Note: There is no transcript for CHAT DAY 2018, which was cancelled due to the Government Shutdown initiated on January 20, 2018.

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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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

does alcohol slow down your body?

-rfer, 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 animals respond in the same way as humans if they were to take drugs?

-meiluvspandas, Maryland

Great question...and the answer is, yes they do. In fact, animals will take exactly the same drugs that humans take, and they take them in ways that suggest they experience similar effects (timing of doses, etc). Researchers use animals as models to help development treatments for these drugs because of their reactions; they are important tools in the search for anti-drug medications when used in controlled environments. Now, that said, please don't try this at home--your pet deserves better.

-Nancy Pilotte

Does any addiction cause your brain to lose knowledge?

-tthomp172, New Jersey

Addiction is a process that changes both our brains and behavior. Studies have shown that all drugs affect the brain, some in very profound and powerful ways...that is, some drugs can cause damage to the brain and brain processes, and in many cases, these effects can affect the brain's ability cognitively - for example with learning, memory, ability to plan, etc.For more info, check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_brain1.php

-Joe Frascella

Does beind alcohol and drug free really pay off in the end?

-2 cool 4 school,

That is a great question! Here are some facts about drug and alcohol use that might help you think about being drug free. Using drugs can have both short term and long term effects on a person's mental and physical health. In the short term, people can injure themselves, others, and can even die from overdosing or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the long term, drug and alcohol use are associated with chronic diseases such as lung cancer, liver disease, and heart problems. Also, people who abuse or are addicted to drugs and alcohol often have problems academically or in their jobs. They may get into arguments and withdraw from family and non-drug using friends. With so many possible problems that can result--its definitely a good call to be alcohol and drug free.

-Aria Crump

does body wieght effect the amount of drugs you need for and overdose like alcohol does?

-20115625@pjphs, Pennsylvania

It is one factor. In general, smaller doses act like larger ones in smaller people... for more info, see http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/index.php

-David Thomas

does cocaine make you invincible? if not can i fly if i get drunk?

-i am mike, New Jersey

what exactly are you on now?good luck and safe landing.

-Ruben Baler

does cough syrup realy have that big affect on you ?

-leslie, Maryland

it certainly could. deaths have been reported as a result of abusing cough syrup.

-Ruben Baler

does crack hurt other people around u for example ur familly

-16969838, Maryland

Yeah, unfortunately using crack and/or other drugs can affect your family and friends. It can take away your attention, time, focus, and energy away from raising your children, spending time with your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles. A person may spend money on crack that would normally go towards other things like hanging out with your friends, food, clothes, or family items. It can be rough for the person using and for those close to them. Here's a resource if you have a family member or someone close to you who is using: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org. Also, 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.

-Nicolette Borek

does depression lead 2 tha use of drugs, or suicide????????????????

-paperoberts, Maryland

All of those things (depression, drug use, suicide) tend to go together. Knowing which comes first (depression or drug use) may be a harder question to answer. We do know that we see more drug use among teens who are depressed than those who are not depressed. Drug use is a risk factor for suicide, as is depression. For more information on suicide prevention go to: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-a-major-preventable-mental-health-problem-fact-sheet/suicide-a-major-preventable-mental-health-problem.shtml. And remember, if you or anyone you know is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK.

-Amy Goldstein

Does depression play a role in the use of drugs & if so, how depressed would you have to be?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

Hi there. Yup, it does. For many teens (and adults) depression and drug use go hand-in-hand. Sometimes, folks who are depressed use drugs to make themselves feel better (commonly called 'self-medicating'). This is not a good approach to treating depression. I don't think there is an answer to how depressed someone has to be before they try drugs - that would likely be different for different people. If someone is depressed and they are thinking about using drugs, this is a great opportunity for both prevention and treatment (preventing drug use and treating depression). Using drugs when depressed will only make it harder to treat a depression. So, if someone is depressed, best to seek professional help - we have many effective treatments for depression in teens.Here is some general information about depression: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/.Want to know more about Depression in Children and Teens? See: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/To find general information on substance abuse prevention and treatment a good place to start is the Web site of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. www.samhsa.gov.

-Amy Goldstein

does doing drugs increase your sexual arousal?

-seniorbrwnwater, Kentucky

There are a few drugs that are reportedly abused with the purpose of increasing sexual arousal or pleasure. Nitrites (poppers which are inhaled) and MDMA (Ecstasy) come to mind. Thanks for the great question.

-Ruben Baler

Does doing drugs while pregnant put the baby at higher risk of doing drugs when its older?

-boiling springs, Pennsylvania

Excellent question? Are you a researcher? Because they are looking at this very question right now. We have some evidence that exposure to smoking in utero (in the womb) can make you more vulnerable to addiction to cigarettes. As a matter of fact, smoking more than a pack a day during pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of the child becoming addicted to tobacco if he or she starts smoking. Ongoing studies are trying to find out whether that is true for other drugs too, like cocaine.

