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 perks make you lose eyesight

-11147, New Jersey

Good question.

Common side effects of opioid administration include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression. Physical dependence and addiction are clinical concerns that may prevent proper prescribing and in turn inadequate pain management. Less common side effects may include delayed gastric emptying, hyperalgesia, immunologic and hormonal dysfunction, muscle rigidity, and myoclonus. The most common side effects of opioid usage are constipation (which has a very high incidence) and nausea. Pain Physician 2008; 11:S105-S120

-Dave Thomas

Can pot effect brain developement???

-lawlerc, Minnesota

yes because it interferes with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain that are invovled in how brain cells get connected with one another and form circuits,

-Nora Volkow

Can prescribed drugs cause depression or death?

-tammiabante, Illinois

Yes, opiate analgesics can cause death by overdose (stops your breathing).

Prescribed drugs, if used at higehr quanitities and frequency than prescribed medically, can lead to addiction and make you vulnerable to depression or what we calll the dark side of addiction.

-Nora Volkow

Can prescription drugs ever be addictive?

-meep, New York

Hi meep, yes, prescription drugs, including opioids (oxycontin, vicodin, etc), stimulants (adderall, modafinil, etc), and sedatives (Xanax, etc) can be just as addictive as street drugs. You should only take these when prescribed by a doctor and follow your doctors instructions on how to take them.

-Maureen Boyle

Can prescription drugs kill you ?

-cperez, Texas

Hey anarvaez, prescription drugs, including opioids (oxycontin, vicodin, etc), stimulants (adderall, modafinil, etc), and sedatives (Xanax, etc) can be just as addictive as street drugs and early 30,000 people died in 2015 from overdosing on prescription medications.

-Maureen Boyle

Can steroids give you achne?

-chill, Texas

most definitely, but see my video for more adverse effects :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Ynf2kPNIc.

-Ruben Baler

Can steroids kil you?

-NBG, Other

Hey NBG- Recreational use of steroids can kill you, though the risk is very small. Other risks of steroid use are far more common. The steroids sometimes used by athletes are called anabolic steroids, meaning that they are similar to the male hormone testosterone. Adults and teens who use large quantities of anabolic steroids risk heart disease, and liver damage and may not reach their full height. It also can cause aggression, male-pattern baldness (who needs that?), and shrinkage of your testicles (if you are a male). If you are a female who is using anabolic steroids, your voice may deepen permanently, you may grow facial hair, and develop male-pattern baldness. See http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/anabolic-steroids for more info on steroids, and check out Ruben’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Ynf2kPNIc.

-Emily Einstein

Can steroids kill you at some point.

-Cmorrissey, New Hampshire

Hey Cmorrissey- Recreational use of steroids can kill you, though the risk is very small. Other risks of steroid use are far more common. The steroids sometimes used by athletes are called anabolic steroids, meaning that they are similar to the male hormone testosterone. Adults and teens who use large quantities of anabolic steroids risk heart disease, and liver damage and may not reach their full height. It also can cause aggression, male-pattern baldness (who needs that?), and shrinkage of your testicles (if you are a male). If you are a female who is using anabolic steroids, your voice may deepen permanently, you may grow facial hair, and develop male-pattern baldness. See http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/anabolic-steroids for more info on steroids, and check out Ruben’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Ynf2kPNIc.

-Emily Einstein

can steroids lead to abuse?

-ashleyvelasquez, California

Yes, you can become addicted to steroids when you use it outside medical indications

-Nora Volkow

Can steroids shrink parts of your body

-Billy Bob Joe, Illinois

Hey Billy Bob Joe; thanks for the question. Yes, taking anabolic steroids can enlarge muscles, but the drug can also cause a number of unwanted side effects, including increased breast size and decreased penis/scrotum size. I've attached a web link that gives information related to steroid misuse. Check it out here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/anabolic-steroids.

-Michael Baumann

can teenagers die from smoking

-gilberto fvsu 4, Georgia

Dear gilberto fvsu 4 - thank you for writing. Absolutely! Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death of people of ALL ages. If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.

-Heather Kimmel

can the baby get affected if the mother smokes

-AT, Texas

Yes,nicotine exposure during pregnany is harmful for the newborn. It can affect almost every organ in the body, including the brain

-Nora Volkow

Can the use of drugs lead to cancer?

-ashleya2, New York

Hey ashleya- Yes! Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death, in part because it causes cancer. Other drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, and steroids, have also been linked to a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer. Check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/cancer to find out more.

-Emily Einstein

Can the use of repeated drugs reset the brain's pleasure meter?

-Dadrian FVSU 4H, Georgia

Yes--repeated drug use tends to turn down the reward mechanisms so that what used to make you happy doesn't any more. Even the drug itself becomes less effective, and people try to take more in order to feel the way they used to. Its a vicious cycle--worth avoiding.

-Susan Weiss

Can to much caffeine be bad for you.

-Jairah S, Texas

hey Jairah S, yes it can. having too much coffee or caffeinated drinks can cause anxiety and agitation. Taking higher potency caffeine supplements can even be life threatening if you take too much.

