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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http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/hallucinogensis Lsd bad for you

-GHS, Massachusetts

Hello GHS,

LSD can be very bad for you for several reasons. First, it is a synthetic drug, so it is made by people with no regulation of the process or chemicals used. So, in addition to the LSD itself, which can be harmful, there may be other toxic chemicals mixed in that can be dangerous, and these may vary from one batch to another. The LSD itself causes brain circuits to become desynchonized and chaotic, and we believe this leads to the hallucinations that it can cause. So you may see or hear things that are not there. In addition to the harm that LSD might do to brain cells, your reactions and responses may endanger you. People on LSD may be more likely to get injured or die in accidents. You can find more information here: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/hallucinogens

-Roger Little

¨:)Which is the drug most used for sports

-MGP, Other

There is a long list of substances that can be used as sport performance enhancing drugs. (see list in the link below) Different sports challenge different physical limitations. But in general, anabolic steroids are the most frequently cited perfomance enhancing drugs in teh context of competitive sports.

http://www.usada.org/wp-content/uploads/wada-2017-prohibited-list-en.pdf

-Ruben Baler

1 to 10 how bad would i be if i started smoking weed today?????

-12345789101112, Massachusetts

11

-Michele Rankin

<strong>Why do people even take these bad drugs in the first place?</strong>

-Jacob Abraham, Texas

Hello to you Jacob Abraham from Lake Olympia Middle School. Thanks for asking this terrific 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. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/i-wish-that-i-could-be-like-the-cool-kids.

There is also a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA’s teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.

-Bethany Deeds

@compton dose spice come from the canibus plant too

-acrain, Texas

Hi acrain - Spice is usually a term for a chemical version of THC, the main intoxicating drug in marijuana. Typically this chemical is not from the plant, but is manufactured in a laboratory. Because the chemical changes and variations can be unpredictable, the effects of Spice can be unpredictable and dangerous. See more info here:https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/spice.

-Wilson Compton

@EmilyEinstein are you related to Albert Einstein in any way?

-MRODGERS, Texas

Hey MRodgers- My family came to America in the 1870s, so if I'm related to him it would be pretty distant :-). It is kind of funny to be a scientist named Einstein!

-Emily Einstein

a few months ago i was visiting my sister at college and we were eating at the mall. We saw a man sitting on the bench inhaling a can of keyboard cleaner, he was shaking and almost near the edge of the bench. Later on he was on the floor with his eyes closed, then we called 911 and the paramedics took him to the hospital. If we are ever in this situation by our selves what is the best thing to do? And why did he shake?

-JKV, Illinois

Dear JKV - wow, that sounds like a very scary situation. I think you and your sister did the right thing - to call 911 right away. If you were by yourselves, I think you should still seek emergency medical treatment first. Some chemicals, when inhaled, can affect both the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nerve (from the spinal cord) systems. It sounds like he had some bad effect from the inhaled chemical - either seizure activity or some peripheral nerve problem (like tetany). You can learn more about inhalants at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/inhalants.

-Michelle Leff

A thing called Juul is becoming popular in my school, what affects does it have?

-summit 11156, New Jersey

Hi - thanks for this question. This is a type of e-cigarette. The effects on your health, and how harmful vaping can be, depends on what's in the chemicals you inhale. Much of the risk also comes from not being entirely sure of what actually is in the e-liquids. NIDA researchers are working hard to determine the health risks of vaping the various substances. Take a look at this infographic:

-Kevin Walton

Aaron White, what are the physical signs of abuse or addiction?

-Drugpreventer, Nebraska

People who abuse alcohol often fail to meet their obligations. They might show up to school or work late with hangovers. They might seem lethargic and ill rather often. If they have progressed to true addiction, the person might smell like alcohol in the morning, have glassy and bloodshot eyes quite often, and not be available in the evenings/mornings because they need to recover/continue drinking.

Here are symptoms of alcohol use disorder.

-Aaron White

About how many babies are born addicted to drugs?

-panther12, Texas

Hey panther12- Babies actually can't be addicted to drugs- addiction means you take drugs despite negative consequences, which babies can't do. They can instead experience neonatal abstinence syndrome, or withdrawal from a drug after birth. Opioid drugs like heroin are a common cause of this syndrome. In 2012, 21,732 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is 5 times more than in the year 2000.

-Emily Einstein

About how many people die each year from drugs? And how can we keep that from happening?

