to help people recover from various addictions and medications that can help with some (nicotine, alcohol, and opiates). People need to find the right approach for them, and they may need additional help such as job training, linkage to other medical care etc. NIDA has a booklet that describes the principles of effective treatment that you can find at : http://www.nida.nih.gov/PODAT/PODATIndex.html

-Susan Weiss

Do you think

-ims301, Louisiana

Hello to Iberia Middle School! The relationship between cocaine use and seizures is complex one. The likelihood that someone would experience a seizure can vary by frequency, mode of intake (how you do it), and the amount. Want to read more about it? Check out this link https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/stimulants 

Curious about it still? Why don't you become a drug researcher--you ask great questions!

-Bethany Deeds

Do you think cocaine causes people to have seizures?

-ims301, Louisiana

Hello to Iberia Middle School! The relationship between cocaine use and seizures is complex one. The likelihood that someone would experience a seizure can vary by frequency, mode of intake (how you do it), and the amount. Want to read more about it? Check out this link http://teens.drugabuse.gov/mom/mom_stim1.php Curious about it still? Why don't you become a drug researcher--you ask great questions:>

-Bethany Deeds

do you think Europe has the right idea for a drinking age of 18 and having parents let their kids drink in moderation?

-chenoahsmall, Vermont

In general, no. It turns out that kids not only start drinking at younger ages in European countries compared to the US, they also get drunk at earlier ages and are more likely to binge drink than teens here. In other words, European teens do not drink more moderately than teens here in the US. In fact it is the opposite. Other research tells us that kids whose parents let them drink at home are more likely to develop problems with alcohol than kids who can't drink at home. Taken together, the facts tell us that the 'European model' is not one that would produce the desired results here.

-Aaron White

Do you think everyone will try drugs at least once in their life time...even if they dont get addicted?

-chicky, Maryland

Good question. Not everyone will - but, lots of people do try drugs. The problem is we can't predict who will keep going with drug use or get addicted. And anyone who uses can get into trouble--like having an accident or having a heart attack.

-Wilson Compton

do you think smoking can affect your life span?

-958832, Maryland

We know from scientific research that the earlier you smoke or use other drugs, the more likely you are to become addicted and suffer serious social and medical consequences, like having yellow teeth, lack of physical activity, asthma and other lung problems, as well as increasing your risk for cancers. Smoking causes so many health consequences--it can certainly shorten your lifespan. So....tell your friends that smoking is not good for them! Thanks for your question. Information about smoking and prevention can be found at www.smokefree.gov.

-Joni Rutter

Do you think that the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18?

-augie117, Minnesota

The legal drinking age was raised to 21 because too many young people were being hurt by alcohol. Raising it to 21 resulted in a big reduction in the number of young people being killed in alcohol-related car crashes. The decision to raise the drinking age to 21 was made before researchers started studying the teenage brain and how alcohol effects it. Now we know that the brain keeps growing until after the age of 21 and that alcohol can damage the teenage brain. So, it turns out that a drinking age of 21 makes sense from a brain standpoint, too! For more info on how alcohol affects kids, check out: http://thecoolspot.gov/index.asp

-Aaron White

do you think that when teens see people smoking on tv or in magazines, they want to to start smoking?

-mwhite, Illinois

Great question. There has been research showing that some teens (not all) can be influenced by seeing people smoke in ads, or on tv, or in movies. Some of these researchers have also tried to understand why this happens, including understanding what is happening in the brain when teens are exposed to media with people smoking. For more information on smoking, click on: http://www.smoking.drugabuse.gov/.

-Belinda Sims

Do you think the legalization of

-avincent, Kentucky

Hello Kentucky! Drug abuse research has shown that in general if use increases, known harms (negative health consequences) can also increase. What we don't know is whether these rates of dependence will increase proportionately with a rise in use or increase or at a faster or slower rate. FYI. In the United States, a number of states have chosen to decriminalize marijuana for medical uses; however, since all other medicines must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on their safety and efficacy--marijuana has not met these standards. There are recognized medical benefits to some of the active ingredients in
marijuana, and scientists are making use of their knowledge about those ingredients, and the body systems that they effect, in order to develop new medications for a variety of symptoms and diseases including pain, obesity, and addiction. A pill form of THC (an active ingredient in
marijuana) is already available for certain conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. However, it is unlikely that smoked
marijuanawill be developed as a medication because of its negative health effects, including the risk of addiction.Currently,the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in all states. This link has some topline data about the increase in marijuana use in 8th, 10th and 12th graders from the latest NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future survey:
http://www.drugabuse.gov/newsroom/10/mtf10overview.html

-Bethany Deeds

Do you think the legalization of marijuana will increase peoples' use?

