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 drugs effect a person's emotions?

-Mariah, Ohio

Drugs can impact emotions.   When one is high, they might get euphoric.  When they come down, they might get depressed or anxious.  Kind of depends on the person and drug used.   In general what goes up, must come down.  Other effects on emotions depend on the particular drug that is abused.  For more information, see:


-Dave Thomas

Can drugs effect your body and brain and also alcohol?

-KevinC, Texas

Great question Kevin,
Absolutely, drugs and alcohol (which, by the way, is a drug) affect many parts of your body and brain. In fact, that is exactly how drugs work, both illegal and legal drugs, by affecting your brain and body. Some of those effects may be beneficial and other harmful. The good effects is the reason why a doctor will prescribe a drug, and the bad effects is why it is important to read the label and talk to the doctor about how the drugs are affecting you. On the other hand, illegal drugs have been determined to have severe bad effects--not only addiction, but damage to many organs and tissues in the body. Excessive alcohol use can damage the liver--a disease called cirrhosis; stimulants can lead to heart problems, and smoking can damage the lungs. Here's more facts from our website:

-Steven Grant

can drugs effects your brain how your friend if they drug addiction

-lionsadv, Texas

lionsadv...what??? I hope this answers your question: Drugs disrupt the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitters that are released from them. Neurotransmitters help to control behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. Other types of receptors in the brain are important for the perception of pain, responses to the environment, and learning and memory. Check out our booklet Drugs, Brains and Behavior- The Science of Addiction at If you feel your friend is in a crisis, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime 24/7. 

-Joni Rutter

Can drugs harm you even if you do it once in a while? Like once every six months?

-BrandonL, Texas

Most drugs can be fatal if taken in high enough quantities. You could overdose even if you only use rarely but the dangers of drug use increase the more often you use and the higher doses you use.

-Maureen Boyle

can drugs infect the feet?

-PatriotsFan#1, Georgia

Hi patriotsfan.

no, unless you inject them in there...
do you?


-Ruben Baler

can drugs kill you

-Denayzha, Georgia

Yes, in high enough doses most drugs can be lethal.

-Maureen Boyle

can drugs kill you

-Denayzha, Georgia

Yup, drugs can kill you. Either from immediate side effects that cause death (like a heart attack or stroke), or from secondary causes, like a car crash while under the influence of a drug, or from the carcinogens (harmful) chemicals in some drugs, like cigarettes, which can cause cancer and kill you.

Thanks for the question, Denayzha!

-Joseph Frascella

Can drugs lead to depression?

-JamieT, Texas

Hi Jamie. Chronic use of some drugs of abuse can cause long-lasting changes in the brain, which may lead to paranoia, depression, aggression, and hallucinations.

-Joel Sherrill

can drugs like weed and cocain actualy screw up easy every day things?

-BONG_BOY, Maryland

thats exactly what drugs do as they have their direct affect on the brain!

-Gaya Dowling

can drugs make people go crazy

-0040853, Florida

Hey there 0040853!  can i call you "853" for short?

Thanks for your great question.

I'm guessing that you're thinking about whether drug use can cause mental health problems. In fact, some researchers are asking the same question themselves! We don't have a lot of scientific data yet, but early indications suggest that marijuana can worsen people's depression or anxiety over time.And thats not a good thing! 

Also, we are looking to see whether drug use can make other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia more likely.

Check out our website for more info:

-Harold Perl

can drugs make people go crazy

-0040853, Florida

Yes.  Many drugs cause mental symptoms.  Paranoia and hallucinations are common when people take high doses of cocaine or methamphetamine.  Even marijuana can cause anxiety, paranoia, and may make people susceptible to serious mental illness.  And alcohol can cause brain damage and mental illness---especially when taken over a long period of time.

-Wilson Compton

can drugs make people go crazy

-brecks, Texas

Yes, drugs can trigger pscyhosis (people think other are trying to kill them and might hallucinate).  Some drugs trigger these episodes more frequently than others (e.g., methamphetamine).  Marijuana at high doses can also trigger psychosis and in those that are vulnerable, might lead to schizophrenia

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs make you a lazy shit

-imalazyshit, Maryland

Hi imalazyshit,
It depends on the drug. There's evidence that heavy marijuana use can indeed make you a lazy...person... The technical term we use is "amotivational syndrome." :-)

-Eric Wargo

can drugs make you commit suicide?


Yes, some of the new "fake weed" products and "bath salts" have caused severe psychotic reactions and caused some users to attempt suicide. Definitely stay away from those!

-Eric Wargo

can drugs make you go mentally insane

-bryancornelius, Texas

Dear bryancornelius,

Thank you for your question. Continued drug use has been linked to symptoms of mental illness, and also linked to increase risk of psychosis in marijuana users, as one example. High doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia) in some users. On the other hand, mental disorders can lead to drug abuse as many people self-medicate. Patients suffering from anxiety or depression may rely on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs to temporarily alleviate their symptoms.

Thank again, and best wishes! There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA’s teen site here:

-Will Aklin

can drugs make you mentally insane

-brianluna, Texas

I'll re-state your question. Do drugs cause mental illness? We know that drugs affect the way your brain functions. This can change a person's personality. Stimulant drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine) can also make people hyper. These drug effects can make it look like the person is "crazy".   There has been research on Marijuana and mental illness: that shows that long-term marijuana use is associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. However it is not yet clear whether marijuana use directly causes or exacerbates these conditions. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis.  Marijuana intoxication can, though rarely does, produce a temporary psychosis, and it may play a role in the development of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals especially those with increased genetic risk. 

