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.

Download Full Year

Do small amount of tobacco make you pass out?

-sethm123, Georgia

I suppose it's possible.  More commonly, thougth, when nicotine enters the body, it initially causes the adrenal glands to release a hormone called epinephrine (adrenaline). The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.

Even smoking just a little bit opens the door to addiction and smoking-related diseases. In fact, research shows that just a few cigarettes now and then can lead to cravings and other symptoms of addiction in some teens.

-Joni Rutter

Do some mental health issues come from traumatic experiences as a child?

-LBolton, New Hampshire

Hi LBolton.   That is a good question.  Yes - traumatic experiences can lead to mental health issues.  The tricky question is figuring out for who.   Some people who experience a traumatic experience (which could be anything from being in a car accident to witnessing something violent) go on to develop a mental health problem, while others demonstrate what's called resilience, and do not.  Researchers are working to understand these different groups so that we can develop better ways to prevent mental health issues among people who have traumatic experiences as children.  

-Amy Goldstein

do steroids make your muscles bigger but more fragile

-mosesc, Texas

Steroids don't make you big and strong by themselves--you have to work at it with exercise.  And if you do the work, you are getting bigger and stronger by yourself!  Anabolic steroids do help build muscles, but only in specific areas on the body with "androgen receptors," in places like the neck and shoulders, places that are visible to others.  But no one has actually shown that they can make you stronger or increase your endurance.  And steroids can be dangerous.  In males, they can reduce the size of testicles, cause baldness and cause development of breasts.  In females, they can cause growth of facial hair, baldness similar to men and a deepened voice.  In adolescents, they may prevent you from reaching your full height.  I don't understand what you mean by making your muscles more fragile, so I can't answer that.  There is more information at  

-Nancy Pilotte

can you overdose of too much cocaine?

-leeann, Massachusetts

Hi leeann
the answer is yes, and the first symptom will most likely be a increased heart beat that could lead to a fatal heart attack.

-Ruben Baler

Can you overdose on weed

-Spontaniouse G., New Jersey

Hi Spontaniouse G, If you mean can they overdose and die from marijuana—the answer is no, its not very likely. But they can experience extreme anxiety (panic attacks) or psychotic reactions (where they lose touch with reality and may become paranoid). And people can and do injure themselves because of marijuana's effects on judgment, perception, and coordination. For example, marijuana affects the skills you need to drive (e.g., concentration, reaction time) so people can injure themselves and others if they drive while under the influence. For more information on marijuana, see:

-Maureen Boyle

Can you please tell me about the emerging drugs and why they are becoming so popular?

-rbartlett, New Hampshire

Hi rbarlett,
As much as we would like to think we can predict the future, it is really hard to answer this without knowing which drug concerns you.  Can you be specific?  There are some that seem to be emerging, but many of these are either new names for drugs that we are already familiar with or variations on old drugs. Some of these claim to be a certain type of drug when they are really something else and they are very dangerous.  You can get more information on this at: Thanks! 

-Nancy Pilotte

can you smoke bath salts?

-even poonover, Massachusetts

Hey, even poonover. Unfortunately, people will try anything. The term “bath salts” refers to an emerging family of drugs containing one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the Khat plant. Reports of severe intoxication and dangerous health effects associated with use of bath salts have made these drugs a serious and growing public health and safety issue. The synthetic cathinones in bath salts can produce euphoria and increased sociability and sex drive, but some users experience paranoia, agitation, and hallucinatory delirium; some even display psychotic and violent behavior, and deaths have been reported in several instances. For more information, visit:

-Roger Sorensen

Can you stop taking prescription drugs?

-jasmine s, Texas

Hey jasmine s - I'm not sure what you mean here. If your doctor has given you prescription drugs, you should take them as directed. You might be confused by the fact that some people abuse prescription drugs--that is, they take drugs that are not prescribed to them, take them for reasons other than prescribed, or take higher amounts than prescribed. You might take a peek at this Prescription Drugs page for more info:

-Joni Rutter

Can you tell me what the percentages of middle school teens in the U.S. that are using alcohol or marijuana? Aren't the majority NOT using these substances?

