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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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

Can I get addicted to caffeine?

-glenelg17, Maryland

Probably not in the sense of it interfering with your ability to perform critical roles in your life, but people who use a lot of caffeine do often have withdrawal headaches when they stop using--however, that is not the same as addiction.  

-Susan Weiss


-IAMADRUG, Michigan

Yes. How likely depends on your individual tolerance, amount of active ingredient in the brownie, strength of active ingredient, and so forth.

-Nancy Pilotte

can i really become addicted just by smoking one cigarette????

-waka, Maryland

Hi waka.  
Yes. Scientific studies have shown that the brain is significantly affected by the first exposure to all drugs, including nicotine. The first exposure can change your brain and make you want to smoke the second, then the third cigarette, and so on. 
Get the facts at

-Antonello Bonci

Can drugs affect your eye sight?

-AlynaG, Texas

Hi Alyna! Drugs can certainly affect your perception of sight. Hallucinogenic drugs (LSD, peyote, etc) can make you see things that aren't there, for instance. There is also some evidence that cocaine use can contribute to developing glaucoma, an eye disease that affects sight. For instance, one study showed former cocaine users were found to develop glaucoma on average 20 years earlier than non users, even if they no longer took the drug.

-Joseph Frascella

can drugs be different flavors

-ncampion, New Hampshire

Certain drugs such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes can come in different flavors. I just read yesterday that there are over 7000 different e-juice flavors!  Don't let the fun, fruity flavors fool you!  Drugs can be extremely harmful to your body and can have severe consequences.

-Albert Avila

Can drugs be used in a positive way?

-JDogJules, Maryland

Hi JDogJules- Good question!! And the short answer is that it depends on various factors.  It is important to know that ALL drugs can be harmful, except when taken as prescribed by a doctor.  Drugs have negative effects on brain functioning, on one's ability to make good decisions, and on one's health in general.  Below is some information on the effects of specific drugs.  It is important that you and your friends have the FACTS on the negative effects of drugs.

-Albert Avila

Can drugs cause depletion?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Hi Kearsarge. Not sure what you mean, but if you are asking about depletion of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, the answer is yes,  For example, cocaine and methamphetamine are both stimulants and these can cause depletion of dopamine.  Ectasy can cause depletion of serotonin in the brain.

Hope this helps, and if you are interested in learning more, check out

-Joseph Frascella

Can drugs cause internal bleeding?

-tamyra221344, Georgia

Dear tamyra221344 -- Sorry for the delay on answering your question-- we've been busy!  Luckily, internal bleeding is not a big problem in drug abuse. In general, drugs prefer to wreak havoc on the brain.

-Joni Rutter

Can drugs cause internal bleeding?

-tamyra221344, Georgia

The category of abused drugs does not usually have this as a side effect. Internal bleeding is more apt to occur in people who are prescribed heparin, aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin) or other blood-thinning agents and these are usually recommended only for people who have atherosclerosis or other serious heart disease.

-Nancy Pilotte

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 you get addicted to heroin the first time you try it?

-MeganS, Texas

Hi Megan

Probably won't get addicted from the very first time. Addiction involves a process in the brain. But, trying just once is really dangerous. Some people will likely SO much that they will have a really hard time avoiding using again, and again. from there, there is but a very small step to addiction.

hope this helps

-Ruben Baler

can you get addicted to pills if they abuse them

-Rehana H., Texas

YUP.  Depending on the pills.   If they are opioid pills (e.g., oxycodone), 100% yes, you can be addicted.  If they a sugar pills, then addiction likely won't occur.  You should always only take medication your doctor prescribes and only at the dose he or she prescribed.

-Dave Thomas

Can you get addicted to second hand smoke?

-kearsarge, New Hampshire

You've asked a lot of questions all day, but this one is particularly interesting! I'm not so certain that you can become addicted to nicotine by being exposed to second hand smoke, but research does show that a child of a smoker is more likely to become a smoker.  Research also shows that the developing brain (like in kids and teens) is more sensitive to the effects of nicotine (but that is moreso from direct use), and that a person exposed to high levels of second hand smoke can have meaureable levels of by products of nicotine.  There have been some reports of people exposed to lots of secondhand smoke can become addicted to smoking.  Secondhand smoke has thousands of chemicals and toxins in it.  For more information on the topic, check out:

-Kevin Walton

Can you get drunk on vanilla extract?

-itswarmoutside, Minnesota

Some vanilla extracts can contain about as much alcohol as hard liquor -- around 35%. Others can contain only tiny amounts. So, yes, it is possible though not recommended. 

-Aaron White

Can you get high off of any drug, including legal, OTC drugs?

-a, Maryland

Hello 'a'....Yes, you can. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), are still the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Click here to learn more about it:

-Bethany Deeds

can you get high off of licking toads

-christina brown, Connecticut

Hi Christina,
Awesome question, and the answer is YES ... but the bad news is, it's only a certain kind of toad, which only exists in certain places--the "cane toads" in Australia for example. They secrete a toxin on their backs which can be intoxicating for human toad-lickers.

-Eric Wargo

Can you get high off of mushrooms?

-Lanette1225, Georgia

yes, some mushrooms have hallucinigenic properties.  These are not the ones you buy at a grocery store.   If you want to know more about hallucinegens, go to this site:

-Dave Thomas