-avincent, Kentucky

Hello Kentucky! Drug abuse research has shown that in general if use increases, known harms (negative health consequences) can also increase. What we don't know is whether these rates of dependence will increase proportionately with a rise in use or increase or at a faster or slower rate. FYI. In the United States, a number of states have chosen to decriminalize marijuana for medical uses; however, since all other medicines must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on their safety and efficacy--marijuana has not met these standards. There are recognized medical benefits to some of the active ingredients in marijuana, and scientists are making use of their knowledge about those ingredients, and the body systems that they effect, in order to develop new medications for a variety of symptoms and diseases including pain, obesity, and addiction. A pill form of THC (an active ingredient in marijuana) is already available for certain conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. However, it is unlikely that smoked marijuana will be developed as a medication because of its negative health effects, including the risk of addiction.Currently,the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in all states. This link has some topline data about the increase in marijuana use in 8th, 10th and 12th graders from the latest NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future survey: http://www.drugabuse.gov/newsroom/10/mtf10overview.html

-Bethany Deeds

doe sniffing sharpies kill brain cells? like forreal?

-p3nqu1n,

Not sure about actually killing neurons, but repeated or long-term use can cause damage (some permanent) to brain cells and their myelin that could result in tremors, difficulty walking, solving complex problems, and remembering things.See this webpage for more information: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/real-teens-ask-can-inhaling-sharpie-markers-make-you-high/.

-Jim Bjork

Does

-Allison, Indiana

Yes, it does. Heavy drinking - even for just a few days at a time - can cause fat to build up in the
liver. This condition, called steatosis, or fatty
liver, is the earliest stage of alcoholic
liverdisease and the most common alcohol-induced
liverdisorder. The fat build-up makes it harder for the
liverto operate and leaves it open to developing dangerous inflammations, like alcoholic hepatitis.For some, alcoholic hepatitis does not present obvious symptoms. For others, though, alcoholic hepatitis can cause fever, nausea, appetite loss, abdominal pain, and even mental confusion. As it gets worse, alcoholic hepatitis makes the
liverget dangerously big, and causes other problems like jaundice, bleeding, and difficulties getting bleeding to stop (clotting).Another
livercondition associated with heavy drinking is fibrosis, which causes scar tissue to build up in the
liver. Alcohol changes the chemicals in the
liverneeded to break down and remove this scar tissue. As a result, your
liverdoesn't work very well.If you continue to drink, this excessive scar tissue builds up and creates a condition called cirrhosis, basically causes the
liverto slowly shut down and stop working.A variety of complications, including jaundice and diabetes, and even
livercancer, can result as cirrhosis weakens
liverfunction

-Aaron White

Does adderall stunt growth?

-Kai D, Pennsylvania

Good question. Research has shown that the stimulants used to treat ADHD can reduce growth is some people. It's uncertain whether taking time off the medication (such as during the summer) can help to reverse this effect. That's one of the reasons why doctors are careful to prescribe these medications only to people who definitely need them.

-Wilson Compton

does age affect how your body reacts to drugs?

-sshs18, Nevada

Yes, age does affect the way drugs and medicines act in the body. Unfortunately, most studies of medicines are conducted in adults, so we don't know exactly all the ways age can change the way a medicine works. We do know that older people may inactivate or absorb drugs at a different rate, making it likely that they would need more or less than a younger adults. And the brains of children and teens are still developing, and we don't know how drugs may impact brain development. If you look on the package of prescription or over-the-counter drugs (like cold medicine), you will often see that the different amounts are recomended for different ages. We do know that harmful drugs, like marijuana or cocaine, can have a strong effect on young people because their brains are still developing.

-Steve Grant

do steroids cause a big CHANGE in your life in the future?

-37516, California

it surely does in some people who became dangerously aggressive or depressed as a result of their chronic anabolic steroid abuse.

-Ruben Baler