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Transcript for 2008 Chat Day

Questions Answered Between 12 Noon and 6 pm


user icon piffle93 - South County Secondary School : if a pregnant mother drinks only one bottle of beer, would she affect the baby? let's say the baby is 6 months old.

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Thanks for your question. We know from research that alcohol can harm the baby of a mother who drinks during pregnancy. Although the highest risk is to babies whose mothers drink heavily, it is not clear yet whether there is ANY completely safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. For this reason, the U.S. Surgeon General released advisories in 1981 and again in 2005 urging women who are pregnant or may become pregnant not to drink alcohol (http://www.lhvpn.net/hhspress.html).

Basically, if a mom did drink one bottle of beer while she was pregnant, the most important thing is that she not drink any more - because it can have serious effects on her baby if she does keep drinking.


user icon yhskristen - Yonkers High School : do steriods make you weaker in the long run.

answer icon Nora Volkow : Yes. They weaken the muscles in your heart that are necessary to pump blood to your muscles in the rest of your body and therefore make you weaker in the long run.


moderator icon Did you know that according to the Surgeon General's 2006 Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, the risk of heart disease and lung cancer increases by 25-30 percent and 20-30 percent, respectively, among those who are exposed to tobacco but never smoke themselves?


user icon laura.duenas - Irving Academy : do you know anybody who gets high off of sharpie?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Sniffing is no joke! Most markers are probably non-toxic, but some markers do contain volatile solvents. Inhalant abusers risk devastating medical consequences because prolonged sniffing of chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can induce irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to heart failure and death within minutes of a session of prolonged sniffing. Sudden sniffing death, as it is known, is usually not found in individuals sniffing markers, but there are dangers associated with sniffing inhalants. Share this information!


user icon HogueAndAzn - River Hill High School : what drug do most high school students do?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : The most commonly abused drugs among youth are alcohol, followed by tobacco, then marijuana.


user icon Me x3 - George Washington High School : Why do people start taking drugs?Whats their motivation?

answer icon Elisabeth Davis : People take drugs because they think it will make them feel better (it doesn't) or because 'everyone else is doing it' (they aren't), or because they want the experience (like when you get in a car accident). Ultimately, doing drugs increases your chances of becoming addicted and once your addicted...it doesn't matter why you started because now you can't stop.


user icon patmcgroin - Centerpoint High School : how does someone become addicted to a substance? can addiction apply to any other medicine other than a narcotic?

answer icon Nora Volkow : A person becomes addicted by taking the drug repeatedly, especially if they have the genes that make them vulnerable. A person can become addicted to nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana which are susbtances not considered to be narcotics


user icon brian - South County Secondary School : Why do drugs cause heart problems?

answer icon Frank Vocci : Some drugs, such as cocaine, damage the arterles in the heart. Smoking cigarettes also damages the heart's arteries. Cocaine, nicotine, and methamphetamine can cause problems with heart rhythms by increasing the amount of adrenaline in a person's blood. Also, carbon monoxide, produced by smoking cocaine, meth, or cigarettes, can result in a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle, causing abnormal heart rhythms. To learn more about the health consequences of drug abuse, click on http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/


user icon CompanionCube - Rockville High School : Would smoking during pregnancy cause asthma in the newborn child?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Great question! Yes, research indicates that smoking during pregnancy is associated with wheezing and with diagnosis of asthma in children.


user icon MajicPurpleJUJU - South County Secondary School : what can i do if on of my friends is addicted to weed and i cant get him to stop

answer icon Redonna Chandler : The first thing you can do is listen to what they say about drug use and about why they are using. It is always a good idea to encourage your friend to confide and seek advice from a trusted adult. If they doesn't realize the negative health effects drugs have on the body, brain and life, there is a lot of information you can share that can be found on NIDA's website (www.drugabuse.gov). If they are already aware of the negative consequences drugs have on her health, school, family, etc., they may be prepared to make a change and seek treatment. You can help them find a doctor, therapist, support group or treatment program by visiting the website www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov, or calling 1-800-662-HELP. If your friend is not ready yet to get help, don't give up. Keep reaching out, and hopefully some day soon they will be ready. Helping them go through the process of starting treatment, keeping in touch with them while they are in treatment, and supporting and encouraging them while in recovery are the best things you can do for your friend struggling with addiction.


user icon CC101vids - Homestead Elementary : so when you take steroids a man turns into a woman and a woman turns into a man

answer icon Nora Volkow : No, but what it does is if you are a woman is it increases male hormones and if you are a male it decreases your male hormones That is why females with steroids grow hair on their face, have deeper voices, and men can develop breasts and have their testicles shrink.


user icon ehsknights - Episcopal High School : Is alcohol more harmful than maijuana

answer icon James Bjork : High dose alcohol (high blood and brain concentration from binge drinking) can damage the brain in two main ways. In the developing fetus, alcohol disrupts how the brain wiring develops, resulting in retardation and behavioral problems in adolescence and adulthood. This is tragic. Also, even in adolescence, the brain is still developing, especially the frontal lobe, which plays central roles in thinking, decision making, and controling one's behavior. So doing alcohol (or other street drugs) that mess with neurons can cause lasting problems even when consumed as a teenager.
In adulthood, our brains shrink as we grow older (no wisecracks, please). Chronic high-dose alcohol increases the shrinkage, leading to memory and other thinking problems. Marijuana can be harmful too, but its long term effects are less well understood at this time.


user icon ladydawgs12 - Homestead Elementary : If your friend put so much meth into a peice of cake and you are not hooked on meth, would you get hooked?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Very unlikely. You need repeated drug use to get addicted.


moderator icon Methamphetamine is able to act in the brain because it has a structure similar to which brain chemical?

  1. endorphin
  2. amygdala
  3. chocolate
  4. dopamine (correct)

user icon champion - South County Secondary School : WHAT DO U DO WHEN SOMEONE TRY TO MAKE U DO DRUGS

answer icon James Bjork : Give the person offering you drugs an alternative, like "naw. I don't suppose you have a Sprite or something?" That shifts their attention away from the drug and any defensive reaction they might have to your saying "no" to everything.


user icon molly - South County Secondary School : CAN YOU DIE FROM USING DRUGS ONCE?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi South County, yes, it is possible. Depending on the drug, an individual can die from a single use. For example sniffing chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can induce irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to heart failure and death within minutes of sniffing. This syndrome, known as "sudden sniffing death," can result from a single session of inhalant use by an otherwise healthy young person. For more information on inhalants, click on: www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov


user icon Treetopwarrior - Seminole Middle School : Do drugs shrink your brain/genitals?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Depends on the drugs, your age and the amount you take. Steroids can shrink your testicles; inhalants and other drugs can harm the brain.


user icon Matthew W. - Bair Middle school : How many years will you live after you use steroids and keep using them?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Depends on how much you use, for how long, your age and your genetics.


user icon Westglades Midd - Westglades Middle School : Jessica: What is ketamine and what does it do to your body?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi Jessica! Ketamine is a very powerful anesthetic -- it reduces our perception of pain. Ketamine can distort our perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment and invincibility (can make you feel all powerful!). Ketamine use has a long list of side effects, including: impaired attention, learning ability, and memory; hallucinations, delirium and amnesia. Ketamine, in high doses, can also cause potentially fatal respiratory problems. All in all, ketamine is bad news!! Want more information on ketamine and its effects? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon shanjayallie - River Hill High School : What are the long term effects of smoking marijuana

answer icon Nora Volkow : It can produce addiction. It can also affect your memory and motivation


user icon RHHS - River Hill High School : Do drug addictions run in families?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Yes, genes that you inherit from your parents can make you more or less vulnerable to addiction. Also, growing up in a household with parents who are abusing drugs can be an additional risk factor.


user icon Piffle101 - Cherokee Middle School : I need to get 15 facts about drugs. Can you help?

answer icon Cindy Miner : why not read through the chat day....there are lots of facts about drug use that have been given in the answers from our scientists


user icon annywithay - George Washington High School : But I need drugs for a medical reason, is that the same as taking "drugs"?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : You may need medications prescribed by a health care professional to address a health condition. Using medications as prescribed by your doctor is different than taking illicit drugs, using alcohol (under the age of 21) or cigarettes (under the age of 18), or mis-using a prescription medication that was not prescribed for you. In the first instance medication will hopefully help your body heal while other drugs can harm you mentally, physically, and socially.


user icon Andrew1 - River Hill High School : Can you be prone to drug addiction through your hereditary traits?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Yes it is believed that ~50% of your vulnerability to addiction is due to genetics


user icon itsjohndude - Denbigh High School : I wish i could smoke weed without people having a problem with it why is it illegal to smoke weed when just about ever body does it?

answer icon Jan Lipkin : Well...the fact of the matter is that its just not healthy nor safe for you. Did you know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse? Did you know the teen brain is a work in progress? It undergoes dramatic changes during adolescence and into adulthood and scientists don't even know how drugs effect the developing brain. Did you know NIDA research indicates that in 2006, more than 10 percent of high school seniors admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana in the two weeks prior to the survey? Drugs can alter perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination and other faculties needed for safe driving. And marijuana can be addictive. Did you know that in 2006, over 289,000 people entering drug treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse? For more info see Marijuana Abuse [Printed 2005] . Keep safe.


user icon reeeeeee - George Washington High School : can prescription drugs do damage to your body mentally?

answer icon Frank Vocci : Not if they are prescribed for you by your doctor, for prescription drugs can offer medical benefits when used properly and under the supervision of a physician. Opiates, for example, include both morphine and other pain relievers, and are used by physicians to provide pain relief to millions of people. Also, amphetamine (speed) and methylphenidate (Ritalin) are legitimate treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Doctors who prescribe these drugs are well trained to evaluate if and when a person needs them, and how much is safe for a specific person to take. Prescription medications, when properly used, are valuable in the treatment of serious medical conditions--BUT their use becomes dangerous and illegal when not under the supervision of a physician--even if they are taken for their intended purposes--to relieve pain, increase attention, or lose weight. Of course their abuse to get high, to improve mental or physical performance is also dangerous and illegal. For more, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugpages/prescription.html

To find a wealth of research and facts on the science of addiction and treatment, please go to:

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
301-443-1124
http://www.drugabuse.gov/
By clicking on the link Students and Young Adults from NIDAs home page you will be able to access resources tailored for students and young adults , whether you are in middle school and doing research on the effects of marijuana use, or high school student looking to find out about drug use and HIV.

If you need help, you will also find a link there to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.

