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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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

Are you more likely to get addicted to drugs if you start at a young age?

-anon, New York

Hi anon,
Great question -- Yes, lots of studies show that the younger you are when you start taking drugs, the more likely you will develop an addiction.

-Eric Wargo

are you most likely to do drugs if you have a family member doing them

-ajstarr02, Texas

Dear ajstarr02,

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

Aren&acute;t we technically addicted to oxygen

-khall, Illinois

Hi khall,
Great question! The answer is no, even if it seems like it would be yes. Addiction is different from simply needing something to live, like air or water or food. It means specifically that a substance has caused changes in the person's brain, including circuits controlling pleasure, learning, and self-control, which distort how a person feels and sees the world, and makes it difficult or impossible to control their drug use.

-Eric Wargo

Aside from harming your body and others, what effects do drugs have (legal, social, etc)?

-thinkermaster, New York

Excellet question...Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is costly to our Nation, exacting more than $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care. There are estimates that most peope in jail or prison could benefit from therapy and drug-related treatment.

-Carol Krause

at what age do most people start drugs?

-JacobB, Pennsylvania

Hi JacobB - that's a really great 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

at what age is good to start drinking a little of alcohol?

-ACGP, Other

21!

-Aaron White

baby that have mothers that used drugs while they were in the mothers stomach, can they get addicted to drugs when their born

-D.yemane, Texas

Hey D.yemane, we typically say that the babies are born 'dependent' on the drugs. Addiction involves compulsively seeking out drugs even though you know they are harming your health and your life. A baby can't seek them our or even understand what they are experiencing.

-Maureen Boyle

because your parents smoke does that mean you you smoke

-erice, Texas

Dear erice - thank you for asking such an important question. No, just because your parents smoke, that doesn't mean that you will automatically smoke. However, children that are exposed to smokers, particularly within their own households, are more likely to start smoking themselvves. Even if they don't smoke, they will be exposed to secondhand smoke, which has negative consequesnces on the child's health.

Research shows that drug addiction is about 50% heritable. BUT.....while genes play a big role, they are only part of the picture. Other factors, like having friends who don't use drugs, or being involved in sports and other recreational activities, also affect your risk of trying drugs and of becoming addicted.
https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/real-teens-ask-addiction-hereditary/
-Heather Kimmel

Besides Marijuana what other drugs can be used for medical purposes?

-Davey Schwartz, New York

Well of course opioids are abused and have a medical purpose. Ritalin is abused and also used for ADHD. Ketamine is abused but used therapeutically. And amphetamine is a stimulant that is abused and has several medical uses. There are other examples too. Check this out regarding medicinal use of marijuana: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine

-Dave Thomas

Besides peer pressure, what else influences one to take drugs?

-Mith, Illinois

Mith, what a good question to ask! People use drugs for lots of different reasons. One is peer pressure. Others reasons may include boredom, rebellion, curiosity, etc. (See https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/real-teens-ask-why-take-drugs for some more reasons). 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. Take care Woodland Middle School!

-Bethany Deeds

Ca I beat the drug test?

-Keller Hairline, Maryland

You can try, and many have, but it's not likely to work. Drug testing technology is rapidly developing and can detect even the smallest quantities in blood or urine. Good luck, Keller Hairline!!!

-Ericka Boone

Can a baby be born addicted to a drug if the mother is addicted and taking drugs when she was pregnant?

-Melissa, New York

Hi Melissa
When a pregnant woman uses tobacco, alcohol, or another substance, the fetus in her womb is exposed to the substance. When the fetus is born, it may exhibit symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). That is, it may experience withdrawal sickness because its body has adapted to having the drug present, and now will need to re-adapt to not having the drug present. Forturnately, doctors in hospitals can treat NAS effectively, keeping the newborn alive and reducing their distress
Here is some additional info
https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/...

-Geetha Subramaniam

can a baby get affected if you drink a lot

-bguerrero, Texas
Alcohol can seriously affect a baby's development during pregnancy. A range of problems, the worst of which is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), can result. Babies born with FAS are not addicted to alcohol themselves, but they do have smaller brains, abnormal facial features, and often have life-long learning and behavioral problems. It is the leading preventable birth defect associated with mental and behavioral impairment in the United States today. Basically, it is never safe to drink any alcohol when you're pregnant. You can learn more about the dangers of drinking when you're pregnant here:
https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/FASDFactsheet/FASDfact.htm
-Aaron White

Can a baby get drunk if it drinks alcohol.

-ack, Massachusetts

Yes. Each year there are several cases of babies dying or being taken to the emergency room due to alcohol poisoning.

-Aaron White

Are steroids addictive?

-Jonathan R, Pennsylvania

An undetermined percentage of steroid abusers may become addicted to the drugs, as evidenced by their continued abuse despite physical problems and negative effects on social relations. Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drugs, which is another indication that they may be addicted. Individuals who abuse steroids can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking steroids, such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings. The most dangerous of the withdrawal symptoms is depression, because it sometimes leads to suicide attempts. If left untreated, some depressive symptoms associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal have been known to persist for a year or more after the abuser stops taking the drugs.

-Ruben Baler

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