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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can prescription drugs be addictive too?

-blackrulezmore, Kentucky

Absolutely! Opiates are the same whether you obtain them as heroin or as Vicodin or Oxycontin. When they are prescribed, they are given in known amounts for a certain length of time (until they are no longer needed). Many people think that if a doctor prescribes something for pain that they cannot become addicted, but that is not true. The chemicals in pain killers do not know if they are prescribed or not and they behave the same way regardless of how you get them. Did you know that in 2006, prescription pain medications, like Vicodin, were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine COMBINED? For more facts about drugs, read NIDA's new booklet made for teens, Drugs: Shatter the Myths. You can find it (and even order it for free) at http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/booklet.php.

-Nancy Pilotte

Can robots develop a drug addiction? This is a serious question

-arthur r, New Jersey

Serious answer. At this point in time, robots are electro-mechanical devices, so there is no way to administer a drug to a robot. However, robots can be programmed to seek items in their environment such as a power source. It is theoretically possible to program a robot to repeatedly seek out some item in the evironment because it has a large value to it that also has long-term bad effects on its performance. That would kind of be like addiction. You may want to look at the research of Steve Potter at Georgia Tech Univ (http://gatech.academia.edu/StevePotter), who is using neurons grown in a dish to act as the 'brain' for robots. Drugs can be given to that 'brain in a dish', so it would be very interesting to see how that would affect the performance of a robot. Maybe you will be the person to does the research to answer that question ! Seriously.

-Steve Grant

can sex become a drug? does it have any negative physical effects in excess?

-starprepacademy, California

I think what you are really asking is whether people can become addicted to sex....clinically there are many people who develop compulsive sexual behaviors that can put them at risk for a number of problems including increased exposure to sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

-Cindy Miner

Can Sharpie Markers actually give you a high sensation, and if so why do so many stores sell sharpies?

-20114650@pjphs, Pennsylvania

Yes, they can. They are part of a class of chemicals called inhalants. This class of drugs is huge, and includes lots of cleaners, glues, gas... It is really not practicle to get rid of all of them. Probably best to work being careful when using any of the inhalants.... For more info, see https://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/facts_inhale1.php

-David Thomas

Can sharpies get you high?

-hackettstown, New Jersey

If you sniff them too much, yes. Eating them can be a choking hazard! hehe... Like other inhalants, the solvents in sharpies can rob your brain of oxygen and make one woozy if you sniff them too much. Over the long run, one's brain can shrink from excessive sniffing. There is a whole lot of scientific info on this topic and why it is a seriously bad idea at: http://www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov/.

-David Thomas

can sipping on condeine kill you?

-imclean101, Georgia

Codeine is a very weak opiate. Other opiates are morphine and heroin. Sipping, or taking orally, is the safest way to take opiates. However, I would not sip it at all unless a doctor has instructed you to, and you should take it in the amount prescribed. Sipping can add up, and you can overdose if you take a whole lot!

-David Thomas

can smoke affect babies

-anisha, Pennsylvania

Absolutely! A mom smoking while pregnant as well as secondhand smoke in the environment can affect babies before and after birth. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for stillbirth, infant mortality, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, preterm birth, and respiratory problems. Carbon monoxide and nicotine from tobacco smoke may interfere with fetal oxygen supply - and because nicotine readily crosses the placenta, it can reach concentrations in the fetus that are much higher than levels in the mother. Nicotine concentrates in fetal blood, amniotic fluid, and breast milk, exposing both fetuses and infants to toxic effects. The more a woman smokes during pregnancy, the more infant birth weight is reduced, and that's not a good thing. Smoking during pregnancy can also affect cognition (learning and understanding) and is associated with behavioral problems. In addition, smoking more than a pack a day during pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of the child becoming addicted to tobacco if he or she ever starts smoking. Even second-hand exposure to cigarette smoke can cause problems. For example, strong associations have been found between second-hand smoke and low birth weight and premature birth. Exposure during the postnatal period has been associated with a number of physical health outcomes, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory illnesses (asthma, respiratory infections, and bronchitis), ear infections and cavities, and increased medical visits and hospitalizations.

-Nicolette Borek

can smoking a joint be a form of birth control

-some guy, Kentucky

I am not aware of any evidence that suggests marijuana would be a viable mode of birth control. thanks for the question.