You will also find facts, trends, statistics, graphics and reports on specific drugs on NIDAs Web sites:
http://www.smoking.drugabuse.gov/
http://www.marijuana-info.org/
http://www.clubdrugs.gov/
http://www.steroidabuse.gov/
http://www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov/


user icon lostnreality - Lewis-Palmer High School : When on hullicinogen why can you have a bad trip or a good trip? What chemical does it trigger in your brain, and how is it decided whether your trip is good or bad?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi! The effects of hallucinogens are hard to predict. That what's makes taking hallucogens so risky to take. I think one of the biggest problems with hallucinogens is the unpredictable psychological effects. People can experience delusions and visual hallucinations that can be frightening. In fact, "bad trips" can include terrifying thoughts and nightmarish feelings of anxiety and despair that include fears of insanity, death, or losing control. NIDA is looking int the genetic and environmental and individual factors that produce different drug effects in people. Need more information about LSD? Click on NIDA's website: www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon bbssmith - George Washington High School : does alcohol cause brain damage

answer icon James Bjork : Absolutely. High dose alcohol (high blood and brain concentration from binge drinking) can damage the brain in two main ways. In the developing fetus, alcohol disrupts how the brain wiring develops, resulting in retardation and behavioral problems in adolescence and adulthood. This is tragic. Also, even in adolescence, the brain is still developing, especially the frontal lobes, which play a central role in thinking, decision making, and controling one's behavior. So doing alcohol (or other street drugs) that mess with neurons can cause lasting problems even when consumed as a teenager.
In adulthood, our brains shrink as we grow older (no wisecracks, please). Chronic high-dose alcohol increases the shrinkage, leading to memory and other thinking problems.


user icon RHHS - River Hill High School : How does weed affect the brain and what long term effects do they have?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : Using marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and, contrary to popular belief, it can be addictive. Chronic or long-term exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and can also distort perception. Not surprisingly, students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. In addition, marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety although we do not know yet whether marijuana can cause mental illness, particularly in healthy people who are not otherwise vulnerable to these disorders. There is good news, however, since there is evidence that if an individual quits marijuana, even after long-term or heavy use, their cognitive abilities (learning, memory) can recover. For more information please go to http://www.drugabuse.gov/.


user icon molly - South County Secondary School : why is alchol considered a drug?

answer icon James Bjork : Because it is a molecule that affects brain functioning to ultimately affect thinking, perception, mood, and behavior. It's just a smaller molecule that is legal for adults to purchase.


user icon heatherg - South County Secondary School : is heroine more addicting than coke?

answer icon Nora Volkow : They are different, but both are very addictive. However, heroin produces physical dependence whereas cocaine does not. Physcial dependence means that you will become very sick when you try to stop taking the drug. Addiction on the other hand means that you desire the drug intensely even when you are not physically sick. Its like when you desire food because you have not eaten in three days, you may not be sick but there is an overwhelming drive to eat.


user icon caroline - South County Secondary School : what are some specific brain changes from doing inhalants?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi South County! Great question! Recent research has shown that toluene, a solvent found in many commonly abused inhalants, including model airplane glue, paint sprays, and paint and nail polish removers, activates the brain's dopamine system. The dopamine system has been shown to play a role in the rewarding effects of many drugs of abuse. Long[term toluene use can cause shrinkage of the brain by damaging the nerve cells. One more thing, depending on the drug, an individual can die from a single inhalant use. For example sniffing chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can induce irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to heart failure and death within minutes of sniffing. This syndrome, known as "sudden sniffing death," can result from a single session of inhalant use by an otherwise healthy young person. For more information on inhalants, click on: www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov


user icon brian - South County Secondary School : why do people forget things the next day because they were high?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Because some drugs affect memory systems in the brain.


user icon rashid yhs - Yonkers High School : Can the use of pills lead to the addiction

answer icon Redonna Chandler : The use of all drugs - even prescription medications can lead to addiction. This is particularly true of some types of prescription drugs, like opiate analgesics (e.g., Vicodin for the treatment of chronic pain); stimulants (e.g., Ritalin, used to treat attention deficit disorders); and depressants (e.g. Xanax, used to treat anxiety or sleep problems). Long-term prescribed use of these medications or their abuse to get high can lead to physical dependence and in some people, addiction. These are not the same thing--physical dependence occurs because the body gets used to the effects of a drug and reacts if the drug is suddenly stopped or even reduced--withdrawal symptoms result, and these vary according to the drug being used. This can occur even in someone who is taking a drug as prescribed, and is one of the reasons why it is so important that prescription drugs be taken under the close supervision of a physician, who can monitor for any signs of potential problems and take proper action to minimize or avoid them. Addiction on the other hand is the compulsive, often uncontrollable use of drugs in spite of the negative consequences, which may or may not accompany physical dependence. For more info on prescription drug abuse please visit www.drugabuse.gov.

For more information, specifically on prescription drugs, you might want to check out: http://www.nida.nih.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/Prescription.html


moderator icon Dr. Elizabeth Robertson has just stepped in to answer your questions. Dr. Robertson's research expertise is in the causes and prevention of problem behaviors such as drug abuse and drug-related HIV infection. She is particularly interested in understanding the underlying biological, social, psychological and environmental processes and factors that contribute to problem behaviors. She has a 22-year-old daughter, a 16-pound cat (as well as a smaller one), and enjoys doing crafts and renovating houses. When Dr. Robertson is not at work, she does a lot of volunteer work to raise money for programs for the homeless.


user icon caroline - South County Secondary School : can you answer this question please. does where you inject or take drugs affect how fast it gets into your system?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Injecting drugs get them into the brain rapidly, usually within 1-2 minutes and the peak effects will occur in 4-6 minutes


user icon hypercrazyboi - George Washington High School : Is drinking alcohol or beer once in a while bad if your an adult?

answer icon James Bjork : Probably not, if men drink no more than 2-3 or women drink no more than 1-2 drinks in one occasion. Moderate alcohol use is actually linked to LOWER mortality from heart disease. It is not clear how much of this is because of the ethyl alcohol molecule itself, or the "congeners' (byproducts) of the beverage-making process. The risk is that casual drinking will escalate to something worse. High dose alcohol (high blood and brain concentration from binge drinking) can damage the brain in two main ways. In the developing fetus, alcohol disrupts how the brain wiring develops, resulting in retardation and behavioral problems in adolescence and adulthood. This is tragic. Even adolescence the brain, is still developing, especially the frontal lobes, which play a central role in thinking, decision making, and behavior control So doing alcohol (or other street drugs) that mess with neurons can cause lasting problems even when consumed as a teenager.
In adulthood, the brain shrinks as we grow older. Alcohol increases the rate of shrinkage, leading to memory and other thinking problems.


user icon fruity tooty - South County Secondary School : can u kill someone while high off of marijuana?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : "Sure - the use of drugs, including marijuana, can lead to poor decision making and slow reaction times making it dangerous to do lots of things including drive. Studies show that 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in vehicle crashes, used drugs often in combination with alcohol. In fact, we know that a moderate dose of marijuana can impair driving performance (i.e., reaction time, visual search frequency--driver checking side streets--or perceiving/responding to changes in speed of other vehicles); and that even a low dose of marijuana combined with alcohol markedly increased driving impairment over either drug alone. So, absolutely if you use marijuana and get behind the wheel of a car you could kill yourself and someone else.

You might find some interesting information on this very issue at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/driving.html


user icon yesitsmichaela! - Denbigh High School : if you are around someone who does drugs, would you fail a drug test?

answer icon Jan Lipkin : Interesting question. It seems from some data that you may test positive depending on how senstive the test is, what kind of test it is( hair or urine), and what kind of "second-hand" exposure you have had. Its probably best not to expose yourself to people taking drugs.


user icon shanana - Sequatchie County High School : what substances are used to cook meth?

answer icon Ruben Baler : mostly organic compounds, some of them volatile and potentially explosive.


user icon hypercrazyboi - George Washington High School : If you take a huge amount of drugs would it stop your reproductive systems from reproducing?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Thanks for your question. Drugs and alcohol are associated with some reproductive problems. For example, some drugs including steroids may lower sperm count. But women can and do get pregnant even if they and/or their partner use drugs. We have lots of studies on the long term outcome of in utero/pregnancy exposure to drugs, and all of these babies were born to women and their partners who use drugs! Prenatal drug exposure - including alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana - is associated with behavioral, learning, and cognitive outcomes. If you are using drugs and you become pregnant, we recommend telling your doctor so you and your baby can get the best care. It's important to stop drug use and if it's hard to stop, ask your doctor for some help.


user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : WHAT CITY AND OR STATE HAS THE HIGHEST DRUG USE RATE?!?! PLZZZZZZ ANSWER ME :) AND HAVE A NICE DAY

answer icon Marsha Lopez : That is hard question since it depends on the type or types of drug you are talking about. You can find information on the NSDUH website by state at http://oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH.htm#NSDUHinfo
Thanks for your question!


user icon mw24237 - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : what is the most common drug in New York?

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi there! That's a tough question to answer, as New York is a pretty big place! Different cities or age groups could have different rates of drug use. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k6State/NewYork.htmoverall the most commonly used illicit drug is Marijuana.


user icon vaballa189 - South County Secondary School : why do people do drugs

answer icon James Bjork : Good question. At first, usually, to feel good, or to distract themselves from problems, or to fit in socially. However, over time, addiction can set in. The brain circuitry changes and people need drugs to feel normal and to avoid the agony of withdrawal.


user icon Lizzy_09 - C.H.Yoe High School : why do mot people like the way Hydrocodone makes thm feel? What is it about it?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi Yoe High! Hydrocodone is an analgesic opiate not unlike heroin. Hydrocodone is prescribed medically to treat pain. Abusers of hydrocodone report feelings of euphoria. This is one of the 'reinforcing' effects of drugs. "Feeling good" after taking drugs is what makes individuals want to use them again. Misusing or abusing drugs such as hydrocodone, however, can lead to very serious effects on the person, their health, their school work, relationships with their families and more. There is also a very high risk of overdose with hydrocodone! For more information, check out NIDA's website: www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon zack - Big Sandy School : You can get expelled for doing drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : It depends on the policies of your school. Most schools do expel for drug use. More and more schools are instituting random drug testing.

Did you know that every year NIDA asks 8th, 10th and 12th graders around the country about their attitudes towards--- and use of---- drugs? Its our Monitoring the Future Survey, done by scientists at the University of Michigan. You can look at the results on the NIDA Web site at http://www.drugabuse.gov/Drugpages/MTF.html.


user icon book - Irving Academy : do taking drugs affect driving?

answer icon Nora Volkow : yes, drugs like alcohol and marijuana interfere with your ability to coordinate movements and affect your attention. This makes you slow to react, so if you need to break quickly you may not be able to do it on time. Marijuana also affects your sense of time so you may miscalculate the time it takes for a car to switch lanes or stop. Other drugs like cocaine and meth may give you a sense of false security making you take risks that can result in a crash.


user icon VAJJ - Homestead Elementary : how many people use pot year

answer icon Redonna Chandler : The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 40% of those 12 or older in the US have used marijuana at some point in their life and in 2007 10% had used marijuana.


user icon MollyBerberian - South County Secondary School : WHAT TYPE OF DRUG IS METHAMPHETAMINE?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Its a stimulant that activates your brain. It has a long duration of action and is considered be among the most addictive and harmful to the brain.


user icon rhsstudent11 - Rockville High School : Does marijuana affect driving?

answer icon Jan Lipkin : Yes. Studies show that 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in vehicle crashes used drugs often in combination with alcohol. In fact, we know that a moderate dose of marijuana can impair driving performance -- reaction time, frequency of checking street conditions, and perceiving and responding to changes in speed of other vehicles. Even a low does of marijuana combined with alcohol increased driving impairment of either drug alone. check out our fact sheet about this -- www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/driving.html.


user icon HDL - Irving Academy : Why are some drugs so addictive?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Because they activate pleasure centers in the brain which is the mechanism by which nature motivates behaviors important for survival. However drugs do this more potenlty than natural rewards, changing the brain in such a way that it learns to NEED the drug just as you NEED food when you are hungry.


user icon pinky11 - Rockville High School : what is the difference between coke and crystal meth?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi Rockville High! Good question! Coke is cocaine and crystal meth is methamphetamine. Both are stimulants --they do act slightly differently in the brain, but both act on the brain neurotransmitters dopamine. Both drugs have a very strong potential for addiction. To get more information on both drugs, including their effects on the body and brain and to read real stories about teen and drugs, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon Mxxxx - Sanborn Regional High School : i smoke more then ten blunts a day should i stop

answer icon Redonna Chandler : "Yes. Regardless of whether you are smoking marijuana alone or marijuana mixed with tobacco your are dancing with the devil. Using marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and, contrary to popular belief, it can be addictive. Chronic or long-term exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm your lungs. Using marijuana can impair your short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and can also distort perception. Not surprisingly, students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. In addition, marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety although we do not know yet whether marijuana can cause mental illness, particularly in healthy people who are not otherwise vulnerable to these disorders. For more information on marijuana visit www.drugabuse.gov.

