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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do any drugs other than steroids make you stronger?

-JESUSF, New Mexico

no, but some drugs can make you 'think' your stronger like PCP- not good!!

-David Shurtleff

do any every day medications have life threatening sideffects or contains addicting drugs?

-onedirectionst1, Illinois

'Everyday' medications like ibuprofen, available 'over the counter,' can have bad effects if people take too much. Iburprofen can worsen asthma, for example, sometimes fatally. Along with several other NSAIDs (like tylenol), chronic ibuprofen use has been related to risk of high blood pressure and heart attack, especially if used a lot and in high doses. Other common medications are prescribed and do contain addictive substances, particularly pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-over-counter-medications for more.

-Jen Katt

do any of the drugs have posion in them if so.. what kind of drugs?

-harrys, Illinois

no, but the way they are manufactured or sold into tablets can result in some instance in the addiction of other, unknown and sometimes hazardous or poisonous contaminants introduced into them.

-Nora Volkow

do bath salts make you eat people

-551817, Texas

I don't know about them necessarily making you want to eat people, or turn you into a zombie or anything, but they could make you aggressive and act in peculiar ways by causing hallucinations and make the user feel anxious and paranoid. Bath salts are a group of dangerous new drug stimulants much like cocaine but much more potent - because they are not regulated they may contain dangerous contaminants or cutting agents. These are generally cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, sometime to dangerously high levels. They also tend to produce hallucinations and cause panic reactions. These drugs are dangerous and can cause death, so it is not surprising that many people react strangely after taking them some ending up in the emergency room with medical complications such as psychosis, that requires treatment. Want to learn more about bath salts? Click here -http://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/directors-page/messages-director/2011/02/bath-salts-emerging-dangerous-products and http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Bath_Salts.pdf

-David Shurtleff

do bath salts really make you eat other people

-jbarrares, Minnesota

Hi jbarres, Bath salts are bad news, but they won't make you eat people (probably)! Some violent and cannibalistic attacks reported in the news last year were attributed to bath salts by the media before the facts were known, and those drugs turned out not to be involved. The 'face eater' in Miami turned out only to have marijuana in his system when his blood was tested. But bath salts (technically called synthetic cathinones) have powerful stimulant and hallucinogenic properties--they can cause hyperactivity and delirium and even violent psychosis in a minority of users. For more on bath salts, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts. Eric

-Eric Wargo

Do club drugs dissolve in water? (so you would know if someone sneaked one in your drink)

-Honeybee7777, Illinois

Hey Honeybee7777! Because some club drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, they can be added to beverages by individuals who want to intoxicate or sedate others without their knowing. This property makes these drugs very dangerous. For more information on club drugs see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/club-drugs-ghb-ketamine-rohypnol Thanks for the great question Honeybee7777!

-Joni Rutter

do doctors use weed for medical uses. what king of medical conditions

-joshm69, Maryland

hi josh. No, in fact there are no approved medications that one can smoke, because even if there is a beneficial compound in the cannabis plant (which probably there is) it would be irresponsible and counterproductive to deliver that compound together with a thousand other chemicals most of which are likely to cause damage. take a look at this doc: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine you might find it interesting. good luck and thanks for your question. Ruben

-Ruben Baler

Do drug uses cause many people to do commit suicide

-Commment101, Illinois

This is a difficult question to answer. From what we know about drug addiction, drug use can make a mental illness worse (like depression). Also, people with drug addiction can become depressed because of their addiction and the consequences that come with it. Drug use can also impair judgement. Drug use can also lead to isolation (because people lose important relationships, can not keep a job, etc.). We do know that these factors - mental illness, impaired judgement, and isolation - are risk factors for suicide. So, drug use may exacerbate suicide risk, but it is not a clear risk factor for suicide.

-Michelle Leff

do drugs afect people with ADHD difrently then people without ADHD?

-TigerBaby, Missouri

Yes. In people with ADHD, stimulant medications generally have a calming and 'focusing' effect, particularly in children. However, because these medications affect the dopamine system in the brain (the reward pathway), they are also similar to illegal drugs when they're abused--like taken at doses or by routes other than prescribed. For those who abuse stimulants, the range of adverse health consequences includes risk of dangerously high body temperature, seizures, and cardiovascular complications.