-Ruben Baler

can smoking marijuana help asthma?

-boilingsprings, Pennsylvania

There some evidence that it relaxes the bronchioles which can help in the short term, but in the long run its likely to be more problematic because of the general negative effects smoking has on the lungs.

-David Shurtleff

Can sniffing markers make you high?

-nats379, Maryland

Hi natz379,Yes, markers such as Sharpies contain volatile solvents--and when inhaled these solvents can produce a 'high.' The effects of inhalants can be similar to those of alcohol, and include slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, and dizziness. Inhalants can be very dangerous, particularly in children, some of whom have been known to die after a single session of inhaling chemical fumes. Long-term inhalant use can result in muscle spasms and tremors or even permanent difficulty with basic actions like walking, bending, and talking. These effects are similar to what happens to patients with multiple sclerosis. Inhalants also affect other parts of your body, especially when used repeatedly. They can cause serious harm to vital organs, including the heart, kidneys, and liver. Certain inhalants can also cause the body to produce fewer blood cells, which may result in a condition known as aplastic anemia (in which the bone marrow is unable to produce blood cells). Frequent long-term use of certain inhalants can cause a permanent change or malfunction of peripheral nerves, called polyneuropathy. Not good, huh!?For more information on inhalants, visit: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/inhalants.Kristen

-Kristen Huntley

can soda be a drug

-rabinj, New York

Non-caffeine free soda contains caffeine. And caffeine is a drug that people can become physically dependent on. But physical dependence is not the same as addiction. It occurs because the body naturally adapts to chronic exposure to a substance (e.g., caffeine or a prescription drug), and when that substance is taken away, symptoms can emerge while the body readjusts to the loss of the substance. Physical dependence can lead to craving for the drug to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. But, that said, if you find yourself unable to stop drinking lots of soda-it's definitely a good idea to ask a trusted adult for help.

-Cheryl Boyce

Can some drugs make you see things

-nidachat, New Hampshire

Depends on the drug. LSD and other hallucinogen drugs like psilocybin (mushrooms), mescaline, DMT, and Salvadorium A (salvia) can produce mild to strong perceptual distortions, which can include changes in colors, or in the shape and size of objects. Sometimes even common objects can look like something entirely different. Other types of drugs, such as stimulants, marijuana, or opioids, don't produce such strong perceptual effects. Here's some more facts on hallucinogens: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/hallucinogens.html.

-Steve Grant

can some painkillers be considered as drugs

-16coleb,

Yes, prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin are part of a class of drugs called opioids, just like heroin. These prescription painkillers can be very helpful to people in pain but when they are abused, that is taken in higher doses, more frequently, or smoked or injected, they can be very dangerous.

-Gaya Dowling

Can someone get high off ADHD or ADD medicine?

-dragonslayer1o1, Kentucky

Good morning dragonslayer. The class of medication most commonly used to treat ADHD/ADD are stimulants. I know - if someone is already 'hyper' why would you give them something to make them more hyper?! Because of the biology of the disorder, the truth is, if someone has ADHD taking stimulants is actually calming. You wouldn't get high from taking the medicine, but the medicine will help with things like attention and concentration. However, just 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. Addiction to stimulants can happen if they are taken without medical supervision. Want to know more about ADHD? https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-d...

And here's some further info on ADHD medications: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/ADHD.html

-Amy Goldstein

can the drug K2 kill you?

-lohan362, Pennsylvania

Thanks for your question.K2, Spice is a fairly new phenomenon. There is no solid indication that this herbal mixture is lethal. But since this mixtures are not regulated nor standardized different batches from different manufacturers could end up containing dangerous contaminants. Stay healthy and take care.

-Ruben Baler

Can toothpaste be a drug?

-craigb, New York

Probably not. Not counting alcohol, something needs to have molecules in it that fit special molecules on brain cells to give a mood effect to be a real drug. So brush every day and be sure to floss!

-Jim Bjork

Can types of weed make you have hallucinations or see things that aren't there?