There is good news, however, since there is evidence that if an individual quits marijuana, even after long-term or heavy use, their cognitive abilities (learning, memory) can recover. So, get help from a trusted adult, friend, teacher, or call 1-800-662-HELP. Make a smart choice for yourself - stop using blunts today!


user icon Guti - Irving Academy : Is there a difference between an adult and a teenager doing drugs?why?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Yes. The brain of an adolescent is much more plastic and as a result of this lower doses of drugs can induce changes faster than in an adult. These changes may make the teen more vulenrable to becoming addicted to drugs and also more vulnerable to psychological problems.


user icon yolanda - Rockville High School : if you are caught while high but you have no marajuana on you, can you still get into trouble?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : In school, yes you face potential expulsion. You may also be assigned to a brief treatment intervention for drugs. In the community, possibly. If you are driving under the influence you wil be detained and potentially charged with DUI. The other thing you should keep in mind, Yolanda, is that under the influence you are likely to make poorly considered decisions which can place you at risk for accidents, fights, victimization and sexually transmittedd diesaese.

Did you know drugs are chemicals? They work in the brain by tapping into the brain's communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.


user icon Guti - Irving Academy : can you overdose by just taking the prescription that the doctors give you,the right amount that your supposed to take?

answer icon Nora Volkow : no.


user icon bbssmith - George Washington High School : what's more common alcohol abuse or smoking abuse

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi, that's a tougher question than it sounds since quite often the use and problems associated with drugs varies by age, location, or race/ethnicity, among other factors. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm), about a quarter of people in the US ages 12 and older currently smoke cigarettes and twice as many people use acohol. About one in 12 has an alcohol disorder. According to the Montioring the Future study (www.monitoringthefuture.org) about one in four high school seniors have reported binge drinking in the past two weeks and about one in 17 reported smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day. Check out the links above for more information.


user icon brian - South County Secondary School : How long do drugs take to get addictive

answer icon Nora Volkow : Depends on drug, age of the person, and his/her genes. Methampethamine is considered to be among the most addictive, adolescents become addicted faster than adults, and some individuals inherit genes that make them more vulnerable than others


user icon Frog_Princess - River Hill High School : Does being offered little sips of alcohol by one's parents at an early age affect one's future alcohol treatment?

answer icon Nora Volkow : there is no evidence that it does.


user icon brock - Denbigh High School : whats ectasy i really dont know what it is

answer icon Jan Lipkin : You may hear about MDMA (ecstasy) being a "Club Drug" because it often is available at raves and parties. When you take it, it can make you feel happy, but it can be dangerous and it is illegal. Here is what our fact sheet says: MDMA (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine)* is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It produces an energizing effect as well as feelings of euphoria, emotional warmth, and distortions in time perception and tactile experiences. Short-term effects include feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, enhanced sensory perception, and increased physical energy. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. Check out our research report about Ecstasy at http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/MDMA/default.html


user icon livelaughlove94 - Freeland High School : What drug could kill a teenager the most and fastest

answer icon David Shurtleff : Good Question! Overdosing is a serious problem. Risk of overdose is dependent on many different factors. While taking a small amount of a prescription drug such as morphine for pain is ok- taking too much can lead to respiratory depression. This means that you could stop breathing. When you are prescribed a drug it is VERY important to read and follow the doctor's directions. Remember, if you take any drug for reasons other than for what it was prescribed or in amounts other than recommended, that is considered misuse of the drug. Abuse and misuse of drugs can cause serious health problems. One more thing, taking drugs of abuse can also lead to impaired judgment that can result in dangerous behavior leading to death or injury. For more information, feel free to check out NIDA's website: www.drugabuse.gov.


user icon albsoftball29 - Hopewell Memorial Junior High School : If all the people growing marijuana and selling marijuana for money know its bad for you. Why would they want to sell it to sell it too and to risk your lives just for money? (I know i wouldn't.) But is that the only reason they do that is for the money? and isn't it illegal to sell drugs?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : Yes, it is illegal to sell drugs including marijuana. People sell drugs for lots of reasons. Some people do sell drugs to make money. Others have drug problems themselves and sell drugs to help support their habit. Some people grew up in high crime areas and were recruited into the drug trade at a very young age. Regardless of the reason, people can stop selling drugs and find support for legitimate jobs and careers.


user icon chatybox12 - Rockville High School : can you get addicted to a drug after one try??

answer icon David Shurtleff : Very good question! What you are referring to is termed individual differences. This just means that responses can be different from one person to the next. Individual differences in response to drugs depends on a lot of factors. A person's age is a factor. For example, teenagers are much more vulnerable to become addicted to drugs. A person's genes also play a role because your genetic make-up can make you either more or less susceptible to the addictive properties of drugs of abuse. This is area of on going research at NIDA. Scientists still do not completely understand individual differences in response to drugs of abuse, but we're still working on it! Feel free to check out NIDA's website for more information on addiction: www.drugabuse.gov


user icon edward - George Washington High School : how does meth affect you?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Thanks for this question. Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that affects both your body and brain. It can be highly addicting. Continued use can lead to cardiac problems such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. It can change brain structure and how the brain functions, which can lead to aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, memory loss, and changes in your movement or motor system. Like other stimulants, meth can affect your appetite and sleep. For more information, please visit: http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Methamph/Methamph.html. .


user icon lala21 - Rockville High School : can drug addict be inherrited?

answer icon Nora Volkow : You inherit the vulnerability to addiction. But even if you inherit vulnerability genes--you still have to take drugs to become addicted.


user icon liveyourlife - Rockville High School : Does the part of the brain affected depend on the drug substance?

answer icon David Shurtleff : That is good question! Most drugs of abuse act through the brain region known as the ventral striatum - the 'pleaure center of the brain'. Drugs of abuse cause the release of the brain chemical dopamine. Release of dopamine is what makes drugs feel "rewarding." Changes in this brain region from drugs has been associated with drug addiction. For more information, check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


moderator icon A healthy way to gain muscle that won't leave you feeling gross and irritated with your friends and family include:

  1. lifting weights (correct)
  2. eating French fries
  3. watching television
  4. joining the class chess team

user icon Kitty Jaio - George Washington High School : does sex have to do with drugs?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi--thanks for your question. It's important for people to understand the link between sex and drugs. Drugs--even on an occasional or experimental basis--can be dangerous because they change the way your brain works. They disrupt the parts of the brain that you use to make good judgments. This makes it more likely that you might engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. Behaviors associated with drug abuse, including unsafe sex, are among the main factors in the spread of HIV infection in the United States. To learn more about the link between sex and drugs view NIDA's "Learn the Link" campaign: http://hiv.drugabuse.gov/index.html.


user icon Vikings - South County Secondary School : Can certain drugs help you in school if taken in smaller doses

answer icon Redonna Chandler : If prescribed for you by a healthcare professional, some medications can help with school performance. However, some kids use medications prescribed for other people and that is a really bad idea. If you are concerned about your school performance and the potential benefit of medication talk with your teachers, school counselor, parents, and family doctor. These adults are in the best position to help you make a good decision about how to succeed academically.


user icon curiousgirl - Rockville High School : i have alot of friends that feel like weed "can improve your memory" and that "it's not as bad as a black" and that its "all natural." So many people make it seem like it's not as horrible as doctors and scientists make it out to be. What can i say to counter that? How can I refute their claims?

answer icon Ruben Baler : "I really commend you for the question. It shows a very smart attitude towards drug abuse. It is true that a lot of people have tried (and some still do) to use scare tactics to lure kids away from risky behaviors. This, as you have already found out, can be very counterproductive because the truth becomes mixed with the facts and peope see no reason to believe any of it. NIDA's website (www.drugabuse.gov) is chock-full of scientific facts that you can use to help your friends understand the potential consequences of abusing drugs. Regarding your specific question about marijuana though, its ill effects are well known and particularly worrisome for young people. Consider the following:

Marijuana can cause loss of coordination, but this is just one of its many negative effects. Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception. Under the influence of marijuana, you could fail to remember things you just learned, watch your grade point average drop, or crash a car. Some people may suffer sudden feelings of anxiety and have paranoid thoughtswhich is more likely to happen when higher doses are used or when it is taken orally. The problem is that its difficult to tell what the effects of marijuana will be for any given person at any time, because they vary based on the person, their drug history, how much marijuana is taken, and its potency. Effects can also be unpredictable when other drugs are mixed with marijuana. Also, since marijuana can affect judgment and decision making, using it can lead to risky sexual behavior, resulting in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

for more information on marijuana you can visit: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


user icon joey - River Hill High School : I hear kids talking about "shrooms". what are they and how are they bad?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Good Question!! Shrooms are psilocybin mushrooms. They are fungi. Mushrooms can cause hallucinations - profound distortions in a person's perceptions of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce rapid, intense emotional swings. Hallucinogens disrupting how brain cells, especially in the serotonin system, communicate. Serotonin is involved in the control of behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. Sometimes these drugs can cause psychotic like symptoms in some people --Not good! For more information, check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon ham223 - River Hill High School : I would like to know why teenagers think it's so cool to do drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : Good question. Not all teenagers think drugs are cool, of course. Less than half of all high school seniors have ever tried a drug.
Having friends or peers who think drugs are cool can be uncomfortable, though. Our brains are wired to make us want to agree with our peers, especially while we are adolescents. If we are told we chose differently than they did, even about something trivial, such as which movie star is better looking, a part of our brain that processes conflict and pain can be activated. There are social benefits in some social circles to doing drugs to get along- unfortunately. However, they are not worth the risks of addiction, brain damage, and other health problems drugs bring! I was fortunate when I was a teenager to find some friends who weren't into all that.


user icon uber Riddle 84 - Cherokee Middle School : what is the change difference of drug use from last year to now

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi, thanks for the good question. It is a little more complicated than it might seem. The prevalence of overall drug use has remained pretty much the same from 2006 to 2007, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm). Specific drugs categories have shown different trends from one year to the next, and you can check them out in the report. The Monitoring the Future study (www.monitoringthefuture.org), reported no change in overall illicit drug use from 2006 to 2007 in 10th and 12th graders but a decline among 8th graders from 2006 to 2007.


user icon patmcgroin - Centerpoint High School : why is it that people become so addicted to pain medicine such as oxy contin? Peopple take it for pain, yet if it is such an addictive drug why do doctors continue to use it?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : Virtually every medication presents some risk of undesirable side-effects, sometimes even serious ones. One of the constant challenges that doctors face is weighing the potential benefits and risks of any medical treatment they prescribe to their patients. OxyContin is a powerful and long-acting pain reliever, prescribed to help patients with certain types of pain, usually chronic pain or pain caused by cancer. Before prescribing this medication, doctors should know a patient's complete medical history, including what other health problems they currently have, what other medications they take, and whether they have a history of problems with addiction or other mental illnesses. All of these contribute to the risks involved in prescribing a medication, and help a doctor determine what is the best approach for an individual patient. If a patient is prescribed OxyContin (or other pain medications), they should also be monitored for any change in their condition or response to the medication, so that corrective actions can be taken to minimize the risk and avert the development of addiction.


user icon sarah - South County Secondary School : what could marijuana do to your brain?

answer icon Nora Volkow : When a person is intoxicated it can interfere with memory, motor coordination, and perception. This can result in difficulty in learning or remembering, impaired motor skills which can result in accidents, and in those vulnerable--to psychosis. With repeated use the person may lose interest in every day activities and can become addicted.


user icon redstar - Irving Academy : IS TAKING PILLS BAD IF THEY DONT BELONG TO YOU??

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Taking pills that don't belong to you is both dangerous and illegal. Prescription drugs are prescribed for a variety of mental and physical health problems. When they are taken without a prescription, they can have negative side effects, especially if you have a condition or are on a medication that reacts negatively with the new medication. Another problem is that drugs are often prescribled based on the weight and age of the intended patient. If you differ from that there is the potential for overdose. While it is rare that someone is arrested for presription drug abuse it is illegal and cities and towns are paying more attention to this problem because of the increases in overdose in emergency rooms and death reports.

