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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.

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Where does tobacco come from?

-ahouston, Texas

hey ahouston, it is a plant

-Maureen Boyle

where is the largest drug problem in the US?

-@therealdonnyt, New York

Hi @therealdonnyt - thanks for being on the Chat! A big problem in the U.S. is the prescription opioid overdose crisis. In 2015, the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000).

-Marsha Lopez

Which animal, a dog or a cat, would have a more serious/life threatening reaction to marijuana? meaning, which animal is less immune?

-kaitlynkeane, New York

Hey kaitlynkeane,

Chemicals can have different effects in different animals—like how chocolate is delicious to humans and poisonous to dogs—so even small amounts of a drug could be very harmful for your pet. Alcohol can cause a dog to suffer dangerous drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and body temperature. They can also have seizures and stop breathing.

In dogs and cats poisoned by marijuana, signs may be seen within 3 hours, and include severe depression, lethargy, coma, low heart rate, low blood pressure, respiratory depression, hyperactivity, seizures, and vomiting. Also, your pet wouldn’t understand that it had been given a drug, and the sensations that might feel like a high to a human would be a very scary experience for an animal. For more information, check out: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/be-friend-mans-best-friend-keep-marijuana-away-from-your-dog

-Maureen Boyle

Which body system do abusive drugs affect the most?

-Rz1, California

Rz1 - Wow - impressive question. Drugs of abuse affect all of the body. For teens,x one of the parts of the body most impacted is the brain. Drugs of abuse can affect the brains ability to focus, concentrate, retain new information, and even develop adiction. More information on drug use and the brain can be found at: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction.

-Redonna Chandler

Which brand of cigarette is most addictive/dangerous???

-Jmurray, Texas

Hi Jmurray, thanks for this question! Almost all cigarettes contain nicotine, which is very addictive. And all cigarettes contain other toxins that are also very dangerous. So, there is no real difference between brands in their ability to be addictive and dangerous to your health. To learn more about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigs, see https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes

-Kevin Walton

Will drugs really be bad for sleeping.

-TimeBomb, Illinois

hey TimeBomb, it depends on the drug. Some drugs will help put you to sleep and others will make it hard to sleep.

-Maureen Boyle

Will drugs worsen my receding hairline?

-Keller Hairline, Maryland

Actually, steroids use is associated with hair loss. I have not heard of other abused drugs resulting in hair loss.

-Dave Thomas

Will people get depressed when they use drugs too much? Thanks!

-ahuynh, Texas

Hi ahuynh - they can. Some people who take SSRIs (like Prozac) may be at increased risk for developing suicidal thoughts.

-Michele Rankin

will smoking marijuana once in a while affect you negatively while being productive?

-isaac, California

Isaac - Good question. Marijuana, like other substances, is most risky when used on a regular basis. But, even when used intermittently, it can interfere with memory and learning or can cause someone to have an accident when driving. See additoinal info here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.

-Wilson Compton

Will someone die or be affected badly by second hand smoke over a long period of years?

-Russian@BMS, Texas

hey Russian@BMS, Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.

-Maureen Boyle

Will steroids make you look stronger or actually stronger

-James , New York

anabolic steroids can make you look stronger (bigger actually). depending on your training schedule they may also help you get actually stronger faster. The problem is that there is no free lunch, so along with those "alleged" benefits, abuse of anabolic steroids bring along a host of well documented adverse effects.
check my video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Ynf2kPNIc

cheers

-Ruben Baler

Will using drugs when you're pregnant affect the baby?

-jaclyn948, New Jersey

Everydrug a pregnant woman takes also reaches her baby. The ways in which the baby can be affected depends on the drug the mother takes, how much she uses, and when in pregnancy she uses. For example, research suggests that women who smoke marijuana while pregnant are at higher risk for having a baby born at a lower birth weight. But the good news is that the sooner a pregnant woman stops using drugs, the better the results for her baby. You can read more at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/using-drugs-when-pregnant-harms-baby. It is very important for a pregnant woman to discuss ALL drugs she takes with her doctor. Do not believe rumors, or even worse, unproven claims on the Intenet.

-Carol Krause

Will vaping kill me

-m1234, Illinois

Hi - that is an important question! Vaping, and using electronic cigarettes, is becoming very common by kids in high school. Very little is known about the long term health effects of vaping, which makes it a risky activity. There has been a lot of talk about vaping being safer than smoking, and we are still trying to figure that out. We also don't know yet how the ingredients in e-cigarettes could affect someone's health--but we do know these ingredients were not developed to be inhaled. With all these unknowns, it would be best to never start vaping.