-Roger Sorenson

can drugs make your blood thin?

-keshawn14, Georgia

The only drugs that I know of that will make your blood thin are pharmaceuticals designed for that purpose and usually given during surgery or to people with heart disease and atherosclerosis. So if anyone tells you that aspirin, Plavix, or heparin has psychoactive properties, they are lying to you.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can drugs make your blood thin?

-abriannamedeari, Georgia

Hi Abriannamedeari,

Interesting question. There are drugs that are prescribed by doctors to "thin" blood, but those drugs don't make you high or aren't drugs you can become addicted to. Aspirin is also a blood thinner, but again aspirin is not considered to be a drug of abuse. To find out which drugs are addictive, and how they effect your body, click on this link:

-Steven Grant

Can drugs make your brain swell?

-Snowfluff102113, Michigan

That's an interesting question. The first thing that I think of is that drugs can trigger an immune response, just like a bacterial infection. This can recruit additional immune cells into the brain, and may promote more fluid into the brain that could cause increased swelling. But in general, I haven't heard that drugs cause that much swelling. Thanks for asking. 

-Roger Sorenson

Can drugs make your penis small?

-Billy, Minnesota

Uh, no, but steroids can shrink your testicles---which is where your testosterone comes from.  That is why abuse of anabolic steroids (steroid molecules based on the structure and pharmacology of testosterone) can lead to impotence. There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA’s teen site here:

-Nancy Pilotte

can drugs prescribed by doctors still kill brain cells like other unprescribed drugs?

-tollestudent15, Ohio

Yes, for example, pain killers that contain opiates such as vicodin or oxycontin can lead to respiratory depresssion, which if not taken care of, can kill cells in the brain from lack of oxygen,  

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs weaken your bones?

-Authement/Scate, Texas

Alcohol has been shown to weaken bones and lead to osteoporosis. Not sure if other abused drugs have that effect, but if you would like to learn more about effects that drug have, click here.

-Joseph Frascella

can every drug kill you

-Lions Adv., Texas

Hi Lions
Yes, but in different ways. for example:
inhalants can suffocate and kill you after a single dose
marijuana can impair your driving and get you involved in a fatal crash
heroin can force you to use a contaminated needle and get you AIDS
steroids can make you depressed and suicidal.

as you can see there many ways for drugs to kill you.

better safe than sorry.

-Ruben Baler

can heroin kill you

-cassidyb, Texas

Oh yes, cassidyb, heroin can kill you. If the dose is large enough, it can stop your breathing, leading to death. But even if it doesn't kill you it is dangerous to take.  Taking heroin can change your brain so that you become addicted and don't feel pleasure anymore from things that are usually enjoyable.  Find out more about it here: 

-Dave Thomas

Can hookah pens harm you in any way?

-ChristianMedina, Texas

Hi Christianmedina!H ookah pens are really just one name for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. These are battery-operated devices that many people think are a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes...and their use is growing in popularity. E-cigarettes often contain nicotine and produce a flavored aerosol that looks like tobacco smoke but without the tar produced by burning tobacco leaves. While e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, it is still unclear how safe they are. They can still deliver nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug, which poses a significant risk for teens to become addicted. Also, the aerosol from some e-cigarette products were shown to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals including formaldehyde. Until more studies are conducted, there is no way of knowing what the short and long-term health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals may be. Want more information on e-cigs? Click on and

-Kevin Walton

can huka become more harmful if you take it alot ?

-1Dmusikluver, Maryland

Hi 1Dmusikluver - Hookah is just another way to smoke tobacco.  Nicotine in tobacco is addictive, so I don' t know if you'll become addicted to hookah, but you can become addicted to nicotine.  Check out more NIDA resources on hookah at -

-Belinda Sims

Can i die from Vape?

-SlayerofSauron, Michigan

Hmmmm... that's a really broad question. I'm assuming you aren't talking about accidently ingesting the e-nicotine liquid (although that has unfortunately happened and resulted in death). Electronic cigarettes are new to the scene and we don't have a lot of scientific data on their safety or effects yet.  While they may be advertised as "safer" than cigarettes, there is a lot we don't know about the health consequences of e-cigarettes.  There have been a few reports of e-cigarettes exploding when people use them causing some serious injuries to their hands and faces. The bottom don't know what you are getting in these products or their health consequences. Best to wait until we get more information---and it could take a few years before we see good research studies on e-cigs.  For more information see:

-Cindy Miner

Can I Drink Wine if I Take Lipitor?

-Walter White, Michigan

For a healthy adult, it is probably okay to have a glass of wine now and then while taking Lipitor, but this is something the person needs to discuss with his/her doctor. Obviously, teens should not be drinking alcohol! 

-Aaron White

can i eat weed?

-EmilyBlue, Maryland

Hello Emily Blue--Yes.  You can also eat dirt, rocks, and worms but why would you?  Yuck. But if you want to know if you can eat it and feel the high, yes, pretty much like people do that eat it when its baked into brownies or candy.  Often there is a time lag between when you eat it and when you feel the effects, which can cause some people to take too much and get very, very ill and feel psychotic.  So--bottom line just because you can, you still shouldn't.

-Lis Davis

Can I get a high off of the mushrooms that grow in the grass?

-kidgarbo, Michigan

There are many different kinds of mushrooms and all of them grow in the grass, on logs, or on the forest floor. Some do contain psylocibin, which can produce a mind-altering experience.  Unless you are an expert, you may find yourself choosing poisonous mushrooms.  I would pick mine at the supermarket.  

-Nancy Pilotte