Did you know you can send us questions about drugs anytime of the day on our Teen Web site? http://teens.drugabuse.gov/. It might take a few days, because our scientists are pretty busy---but real questions will get real answers!


user icon sarahd91 - Lewis-Palmer High School : is it true that when it's cold outside, and you're smoking does it just make you colder?

answer icon Nora Volkow : It can make you colder if you are sensitive to the vasconstrictng effects of nicotine. This is because nicotine can decrease circulation to your skin making you feel colder since not as much blood is reaching your skin to warm you.


user icon 7ivian - George Washington High School : Can house hold items get you high like drugs do since it's chemically toxic?

answer icon Jan Lipkin : Chemical solvents in household cleaners can get you high. We call this group of abused substances inhalants. They include a diverse group of volatile substances whose chemical vapors can be inhaled to produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. But the dangers of inhaling these chemicals are great -- they are extremely toxic. take a look at our fact sheet at http://drugabuse.gov/infofacts/inhalants.html Also look at our teen site http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/inhalants for more details.


user icon NBEagles - North Bullitt High School : Does your weight affect how much of a drug you can take?

answer icon Nora Volkow : yes if a person is very lean, the same dose of drug will result in greater concentration of drug in the brain than if a person is heavy


user icon laura.duenas - Irving Academy : what does it mean to get high?

answer icon Nora Volkow : to become intoxicated by the drug


user icon Piffle101 - Cherokee Middle School : What's the percent of people that use drugs?

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Good question! According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm) about 46% of the US household population ages 12 and older had used an illicit drug at some point in their lifetime. Another national survey that looks exclusively at youth, the Monitoring the Future study (www.monitoringthefuture.org), reported about 50% of high school seniors had used drugs in their lifetime.


user icon Godzilla - Irving Academy : How harmful is drug abuse?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Depends on the drugs abused, the doses, the age of the person and thier genetics. Adolescents and children are more sensitive to the harmful effects of drugs.


user icon 12000651878 - River Hill High School : Do drugs speed up your adrenaline?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Some drugs do such as cocaine and methamhetamine.


user icon reeeeeee - George Washington High School : how do you lose brain cells?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Great question! Drugs have direct effects on the brain systems called the "reward systems". Drugs cause a release of a brain chemical called dopamine, and it is this release or surge of dopamine in the brain that is associated with the rush and feeling of high. However, taking drugs can have serious and long-term effects on a person's body and brain. It is possible that nerve cells in the brain could recover after long-term drug use, but this depends on several factors, one of which is if a person is able to stay off drugs for a long period of time. While the nerve cells may be able to regenerate, they may not be able to have their levels restored to what they were before the person began using drugs ("normal" levels). It is also not understood whether these nerve cells are able to respond the same as before the person began taking drugs. If you want more information, click on http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon molly - South County Secondary School : is the damage caused by drugs permenant?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Molly, great question! The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on the drug, the amount of drug taken, and the individual and his or her own vulnerability to the effects of drugs. We know that all drugs affect the brain, and can change its structure and function. We also have evidence suggesting that the brain changes occurring after chronic drug addiction can be reversed. The question that we do not have yet is if functional changes (that is, the changes to processes like learning and memory) can recover. For more information on drugs, please check out our illustrated and easy-to-read booklet http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon CVHS_Shani-poo - Casa Verde High School : Why are depressed teens more liable to do drugs than a "noraml or average" teen?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Young people with untreated depression look for ways to feel better. Sometimes they turn to drugs to help with their problem and to feel better. However, the choice of drugs may actually make the problem worse. For example alcohol is a depressant and can make someone who suffers from depression even more depressed. This can cause a spirla into deeper and deeper dression. If you are expeiencing depression you should talk to your parents and doctor. There are effective and safe medications. Only a doctor can deteremine the correct dosage for you.

Know someone who needs help? Call 1-800-273-TALK


user icon Shaz787 - Rockville High School : what is in extacey that makes people want to have sex?

answer icon David Shurtleff : This is quite a question! Ecstasy can induce false feelings of emotional closeness, enhanced sensation perception, and increased physical energy. All of these feelings can promote increases in risky behaviors such as sexual activity and this is why X is rerred to as the "love drug" however. Having sex while under the influence of drugs is risky. As a matter of fact, this behavior increases a person's chances of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases such as herpes, chlymidia and HIV/AIDS. Check out NIDA's website for more information at www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon YHSJibletsFoSho - Yonkers High School : Why do my friends turn to drugs when theyre depressed?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : This is a complicated question. People who are depressed sometimes turn to using illicit drugs to feel better. Drugs have a powerful impact on the brain and the high that people experience may provide temporary relief from problems like depression. However, when drugs leave your body people don't feel any better--and often feel worse. With continued drug abuse, the period of feeling good grows shorter and the subsequent bad feelings get worse. If you or someone you know feels depressed, encourage them to get help from a teacher, school counselor, parent, doctor, or friend. There are many different treatments for depression that work much better than illicit drugs. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and there are psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications. So, be a friend and encourage them to get help to resolve their depression long-term.


user icon johnnie gayle - Big Sandy School : what makes teenager's do drugs besides of pure presure.

answer icon Jan Lipkin : I think you mean peer pressure -- pressure from your friends and schoolmates to do something because it's "cool" or to fit in? That is a big reason for teens to try drugs. But often they try drugs because they are depressed or unhappy and want to feel better. It is best not to try drugs -- they are illegal and they can be dangerous for a lot of different reasons. One thing that you and your friends should do is educate yourselves about drug abuse and addiction so you can make informed choices. Our teen site -- www.teens.drugabuse.gov -- has loads of information about specific drugs and what the scientific data say about abusing them.


moderator icon Did you know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse?


user icon Simon!!!!!!!!! - George Washington High School : is the computer and games as addictive as drugs?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Fantastic question! Research is starting to show that video games and gambling show the same type of excessive behaviors and inability to stop as we see with drug addiction. We are starting to see similar brain changes in individuals playing video games as in substance abusers. Thanks for the question.


user icon Iron Man - Irving Academy : can pot hurt a baby?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Yes, pot can hurt a baby, whether the baby is exposed after birth, or if the mother uses pot while she's pregnant. We've got a couple of scientific studies on marijuana and pregnancy - including one that followed kids from the prenatal/pregnancy stage until they were adults. These studies found that prenatal exposure to marijuana caused subtle developmental effects on paying attention, thinking, and other brain functions. Plus, people who use pot often smoke tobacco too, and tobacco use can also affect the baby's health. For example, some studies show that babies born to mothers who used tobacco while pregnant are more likely to use tobacco themselves and become addicted later on. We recommend pregnant women not use alcohol or drugs, including marijuana and tobacco, and ask their doctor for some help if they are having trouble stopping.

You can find more answers to important questions like this anytime on our Teen Web site, http://teens.drugabuse.gov/


user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : why can antidepressants cause suicidal thoughts

answer icon Nora Volkow : It is not completely clear why this happens. One explanation is that when an antidepressant starts to make a depressed person feel better this may increase their motivation, making them take action that in some instances can result in sucidal behaviors, which they could not do when they were depressed and lacked energy. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts on antidepressants, you should contact your physician immediately and let him/her know this is happening.


user icon cnoemi29 - Rockville High School : whats the most addtive drug?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Great question! It's actually difficult to rank drugs in terms of their addictiveness because so many factors are involved. These factors include: genetics (e.g. drug metabolism), environment (e.g. how easy it is to get a drug) and development (e.g. the user's age). The way drugs are taken (i.e. snorting vs. smoking), the dosage, the combination with other drugs, the setting in which a drug is taken and the pattern of drug taking are other variables that affect how addictive a drug can be.

We do know that the most commonly abused substance among tees is alcohol, followed by tobacco. The most commonly abused illegal drug is marijuana.


user icon deserayjchs - Junction City High School : why does pot make you slower?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Marijuana has its main effects in the brain--and its effects on brain cells can result in slowed thinking and reaction times, confusion, impaired memory and learning, as well as difficulties with balance and coordination. Try this link for more info: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana Thanks for this question.


user icon hypercrazyboi - George Washington High School : Can you have an addiction if its in you blood because of your past family members?

answer icon David Shurtleff : VERY interesting question! A person that has a parent that is addicted to drugs IS NOT DOOMED to become an addict also. On the other hand, having an addicted parent could raise a person's risk for addiction because the risk for drug addiction can be inherited. There are other factors such as taking drugs themselves and a person's age that can contribute to their risk for addiction. Want more information on addiction? Check out NIDA's website: www.drugabuse.gov


user icon reeve - Big Sandy School : Is weed a gateway drug?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : There is great controversy about this issue. Some scientists view tobacco, alcohol and marijuana as drugs that lead to the use of other drugs. Other scientists believe that these drugs are used before other drugs because they are the most readily available. This viewpoint is somewhat supported, but the fact that people in geographic areas where there is an epidemic of use of another drug have a tendency to start with that drug as it is available.

Gateway: Is marijuana a gateway drug? The gateway concept is one that generates a lot of controversy, is not yet scientifically settled, and could also be applied to nicotine or alcohol. And, while it is true that most people who use other drugs have also used marijuana (and nicotine, alcohol), it is not true that most marijuana users go on to use other drugs. Moreover, it is important to recognize that marijuana itself presents significant health risks, including the risk of addiction.


user icon talex - Yonkers High School : How much alchohol has to be in your body for you to drunk?

answer icon James Bjork : In somebody of normal adult size, about 4 drinks in one hour typically will produce a blood alcohol level of .08 percent. That's the legal limit for driving, because someone who has not developed tolerance to alcohol will be having impaired perception, decision making, and response time. For someone who drinks enough to have developed tolerance, or who is alcoholic, it may take 2-3 times as much alcohol in the same amount of time to produce signs of drunkenness.


user icon mmmegan(: - South County Secondary School : what are the academic consequences of alcohol?

answer icon James Bjork : Alcohol abuse in adolescents has been found to shrink the hippocampus, a part of the brain criticial in forming memories!! Therefore, it would impair your ability to retain and memorize stuff you read and hear in lectures. Also, alcohol abuse can mess up sleep patterns, and quality REM sleep is needed to consolidate memories.

The good news is, when teens lay off the booze, the gray matter in the hippocampus starts to recover.


user icon zack - Big Sandy School : what happens when girls take starods

answer icon Jan Lipkin : It isn't pretty! In the female body, anabolic steroids cause masculinization. Breast size and body fat decrease, the skin becomes coarse, the clitoris enlarges, and the voice deepens. Women may experience excessive growth of body hair but lose scalp hair. With continued administration of steroids, some of these effects become irreversible. For a lot more information, check our web site on steroids at www.steroidabuse.org,


user icon Bobthemystic - Lewis-Palmer High School : What are the risks of combining multiple drugs

answer icon Joe Frascella : Great questions! Drugs individually can be very dangerous, and the combination can increase these dangers. Thanks for this important question. See http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/ for an illustrated and easy-to-use guide to more information on drug effects and risks.


user icon hxcoreroxstar - Rockville High School : does alcoholism cause depression?

answer icon James Bjork : Alcoholism and depression can each promote the other or make it worse. In psychiatry research, depression that occurs as a result of alcohol abuse is called "secondary depression".


user icon CODY - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : WHAT DOES CAFINE DO TO YOU

answer icon Ruben Baler : Caffeine is a stimulant drug. Eating or drinking a large amount of caffeine can make you feel jittery, nervous, or energetic. That is because caffeine like any stimulant changes the way your brain works. But caffeine is just a mild example of a stimulant.

