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

3 glasses of wine a day keeps the doctor away, am i right?

-fellowhomie, Virginia

Unfortunately, not for kids. Not even one drink per day is safe or legal for anyone under age 21. For adults, the answer is a little more complicated. Research demonstrates that to keep your risks of developing alcohol-related problems low, men should have no more than 4 drinks on any single day AND no more than 14 drinks per week. For women, "low-risk" drinking levels are no more than three drinks on any single day AND no more than seven drinks per week. To stay low-risk, you must keep within both the single-day and weekly limits. For more information on these guidelines, check out:

-Aaron White

A lot of data shows that teenagers in middle school and high school are prone to drug addiction. Why is that?

-15980245, Maryland

You've got your facts right: Studies show that the younger a person is when he or she starts using drugs, the more likely he or she is to quickly start to use more and more and become addicted.Scientists don't yet know everything about why this is, but part of the answer appears to be that teenagers' brains are still developing--adding new cells and weaving the circuits that connect the brain cells. Drugs and alcohol can disrupt this process, and by doing so affect the way the teen responds to various influences and exposures, including drugs, for the rest of his or her life.

-Kevin Conway

A lot of my friends drink. how can i get them to stop?

-ilovefood2, Kentucky

Talk to them about why you think it is a bad idea. In the end, if they decide not to stop and it really bothers you it would be a brave and smart decision to find friends that don't drink.

-Aaron White

add pils are great

-smurf, Georgia

I totally agree, ADHD medications are great! But only for those who are being treated for ADHD. Research shows that successful treatment of ADHD results in better academic outcomes and less drug abuse. Here's some more info on ADHD and its treatment: But ADHD medications should only be used when they are prescribed to a person. These medications are stimulants. Like any other medical condition, you should not take medicine for something you don't have, as the effect on your body would be different than what is expected when the medicine is used to treat an illness. Stimulants can increase blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, decresase sleep and appetite, and can affect mood, none of which sounds very good to me. Addiction to stimulants is also a very real consideration for anyone taking them without medical supervision. For more info on stimulants used to treat ADHD, see: more information on stimulants in general, see

-Marina Volkov

After treatment for a drug, can one still have the urge to do it again, and will it be stronger then when they got off that drug? In addition, will the urges to do so be more severe and would the addiction be harder to break?

-RFer, New Jersey

Great question,Yes, cravings can occur after treatment, and a staple of treatment is to keep the person away from situations and enviroments ('triggers') associated with taking the drug. I would say it's less of an urge over time, but the potential is always there. Take a look at our treatment fact sheet for more information

-Jim Bjork

Alcocholism....why is it a genetic??

-qwerty123, New Jersey

Well, alcohol affects everyone differently. For some people, it causes them to want to drink too much. Genes influence how the brain works and how the brain responds to alcohol. So, for people who have a particular genetic makeup, drinking can make them want to drink more and more. If these people start drinking alcohol when they are really young, like early in the teenage years, they are even more likely to have problems. So, it's particularly important for people with a family history of alcoholism not to drink alcohol before the legal drinking age of 21.

-Aaron White

Are you in favor of, or in opposition to, the medical use of MJ for AIDS patients? Do you think it really can help? If so, how?

-justcurious, New Jersey

At this point I'm much more in favor of the use of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) for AIDS patients--since it actually treats the disease. Marijuana was used by AIDS patients to help reverse the severe wasting (weight loss) that is part of the disease and contributes to its progression, but it did not actually treat the disease. Nevertheless, for people who were dying before the discovery of antiretroviral therapies marijuana may have helped them live long enough to actually benefit from the medicines we now have to treat AIDS.

-Susan Weiss

are you more likely to become addicted to nicotine at a younger age or as an adult

-Waka Flocka, Maryland

Good question - there are some studies that suggest that while nicotine is addictive for both teenagers and adults, teenagers are more susceptible to addiction to nicotine than adults. For more facts about nicotine and other drugs, check out NIDA's new booklet for teens, Drugs: Shatter the Myths at

