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 compare the harmful effects of teen marijuana use versus adult marijuana use?

-eadams, Maine

So far the research shows that teen marijuana use is more dangerous than adult use. The studies focus on regular users of the drug and found long term (maybe permanent) changes in the brain--this is likely because it is still actively developing in youth up to age 25. Changes include: size of brain structures, the amount of neurons in certain areas, the connections between brain structures, and how the brain gets activated when you are doing different tasks. Long term reductions in IQ have been reported; poorer academic outcomes, higher drop out rates, lower income as adults, increased welfare dependence, increased risk for psychosis (in people with a genetic or other vulnerability) and higher rates of suicidal thinking and attempts. This is not to say that its safe for adults--we just don't have as much information, especially for older adults who may have other physical and mental problems.

-Susan Weiss

Can you control yourself while drunk?

-Dezmond@gentry, Texas

It can be hard to control behavior when drunk. Alcohol disrupts the frontal lobes, which help us think about the future, make decisions and control our impulses. As a result, alcohol increases the chances of taking risks and suffering consequences as a result.

-Aaron White

Can you crush up cheez its and snort them? Can you crush up any sort of food or snack and snort it?

-CC, Indiana

Hi CC,
Nope. That sounds like a crummy idea. :-)

-Eric Wargo

can you die form smoking vapors

-Tyrese FVSU 4_H, Georgia

Dear Tyrese FVSU 4_H - you probably can't die from vaping, but it's still not good for you. Instead of actually burning (combusting) the drug, vaping raises its temperature just enough to create a mist-like vapor. It is probably safer for the lungs, which is why people like it. But vaping can be used for marijuana, nicotine, as well as many other substances. Vaping is NOT a "healthy" alternative to smoking cigarettes. We are just beginning to understand vaping but we have much more to learn. Although many of the toxic chemicals from burning cigarettes may not be present in vaping, other dangers may exist! There are many checmicals in the vaping liquid that were never meant to be inhaled. In addition, many of these liquids contain nicotine, which is very addictive.

Stay in control of your health and don't use any tobacco product!

-Heather Kimmel

Can you die from a panic attack caused by marijuana?

-wowbro, Texas

There is no evidence that a panic attack from marijuana can kill u

-Nora Volkow

can you die from a tobacco overdose?

-16764 summit, New Jersey

Hi 16764 summit, thanks for this question! You can't actually overdose from tobacco (although too much of it could make you pretty sick), but there are many dangers to your health from smoking tobacco. The long-term effects of smoking makes it one of the most dangerous drugs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly 90 percent of those deaths. Because that happens over many years of smoking, people often don't think about it when they are young. It is important to think about these effects of tobacco your health, since after all, most people who start smoking when they are young wished they had never started.

-Kevin Walton

Can you die from depression

-Big crill, New York

Big crill - hi there - and thanks for sending me your question. Generally - major depression robs people of energy and interest in life. With treatment, they are very likely to get better - and successfully enjoy life. The big concern is that without treatment, there is the possibility that they consider suicide as an option. If you know someone who is depressed and considering suicide, please have them call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273.TALK (8255) to get some support.

-Denny Pintello

can you die from over the counter drugs

-ummmm..., Texas

Great question. Just because a drug is over the counter doesn't mean there are no health consequences. Typically serious consequences from over the counter drugs come when using more than directed or combining them with other substances. The safest way to use over the counter drugs and other prescription medications is to use them under the care of a health care provider and according to instructions. The most dangerous over the counter drugs being misused by teens are cough and cold medicines, which can be addictive. See here:

-Redonna Chandler

can you die from taking drugs once a day

-trase A, Texas

trase A - for many drugs taking too much just one time can be deadly

-Maureen Boyle

Can you die if you are addicted to drugs, but they are not available?

-Mnehls, Texas

There have been reports of deaths from alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal. Withdrawal from other drugs is very painful and difficult, but usually not fatal. Withdrawal describes the various symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies heroin withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

-Dave Thomas

can you die when you have to much LSD

-doughnut dan77, Texas

Hi there. Yes you can although it is rare. Since 2010, there have been 16 LSD-related deaths, according to the CDC. LSD, or lysergic acid diethyhlamide, is a hallucinogen, which means it can produce hallucinations, and these can recur even months after you stop taking it. LSD produces its effects by acting on specific proteins in the central nervous system. These proteins are on brain cells (neurons) that make serotonin. Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings of despair, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD. Check out for more information.

-Jacqueline Lloyd

Can you drink and not get addicted?

-M.Guerra, Pennsylvania

Yes, for sure! The majority of adults who drink do not develop a problem with alcohol. Teens who drink have a higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life, so while not everyone who drinks will develop a problem, it's better to be safe than sorry.

-Aaron White

can you eat cocaine instead of snorting it?

-summit14020, New Jersey

hey summit14020 - you can but the effects would be different. Cocaine is a topical anesthetic so it will make your mouth numb.

-Maureen Boyle

Can you estimate on average how many students report cases relating to drugs?