-Jen Katt

Do drugs affect ability to sleep? -SNORLAX

-snorrrrrlaxxx, Texas

SNORLAX? Sounds like a Dr. Seuss character. Yes, drugs can affect your sleep, your mood, your family relationships, your achievement in school, your ability to drive, and many other things.

-Jen Katt

Do drugs affect any of your other senses? If so which ones and which drugs affect them?

-ClariceR, Colorado

Yes, and some more than others. For example, LSD can enhance and disturb visual perceptions, marijuna can also increase somatosensory perception making touch or food flavors more intense.

-Nora Volkow

do drugs cause major brain damage

-troll man, Maryland

Yes, they can, and in many different ways. For example, some drugs like cocaine or stimulants can produce a blood flow reduction and stroke, while other drugs can shrink the number of brain cells by activating brain chemicals that cause brain cell death. You can find more information on the health effects of various drugs here: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.

-Anto Bonci

Do drugs effect animals like they do with humans?

-Leah K, Missouri

Why? You're not planning to give your cat 'Fluffy' any drugs are you? Just kidding, Yes- if fact scientists often use animal like specific genetically bred mice and rats as a model to better understand how drugs affect the body and how addiction develops. They use these animals because believe it or not our brains are not that different from other animals like rats and mice and when given the opportunity to take drugs, they show signs of addiction that we see in people! Have a uncontrollable desire to learn more about the use of animal models in research? Click here - http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/brain-actions-cocaine-opiates-marijuana/section-ii-introduction-to-reward-system/1-reward-drug-

-David Shurtleff

Does alchol posion your body?

-Yramirez, Texas

If you drink enough alcohol, parts of the brain that are important for keeping us alive can shut down. Then, the heart can stop beating and we can stop breathing. In essence, it's like alcohol flips a switch and shuts the body off. This is what's known as 'alcohol poisoning.'

-Shuly Babitz

does alcohol affect people with adhd?

-crazybrat101, Missouri

Sure! People with ADHD already have difficulty concentrating and paying attention. Alcohol makes it even harder to do those things.

-Shuly Babitz

Does alcohol destroy brain cells???

-skhan, Texas

Alcohol certainly damages the brain. The teenage years are a very important time for development of the brain. The thinking parts, memory parts, and feeling parts are all changing when we are teenagers. Alcohol can interfere with these important changes and actually shrink the thinking and memory parts.

Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. 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. 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.

For weeks and months after a teenager stops drinking heavily, these parts of the brain still struggle to work correctly. It's not clear whether the brain ever fully heals itself. In addition, drinking at a young age makes it more likely to become an alcoholic later in life. So, drinking when we are young could have lots of negative effects on the brain!

-Shuly Babitz

Does alcohol really kill brain cells?

-BlakeKiddo, Minnesota

Well, alcohol can seriously affect the way your brain develops. The teenage years are a very important time for development of the brain. The thinking parts, memory parts, and feeling parts are all changing when we are teenagers. Alcohol can interfere with these important changes and actually shrink the thinking and memory parts. Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. 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. 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. For weeks and months after a teenager stops drinking heavily, these parts of the brain still struggle to work correctly. It's not clear whether the brain ever fully heals itself. In addition, drinking at a young age makes it more likely to become an alcoholic later in life. So, drinking when we are young could have lots of negative effects on the brain!

-Shuly Babitz

Does alcohol really make you throw up

-TheChosenOne, Pennsylvania

Yup - not very appealing, right? Alcohol seems to trigger vomiting in two different ways. One is by irritating the stomach. There's also an area of the brain that monitors the contents of the blood for toxins. If the level of alcohol in the blood reaches a high enough level, the area triggers vomiting. Vomiting is your body's way of showing it feels threatened by the high level of alcohol in the system and is trying desperately to get rid of the alcohol to protect itself. Blech.

-Shuly Babitz

Does caffine stunt growth?