-Nicolette Borek

Are you more likley to do drugs if someone in your family does

-I AM MIKE, New Jersey

Great question! Research shows that children with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to try alcohol/drugs and develop alcoholism/drug addiction. This occurs for several interrelated reasons. First, children of parents who abuse alcohol and drugs have an increased risk for childhood behavioral problems, which in turn increases the the risk of trying alcohol/drugs. Second, children of parents who abuse alcohol/drugs are exposed to more opportunities to try alcohol/drugs. Third, children of parents who abuse alcohol/drugs may inherit a genetic liability for alcoholism/addiction (from their parent(s)) which places them at increased risk of developing alcoholism/addiction. Of course, most children of parents who abuse alcohol/drugs do not develop alcoholism/addiction themselves, so neither genetics nor environment is 'destiny'. So, the short answer is .... there is an increased risk of developing drug and alcohol problems, but this can be avoided entirely by choosing not to use drugs or alcohol. And if drugs or alcohol have already been tried, then don't use either again. When someone has a drug problem, it's not always easy to know what to do. If someone you know is using drugs, encourage him or her to talk to a parent, school guidance counselor, or other trusted adult. There are also anonymous resources, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is a crisis hotline that can help with a lot of issues, not just suicide. For example, anyone who feels sad, hopeless, or suicidal; family and friends who are concerned about a loved one; or anyone interested in mental health treatment referrals can call this Lifeline. Callers are connected with a professional nearby who will talk with them about what they're feeling or concerns for other family and friends. In addition, the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) - offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment - refers callers to treatment facilities, support groups, and other local organizations that can provide help for their specific need. You can also locate treatment centers in your state by going to

-Belinda Sims

Aren't drugs made from natural resources? If so , how do "they" ( as in drug manufacturing companies)transform natural resources into an addicting drug?

-16342809, Maryland

That's a really good question! Thanks for asking. It is true that most of our manufactured drugs are based on products that were originally found in plants. But individual plants often have very little of the compound of interest in them--they often taste bad because they are usually used to defend the plant from a natural predator. But these chemicals are also found with lots of other chemicals, some good, some bad, some indifferent. When you use plants or natural products directly, there is no control over the dose you can get, or the side effects (due to the other things found with them). Drug manufacturers make the drugs far more specific, targeting particular proteins called receptors, which limit the adverse side effects. Drugs that are addicting are addicting 'in the wild' too. Although these drugs are addictive, that is not why pharmaceutical companies make them. They make them to treat various conditions, but some of them may also be addictive. That is why it is important to only take prescription medications under the supervision of a physician, who will prescribe them for a specific condition and monitor their effects.

-Nancy Pilotte

as a professional on this topic, have you ever done drugs as a highschooler

-sitchmhenk, Pennsylvania

That's a great question. I didn't do drugs myself, but all of us were kids before and we all remember the pressures. Certainly for some of us our experiences as young people influenced our interest in drug abuse. As we have gotten older we have also seen consequences first hand and may feel even more passionate about understanding addiction.

-Aria Crump

At what levels would caffeine use become a health concern?

-rfer, New Jersey

It would really vary for differen persons, but as a rule of thumb, I would consider excessive and of potential concern, anything that contains above 200 mg caffeine per serving.thanks for the great question.

-Ruben Baler

At what stage are you classified as an alcoholic?

-ihatepink1, Kentucky

According to the National Library of Medicine, alcoholism is classified by the following 4 features:Craving - a strong need to drink Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've begun Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating or shakiness after stopping drinking Tolerance - the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get "high" Check this out at:

-Aaron White

bill nye the science guy said that drugs ccan help you. is this true because thats why i started doing acid

-midgettp, New Jersey

Great question! There are lots of drugs--called medications--that can have very good effects on you. Remember, all drugs are not abused drugs--drugs are anything you take into your body for its effects, whether it is for control of pain, control of weight, control of diabetes, or antibiotics. Even drugs that have the potential for abuse have medical uses. Heroin is an abused opiate; but morphine, another opiate, is a medical treatment for pain. Cocaine not only can make you high, it is also a very effective local anesthetic still used today in eye surgery. Whether a drug is good for you or not often depends on dose and what you are using it for!And I don't think you should blame Bill Nye for your actions with LSD. You need to own that activity yourself, and know that treatment works. To get leads on help, go to anytime; they are open 24/7.

-Nancy Pilotte

both are bad but which is worse, smoking weed or making weed brownies?

-957532, Maryland

smoking weed is worse than making weed brownies(unless you eat the brownies too)

-Ruben Baler

By smoking crack cocaine could it affect your brain(life long term) after one time

-fellowhomie, Virginia

Unlikely, but each 'high' that someone experiences when using crack or any other drug affects the brain and increases the potential for addiction. Use of addictive drugs when you are young (about your age) increases the likelihood of permanent changes in the brain. It is also possible to overdose the first time that someone uses crack, as you can't be positive what dose you are getting or you may be an individual who is particularly sensitive to the drug, so it's best not to use crack even once.