Many other stimulant drugs are much stronger -- and some are illegal and very dangerous. Others require a doctor's prescription. Examples of stronger stimulants include:

Cocaine: Made from the leaf of the coca plant, this drug often comes in the form of a white powder that some people inhale through their nose
Crack: A form of cocaine that can be smoked
Amphetamines: Often called "speed," these pills are sometimes prescribed by doctors for medical problems
Methamphetamine: A powerful form of amphetamine that comes in clear crystals (called "ice") or powder (called "crank") that is smoked or injected

For more information on stimulants please visit: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/cocaine/brains-response-cocaine


user icon rae2391 - Rockville High School : if you only smoked marijuana a couple times, would it still have an effect on you?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Yes, psychoactive drugs have effects from the first exposure on. Unless of course you have a what we call a very low abuse liability to the substance which generally results in the drug having no, negative, or little effect on you.

Did you know NIDA research indicates that in 2006, more than 10 percent of high school seniors admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana in the two weeks prior to the survey? Drugs can alter perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination and other faculties needed for safe driving.

Did you know that in 2006, over 289,000 people entering drug treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse?


user icon Jenn - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Is it easier to get addicted to drugs if you have a family member that does it?

answer icon David Shurtleff : VERY interesting question! A person that has a parent that is addicted to drugs IS NOT DOOMED to become an addict also. On the other hand, having an addicted parent could raise a person's risk for addiction because the risk for drug addiction can be inherited. About 40-60% of the risk for drug addiction comes from the genes a person inherited from their parents. There are other factors such as taking drugs themselves and a person's age that can contribute to their risk for addiction. Want more information on addiction? Check out NIDA's website: www.drugabuse.gov


user icon jordan taylor - Lewis-Palmer High School : should i do meth

answer icon Nora Volkow : No.


user icon ms.Medlin;; - Big Sandy School : What are the odds that a child with parents who are addicted to drugs will be addicted too?

answer icon Ruben Baler : It is impossible to predict risk for any given individual because there are so many factors that contribute to the overall risk of addiction. But if we talk more generally, sort of at the population level, it has been established that genes can contribute about 50% of addiction risk. That's the bad news. The good news is that there is another 50% that is determined by the environment, over which we do have control. So, even if someone inherited a set of genes that confers the highest risk for addiction, he or she is far from destined for a life of abuse and addiction. There are a lot of things one can do to try and cancel out a genetic predisposition, like playing a lot of sports, engaging in healthy extracurricular activities, being actively involved in school, striving for academic excellence, helping at home, and eating a good diet.


user icon Dallas AXIS - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : Why do people use drugs knowing it could kill them???

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : There are many reasons:

  • curiosity
  • they belief that it won't hurt them
  • they believe that you have to take a drug many times to develop addiction
  • peer pressure
  • soical norms that support drug use
  • prenatal exposure
  • etc.

For more information, visit www.drugabuse.gov and check out the online publication, Science of Addiction.


user icon forest gump - Centerpoint High School : does crack help you play football

answer icon Nora Volkow : no


user icon yhskelly - Yonkers High School : if a mother or father was addicted to drugs then afterwards gave birth to a child, would it affect the child, would the child have medical problems, or even be addicted too?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : It depends on the individual situation. Let's think about some of the reasons why the child of addicted parents might have medical problems or become addicted. We know that babies born to mothers who are using drugs while pregnant are affected by those drugs. For example, if a mom uses opiate drugs (like heroin, methadone, morphine, and prescription pain killers like vicodin or oxycontin) while pregnant, her baby could be born addicted to that drug and go through a period of withdrawal. Researchers are also looking into whether or not exposure to other drugs before birth can make you more likely to get addicted to drugs when you are older. So far, one researcher has found that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk of other medical problems like asthma, and possibly behavioral problems too. For all these reasons, we recommend that moms not use alcohol and drugs, including cigarettes, during pregnancy - they should stop in order to protect their baby from being exposed to drugs. And if they are having trouble stopping, they should ask their doctor for help.

Two more things that can affect your risk of addiction are genetics and family environment. If your parents were addicted to drugs, you might have a higher risk for becoming addicted yourself if you start using them. So it is especially important for kids with parents who were addicted to avoid drugs. But the good news is if you avoid drugs and don't start using them, you can protect yourself from becoming addicted to them!


user icon Me x3 - George Washington High School : what would happen if you have 100% of alcohol in your body?

answer icon James Bjork : You don't even need 1% to die. If your blood contains even half of one percent alcohol in it, this will cause structures in your medulla, a part of your brain that controls your heartbeat, to shut down. End of story.


user icon edward - George Washington High School : how do drugs affect teens

answer icon David Shurtleff : Very good question! Drugs affect people in many different ways, this is referred to as individual differences. Individual differences in response to drugs depends on a lot of factors. A person's age is a factor. For example, teenagers are much more vulnerable to become addicted to drugs. A person's genes also play a role because your genetic make-up can make you either more or less susceptible to the addictive properties of drugs of abuse. This is area of on going research at NIDA. Scientists still do not completely understand individual differences in response to drugs of abuse, but we're still working on it! Feel free to check out NIDA's website for more information on addiction: www.drugabuse.gov


user icon rrrr - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : is it true that it is safer to smoke weed than to smoke cigarettes?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--thanks for your question. The lungs of marijuana smokers show some of the same pre-cancerous changes as the lungs of tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers suffer some of the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers--i.e., chronic cough, bronchitis, etc. Despite this, the verdict is still out on whether smoking marijuana increases the risk of developing lung cancer later in life. I can tell you however, that both the nicotine in tobacco and the THC in marijuana are addictive and that the smoke you inhale from both is bad for your lungs. The smoke in cigarettes, made from either tobacco or marijuana, contains literally thousands of compounds, many of which are toxic.


user icon esg - Irving Academy : is ther a way to not get addicted.

answer icon Jan Lipkin : Well the best way not to get addicted is NOT to use drugs. Teen brains still developing so this is not the best time to try something that could have a negative impact on how your brain develops. We know from scientific research that the earlier you start using drugs, the more likely you are to become addicted and suffer serious social and medical consequences. You may be masking other problems by taking drugs when you really need to talk to your parents, a doctor or therapist. And using drugs can interfere with your school work, your outside activities and your relationships with friends and family.


user icon andrew jchs - Junction City High School : how many people are addicted to cigarettes

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi there! In 2007, about one in four people, ages 12 and older, were current cigarette smokers. You can learn more at http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm


user icon KELLY 10' - Rockville High School : i still smoke crack should i stop???

answer icon Redonna Chandler : YES - but I'm guessing you already knew I would say that. Crack is bad for you in lots of ways. Even occasional or experimental use can be dangerous because of unexpected adverse health effects from even one time use. Crack affects your ability to make good decisions - making it more likely you will engage in risky behaviors hat have serious consequences such as driving while intoxicated. Crack use can cause all sorts of problems -like respiratory difficulties, paranoia, and addiction. When someone is addicted to crack, they feel compelled to continue using even when they are facing major problems at school, home, and work. The best thing you can do for yourself and your future is to reach out, get help, and stop using crack now. More information on how to stop using crack is available at 1-800-622-HELP. Please call today!


moderator icon Marijuana contains some of the same cancer-causing substances as:

  1. alcohol
  2. tobacco (correct)
  3. asbestos>
  4. soda

user icon Holly JCH - Junction City High School : How many teens smoke each year?

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Good question! According to a survey conducted in 2007 by Monitoring the Future (MTF), 7% of 8th graders, 14% of 10th graders, and 22% of high school seniors were current cigarette smokers at the time of the survey.


user icon reeeeeee - George Washington High School : can your brain cells grow back

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi George Washington! Brain cells are constantly dying and regenerating in the brain through out life this is called neurogenesis. It is thought that drugs of abuse can interfere with this normal process. Taking drugs can have very serious and long-term effects on a person's brain. It is possible that neurons, which are nerve cells in the brain, could recover after long-term drug use. This depends on several factors, one of which is if a person is able to stay off drugs for a long period of time. While the nerve cells may be able to regenerate, they may not be able to have their levels restored to what they were before the person began using drugs ("normal" levels). It is also not understood whether these nerve cells are able to respond the same as before the person began taking drugs. If you want more information, click on www.drugabuse.gov for more information!


user icon tristan_adrian - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : how can u help somebody who doesnt want help and they are killing theirself slowly

answer icon Nora Volkow : my recommednation is dont give up. you can be there for them as a friend and listen to why they are using. go to www.drugabuse.gov and give them information about why using is such a terrible idea. and, when they seek your help you can go with them to talk to a trusted adult or call 1-800-662-HELP and help them find treatment.


user icon concord locos - Nueva Vista High School : How many people are addicted to coke?

answer icon Marsha Lopez : According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm), about 0.6% of the population ages 12 and older have a cocaine disorder (abuse or dependence). This translates into about 1.6 million people in 2007. Thanks for your question!


user icon Shadow - Casa Verde High School : How many brain cells do you loose when you do drugs ?

answer icon David Shurtleff : It is hard to estimate but drugs of abuse can cause cell death. Taking drugs can have very serious and long-term effects on a person's body and brain. It is possible that neurons, which are nerve cells in the brain, could recover after long-term drug use. This depends on several factors, one of which is if a person is able to stay off drugs for a long period of time. While the nerve cells may be able to regenerate, they may not be able to have their levels restored to what they were before the person began using drugs ("normal" levels). It is also not understood whether these nerve cells are able to respond the same as before the person began taking drugs. If you want more information, click on www.drugabuse.gov for more information!


user icon Lil Weezy - Lancaster COunty Career and Technology Center/Will : HOW CAN YOU PREVENT YOUR FRIEND FROM SMOKING WEED IF THEY'RE REALLY ADDICTED?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Hi Lil,
The only person you can prevent from particiating in healthy risking behaviors is yourself.
With regard to your friend you can enlist the help of a responsible, trusted adult to get this person the help they need.


Marijuana and mental illness: Marijuana use has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation or attempts. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis. Marijuana intoxication can, though rarely, produce a reversible psychosis, and it may be a causal agent in development of schizophrenia, or schizophreniform disorders in vulnerable individuals. Data on causality are weak, although many studies have found an association present in certain groups: young users, frequent users, those with cannabis dependence, etc. Marijuana may be a means of self-medicating an existing or sub-clinical 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.


user icon johnnie gayle - Big Sandy School : what can you do if a person you know is about to kill themselves.

answer icon Redonna Chandler : First, no matter how bad your friend thinks things are remind them suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems and feelings. There are people out there in the world that can help him/her with their problems if they will reach out. Teachers, school counselors, mental health professionals, other friends, parents, siblings, etc will all want to help your friend find solutions to their problems. Encourage them to talk, reach out, and find help dealing with their problems. They might start by calling call 1-800-273-TALK. Remind them you are there to support them.


user icon cheweska - Lancaster COunty Career and Technology Center/Will : if your pregant how does smoking a blunt affect the baby and the women if supposebly marijiuana is good for you?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Hey there- thanks for asking....there are different studies that have looked at women who smoked marijuana when they were pregnant and then followed their babies from birth until as long as adulthood. These studies have found some developmental effects in cognitive/thinking areas. If the mom is also smoking tobacco during pregnancy, that's been associated with behavior problems in childhood. Marijuana can also affect the mom's health, too. It's been associated with impairment in short-term memory and learning, the ability to focus attention, and coordination. It also increases heart rate, can harm the lungs, and can cause psychosis in those at risk.


user icon BaBeeNa - Casa Verde High School : WHy is it that teens do drugs more then adults?