-Myah@gentryJR, Texas

About 54,000 people die from drug overdose in the US each year! And a lot more die from diseases related to drug use. We are working here at NIDA on ways to better prevent and treat drug use and addiction. But it is a big problem without any simple solutions. There are lots of resources you can access at drugabuse.gov, and here are some specific data regarding overdose: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-deat...

-Dave Thomas

about how many teens start using drugs and alcohol when they are underage

-MRODGERS, Texas

Hi MRODGERS - thanks for your question. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health surveys people 12 and older, and in 2015 the average age of starting drinking was 18. However, if we look at just underage drinkers, meaning kids who started drinking before the age of 21, the average age is around 16. To look at the percentage of alcohol drinkers by age group check out page 18 of their report. The average age of marijuana initiation (meaning that's when they start), is16 if we look at just people who started using marijuana before age 21. However if you look at everyone over the age of 12, the average is around 19 years old. This means many people are starting to use marijuana as teens or as college students/young adults.

-Marsha Lopez

About how much brain cells do you lose from using meth?

-kluu , Texas

Depends. If meth results in a stroke you can lose many cells, which will depend on how large the area of the stroke is.

-Nora Volkow

about how much of teens smoke all over the country???

-Mlaguna, Texas

Hi, Mlaguna, thanks for joining us today. According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future study, just about 1 in 10 high school seniors (10.5%) across the US reported smoking cigarettes in the month prior to the survey. For more numbers and information about tobacco and nicotine check out our website https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/tobacco-nicotine

-Marsha Lopez

Accourding to your calculations how many underaged drinkers drink per year

-Justin, Illinois

88% of 12th graders reported ever having used alcohol, according to the 2016 Monitoring the Future study. Fifty-four percent of 12th graders reported having used alcohol in the past 30 days.

-Aaron White

All my friends are stoners/crackheads which is pretty cool but drugs are bad, say no to drugs like me stay fresh They don't listen what do I do?

-seranzaldo20, California

Hola seranzaldo20 from Los Molinos High School! It sounds like you are not only super fresh, but are a super positive influence in your peer group. Just knowing the facts and that drugs are harmful might not prevent people from using drugs. For more information, click on: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction.

Also, if you haven't already prepared a plan before heading out into a pressurized situation with your friends. Develop talking points in your head about what you are going to say and do. For some suggestions, visit: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/6-tactful-tips-resisting-peer-pressure-to-use-drugs-and-alcohol. Also be aware that your brain works differently in groups than when you are alone. For more information, check out: http://headsup.scholastic.com/students/the-science-of-decision-making-and-peer-pressure.

-Bethany Deeds

all my old relatives did LSD when they were hippies but they're fine. why would it harm me?

-gayginger, Maryland

Hi gayginger,
Great question -- it wouldn't necessarily harm you -- not all drugs harm everyone -- but you never know how drugs will affect you, because every person is different. Drugs can have worse and more lasting effects if you take them when you are young.
Also, these days especially, you can never be sure what is actually in the drugs you take. A dealer may call it LSD, but it could be anything. Today there are some very very dangerous (deadly) synthetic hallucinogens on the streets that might be sold as "LSD" but send people to the hospital or the morgue.
Stay safe.

-Eric Wargo

Are there any drugs that kill the consumer easily? What consequences does it cause? Mention at least one?

-SVV, Other

Hey SVV! Many drugs can be deadly in different ways- for example, tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death! By far, the most drug overdose deaths are caused by opioid drugs, such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. These drugs slow down breathing and can sometimes cause it to stop entirely; the risk of this is even greater if opioids are taken at the same time as benzodiazepines or alcohol. Even if a person doesn't die, prolonged oxygen deprivation can result in permanent brain damage. The drug naloxone can be administered to reverse an opioid overdose and restore breathing. For more information on naloxone, visit: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/naloxone.

-Emily Einstein

Are there any drugs that you can overdose your first time using it?

-CLongo, New Hampshire

hey CLongo, yes, you can die the first time you use drugs such as opioids (heroin or prescription pain relievers), cocaine, or methamphetamine if you take too much and overdose.

-Maureen Boyle

are there any drugs the behave alike but have different chemical make ups?

-the10doctor, Maryland

Absolutely! For example there are a lot of types of opioids, and they have very similar actions in the brain by working at opioid "mu" receptors.

-Dave Thomas

Are there any long term effects of Marijuana on the brain and daily life functions?