-Joe Frascella

California recently voted against legalizing marijuana, how do you feel about the legalization of this drug?

-cvteacher, Pennsylvania

Regardless of personal feelings about the legalization of marijuana, the important thing to remember is that marijuana is a serious drug that can have harmful effects on the brain and body. Teens are at a critical period in the development of the brain. All addictive drugs - including marijuana impact the development of the teen brain and can create problems in function including memory, concentration, decision making, and even the development of addiction. Making marijuana legal might increase its availability and make it more accessible for teens. We have seen this with other drugs - including prescription drugs. The rates of teen abuse and addiction to prescription pain killers and other drugs has risen as the number of presriptions have risen. Whether you are for or against 'legalization' of marijuana increased avilability and use by teens would not be good for their health, development, or brains.

-Redonna Chandler

Can 1 use of any drug make you addicted

-16372550, Maryland

The process of addiction starts as soon as a drug enters your body and brain. But the time it takes to develop a noticeable addiction can vary a lot among people. It really depends on the person, the drug, how and how much you take it, and your genes. The problem is you don't know how prone you are to get addicted or whether you have become addicted until you start and try to stop--and by then, you may have a real problem. So if you have only used something once best not to use anymore. Check out this neat booklet for more:

-Steve Grant

are the drugs prescribed for ADD and ADHD considered to be in the same family as amphetamines?

-theblindmonkey, Kentucky

Great, sophisticated question.The answer is--Yes and No.Yes: Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Celera) are members of a class of pharmacological agents called central nervous system stimulants, which also includes Adderall (amphetamine) and methamphetamine. All these agents change the amounts of natural chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.No: The ADHD medications are classed as safe and very helpful for many people who take them orally as prescribed by their doctors to control ADHD symptoms; methamphetamine is classed as having no medical use and is extremely addictive and illegal.Here are some links to information about these drugs and medications:

-Kevin Conway

Are the effects of hard alcohols different from wine or beer?

-porkchop, Utah

They all contain the same drug -- alcohol. Because liquor is so much more concentrated than wine and beer, it is absorbed into the body more quickly and can produce effects much more quickly. However, a single serving of each (for liquor, this is a 1.5 ounce serving of 40% alcohol; for beer, this is a 12 ounce serving of 5% alcohol) has the same amount of alcohol and therefore has the potential to produce the same amount of harm. For more information on standard drink amounts for different types of alcohol, check out:

-Aaron White

Are there any benefits from smoking marijuana once?

-301goonboy, Maryland


-Joe Frascella

Are there any positives out of doing drugs? Because i only hear the nagatives!


The only positive of doing drugs that I can think of is that you cannot think of the negatives. ;)

-Ruben Baler

Are there any so called "safe" drugs?

-**jths**, New Jersey

Sure. I'll give you one example: Prescription drugs (like opioid analgesics) that are locked up in a medicine cabinet and that are used as prescribed by a (licensed!!) it?

