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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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

Alot of people do drugs because they are bored. What else is there to do on a friday night?

-Smith, New Jersey

Smith - can't think of something to do on Friday night? Why not - see a movie, go to a sporting event, attend a concert, participate in a rousing game of Twister with friends, read a good book, play video games, watch TV, go out to dinner, select something from a cook book and make it, do a craft or art project, clean your room, get a jump on homework, or visit the NIDA teen website at: The possibilities are endless all you need is an imagination.

-Redonna Chandler

Are 'light' beers like, bud light, better for you than regular beers?

-I love Pink! :), Kentucky

They have fewer calories, so they might make a person gain less weight than if they drink other beers. They have a little less alcohol in them than regular beers, but they still have alcohol in them. Alcohol is what hurts the body, particularly when we are young like you!

-Aaron White

are all illeagle drugs plants?

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Many illegal drugs are found in plants, but not all. Some drugs are completely synthetic, meaning that they were created in a laboratory and are not present in either plants or animals. LSD. MDMA (Ecstasy), and methamphetamine are examples of synthetic drugs.

-Steve Grant

Are all illigal drugs plants/

-16984560, Maryland

Many illegal drugs are found in plants, but not all. Some drugs are completely synthetic, meaning that they were created in a laboratory and are not present in either plants or animals. LSD. MDMA (Ecstasy), and methamphetamine are examples of synthetic drugs.

-Steve Grant

Are all of you scientists sitting in the same room right now or are you looking at a group of questions and choosing which to answer?

-jthschorus, New Jersey

We are all in the same room and trying to answer as many questions as fast as we can. Thanks for participating.

-Gaya Dowling

are anti-depressent bad for people who use them daily?

-15952329, Maryland

Antidepressants are often very effective medications for people who have depression. However, there are some side-effects associated with their use. The most common types of antidepressants used these days are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The most common side effects associated with SSRIs include:Headache, which usually goes away within a few days. Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), which usually goes away within a few days. Sleeplessness or drowsiness, which may happen during the first few weeks but then goes away. Sometimes the medication dose needs to be reduced or the time of day it is taken needs to be adjusted to help lessen these side effects. Agitation (feeling jittery). Sexual problems, which can affect both men and women and may include reduced sex drive, and problems having and enjoying sex. You can find more info on antidepressants and their side effects at: here's some general information about depression: to know more about Depression in Children and Teens? See:

-Marina Volkov

are any drugs being tested in labs other then weed, lsd, and acid?

-morphinelover69, Vermont

Researchers are studying most abused drugs trying to better understand how they do what they do, why people get addicted, and what can be done to reverse their detrimental effects.

-David Shurtleff

Are cigarettes or pot healthier

-I AM MIKE, New Jersey

Hi--good question! The answer is that neither is healthy. Many studies have shown that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and is an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections.

-Kristen Huntley

are cigars any healthier that cigarettes?

-firedude311, Pennsylvania

I don't think so.but they smell kind of better, don't they?

-Ruben Baler

are cigars or pipe smoking any healthier than cigarettes?

-firedude311, Pennsylvania

Not that I know of.But cigars and pipe smoking does tend to transfer the risk of cancer from the lungs to the oral cavity. Trust me those cancers do not look pretty.Thanks for your question and stay healthy!

-Ruben Baler

are drugs bad?

-amanda, New Jersey

Hi, Amanda. Thanks for the questions. Not all drugs are bad. Medications prescribed to you by your doctor and taken as instructed are generally not harmful. You need to steer clear of drugs that are illegal and prescription drugs when not prescribed specifically for you, or taken in a way that was not intended.

-David White

are drugs hard to make?


Some drugs like marijuana or coke are much easier to just extract from a plant. Some drugs like meth or ecstasy can be made (or synthesized) quite easily. Which is a problem of course.Thanks for the question.

-Ruben Baler

Are electric cigarettes better for you?

-Snookiewantsmu, New Jersey

Thanks for the great questionThe jury is still out on this one. Recently, the FDA tested some versions and found diethylene glycol and some specific nitrosamines in addition to nicotine. based on these and other findings, the FDA issued a press release discouraging the use of electronic cigarettes and repeating previously stated concerns that electronic cigarettes may be marketed to young people and lack appropriate health warnings.Personally, I'd worry that young people would perceive the e-cigarettes a safer alternative to smoking even though there is no evidence to support that claim.take care.

-Ruben Baler

are energy drinks dangerous

-klagarda=D, Maryland

They could be. Some people may be at risk of serious cardiovascular consequences when exposed to the large amounts of caffeine that some of these drinks pack. thanks and stay healthy.

-Ruben Baler

Are four loko's going to be made illegal sometime soon?


In fact, this week it was made illegal in Michigan. We'll have to wait and see whether it gets banned in other states.

-Aaron White

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