-username, New York

Clever username, username, thanks for joining us! According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, 12% of 8th graders, 27% of 10th graders, and 38% of 12th graders reported they had used an illegal drug at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. If you want to look at more individual drug stats, check out or

-Marsha Lopez

Can you explain the connection between marijuana and schizophrenia?

-etarshish, Illinois

Marijuana interferes with processing of sensations and thinking, which is why it can lead to a misrepresentaiton of reality that can result in paranoia and full blown psyshcoses where you cannot recognize what is real from what is not

-Nora Volkow

Can you feel depressed and not know why

-Grace@gentryjr, Texas

Absolutely! A lot of people think that depression is a response to a particular thing going on in your life. However, while it is true that stressful things in your life can contribute to depression, someone could develop depression even if there is no particular event or situation that triggers it. However, it is good to keep in mind that depression lasts for a long time (at least a few weeks of constantly feeling depressed), and that being in a bad mood on and off or for a short while isn't quite the same. For more about depression, check out

-Susan Borja

can you get a heart attack by smoking and drinking alcohol??

-DMM, Illinois

Dear DMM,

This is not a well-studied phenomeonon. However, anything is possible - and certainly smoking and drinking alcohol have bad effects on the body and the brain. Smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Alcohol binging can lead to alcohol poisoning and death.

-Michelle Leff

can you get a high from painting a room all day but not intentionally meaning to get a high?

-Anise F., Texas

i guess so, initially perhaps and for a while. But if there is no ventilation, the fumes, eventually can become so high as to become toxic and you may pass out.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get a high off of food? - Nora Volkow

-brian khols, New Jersey

food can generate a great sense of wellbeing that can be similar to that produced by some drugs but milder

-Nora Volkow

can you get addicted from second hand smoking?

-max rider , Texas

Hi Max Rider-- that is a great question. People become addicted to smoking because cigarettes have high levels of nicotine. Usually, someone exposed to secondhand smoke will not get similar amounts of nicotine. But, secondhand smoke exposes a person to a lot of the toxins in cigarettes, and can cause many of the same bad health effects.

-Kevin Walton

can you get addicted from sniffing hand sanitizer

-kojiro, Maryland

hey kojiro, not that we have heard of!

-Maureen Boyle

Can you get addicted to adhd medication?

-TM, Indiana

Hi TM - Yes it is. People with ADHD can be prescribed Aderall (a stimulatn) to help manage their symptoms. As with other drugs in the stimulant category, such as cocaine, it is possible for people to become dependent on or addicted to prescription stimulants. Withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing stimulant use include fatigue, depression, and disturbed sleep patterns. Repeated misuse of some stimulants (sometimes within a short period) can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia, or even psychosis. Further, taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high body temperature and an irregular heartbeat. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures

-Michele Rankin

can you get addicted to advil

-sam, Indiana

hey sam- this is a very common question today. No you can't.

-Maureen Boyle

can you get addicted to anti-depressants and if so what should you do

-ajstarr02, Texas

No, antidepressants do not produce addiction, but you should consult your physician when stopping use since some of them may need to be tapered (slowly discontinued).

-Nora Volkow

can you get addicted to anything?

-224296, Nebraska

Here's how we talk about it: Drug addiction is a complex, and often chronic, brain disease. It is characterized by drug craving, seeking, and use that can persist even in the face of devastating life consequences. Addiction results largely from brain changes that stem from prolonged drug use—changes that involve multiple brain circuits, including those responsible for governing self-control and other behaviors. Drug addiction is treatable, often with medications (for some addictions) combined with behavioral therapies. However, relapse is common and can happen even after long periods of abstinence, underscoring the need for long-term support and care. Relapse does not signify treatment failure, but rather should prompt treatment re-engagement or modification. For more information, see "Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction."

-Dave Thomas

Can you get addicted to caffeine?

-KanekiSenpai <3, Illinois

KanekiSenpai <3 - yes you can

-Maureen Boyle

Can you get addicted to cough syrup?

-mpalmer, New Hampshire

Hi, mpalmer, thanks for your question. Different types of cough syrup contain medications such as dextromethorphan (DXM) or Promethazine-codeine that can be psychoactive in high doses and can be addictive or habit forming, but quite often these medicines contain other ingredients that are dangerous in high doses. You can read more about more about these medications at

-Marsha Lopez

Can you get addicted to drugs even though you only do it once in a while?

-Jessica, New York

There is a lot we still don’t know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it’s a little like playing “Russian Roulette” if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it.

-Dave Thomas

can you get addicted to foods and drinks like you can get addicted drugs

-legend 27, Texas

Hi legend 27 - you can that's because food and drugs both can overstimulate your body's reward system that can lead to addiction.

-Michele Rankin

Can you get addicted to marijuana?

-Shakespeare, Pennsylvania

HI Shakespeare - yes, about 9% of people who use marijuana develop a marijuana use disorder. That number doubles when people start using in their teen years - when their brain is still developing.

-Maureen Boyle