-Ruben Baler

Are there drugs in chocolate

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Great questions. Here are some of the drugs that are found in chocolate:ANANDAMIDE-- Chocolate contains small quantities of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid found in the brain. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that targets the same brain structures as THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. But to make a substantial impact on the brain's own natural anandamide levels, experts estimate you would need to eat several kilos of chocolate! Neuroscientist Daniele Piomelli suggests that chocolate works more indirectly to produce its 'high'. As well as anandamide itself, chocolate contains two chemicals known to slow the breakdown of anandamide. Chocolate might therefore work by prolonging the action of this natural stimulant in the brain. THEOBROMINE -- Theobromine is a stimulant frequently confused with caffeine. Theobromine affects humans similarly to caffeine, but on a much smaller scale. Theobromine is mildly diuretic (increases urine production), is a mild stimulant, and relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi in the lungs. In the human body, theobromine levels are halved between 6-10 hours after consumption. Because of its ability to dilate blood vessels, theobromine also has been used to treat high blood pressure. Theobromine has very different effects on the human body from caffeine; it is a mild, lasting stimulant with a mood improving effect, whereas caffeine has a strong, immediate effect and increases stress. A normal portion of chocolate exhibits psychopharmacological activity.PHENYLETHYLAMINE -- phenylethylamine has earned the nickname 'chocolate amphetamine.' High levels of this neurotransmitter help promote feelings of attraction, excitement, giddiness and apprehension. Phenylethylamine works by stimulating the brain's pleasure centres and reaches peak levels during orgasm. Chocolate has the highest concentration in any food of phenylethylamine, which is the chemical produced in the brain when a person is in love. Yet the role of the 'chocolate amphetamine' is disputed. Most if not all chocolate-derived phenylethylamine is metabolised before it reaches the CNS. Some people may be sensitive to its effects in very small quantities. TETRAHYDRO-BETA-CARBOLINES -- C(THbetaCs) Cacao and chocolate bars contain a group of neuroactive alkaloids known astetrahydro-beta-carbolines. Tetrahydro-beta-carbolines are also found in beer, wine and liquor; they have been linked to alcoholism. But the possible role of these chemicals in chocolate addiction remains unclear.EPICATECHIN (FLAVENOID) -- Flavonoids are naturally-occurring compounds found in plant-based foods that have been shown to have a number of health-benefiting properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-cancer activity. Cocoa, especially dark chocolate, has high amounts of the flavonoid Epicatechin and has been found to have nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea. Epicatechin may improve blood flow and may have potential applications for cardiac health. Two recent clinical trials have found that cocoa flavanols can boost the flow of blood to key areas of the brain, giving scientists hope for developing treatments for dementia and strokes. Another study found potential applications for treating blood circulation problems associated with long-term diabetes. Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

are there drugs that offer spiritual insights, as used in the south with peyote

-bn cv, New Jersey

Yes-these drugs are known as hallucinogens which have can profound distortions in the perception of reality and for some religious or spiritual experiences. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Unfortunately, these drugs can also produce rapid, intense emotional swings and result in fear and anxiety, which can be terrifying to people!Hallucinogens cause their effects by disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin. The effect can last as little as several hours and and as long as days, months, or years after taking the drug.

-David Shurtleff

Are there medications used to treat alcoholism? If so, what medications are used to treat alcoholism?

-TrishP, New Jersey

There are several medications that can be helpful in treating alcoholism, but the person also has to work hard to resist the urge to return to alcohol. Naltrexone is a drug that blocks the pleasure that alcohol gives, which makes drinking alcohol less enjoyable and makes it easier to stay away from it. Acamprosate is another medication that can help. It works by calming the brain and reducing cravings and agitation that comes with alcohol withdrawal. Disulfiram is a medication that causes a person to feel really sick if they drink, which makes them less interested in drinking. There are other medications, as well, but these are the three most common. Scientists still do not completely understand how and why they work but they do help!

-Aaron White

are there really different types of marijuanna?

-sexnotdrugs, Maryland

Short answer - yes. There are many different types of marijuana plants. Also, marijuana is processed in different ways and this creates different 'types' of marijuana. They all have one thing in common though - they can negatively impact your body and brain. Marijuana use can lead to respiratory problems, lung cancer, and addiction. Repeated use of marijuana can negatively affect your brains ability to learn, concentrate, memorize, focus, and make good decisions. More information about marijuana can be found at:, and

-Redonna Chandler

Are there substances that are present in sleep medication and pain killers that are also present in drugs that gives a drug satisfaction


Good question. and the answer is yes.Some people abuse benzos, for example, which are present in some sleep medications. And you probably know already about opioid drugs which are very similar to the active ingredient in pain killers like vicodine or oxycontin.

-Ruben Baler

Are there types or groups of people that are prone to become addicted to certain types of drugs or abusive material?

-jthschorus, New Jersey

Hi Jefferson Township! Great question! Individuals with mental health/ psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, PTSD, depression have a higher rate of use of drugs of abuse and have a higher rate of addiction than individuals that don't have these disorders. Also, exposure to stress can make individuals more susceptible to drug abuse and addiction. Genes also play a role. Scientists estimate that a person's genetic background can account for about 50 percent of a person's risk of becoming addicted. We even have identified particular genes changes that are linked to higher risk of alcoholism, tobacco addiction and other drugs. Hope this answers your question!

-David Shurtleff

are trip c's going to be illegal ever

-Grandma'sboy111, New Jersey

Triple C is a drug slang term which refers to cough medicine, derived from Coricidin Cough and Cold - a common over-the-counter antihistamine medication. When these medications are used under the care of a physician or according to directions, they can effectively treat a cough or common cold. Many states regulate the sale of 'over the counter' medications with pseudoephedrine but I am not aware of the same being true for medications containing antihistamines.

-Redonna Chandler