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi, you ask a very interesting question with a pretty complicated answer. Adults generally have more responsibilities than teens and if they are using drugs are unable to attend to them successfully. A number of adults "mature out" of their drug use or eventually get treatment for their use, which could be a result of their increasing responsibilities and inability to work, have relationships, and families while using drugs. In addition, people who use drugs tend not to live as long as those who do not, so they may never get to enjoy their adulthood. All that said, I don't know that I would say that teens do more drugs than adults. According to the National Survey on Drug use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm) 18-25 year olds have rates of drug use about twice that of 12-17 year olds. Thanks for joining us!


user icon hailey - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Does drinking milk really cancel out the effects of mushrooms?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Hi! That is quite a question! Sorry, there is no evidence of that milk can counteract the effects of 'shrooms'. For more information on mushrooms, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon 1990crxSi - Casa Verde High School : what is THC

answer icon Jan Lipkin : THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main active chemical in marijuana. We have lots of information about marijuana including the affects on the brain. Check out our research report at http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html


user icon volcano taco1 - Cherokee Middle School : if u snort cocaine, does it affect your sense of smell?

answer icon Ruben Baler : Yes.

Snorting cocaine can lead to a significant tissue damage in the nose. Nasal snorting of cocaine causes destruction of the septal and nasal mucosa, which eventually causes the septal cartilage and nasal bones to become exposed. This exposure can eventually lead to a condition called septal chrondritis and nasal bone osteomyelitis. As this process continues, the severe loss of cartilage and bone allows gradual to total collapse of the nose.

So, of course if you lose your nose you can't smell. Even if you don't lose your nose, your sense of smell can be seriously impacted. Just one of many reasons not to snort cocaine.


user icon steven - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Are there long term effects of the use of ecstasy?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Terrific question! We are starting to understand better the long-term effects of ecstasy. We know that it can cause problems with memory and learning, as well as problems with hyperthermia (fever), heart problems, liver, and kidney failure. We also know that there are individual differences in the vulnerabilities to these affects, and another problem with ecstasy is that there can be harmful additives in ecstasy, which can be very harmful. Thanks for the question. For more info, please go to http://drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/MDMA.html


user icon BaBeeNa - Casa Verde High School : Is there a way for teens to feel as good as they do when they do drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Many young people experience a "natural high" from participating in extreme sports, intense volunteer experiences with other youth ( for example -- visiting New Orleans with a youth group to rebuild a house), and intense interpersonal experiences such a retreats. It depends on the people you like and the things you like to do.


user icon caroline - South County Secondary School : what are meth sores?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Meth decreases circulation to the skin making it vulnerable to damage- this creates the sores.


user icon coke - George Washington High School : i am gay sould i take drugs

answer icon Jan Lipkin : I wouldn't recommend that anyone take drugs no matter what his or her sexual orientation. Drugs can impair the development of your brain -- Did you know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse? Did you know most drugs affect the front part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex), the thinking center that powers our ability to plan, solve problems, and make decisions? Better to stay drug free! For information about the science of addiction, check out www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction.


user icon Westglades Midd - Westglades Middle School : We have heard about a new drug called strawberry quick which is crystal meth. Which areas of the country is this most prevalent? I have heard that it is marketed in a candy wrapper. Is that true?

answer icon Marsha Lopez :

Thanks for your question! There have been rumors about the existence of pink methamphetamine that was strawberry flavored or scented and that was supposedly being targeted to kids. It is not entirely clear whether there ever was such a thing or whether it was a hoax but the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA - July 2008 Microgram) refers to strawberry meth (http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/programs/forensicsci/microgram/mg0708/mg0708.html). It is probably impossible to say that there has never been pink looking methamphetamine that smelled like strawberry, but it clearly has not been a significant trend or substance seized and submitted to DEA labs, based on the DEA Microgram comment. Methamphetamine is not always pure white and may appear in different hues of color so a light pink cast is not out of the question. I am not sure that the intentional flavoring and marketing to children was ever substantiated. NIDA has a Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) that examines emerging drug trends, and some of the reps had heard of it but no one could substantiate its existence. Either way, there isn't enough information to tell you where it is most prevalent.


user icon heroinhero - Lewis-Palmer High School : why do your eyes get red when you smoke marijuana

answer icon Nora Volkow : Marijuana vasodialtes (OPENS the VESSELS) in the surface of your eyes increasing blood circulation and that makes them look red.


user icon CVHS- MiriamVam - Casa Verde High School : So my brother just died. And he was a drug adddict and im really depressed, i dont wanna turn to drugs, what should i do? answer to me: maggot22_4life@hotmail.com

answer icon Redonna Chandler : It is understandable that you are feeling down. You are grieving the loss of someone important in your life. I strongly encourage you to reach out and get help from a friend, school counselor, mental health professional, doctor family member, etc. Depression is treatable. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications. Know that healing happens with the proper help. If you need to talk to someone immediately please call 1-800-273-TALK.


user icon molly - South County Secondary School : Do drugs effect someones mental health?

answer icon Ruben Baler : Absolutely. Consider that the reason why drugs are abused ie first place, it's because they affect how the brain works. Eventually, this constant disruption of brain activity can cause serious chemical imbalances, some of which could last a very long time and lead to mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.


user icon ilene96 - Irving Academy : can smoking affect your lungs?

answer icon Jan Lipkin : Oh yes -- and not in a good way! The most dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke are tar and carbon monoxide. Tar causes lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial diseases. Carobon monoxide casues heart problems; smokers are at high risk for heart disease. For more information on smoking or tobacco, go to www.teens.drugabuse.gov and click on Facts on Drugs.


user icon anonymous - George Washington High School : do drugs affect teens different than adults?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Great question! Yes, drugs do seem to affect teens differently than adults. Teens are still developing and their brains can be more vulnerable to drugs. Did you know the brain continues to develop until age 25??!!! Pretty amazing! If you'd like to see a cool picture and movie created by scientists that shows how the brain develops from age 5-20, go to: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2004/imaging-study-shows-brain-maturing.shtml

Research indicates that the teen brain may be more vulnerable to addiction than the adult brain. This could partly be because the frontal brain - what we call the prefrontal cortex - is the last part of the brain to fully develop, and that's the part that has to do with decision making and other complex thinking tasks. We have a bunch of studies that are looking at drug use at different ages and developmental stages and how the brain is affected. Researchers are using some pretty high tech tools to figure this out - functional and structural neuroimaging - taking pictures of the brain to see how the brain develops and how drugs affect this development.


moderator icon Ecstasy has been called a "Club Drug" because:

  1. people take ecstasy at a clubhouse
  2. people take ecstasy in a big sandwich
  3. some people use ecstasy at all-night dance clubs (correct)
  4. people take ecstasy while playing golf.

user icon caroline - South County Secondary School : what is the worst brain change you can endure from doing marijuana?

answer icon David Shurtleff : THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, acts on specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors. THC causes cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. This is why some 'weed' smokers experience problems with memory, concentration and coordination.

Research has shown that marijuanas adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level. Research on the long-term effects of marijuana abuse indicates some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term abuse of other major drugs. Want more info on marijuana? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon Romie - Casa Verde High School : can you be born with an addiction

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Hey there - yes, babies can be born addicted if their moms used drugs during pregnancy. For example, babies born to moms who used opiates (heroin, morphine, prescription painkillers like oxycontin or vicodin) can exhibit withdrawal symptoms - this is called neonatal abstinence syndrome. These babies can be treated with medication to help with the withdrawal and may have to stay in the hospital longer than usual until the withdrawal symptoms are over. But these babies are not doomed!


user icon cilla703 - Yonkers High School : Wha are the affects of weed??

answer icon David Shurtleff : THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, acts on specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors. THC causes cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. This is why some 'weed' smokers experience problems with memory, concentration and coordination. Want more info on marijuana? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon Babygirl16 - Sequatchie County High School : can drinking beer and liquor effect your baby when your pregaent?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Hey there - yep, it can. We know from research that alcohol (including both beer and liquor) can seriously harm the baby of a mother who drinks during pregnancy, causing a variety of health problems including a disorder called fetal alcohol syndrome. For more details about all the birth defects associated with fetal alcohol syndrome, check out this link: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa50.htm

The highest risk of health problems is to babies whose mothers drank heavily while pregnant, but it is not clear yet whether there is ANY safe level of alcohol during pregnancy! For this reason, the U.S. Surgeon General released advisories in 1981 and again in 2005 urging women who are pregnant or may become pregnant not to drink alcohol (http://www.lhvpn.net/hhspress.html). If a mom is drinking while pregnant, the most important thing is that she quit - because it can have serious effects on her baby if she does keep drinking. She should talk to her doctor about her alcohol use, and get help if she is having problems stopping.


user icon Rockstars - Nueva Vista High School : What is in shrooms? and why do you get high from it?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Good Question!! Shrooms are psilocybin mushrooms. They are fungi. Mushrooms can cause hallucinations - profound distortions in a person's perceptions of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce rapid, intense emotional swings. Hallucinogens disrupting how brain cells, especially in the serotonin system, communicate. Serotonin is involved in the control of behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. Sometimes these drugs can cause psychotic like symptoms in some people --Not good! For more information, check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.g


user icon AbeJChigh - Junction City High School : is it safe to drink and drive if you don't get drunk??

answer icon Redonna Chandler : Drinking and driving don't mix. We know that a moderate dose of alcohol can impair driving performance (i.e., reaction time, visual search frequency--driver checking side streets--or perceiving/responding to changes in speed of other vehicles); making it dangerous to be behind the wheel of a car. Best advice - don't drink and drive at all since you may be impaired but not necessarily feeling "drunk." For more information please visit http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/.


moderator icon We're pleased to have Dr. Nancy Pilotte join the Chat. She is a psychologist whose expertise is in the neuroendocrine aspects of drug abuse (how hormones influence the activity of the brain) and how to identify long-term changes that occur in the brain as a result of repeated exposure to cocaine and its withdrawal. When Dr. Pilotte is not at work, she enjoys making homemade ice cream, sailing, and making colorful quilts.


user icon sammmiiieeeeee4 - South County Secondary School : Does drug intake have any affect on your bladder?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Some drugs, like alcohol and caffeine are diuretics-which will make you have to go to the bathroom.


user icon sushi - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What are the long term side effects to psilocybin mushrooms?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Good Question!! Shrooms are psilocybin mushrooms. They are fungi. Mushrooms can cause hallucinations - profound distortions in a person's perceptions of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce rapid, intense emotional swings. Hallucinogens disrupting how brain cells, especially in the serotonin system, communicate. Serotonin is involved in the control of behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. Sometimes these drugs can cause psychotic like symptoms in some people --Not good! For more information, check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon liveyourlife - Rockville High School : what are meths long term affects besides brain damage?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Good question. Meth can result in brain changes that can lead to aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, and learning and memory problems. In addition, meth can cause cardiac damage (heart problems) and neurologic problems. We have seen people who are addicted to meth that have problems with movement. We are also seeing a large number of dental problems with chronic meth use.

For more information on methamphetamine, check out: http://drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html


user icon ehshouston - Episcopal High School : What age has the most problems with drug and alcohol?

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi, that is a great question. Different ages certainly have different opportunities, vulnerabilities, and rates of drug use. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm), the age group of 18-25 year olds had the highest prevalence of past year drug use, followed by 12-17 year olds, and ages 26 and older. Although the younger ages didn't have the highest rates of drug use, the teen brain is still a work in progress, undergoing dramatic changes during adolescence and into adulthood. The younger a person begins to use drugs the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse. So I might say that even though their numbers aren't as high, drug use in kids and teens can be extremely problematic and detrimental for many years to come. For more information go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon Garrett jchigh - Junction City High School : What drug has the fastest affect on the brain?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Good question. Generally, the speed at which the drug gets into the brain and has its effects depends on the way the drug is taken. For example, when something is smoked, the drug gets into the brain very rapidly, whereas when a drug is ingested, such as swallowed, the drug is absorbed and gets to the brain much more slowly.

Thanks for the question.


user icon tmack - Rockville High School : Could cigarette use by a mother affect a fetus?