-Nicolette Borek

does drinking affect someone at birth

-january baby,

Fetal alcohol syndrome is what happens to babies when their mothers drink too much when they are pregnant with them. Babies born with FAS have smaller brains, abnormal facial features, and often have life-long learning and behavioral problems. It is the leading preventable birth defect associated with mental and behavioral impairment in the United States today.

-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

hello what does meth do

-cam12, Kentucky

Methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. It is long lasting and toxic to dopamine nerve terminals in the central nervous system. In the short term it increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and severe dental problems. All users, but particularly those who inject the drug, risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Methamphetamine also reduces the amount of saliva around your teeth - causing what is often called "meth mouth" (google it- totally gross!). For more information on meth and other drugs, check out the Sara Bellum blog at www.teens.drugabuse.gov/blog.

-Marsha Lopez

hello! what is in poppy seeds that causes someone to test positive on a drug test?

-saaabrinuh, New Jersey

New Jersey - interesting question! Poppy seeds actually contain small quantities of morphine, the same chemical produced after using heroin, codeine or morphine. Therefore, the urine contains a small amount of morphine that can produce a positive opiate test. In general, you would have to eat a lot of poppy-seed containing food and have a urine test close to the time of eating to produce a positive urine test.

-Marilyn Huestis

hey ruben baler, what is your problem?

-jwl2189, Maryland

how do you mean?

-Ruben Baler

hey what isthe drinking age in czech republic?

-drunkguy, New Jersey

18

-Aaron White

Hey! I have these two friends that both shoot up and share the same needle. How Dangerous can this really be?

-TGail33, Georgia

Yikes. Really? I don't know where to start. A good way to get Hepatitis or HIV is to share needles and other injection equipment. Iin addition, getting high from any drug can alter your ability to make good decisions and lead to other risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. If you can, urge your friends to talk to a trusted adult about how they are abusing drugs -- they need to get help so they can stop.

-Jane Lipkin

Heyyyy This Is CoCo&Chanel!!!We Wanted To Know Is K2 A Better Alternative To Weed

-CoCo&Chanel2012, Maryland

Thanks for your question. That's what the makers of K2 would like you to believe at least.K2, Spice is a fairly new phenomenon. There is no solid indication that this herbal mixture is lethal. But since this mixtures are not regulated nor standardized different batches from different manufacturers could end up containing dangerous contaminants. Stay healthy and take care.

-Ruben Baler

hhheeeyyy david tomas do you like your job

-mulliganc, New York

hey, it is me! Yes, I do, but chat day has worn me out!!! And this is my last answer!

-David Thomas

hi do all drugs originate from plants

-qwerty320, New Jersey

Great question! Not necessarily. Some drugs are synthetics made by man.

-Kris Bough

Hi Nancy Pillotte, can you please give me more vivid details about that trip?

-mclustin, Pennsylvania

uh, no.

-Nancy Pilotte

hi there. um i have a few questions about alcohol. how does it really hurt you and can it destroy your body.?

-happyholidays, 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. Drinking at a young age makes it much more likely a person will develop alcoholism later in life. It's really important to wait as long as possible to drink alcohol, or to avoid it altogether. Drinking heavily over a long period of time can contribute to problems with your liver, 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

Hi! do drugs affect the way you play during sports?????????? plz answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-BROMOSAPIAN, Vermont

Drugs have a major impact on the body, brain, and behavior and this includes sports performance. Participating in sports involves the work of the brain, and drugs have a major impact on the brain. Over time drugs affect your brain's ability to learn new tasks, memory, concentration, and ability to exert good judgment. Prolonged drug abuse can cause medical problems -- lung cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and addiction. Drug use can also cause personal problems, poor school performance, and even arrest. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/ for more information related to the medical consequences of drug use.

-Redonna Chandler

hi! WHATS THE INVOLVMENT BETWEEN MEXICANS AND WEED?

-adams*girl<3, Vermont

Some of the drugs distributed in the U.S. come from other countries - this includes marijuana. For information about marijuana use see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Marijuana.html.

-Redonna Chandler

hi, do you believe that children's attraction to drugs and ciagaretts is influenced more by their environment they grow up in/media or their genes?

-jths, New Jersey

A smart question. The environment has a major influence on the onset of drug use, including influences from family, friends, and the media. After individuals start using drugs, however, genetics play an increasingly important role. Research suggests that about 50-60% of the risk for drug addiction is due to genetic factors, and that about 40% is due to environmental influences (like access to drugs, media influences, drug use among friends). Of course, no matter what your genes are, you won't get addicted if you just don't take drugs.

-Kevin Conway