-Shashank, Maryland

There is no evidence that caffeine affects growth. but keep caffeine intake at reasonable levels; we are only beginning to investigate what might be the effects of regularly drinking the large doses of caffeine one can find now in some energy drinks. stay safe and good luck ruben

-Ruben Baler

Does cocaine have any benefits , is it only bad for you

-Omarw, Colorado

Hi Omarw. Cocaine used to be used in medicine as an anesthetic, but not any more. It is too harmful to be used as a medication. Check out this book below and see what you think.

AN ANATOMY OF ADDICTION

Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine

By Howard Markel

-Joni Rutter

Does cocaine lower your voice?

-ls13, New York

Uh, no. It has no direct effect on your vocal chords. Here is what cocaine does do: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/stimulants

-Nancy Pilotte

Does crack affect your lungs?

-IMS524jt, Louisiana

Smoking cocaine (crack) delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, producing effects comparable to intravenous (IV) injection. These effects are felt almost immediately, are very intense, but do not last long. The high from smoking cocaine may last from 5 to 10 minutes. The high from snorting cocaine on the other hand comes on slower and can last for 15 to 20 minutes. There is evidence that suggests that users who smoke or inject cocaine may be at greater risk of causing harm to themselves-including becoming addicted-than those who snort the substance, because smoking or injecting the drug reaches its brain targets so much faster. But how does it affect your lungs? It would be similar to any other harsh substance that gets into your lungs, like the particles from tobacco smoke. The first response of the lung to such a foreign substance would be to cough! It can't be good for you!

-Nancy Pilotte

Does doing drugs make you cooler?

-JosephM, New Mexico

Now do you really think I'm going to say yes? Of course using drugs doesn't make you cool. Doing well in school, being a good friend, taking care of your health, volunteering in your community - that makes you cool.

-Redonna Chandler

Can you get HIV/AIDS from sharing needles?

-joshm69, Maryland

Hello there. Very good and important question. Sharing needles and risky sex are the two main ways that HIV is spread because these actions expose you to bodily fluids that may be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV shuts down your immune system and causes the disease called autoimmune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) if you do not get and maintain treatment. To learn more about how drug abuse puts you at risk for getting HIV, go to: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/hiv-aids-and-drug-abuse

-Jacqueline Lloyd

can you get pregnat from drugs??

-emendez, Texas

Hi Sugar Land Middle School. Interesting question! Nope, taking a drug can't make you pregnant -- basic biology. But, while under the influence of illegal drugs and some legal drugs, such as alcohol, the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior increases and this could result in pregnancy as well as put you in a potential rape situation. So, if you think about it like that, then yes, taking drugs may increase your chance of becoming pregnant.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can you get put in jail for doing marijuana?

-947986, Maryland

Hello 947986! Thanks for your question. The recreational use and possession of marijuana remains illegal in all states for adolescents. You could be put in jail for this and it would depend on several variables (the state you are, what amount you had, if you've done this before).

-Bethany Deeds

Can you give an approximation of the number of people who don't get caught dealing with drugs?

-Heisenburg, Maryland

Hi Heisenburg, you're all over this chat! Nope, I can't give you that approximation, not even sure how I would know such a number. But I could go ahead and guess that most people who deal drugs eventually get caught. Thanks for asking though, keep 'em coming!

-Marsha Lopez

Can you name a few ways about how Meth is bad for you?

-Coby1, Georgia

Methamphetamine 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 awful dental problems, aka 'meth mouth.' For more niformation on meth, see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/methamphetamine.

-Dave Thomas

Can you obtain HIV/AIDS by kissing someone who doesn't have the disease

-Jade, Arizona

Jade- HIV is transmitted by sexual contact or sharing infected needles with someone infected with HIV.

-Jack Stein

can you OD on an inhaler?

-Zach H, Maryland

The short answer is yes but it rarely happens. Deaths from asthma are relatively rare, less than 5000 per year in the US (for comparison, the population of the US is about 330 million people). Whether the use of an inhaler contributes to those deaths has to do with which drug(s) are actually in the inhaler. Inhalers that used long-acting beta-adrenergic agonists were more likely to be problemmatic than those that used used other medications, but overall, the number of deaths is low. People on inhalers should follow their doctor's instructions carefully, and they should be safe and ok. If you have questions about your inhaler, call your doctor's office and ask.

-Nancy Pilotte