-MikeBet234, New York

Hi Mike! Research shows that long-term marijuana use is associated with impaired intellectual functioning and IQ decline when usage starts during the teen years. This includes a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia, psychosis, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. However it is not yet clear whether marijuana use directly causes these issues or just makes them worse. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis. Marijuana intoxication can, in rare cases, produce a temporary psychosis, and it may play a role in the development of schizophrenia in some people carrying a certain genetic risk. Marijuana may be a means of self-medicating an existing or mild mental illness; it may be a marker of other problems (abuse, trauma); it may contribute to the development or worsening of the mental illness; or it may reflect combinations of the above.

For more about marijuana use: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana.

-Emily Einstein

are there any negative effects to drinking monster or red bull for athletes

-Isaac Hilbario, New York

That's a great question. As you probably know, the active ingredient in these drinks is caffeine, and some of these drinks have a lot more caffeine than a cup of coffee. I suggest that you check with your physician about his/her recommendations for your specific situation, but keep in mind that the Mayo Clinic recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day for most healthy adults. Caffeine is not recommended for children. Too much caffeine can cause a person to feel stressed, anxious or jitterfy. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping and increased urination which can cause dehydration. It can also interfere with any medications that a person might be taking.

-Aria Crump

Are there any new laws for drugs

-Tomas Klett, Illinois

Hi Tomas Klett! Yes, there have been new laws enacted for drugs. These changes would depend on if it is a state or national change and what kind of drug. Here are two examples of some changes:
*You need to be 21 years of age now to smoke or vape in Hawaii.
*California, Nevada, and Massachusetts approved measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, while Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota allow marijuana for medical purposes.

-Bethany Deeds

Are there any new up-and-coming drugs that not much is known about but is very dangerous among high school students?

-loooooogan, New York

Hi, loooooogan, the answer to this question is a moving target because new drugs tend to burst onto the scene rapidly (and sometimes disappear just as rapidly). We have a National Drug Early Warning System which includes a virtual community of scientists, government officials, public health experts, law enforcement representatives, who share information from their local communities about emerging drug problems or changes in drug use trends. Check it out!

-Marsha Lopez

Are there any problems related directly to smoking marijuana only once? Any long term effects?

-MahlonBigHead, Illinois

We are not aware of any probelms associated with smoking marijuana only once unless you were driving and got into an accident

-Nora Volkow

are there certain things that are healthy to be addicted too ?

-vantu, Maryland

Hi Vantu! How about let's find ways to replace addiction with healthy habits? I vote for running. What healthy activity would you vote for? Check out this article: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/jan2012/feature1. Take care North Bethesda neighbors --- Walter Johnson High School!

-Bethany Deeds

Are there dangerous non-addictive drugs?

-thinkermaster, New York

Hi thinkermaster,
Maybe. Hallucinogens like psilocybin (mushrooms) and LSD are not usually considered very addictive -- people who use them, even if they have a good experience, don't necessarily feel compelled to repeat the experience. But they may be harmful for people who are at risk of psychosis or other mental illnesses, for instance, so some people would consider them dangerous.
Good question!

-Eric Wargo

Are there drugs that aren't addictive? If so, which?

-Shakespeare, Pennsylvania

The Bard Lives!
Sometimes people use "drug" to mean only those that cause addiction. However, if you use "drug" to include all medications used to treat illness, the great majority are non-addictive. For example, antibiotics, mild analgesics like aspirin, etc.
When scientists test whether a new medication is likely to be addictive, they look at whether it increases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine in the part of the brain called the striatum signals the rest of the brain that you just had something good, especially if that good thing turned out better than expected. Dopamine cues the brain to remember what was going on when that good thing happened so that information can be used to get it again. This keeps the person going back to the drug, and eventually changes the brain so that desire for the drug overewhelms everything else.
For more detail, see: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-add...

-Belinda Sims

Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?

-kayla_lanier, Pennsylvania

Hi kayla_lanier
Someone who is addicted can stop using drugs with the help of a trained healthcare professional. Most of the treatments that work for substance abusers involve changing one's behavior through counseling and behavioral and family interventions. Treatment for some addictions, in particular to opioids, may also involve medications.
Here's are a couple of sources of information about treatment:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment-know...
https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

-Geetha Subramaniam

are there interactions between antidepressant medications and alcohol?

-apricotjam, Maryland

Their are some known interactions, so we recommend avoiding alcohol when you are taking antidepressants. Also, alcohol can make you feel depressed, and there is some evidence that alcohol use can make it difficult for antidepressants to work.

-Josh Gordon

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