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Yes. For example, one researcher has found that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk of other medical problems like asthma, and possibly behavioral problems too.


user icon PinkPanther - Lewis-Palmer High School : Do people mix drugs?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Yes, frequently. It is very hard to predict what will happen when you mix two or more different drugs. What we do know is that it is very dangerous and can be lethal.


user icon DrugFighter! - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : My friend enjoys marijuana and smokes often. I told him that he is addicted and that he should stop. He says that he is not addicted and to him, marijuana is just another social activity he engages in much like drinking, or even playing ultimate frisbee. Who am I to tell someone else that they are addicted when they seem unharmed by it?

answer icon Redonna Chandler : The first thing you can do is listen to what your friend has to say about his drug use and about why he is using. It is always a good idea to encourage your friend to confide and seek advice from a trusted adult. If he doesn't realize the negative health effects drugs have on his body, brain and life, there is a lot of information you can share from NIDA's website (www.drugabuse.gov). Eventually he may be ready to seek help and participate in treatment. When that day comes you can help him find a doctor, therapist, support group or treatment program by visiting the website www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov, or calling 1-800-662-HELP. If your friend is not ready yet to get help, don't give up. Keep reaching out, and hopefully some day soon he will be ready. Helping him go through the process of starting treatment, keeping in touch with him while he is in treatment, and supporting and encouraging him while he is in recovery are the best things you can do for your friend struggling with addiction.


user icon joe91@yonkershs - Yonkers High School : do teens take more drugs then adults do.

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Good question! According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm) about 46% of the US household population ages 12 and older had used an illicit drug at some point in their lifetime. Another national survey that looks exclusively at youth, the Monitoring the Future study (www.monitoringthefuture.org), reported about 50% of high school seniors had used drugs in their lifetime.


user icon s.loreto.casuga - McCullough Middle School : what percenatage of people are drug addicted

answer icon Marsha Lopez : Hi there, good question! According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/TOC.htm), nearly 3% of people ages 12 and older have a drug disorder (abuse or dependence).


user icon BaBeeNa - Casa Verde High School : Can teens take drugs because their parentsdo it and they think if their parents do they can??

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Yes teens can and sometimes do take drugs when their parents use drugs. This can be with the parents knowledge or through taking drugs from their parents. Illegal drugs can be unhealthy and dangerous for anyone, but the effects of drugs on young people is even more detrimental than on adults. They can interfere with brain development, and drugs such as anabolic steroids can affect the development of sex organs or height.

Did you know the teen brain is a work in progress? It undergoes dramatic changes during adolescence and into adulthood.


user icon Roger9yonkershs - Yonkers High School : How does marijuana lead people to trying other drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : Recent studies in rats show that rats given marijuana (the active molecule THC), had increased responsiveness to harder drugs in their adulthood- including increased ability to associate cocaine with a part of the cage it was given in (and preference to hang out there), and even willingness to give itself harder drugs. It's thought that THC may cause lasting changes in the circuitry of the brain that forms associations between drugs and environmental cues. THC acts as a super-substitute for molecules our brains make naturally to regulate feelings of pleasure. There are social effects too. People who use drugs hang with others who do, and as people age into full adulthood, their range expands and harder drugs become more obtainable and accessible. So, it's not only brain chemical changes! Fro more on marijuana, see http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


user icon ehsknights - Episcopal High School : Does marijuauna slow reflexes? Affect the brain?

answer icon Ruben Baler : Yes. A slowing down of reflexes (motor responses) is one of the well-established effects of smoking marijuana. And long term use of any drug, including marijuana, can cause significant changes in the way the brain functions.

For more information on how marijuana affects the brain, please visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/es/publicaciones/la-marihuana-informacion-para-los-adolescentes


user icon CVHS- MiriamVam - Casa Verde High School : Do drugs affect sex?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Good question--yes, drugs affect sex! Drugs impair your brain's ability to make good judgments and increase your odds of engaging in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex. High-risk sex is a main factor in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.


user icon CVHS_Shani-poo - Casa Verde High School : If a parent tells you to do a drug with them and you just walk away should they have the right to yell at you?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : I'm not sure this is matter of rights. If your parent is under the influence they are not thinking clearly. If you are having trouble at home, ask a trusted adult for help. Choose someone who will maintian your confidentiality, someone who is NOT required to report your concerns would be the best place to start. That would include a priest or minister; a scout or youth group leader; or a trained psychologist. Good luck!

Know someone who needs help? Call 1-800-273-TALK.


moderator icon We're pleased to have Dr. Joni Rutter join the Chat. She manages NIDA's programs related to human genetics research. Dr. Rutter oversees research in human and population genetics, pharmacogenetics, epigenetics, bioinformatics, and molecular epidemiology, as they relate to vulnerabilities to drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Rutter has two cats, Winky and Dobby, named after the house elves in "Harry Potter." When she's not at work, she likes to play volleyball, softball and golf. Her favorite class in high school was physics.


user icon Ranbir Singh - Yonkers High School : if drugs are so deadly, why do people still take them?

answer icon James Bjork : Scientists are working hard to understand this! Repeated intoxication of either alcohol or illicit drugs artificially causes a chemical change in the brain that happens in circuits for learning. This is thought to cause an "overlearning" of an association between cues in our environment (like a bar or liquor store sign or a corner where the crack dealer hangs out) and the "high" of the drug. This is increasingly thought to be the mechanism causing addiction--at least to cocaine and other street drugs, where the cues for taking drugs become such a primary motivating factor, that the person doesn't consider the long-term consequences related to their relationships, job, and health. With alcohol, it's thought that prolonged alcohol abuse deadens the brain's ability to feel pleasure from the everyday things in life, requiring more and more alcohol over time to just feel "normal" or at least tolerable. It's all about a change in the brain! For more info, please see our illustrated and easy-to-read booklet at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon Kendyl JCHigh - Junction City High School :

Besides peer-pressure, what is the major influence on young adults doing drugs and other intake of chemicals?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : There are lots of reasons beside peer pressure, including:
curiosity
- the belief that you will not be the one to experience the negative effects
- the belief that you have to use drugs for a long time before they will harm you
- living in an area or community where drug use is common and accepted
- media infuences

For other contributors to drug abuse, visit www.drugabuse.gov and review the online publication, Science of Addiction.

Did you know scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's vulnerability to addiction?


user icon rhsram2011 - Rockville High School : What are the bad effects of using steroids?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there. Major effects of steroid abuse can occur due to hormone imbalances in the body. In males, bad effects can be shrinking of the testicles and breast development. In females, bad effects may include growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and deepened voice. In teenagers, growth may stop prematurely and permanently. Other bad effects can be severe acne, high blood pressure and jaundice. In some rare cases liver and kidney tumors or even cancer may develop.


user icon lakangaroo - Rockville High School : Can caffeine really induce depression? Is it addictive?

answer icon Nora Volkow : There is no evidence that caffeine produces depression. However,it can definitely produce a physical dependence, but probably not addiction.


user icon brian - South County Secondary School : are inhalents addictive?

answer icon Brian Marquis : Some individuals, particularly those who abuse inhalants heavily and for a long time, report a strong need to continue using inhalants. Compulsive use and a mild withdrawal syndrome can occur. Additionally, recent research in animal models has shown that toluene can affect the brain in a similar manner as other drugs of abuse (i.e., amphetamines). Toluene increases dopamine activity in reward areas of the brain, and the long-term disruption of the dopamine system is one of the key factors leading to addiction.


user icon Alice - Sequatchie County High School : can durgs effect the childern

answer icon Nicolette Borek : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. Research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk of other medical problems like asthma, and possibly behavioral problems too. If you want more information on drugs, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and www.abovetheinfluence.com


user icon ehsknights - Episcopal High School : Why are athletes that do drugs still able to do their job well?

answer icon Ruben Baler : They may see an improvement in performance in a very narrow dimension of their lives, like how much weight they can lift or how fast they recover from a intensive session of training. But underneath these limited benefits the ill effects of chronic steroid abuse can build up slowly but surely. You can think of the serious medical consequences of steroid abuse as a ticking bomb ready to go off. Please visit http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/anabolic-steroids


user icon DJRocks123 - South County Secondary School : How come people do dugs and they say doing drugs is not coool.?

answer icon James Bjork : People may say what they think the listener wants to hear, or what they think they're SUPPOSED to say. However, they may actually have a problem they're trying to hide.

Scientists are working hard to understand this! Repeated intoxication of either alcohol or illicit drugs artificially causes a chemical change in the brain that happens in circuits for learning. This is thought to cause an "overlearning" of an association between cues in our environment (like a bar or liquor store sign or a corner where the crack dealer hangs out) and the "high" of the drug. This is increasingly thought to be the mechanism causing addiction--at least to cocaine and other street drugs, where the cues for taking drugs become such a primary motivating factor, that the person doesn't consider the long-term consequences related to their relationships, job, and health. With alcohol, it's thought that prolonged alcohol abuse deadens the brain's ability to feel pleasure from the everyday things in life, requiring more and more alcohol over time to just feel "normal" or at least tolerable. It's all about a change in the brain! For more info, please see our illustrated and easy-to-read booklet at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon tylerftw - River Hill High School : Where do students get drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : From other students, and from dealers in the neighborhood.


user icon cindy - George Washington High School : is it possible to have a stroke from using drugs ?

answer icon Ruben Baler : "Good question. Yes, it is possible to have a stroke from using drugs.

Researchers have found a connection between the abuse of most drugs and adverse cardiovascular effects, ranging from abnormal heart rate, strokes, and even heart attacks. Injection drug use can also lead to cardiovascular problems such as collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves. For more information on the cardiovascular effects of drug abuse please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/cardiovascular/


user icon 7ivian - George Washington High School : What does our hearts look like after years and years of drug inhale-ation?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Prolonged sniffing of the highly concentrated chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can induce irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to heart failure and death within minutes of even one session of prolonged sniffing.

Over time though, chronic exposure to inhalants can harm the brain and other parts of the nervous system. For example, both animal research and human studies indicate that chronic abuse of inhalants such as toluene can damage myelin--the protective covering around certain nerve fibers which helps them send messages to other neurons quickly and efficiently. This type of damage is similar to what happens in neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.


user icon yhsesther - Yonkers High School : if a pregnant women is addicted to drugs, will her child be addicted to drugs too?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Yonkers High! Unfortunately, when a mom is addicted to drugs, the baby can be born addicted as well. This can make the baby very sick in the beginning of their life. We know that there are some good treatments for the baby who is born addicted, and the mother as well. Children born to mothers that are addicted to drugs also have a higher risk for developing other developmental and physical problems. For more information, see: www.drugabuse.gov and look at "The Science of Addiction.


user icon angelgothheart - South County Secondary School : i've been pressured into doing some drugs, but i've never done any of them, but can i be repulsive to the people who are pressuring me into doing them?

answer icon James Bjork : The biggest predictor of drug and alcohol use in teens is the crowd a teen hangs out with, whether drugs and alcohol are a part of THEIR lifestyle or not. It sounds hard and nasty, but finding better friends- friends with ideas who are going places in life is a good way to go. Parents who are really involved in your life are protective too. If changing your circle of friends is not an option, and you feel like you need to keep the same crowd, when someone offers you a beer or a hit, deflect the offer to something else-- "Naw, I'd rather have a Sprite or a Coke if ya got it." This is less likely to promote a defensive reaction in the person offering you the drugs, and gives them another healthier outlet to "hook you up."


user icon kl - Irving Academy : How can you avoid drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : The issue is not avoidance as much as being prepared to respond in a way that protects yourself. Many young people have an experience where drugs are offered or they find themselves in a situation where drugs are being used. How do you say no without looking like a nerd, a cube, a tweebe, etc. We call these responses "refusal skills." Refusal skills are ways you can say no in a way the makes you look strong and assertive without putting the person down. The added benefit is that by being clear about your intention to stay drug free, further approaches will less frequent and easier to handle. Google Life's Skills Training (LST).