-Kevin Walton

Will you become addicted to prescribed drugs?

-M.Guerra, Pennsylvania

Yes, people can be addicted to prescription drugs. For example, many people become addicted to prescription opioids. Just because they are prescribed by doctors does not mean they are always safe. Check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescript... for some more good info.

-Dave Thomas

will you die if you mix drugs with alcohol.

-dtrach, New Hampshire

There are no real certainties when one mixes alcohol and other drugs, but mixing drugs and alcohol is very risky. For example, alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of opioid overdose. Drug and alcohol use is associated with car crashes and a lot of other bad outcomes.

-Dave Thomas

with all the different types of marijuana out on the streets and supposedly there are different types and effect is anyone aware of the additional make of marijuana

-danielleFVSU4_H, Georgia

Hi Danielle
There are a lot of different types of marijuana out there, but the key thing to remember is that they all have THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is a powerful drug. Most of the different types are just for advertising and do not really represent any meaningful differences between types.

-Steve Gust

would you go to even more depression while using drugs

-vlam, Texas

Many drugs can indeed make you feel depressed -- some when you take them, some when they wear off. Some people may be more likely to get depressed than others when they use specific drugs.

-Josh Gordon

Y do ppl that take drugs supposedly need help if it's there choice?were do they go for help if that?

-Kaitlyn , Texas

Great Question! People use drugs for lots of different reasons, such as peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and so on. People can know drugs are bad for them, but they may still choose to take the risk, while others may not be aware of all the risks. Then, once they’re hooked, it can be very difficult to stop.

There are medications to help with some addictions including nicotine/tobacco, alcohol, and opioids (e.g. heroin or pain pills). And there are also behavioral therapies (counseling) to help people recover. But addiction is often a lasting condition, like heart disease or diabetes; there are treatments that help someone live a healthy, productive life but there is no cure. NIDA scientists are working hard to develop better treatments to treat addictions to all types of drugs. See our Step-by-Step Guides to learn how to get treatment: www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment

-Michele Rankin

y does drugs make people be addicted? Is it the feeling of the drug that makes them want to smoke?

-Matthew G, Texas

Hey Matthew G- at first, people might take a drug for the feeling it gives them, but using drugs can cause changes to the brain over time that result in addiction. Frequently, someone who's addicted to a drug is taking it more to avoid withdrawal symptoms than to experience a high. The brain changes that cause addiction will cause someone to take drugs despite the negative consequences. Check out this website to find out more about the way that drugs affect our brains: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/.

-Emily Einstein

yesterday i was put on laughing gas .... is that the same feeling as getting high ? could laghing gas kill you?

-rigsby, Texas

Hi Size,
Great question. Laughing gas is nitrous oxide, an inhalant that is sometimes abused to get high. It could definitely kill you -- that's why doctors are specially trained in how to give exactly the right amount.

-Eric Wargo

Yo, what up, Dave Thomas, What happens if someone takes too much of nicotine? Could this impact a teenager's future? Are they able to buy these drugs at a drug store near their location? -JArdsley, Ardsley High School

-JArdsley, New York

Its me!!! Dave Thomas. Not much up, just doing this chat day thing.

I am not a huge expert on nicotine, but we do have experts at NIDA on this. Here is a lot of useful information from NIDA:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cigarettes-other-tobacc...

-Dave Thomas

You know how people use MJ for medical purposes, but why do they take this substance to their own advantages and keep using it for bad things?

-pc, Indiana

Hi pc, thanks for this interesting question. In certain states, marijuana (MJ) is prescribed for medical purposes, such as for pain relief. When MJ is given to patients by a doctor, it can be used safely and effectively. Taking medical MJ is much different than taking MJ obtained from drug dealers or friends, which can be dangerous. Using MJ under any circumstances can be risky because the substance causes changes in brain function and problems with learning and memory. Finally, taking MJ can be habit-forming and lead to addiction. I've attached a web link with more information about MJ: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/letter-to-t...

-Michael Baumann

\ how do drugs kill somone after a little time

-buldy 456 lohla, Colorado

hey buldy 456 lohla, some drugs like opioids (prescription pain relievers or heroin) kill people by stopping their breathing, other like stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine) can kill people by causing cardiac arrest.

-Maureen Boyle