-jojo, Massachusetts

Hi, jojo, great question and you are correct!  The majority of teens are not using alcohol, marijuana, or drugs of any kind.  Between 60 and 70% of 8th graders haven't ever used alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs, according to the national Monitoring the Future survey. If we're talking about using in the month prior to the survey, that number jumps to 80-90%.  The same study reported 6.5% of 8th graders reported using marijuana and almost 10% had consumed alcohol in the past month.  For more stats, go to

-Marsha Lopez

Can you die from taking drugs???

-EmmaArcher, Ohio

EmmaArcher, absolutely you can die from taking drugs. Misuse of heroin and prescription opioid drugs is causing many overdose deaths in the United States and worldwide. Just a single use of cocaine can stop your heart and cause death. Check out the overdose death statistics for various drugs:

-Roger Sorensen

can you die from vaping

-mynameis, Texas

Hi mynameis,
Great question! If you mean vaping marijuana, then no, it probably isn't more harmful than regular smoking.

-Eric Wargo

Can you die if you try withdraw from a physical dependency on heroine?

-smistry, Texas

Dying from an overdose of heroin is more likely. Withdrawal from heroin can be very difficult, but there are several medications that can help. If you or someone you know is trying to quit using heroin, you should talk with a health care provider about what to expect and how to stop using safely. Make sure to tell the doctor about all of your health history, including drug or alcohol use.

-Joni Rutter

Can you die the first time that you try drugs?

-garciat, Texas

Garciat - yes, you can die the first time you try drugs if you get a high dose or don't know what you are taking. Some drugs, like tobacco, can damage you slowly – for example long-term tobacco use can cause cancer and is the leading cause of preventable death. Other drugs, like meth, can be especially toxic to your brain. And taking drugs, like heroin or cocaine, or misusing prescription drugs, has the potential to cause overdose and death even the first time you use them. It can also lead to addiction. So any drug you use can be the most dangerous drug for you. Please protect your brain and your health, you need them! Check out the overdose death statistics for various drugs:

-Joni Rutter

can you drink to much to make your kids(if pregnant) have problems?

-Jacksepticeye, Massachusetts

Yes, for sure. Drinking while you are pregnant can seriously affect a baby's development. A range of problems, the worst of which is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can result. Babies born with FAS are not addicted to alcohol themselves, but they do 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. Basically, it is never safe to drink any alcohol when you're pregnant, whether its through vodka eyeballing or normal drinking. You can learn more about the dangers of drinking when you're pregnant here:

-Aaron White

Can you fail a drug test from secondhand smoke?

-MyNamesJeff, Michigan

Hi Jeff,
Good question. No, you can't fail a drug test from secondhand smoke. A lot of the chemical needs to get into your blood, and secondhand smoke will not do it.

-Eric Wargo

can you get a hangover from heroin

-flo2273, Texas

Hello flo2273.
That's an interesting question.
Heroin doesn't cause the kind of hangover that alcohol does. But heroin changes the chemistry in the brain associated with pleasure and pain, so that people who have used it repeatedly may start to feel bad all the time when they are not using it. People who become addicted to heroin and try to stop using it experience withdrawal symptoms, in a way, could be described as a really bad hangover: they include pain, itching, vomiting, and intense craving. Fortunately, we have treatments for people that lessen the withdrawal effects so that they can start living again without heroin.
There is information here:

-Roger Little

Can you get a sleeping disorder if you smoke normal cigarettes?

-Swaggyp, Michigan

Great question swaggyp - Interestingly, people who have sleep disturbance tend to smoke more. And, when an smoker tries to quit, he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms including irritability, attention difficulties, sleep disturbances, increased appetite, and powerful cravings for tobacco. Treatments can help smokers manage these symptoms and improve the likelihood of successfully quitting.