-Maureen Boyle

can to much caffine be bad for you

-jamar, Texas

hey Jairah S, yes it can. having too much coffee or caffeinated drinks can cause anxiety and agitation. Taking higher potency caffeine supplements can even be life threatening if you take too much.

-Maureen Boyle

can u become homless if u do drug

-Cori.c, Texas

Hi Cori - unfortunately yes if a person's substance use interferes with their ability to keep their job.

-Michele Rankin

Can u live with hiv

-Iyanna@gentryjr, Texas

hey Iyanna@gentryjr, yes, there are great anti-retroviral treatments that allow people with HIV to live a long life.

-Maureen Boyle

can u please answer this question what is the difference between smoking and vaping

-brady, Nebraska

Dear brady - thank you for joining us today! Smoking involves burning the tobacco in a cigarette or cigar. Instead of actually burning (combusting) the drug, vaping raises its temperature just enough to create a mist-like vapor. It is probably safer for the lungs, which is why people like it. But vaping can be used for marijuana, nicotine, as well as many other substances. Vaping is NOT a "healthy" alternative to smoking cigarettes. We are just beginning to understand vaping but we have much more to learn. Although many of the toxic chemicals from burning cigarettes may not be present in vaping, other dangers may exist! There are many checmicals in the vaping liquid that were never meant to be inhaled. In addition, many of these liquids contain nicotine, which is very addictive.

Stay in control of your health and don't use any tobacco product!

-Heather Kimmel

can u stop doing drugs by doing more drugs like pills?

-kbloom, Texas

Hi kbloom
In a way. There are various treatments for drug addiction that involve taking medications. It's called Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT). But this should be done under medical supervision. check this out: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-dr...

-Dave Thomas

Can underage drinking lead to depression and suicide?

-pizzadoglover49, Illinois

Alcohol definitely contributes to depression and suicide. Whether it can actually cause those things is a tough question.

-Aaron White

can you die from over the counter drugs

-ummmm..., Texas

Great question. Just because a drug is over the counter doesn't mean there are no health consequences. Typically serious consequences from over the counter drugs come when using more than directed or combining them with other substances. The safest way to use over the counter drugs and other prescription medications is to use them under the care of a health care provider and according to instructions. The most dangerous over the counter drugs being misused by teens are cough and cold medicines, which can be addictive. See here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/cough-and-cold-medicine-dxm-and-c...

-Redonna Chandler

can you die from taking drugs once a day

-trase A, Texas

trase A - for many drugs taking too much just one time can be deadly

-Maureen Boyle

Can you die if you are addicted to drugs, but they are not available?

-Mnehls, Texas

There have been reports of deaths from alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal. Withdrawal from other drugs is very painful and difficult, but usually not fatal. Withdrawal describes the various symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies heroin withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

-Dave Thomas

can you die when you have to much LSD

-doughnut dan77, Texas

Hi there. Yes you can although it is rare. Since 2010, there have been 16 LSD-related deaths, according to the CDC. LSD, or lysergic acid diethyhlamide, is a hallucinogen, which means it can produce hallucinations, and these can recur even months after you stop taking it. LSD produces its effects by acting on specific proteins in the central nervous system. These proteins are on brain cells (neurons) that make serotonin. Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings of despair, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD. Check out http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drug-related-hospital-emergency-room-visits for more information.

-Jacqueline Lloyd

Can you drink and not get addicted?

-M.Guerra, Pennsylvania

Yes, for sure! The majority of adults who drink do not develop a problem with alcohol. Teens who drink have a higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life, so while not everyone who drinks will develop a problem, it's better to be safe than sorry.

-Aaron White

can you eat cocaine instead of snorting it?

-summit14020, New Jersey

hey summit14020 - you can but the effects would be different. Cocaine is a topical anesthetic so it will make your mouth numb.

-Maureen Boyle

Can you estimate on average how many students report cases relating to drugs?

-username, New York

Clever username, username, thanks for joining us! According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, 12% of 8th graders, 27% of 10th graders, and 38% of 12th graders reported they had used an illegal drug at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. If you want to look at more individual drug stats, check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/monitoring-future-study-trends-in-prevalence-various-drugs or www.monitoringthefuture.org.

-Marsha Lopez

Can you explain the connection between marijuana and schizophrenia?

-etarshish, Illinois

Marijuana interferes with processing of sensations and thinking, which is why it can lead to a misrepresentaiton of reality that can result in paranoia and full blown psyshcoses where you cannot recognize what is real from what is not

-Nora Volkow

Can you feel depressed and not know why

-Grace@gentryjr, Texas

Absolutely! A lot of people think that depression is a response to a particular thing going on in your life. However, while it is true that stressful things in your life can contribute to depression, someone could develop depression even if there is no particular event or situation that triggers it. However, it is good to keep in mind that depression lasts for a long time (at least a few weeks of constantly feeling depressed), and that being in a bad mood on and off or for a short while isn't quite the same. For more about depression, check out https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teen-depression/index.shtml.

-Susan Borja