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 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: 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 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: 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: to know more about Depression in Children and Teens? See: 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.

-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

can you get mentally addicted to weed?

-Rachel, Maryland

Hello, You could get addicted physically and mentally to marijuana. This means that someone can't quit even though marijuanais having a detrimental effect on their lives. There is also a withdrawal syndrome--similar to what happens in Tobacco smokers. Symptoms include irritability, sleep and appetite problems, and craving--which often prompts relapse. Also, in a young person especially, its memory impairing effects can interfere with your ability to function --or to be at the top of your game, even if you are not using the drug while you are in school. Marijuana's effects on learning can persist for days or even weeks after last use. Thus, you may not reach your full potential if you use it, and this is something that long term marijuana users self report looking back on their lives. Also, findings so far show that regular use of marijuana or THC may play a role in some kinds of cancer and in problems with the respiratory and immune systems. For more info. check out:

-Kristen Huntley

Can you get second-hand high from being around someone who is high or someone who is smoking?

-JewCrew13, Maryland

Generally, you can't get high hanging around with someone who is high. You might be able to get high from someone smoking marijuana, if there is enough of the smoke in the area.

-Joe Frascella

Can you get spice at a gas station?

-Caroline, Vermont

I really don't know. But let me know if you find out.

-Ruben Baler

can you have a miscarrige if you are on drugs

-babels, New York

I'm going to answer your question with a question---did you know cigarette smoking alone is associated with risk for infant mortality, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome? Drugs can have a lot of bad effects on babies---if you think you might get pregnant, it is important to get help to stay off drugs.

-Nicolette Borek

Can you have a nicotine overdose, and if so what will happen?


Hi McCreary! I'm assuming you're referring to smoking cigarettes? If so, heavy binge use won't kill you, but can make you feel pretty ill! BUT...I'll bet you didn't know, that nicotine was and is still used as an insecticide. Yikes! Pure nicotine is a tobacco extract and is very toxic to warm-blooded animals (like us!) and a heavy dose or an overdose of nicotine can result in increased motor activity, heart rate and blood pressure as well as narrowing of blood vessels. As a fallout of an extreme condition of an overdose, paralysis of the muscles that control breathing or the heart, can also occur.

-David Shurtleff

Can you hurt youself by taking more than 4 Advil?


Yes, particularly if you do it a lot. Even though Advil is an over-the-counter drug, taking more than the prescribed dose can be harmful. Advil is the market name for ibuprofen, which taken in large doses can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke.This medicine can also increase your risk of serious effects on the stomach or intestines, including bleeding or perforation (forming of a hole). Best advice: read the label of over-the-counter drugs and take them only as recommended.

-David White

Can you loose hair by smoking?

-craigb, New York

The research literature (science discoveries) has no evidence of this. You might think so, because the longer someone has been smoking, that person is also getting older, and age causes hair loss. check out for more information on nicotine and smoking.

-Jim Bjork

can you overdose on crack

-rfer, New Jersey

yes- very easily- Crack users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of crack.

-David Shurtleff

can you overdose on inhalents?

-TR, Kentucky

good question- Inhalants can cause sudden sniffing syndrome- Sniffing high concentrations of Inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs)-not good!

-David Shurtleff

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

-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


-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

dose drugs affect a relationship?

-marly the great, Utah

Hi Marly - thanks for your question. Drugs can absolutely affect relationships between people. Drugs affect how people think and behave, and can seriously impair their judgment, so they make poor decisions. This can affect everything about relationships, from making smart choices about how you spend your free time, to money management, to the kinds of people you hang out with. NIDA has a great website just for teens that answers these and other questions -- it will give you real facts and helpful advice, without a bunch of lectures. Check it out at:

-Lori Ducharme

dpesn't steroids make you bigger? how are they so bad

-briannamarie, New Jersey

Oh, in so many ways. there is a long list of bad consequences of abusing steroids. You can watch me on a video telling you all about it here:!!!

-Ruben Baler

Drug, why is legal to take drugs? why not just ban all the drugs so all of us can get healthier?

-nihao, Maryland

Actually, it is only legal when properly prescribed by a doctor for a legitimate condition or, if its an over the counter medication, when following the manufacturers instructions. We can't ban all drugs because many drugs offer great medicinal benefits. Think of pain killers (which contain opioids) or Ritalin and amphetamines, which are stimulant drugs used for the treatment of ADHD. The challenge is to find the right balance to maximize the beneficial uses of drugs while minimizing their abuse. thanks for a great question.

-Ruben Baler

During the Prohibition, more people got drunk because they wanted to rebel and smuggle alcohol. Do you feel that if marijuana was made legal, the number of people who abuse it would decrease as well?

-jths2, New Jersey

I'm doubtful about that, especially in this country where opportunity seems to encourage more and more consumption (of anything). In addition, right now most people stop using marijuana as they get older--responsibilities, not worth the risk legally, etc. If it were to be legal and socially sanctioned more people might continue to use, and more health problems would become evident, including increased numbers of people who become addicted to the drug. Do you think that people you know who use it are doing it to be rebellious?

-Susan Weiss

ectsasy ? what happens when you do it?

-I love Pink! :), Kentucky

Thanks so much for this very important question. Ecstasy (also called MDMA) is a stimulant with pyschoactive properties, which means it affects your brain. When you first take it, it generally causes positive feelings and hyper alertness, and decreased anxiety. However, there are a number of negative effects associated with Ecstasy, including nausea, chills, sweating, cramping, and blurred vision. If you were to take too much, it can cause high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness and seizures. Because of its stimulant properties and the environments in which it is often taken (dances or 'raves'), Ecstasy is associated with vigorous physical activity for extended periods. This is one reason for one of the most significant, although rare, acute adverse effects - a marked rise in body temperature (hyperthermia). In the hours after taking the drug, Ecstasy produces significant reductions in thinking and decisionmaking ability. These changes, particularly those affecting memory, can last for up to a week, and possibly longer in regular users.

-David White