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

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/hallucinogens - 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

Although marijuana does have its problems, why is it put in the same classification as meth as a schedule 1 drug? Also 0 people die from marijuana overdose each year and its illegal while thousands die from prescription opioids and they are considered safer, why is that?

-RedneckRandy246, Pennsylvania

hey RedneckRandy246, schedule I includes any drug with abuse potential that is not approved by the FDA as a medication. Schedules II-V include drugs approved by the FDA ranked by the abuse potential such that the most addictive drugs are in Schedule II.

-Maureen Boyle

approximately how often, and how extremely does someone have to use &quot;gateway drugs&quot; like marijuana and alcohol for it to irreparably impact the frontal lobe.

-Summit11701, New Jersey

Dear Summit11701,

This is a great question, and the answer is different for every person. For reasons we are still trying to understand, different people may not have the same risk for becoming addicted to different drugs. One person might get addicted very quickly to cocaine but be able to drink alcohol socially without becoming addicted to it. We do know that illicit drugs such as opioids and cocaine are potentially very harmful and very addictive, which is why these are illegal, or for opioids, highly regulated. The safest thing is to never try them. There is more information at http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs/health-effects#marijuana.

-Roger Little

Are alcohol or drugs more addictive? Or does it depend on what kinds?

-Jade, Minnesota

Hi Jade,

Both are very addictive. There are many things that can influence how addictive any drug can be, including the frequency with which the drug is taken as well as the amount. Having another mental disorder, such as depression, can also make drugs more addictive. And taking more than one drug (e.g., cannabis and alcohol) also makes each of them more addictive. It is like fighting several ennemies at that same time!

-Carlos Blanco

Are alcoholism and drug addiction genetically inherited?

-Amanda R., Texas

Dear Amanda R.,

This is a great question. We know that genetics do affect people's risk for addiction. People who have a family history of drug or alcohol addiction are at greater risk. Environment is also very important--stress and other negative environmental factors can increase addiction risk, but having good friendships and family support can protect people who are at risk. Also having a stimulating environment, like having lots of hobbies and interests, can reduce your risk. The safest thing is to never try drugs. https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/, https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/does-addiction-run-families

-Roger Little

Are alcoholism and drug addiction genetically inherited?

-Molly Look, Colorado

People can inherit a susceptibility to become addicted to alcohol and drugs. But, inheriting that susceptibility doesn't mean that they automatically will become addicted. Having said that, if alcohol and drug addiction, including nicotine addiction, seems to run in someone's family, they would be wise to stay away from those drugs. Nobody can become addicted to a drug they don't ever use. Better to be safe than sorry, as many who have become addicted can tell you.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Are alcoholism and drug addiction genetically inherited?

-4-H, Colorado

hey 4-H, yes genetic factors do play a role in addiction to drugs and alcohol. It is estimated that about half the risk is genetic and half environmental (social support, access to drugs, stress, etc.)

-Maureen Boyle

are all drugs bad

-dgarza, Texas

Hi dgarza! Drugs is a broad term that include both medicines as well as illegal drugs. Medicines are generally safe when used by the person for whom they were prescribed in the dose the doctor recommened. But medicines can also be abused. When this happens, they can become harmful. Illegal drugs are known to cause lots of health problems and even death. When a drug is illegal, that means it isn't safe to use either recreationally or as a medicine. For more info, see: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/

-Will Aklin

Are all drugs dangerous

-Jamiah, Texas

Different drugs can be dangerous in different ways. Some drugs, like tobacco, can damage you slowly – for example long term tobacco use can cause cancer and is the leading cause of preventable death. Many drugs, and alcohol, can impair your coordination and lead to devastating accidents (like drunk driving). Other drugs, like meth, can be especially toxic to your brain. And taking drugs, like heroin or cocaine, or misusing prescription drugs, has the potential to cause overdose and death even the first time you use them. They can also result in addiction.

Medications can be life-saving and beneficial, but any drug that is misused, even over the counter medications that are not used the way they are intended, can be dangerous. Please protect your brain and your health, you need them! Check out the overdose death statistics for various drugs: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates.

-Emily Einstein

Are all illegal drugs deadly?

-Summit11344, New Jersey

hmmm, good question. All of the drugs we look at can cause either overdose or result in behavior that one way or another might result in serious harm or death - like impaired driving. So my answer is yes, they can be.

-Dave Thomas

Are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication addictive/dangerous

-val, New York

Dear Val,

Most antidepressants are not addictive. However, the body and brain do adapt to the presence of these medications, so that stopping them right away can cause some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, most doctors will tell patients to slowly lower the dose of an antidepressant before stopping the medication altogether.

Some anti-anxiety drugs can be addictive, particularly drugs like valium that belong to a class of medicines called "benzodiazepines." They can be used safely, but I always recommend to my patients that we try to use them for short periods of time and at as low a dose as is effective. As with many antidepressants, I also recommend that patients slowly lower the dose when they're ready to stop.

In terms of dangerousness, all medicines should be taken as recommended, because high doses can be dangerous.

Josh

-Josh Gordon

are certain cigarettes stronger than others?

-ApPlEsLiCe, Texas

Dear ApPlEsLiCe - that's a great question! Different cigarettes brands can contain different amounts of nicotine, the addictive substance present in tobacco products. Although flavored cigarettes are illegal in the US, some cigarettes contain menthol, which provides a cooling sensation while using the cigarette. In addition, the filters in cigarettes remove much of the tar (but not other chemicals), which can alter the perceived strength of the cigarette.

-Heather Kimmel

Are chicken nuggets a drug because i think i am addicted?

-Jacksun, Maryland

You and me both Jacksun!

-Maureen Boyle

Are cigars more addictive than cigarettes?

-Shane@Gentry, Texas

Hi Shane,

Cigars tend to have greater amounts of nicotine than cigarettes. However, what really counts is how much nicotine you are exposed to. So, if you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day versus one cigar per year, the cigarettes will play a bigger role in your addiction.

-Carlos Blanco

Pages