-Joni Rutter

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


though unlikely it can happen in those that are vulnerable

-Nora Volkow

Can you get addicted if the doctor gives you drugs?

-amartineau, New Hampshire

Hi Amartineau
Unfortunately, some medications have the potential to produce addiction. They include stimulants, sedatives and opiates. This is why it is so important that these medications be used under the careful monitoring and supervision of a trained physician and never be used for non-medical purposes.

great question.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get addicted off medication you are prescribed, even if you take the right dosage?

-Ya Boi, Michigan

Unfortunately yes. We are not sure how likely that is, but it can happen. That is why medication should be used with caution and only as the doctor prescribed.

-Dave Thomas

Can you get addicted to drugs your doctors prescribe?

-Eva, Massachusetts

Hi Eva, yes sometimes you can get addicted to drugs a doctor prescribes, but this usually happens when someone takes another person's prescription that was never meant for them or if the person takes their medication incorrectly. Prescription drugs are safe when taken as the doctor prescribes by the person for whom they are intended. 

-Michelle Rankin

Can you get addicted to marijuana after one time of smoking it?

-hi123, Michigan

That's very unlikely, although everyone is different and you may like it so much that you will want more and more, and then eventually become addicted.

-Susan Weiss

Can you get high on cat pee like on South Park?

-Senpai, Washington

Hi Senpai,
Unfortunately, no, you can't. Too bad, because with my two cats, I could make a fortune as a dealer! :-)

-Eric Wargo

Can you get high on sharpies?

-ennisisd, Texas

Hey ennisisd - By sharpies, I assume you mean all sorts of markers, paint, glue, etc, which are types of inhalants. Using inhalants is not a harmless way to get a buzz. You are literally sucking in toxins directly into your lungs. One of the little known long-term effects of inhalants is that they can break down myelin, the substance that protects your nerve cells, a lot of which are in your brain. If that happens, it can cause muscle spasms, tremors, and even affect the ability to walk. Remember, once you use drugs, it can be tough to reverse the damage.  
Visit the NIDA for Teens website to learn more about different inhalants and the effects on the body: Stay sharp, don't try sharpies!  You'll be marked for life.

-Joni Rutter

Can you get seizures because of cigarettes or alcohol?

-jatuchi, Texas

not from cigarrettes, but if you drink too much alcohol for a long time then, during the withdrawal period, seizures can occur.  

-Nora Volkow

Can you get stuck on acid?

-HollandMiddlePA, Pennsylvania

Hi HollandMiddlePA,
No, that is pretty much a myth. You can't get stuck on any drug. But in very rare cases some drugs can provoke psychosis, which may be lasting.  

-Eric Wargo

can you have mental problems if you smoke marijuana?

-leila saenz, New Mexico

Hello Leila,
There is indeed an association between marijuana use and various mental illnesses. Meaning that a higher percentage of marijuana smokers have them than of people in general.. It is important to point out though that this statisticalm association doesn't mean that marijuana causes mental illness. However, there is some evidence supporting the idea that marijuana use, particularly when it starts early, can cause some mental illnesses or make the symptoms worse.
you can learn more about this important question here:

cheers and thanks for the great question



-Ruben Baler

can you injure your bones for taking drugs

-blacknation, Massachusetts

Maybe, if you fall or are in a fight while using them.  But just by taking them?  No.  The one exception would be anabolic steroids like testosterone.  Long-term use of testosterone by adolescents can result in them stopping growth too earlier, and being shorter than your body expected.  Permanently.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can you lose friends by doing alcohol? I was told you do

-Noskcaj, Massachusetts

It sure seems possible. Drinking alcohol can make it more likely for you to get into fights - even violent ones, so this can certainly harm friendships. You can learn more about how teens can deal with the peer pressure to drink and similar issues here:

-Aaron White

can you od on weed?

-pappichulo, Washington

Hi pappichulo,
Yes, but you'll just end up in the emergency room. People don't die from marijuana overdoses.

-Eric Wargo