-i<3bubbles, Kentucky

Yes, there are some weeds that are very hallucinogenic. For example, gypsum weed (common names -- jimson weed, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, thorn apple, tolguacha, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, locoweed, datura, pricklyburr, devil's cucumber, hell's bells, moonflower) can cause very severe hallucinations. That said, one has to be very careful with such hallucinogens as they can be extremely potent, like with gypsum weed. People have gone into comas, convulsions, and have died from very small amounts.Hope this helps.

-Joe Frascella

can u eat weed?

-Xavier, Maryland

Yes, people do eat weed (marijuana) and get high from it. For more information about marijuana and the dangers of addiction, see https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana.

-Joe Frascella

can u get high off of dry erse markers

-sttbrown29, Pennsylvania

Yup. These markers have volatile organic solvents in them. We call solvents like acetone, toluene and ethyl acetate 'inhalants' and they are sequestered by (and dissolve) lipids. The organs in your body with the most lipid are your brain and your liver. 'Huffing' these solvents can also kill you.

-Nancy Pilotte

can u get high off smoking parsley?

-CS, New Jersey

No, but it is delicious when you add it to a meal. And you might like the taste.

-Nancy Pilotte

can u over dose with drinking

-ctodd, Pennsylvania

The major signs that someone is overdosing on alcohol, or has alcohol poisoning include:VomitingSeizuresSlow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness If someone you know shows these symptoms after drinking, call a parent, call 911, just get help -and fast! Don't try to play doctor yourself - get help.For more information on alcohol poisoning, please check out: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

-Aaron White

can u over dose with weed?

-BarneY, Maryland

Probably not. But are you tryinig to?

-Ruben Baler

can underaged teenagers get arrested for smoking ciggerettes?

-Hackettstown, New Jersey

Well I don't think you can get arrested for smoking them, but your parents might ground you. Smoking is really bad for your body and brain. Consequences of tobacco use include: lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders among others. More information can be found at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Nicotine.html.

-Redonna Chandler

can using k2 kill you ?

-ozmann12, Maryland

Thanks for your question.K2, Spice is a fairly new phenomenon. There is no solid indication that this herbal mixture is lethal. But since this mixtures are not regulated nor standardized different batches from different manufacturers could end up containing dangerous contaminants. Stay healthy and take care.

-Ruben Baler

Can weed be eaten?

-marijuanna, New Jersey

Yes, some people put marijuana in baked goods. The problem with eating marijuana is that it takes a very long time for the drug to take effect--about an hour or more. So it is very easy to take more than you intend (or not even know that you have eaten somethinig containing mariujana) because you may not feel anything right after eating something containing it. So be careful out there ! The only medically approved use for THC, the most psychoactive chemical in marijuana, is Marinol, a capsule containing TCH dissolved in sesame seed oil. Check out http://www.marijuana-info.org/ for more.

-Steve Grant

Can weed cause death?

-NickP, Maryland

Hi! Interesting question...hard to answer exactly because
marijuanais generally not toxic in the sense that if you smoke it, it is going to kill you. But, if you were to get high and then drive, have unprotected sex, or do something else that could be dangerous, the consequences could be serious...even deadly. Approximately 14% of fatally injured drivers test positive for marijuana (sometimes in combination with other drugs)

-Joe Frascella

Can weed cause death?

-NickP, Maryland

Hi! Interesting question...hard to answer exactly because marijuana is generally not toxic in the sense that if you smoke it, it is going to kill you. But, if you were to get high and then drive, have unprotected sex, or do something else that could be dangerous, the consequences could be serious...even deadly. Approximately 14% of fatally injured drivers test positive for marijuana (sometimes in combination with other drugs)

-Joe Frascella

Can weed cause death? (with regular eat habits)

-PoloBoy, Maryland

The worst thing that can happen to you is getting hurt or killed, not directly from the drug, like the way that alcohol or opioids can stop your breathing, but by getting into a car wreck or having some other consequence of altered judgment and perception from being high. The biggest danger has to do with marijuana's effects on judgment, perception, reaction time....Studies have found that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who were injured or died in traffic crashes tested positive for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Learn more on the Sara Bellum blog at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/know-the-scene-4-tips-to-avoid-drinking-drugs-and-driving/.

-Steve Grant

Can Weed Kill You On Your First Try?

-CoCo&Chanel2012, Maryland

quick answer: no. and probably not on your second either.

-Ruben Baler

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

-JKB's MOM(FCB),

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

-Ruben Baler

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