And it's good to remember that most teens DO NOT use drugs. Did you know teens are taking better care of themselves? Illicit drug use declined by 24% from 2001 to 2007.


user icon Arielle mermaid - Lewis-Palmer High School : Does smoking weed really make your intelligence drop?

answer icon Brian Marquis : Most people dont think of marijuana as addictivethey are wrong. Marijuana increases dopamine, and once that happens, a user may feel the urge to smoke marijuana again, and again, and again. Repeated use could lead to addictiona disease where people continue to do something, even when there are severe negative consequences involved, like when their relationships at home, school, work, or with friends suffer. In 2006, the majority of youth (age 17 or younger) entering drug abuse treatment reported marijuana as their primary drug abused.

Marijuana users can also experience a withdrawal syndrome when they stop using the drug. It is similar to what happens to tobacco smokers when they quitpeople report being irritable, having sleep problems, and weight losseffects which can last for several days to a week after drug use is stopped. Relapse is common during this period, as users also crave the drug to relieve these symptoms.


user icon fred - Seminole Middle School : Is it true that once more information about the negative affects of drugs were released, the number of drug users increased?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Great question! Information alone isn't enough to prevent or treat drug abuse. The best approaches to prevent drug abuse include family approaches and social skills training.


user icon student8 - Yonkers High School : i think that when school teaches student sabout drugs, students like me are not aware of those drugs and we come to school and we learn these crazy things. then why are they teaching students all about drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : This is an interesting point. While trying drugs and alcohol might not have occurred to you until seeing all these messages from authority figures in school, I think in general, kids get exposed to drugs and drug opportunities outside of the classroom--school systems know this, and figure that they had better equip you with knowledge about the risks of trying drugs and alcohol.


user icon RCMS Health - Randolph Community Middle Schools : How do you know people are using drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : Behavior change, and a change in their circle of friends, is a good way to tell. Also, pot-users have that distinctive pot smell. yuck.


user icon JustinS - River Hill High School : How can you avoid starting drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : The issue is not avoidance as much as being prepared to respond in a way that protects yourself. Many young people have an experience where drugs are offered or they find themselves in a situation where drugs are being used. How do you say no without looking like a nerd, a cube, a tweebe, etc. We call these responses "refusal skills." Refusal skills are ways you can say no in a way the makes you look strong and assertive without putting the person down. The added benefit is that by being clear about your intention to stay drug free, further approaches will less frequent and easier to handle. Google Life's Skills Training (LST). You can find more info at www.teens.drugabuse.gov.


user icon angelgothheart - South County Secondary School : can drug addicts be real abusive to babies?

answer icon James Bjork : Absolutely, because intoxication can disrupt our brain's ability to stop our bad urges and behavior. A person high on crack is more likely to throw an inconsolable, crying infant out a window than a sober one. Also, people with poor impulse control even from childhood--and who would be more likely to abuse a child even without drugs--are at increased risk of abusing drugs.


user icon nchoebokeefe - River Hill High School : What is in MDMA

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : MDMA is the abbreviation for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and is also called Ecstasy or "X." It is a kind of amphetamine (or stimulant), but it also has some similarities to hallucinogens. But, when you get a pill illegally (from a friend or a friend of a friend) you really don't know what it contains--and it could be very dangerous.


user icon adrianrodriguez - Irving Academy : whats the diffrens from crack and cocain?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there. Powder cocaine and crack cocaine are just two different chemical forms of cocaine. Powder (also called hydrochloride) cocaine dissolves in water and, when abused, can be administered by intravenous (by vein) injection or by snorting (through the nose). Crack cocaine is the street name given to a form of cocaine that has been created by dissolving powder cocaine in water, mixing it with baking soda, and heating it to form a hard but volatile (i.e., smokable) mass. The name "crack" comes from the crackling sound that this form makes when it's smoked. Cocaine, in any form, produces the same bad health consequences--especially to the cardiovascular system.


user icon rhhsjbmg - River Hill High School : Where in schools are good places to avoid because kids are doing drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Schools should be safe havens, Unfortunately, at some schools that is not true. As with any exposure to crime, violence, etc., you should avoid secluded spaces (examples -- out of the way stairwell, outdoor, nooks in buildings, tec.) In addition, restrooms can be a place where drugs are used. For that reason use the restroom between classes, when there are a lot of people around, or go with a friend. If you have particular concerns talk to the school nurse or the counselor.


user icon RHHS - River Hill High School : What happens to your appearance after you have been taking drugs for a long time?

answer icon James Bjork : This can depend a lot on whether the drug or alcohol use gets so bad that a person is on the street and exposed to elements. Meth addicts can get particularly scary and scraggly-looking in the face after only a few years. Cigarette smokers get wrinkles more easily, and long-term alcohol abusers can get yellow looking skin. But what happens inside your body is even scarier. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/ for more.


user icon xobubblesxo - Sanborn Regional High School : have you ever promised somebody you wouldnt do a drug and then did it anyways behind there back .. just so that in the end they found out and a drug ruined that friendship?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Thanks for your question. Denial and lying is really common in drug abuse. It's a terrible part of this disease that ends up hurting the drug abuser as well as their friends and family. If a person is compulsively seeking and using a drug despite negative consequences, such us falling behind in school, sports or other group activities, or see negative physical and mental problems brought on by drug abuse, then he or she is probably addicted. For more information check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon Westglades Midd - Westglades Middle School : Danielle: What is gamma hydroxy butyrate and how does it affect the body?

answer icon Brian Marquis : Since about 1990, GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) has been abused in the U.S. for its euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (body building) effects. It is a central nervous system depressant that was widely available over-the-counter in health food stores during the 1980s and until 1992. It was purchased largely by body builders to aid in fat reduction and muscle building. Street names include "liquid ecstasy," "soap," "easy lay," "vita-G," and "Georgia home boy."

Coma and seizures can occur following abuse of GHB. Combining abuse of GHB with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. GHB and two of its precursors, gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol (BD), have been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and deaths.


user icon DoPeNeSsYee - Nueva Vista High School : what does an extacy pill do to the brain

answer icon Joe Frascella : We are starting to understand better the effects of ecstasy on the brain. We know that it can cause problems with memory and learning, as well as problems with hyperthermia (fever), heart problems, liver, and kidney failure. We also know that there are individual differences in the vulnerabilities to these effects. Another problem with ecstasy is that there can be harmful additives in ecstasy, which can cause health problems. Thanks for the question. For more info, please go to http://drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/MDMA.html


user icon annywithay - George Washington High School : Is it possible for animals to get addicted to drugs????

answer icon David Shurtleff : Yes- in fact when given the opportunity, animals will voluntarily take most of the same drugs that are abused by humans. Animal research is telling us a lot about the how the brain responds to drugs and how it changes following chronic exposure to drugs. This kind of research will help us find develop new treatments for addiction that may even reverse some of the effects of chronic drug exposure on the brain--great question!


user icon anonymous - George Washington High School : if a man is addicted to alchol and gets a girl pregnant will it affect the baby?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi George Washinton, that is a VERY good question! Yes, there is a chance that a baby will be affected in later life if dad (or mom, too) is addicted to drugs. We know that genetics plays a pretty big role in addiction. In fact, we even know about specific genes that have been identified and contribute to alcoholism, for example. It's important to remember that genes don't account for everything....it's just part of the picture. We know that the environment you are in also contributes to your risk. So if dad continues to drink and the child grows up in that environment, AND they inherent some of the genes that dad passes on, then the child could be at greater risk of becoming addicted. There are treatments and ways to prevent using drugs, so the child is not doomed to have problems with drugs. For more information, see: www.drugabuse.gov and "The Science of Addiction.


user icon hunter - Bair Middle school : how many chemicals are in a cigarette?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--over 4,000--that is a lot of chemicals!


user icon AmritS - South County Secondary School : how do yall know so much about weed? HUH ?! are u an addict DICT!!!!

answer icon Joe Frascella : Hey, thanks for your question! We know lots about marijuana and other drugs through research that helps us discover how drugs affect the body and brain, so that we can find new ways to prevent and treat drug abuse and addiction.


user icon Lil Weezy - Lancaster County Career and Technology Center/Will : What is the biggest drug in Lancaster PA? Please answa have a woderful day

answer icon Mark Greene : Hi, that's an interesting question. The Pennsylvania Youth Survey reports alcohol, cigarettes, and then marijuana as the most commonly used drugs in Lancaster County. Check it out for more Lancaster, PA drug information!


user icon tomotuhombre - South County Secondary School : What are some academic consequences to using drugs, how can it affect my education? would it affect me at all academically?

answer icon James Bjork : Marijuana abuse in adolescents causes the brain to change its patterns of activity when young people try to perform memory tasks. Brain imaging experiments in teens who use marijuana show this. This effort by the brain to compensate is OK, but is also bound to break down under strain of hard mental processes. Also, alcohol has similar effects on rewiring when it is abused in the teen years. Alcohol abuse has also been shown to shrink the gray matter of the hippocampus, a region of the brain critical to forming memories. Therefore, alcohol abuse can impair how well you retain the information you read or hear in lectures. Finally, alcohol abuse can affect sleep, and quality sleep is needed to consolidate memories long term. See http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/ for more info.


user icon francheska - Sanborn Regional High School : my friend ginger is experimenting meth, and she is pregnant with triplets and i am trying confinivce her to stop because it is my babys!

answer icon Wilson Compton : Meth can be really addictive and hard to control. I suggest that your friend see someone about treatment for the disorder. For a treatment referral see the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or call 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.

You can also find more information about Meth here: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/methamphetamine


user icon jimmyisawesome - George Washington High School : I want to be cool - should I take drugs

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : No!
Come on Jimmy
Cool is someone who is:
confident
knows himself
has something to say
has well developed interests, hobbies, sports skills
has direction in life
etc.
Using drugs errodes the capacity to grow in social and emotional directions. It can also have detrimental health effects.


user icon juggalo_fo_life - Casa Verde High School : why is "weed" so harmful to your brain

answer icon Joe Frascella : Thanks for this question. Marijuana, like other drugs of abuse, directly affects parts of the brain, and chronic use can affect the function of the brain leading to problems of learning and memory, balance and coordination, distortions in perception, etc. Continued use of marijuana can lead to addiction, which leads to further problems. For more information on marijuana and its effects, check out: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


user icon adrian_tristan - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : Can you become addicted to club drugs such as ecstasy

answer icon Brian Marquis : Like other stimulant drugs, MDMA appears to have the ability to cause addiction. That is, people continue to take the drug despite experiencing unpleasant physical side effects and other social, behavioral, and health consequences.

No one knows how many times a person can use a drug before becoming addicted or who's most vulnerable to addiction. Genetic makeup, living environment, and other factors probably play a role in a person's susceptibility to addiction


user icon Jackie Beaty - South Fentress Elementary : How does drugs affect our community?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi there! Drugs cause problems in all aspects of life. They cause crime, accidents, health problems, family trouble, job trouble, and relationship problems. Check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction
for information on how drugs affect individuals and as a result can also affect our communities.


user icon yhs Damon - Yonkers High School : what is the main drug that affects driving

answer icon Mark Greene : Alcohol is the most common drug that affects driving, but marijuana and any other drug that affects the way that you think, physically respond to the things you see around you, or even makes you drowsy, can affect driving.


user icon RockerGirl 101 - Sequatchie County High School : Why do people do Cocaine?

answer icon James Bjork : At first, to get high or to fit in. After time, it gets ugly. This is because the brain can become ADDICTED to cocaine, and people start taking it not to feel good, but to avoid feeling bad, such as withdrawal. Repeated intoxication causes a chemical change in the brain that happens in circuits for learning. This is thought to cause an overlearning, or hyperactive, association between cues in our environment (like a bar or liquor store sign or corner where the crack dealer hangs out) and the "high" of the drug. This is increasingly thought to be the mechanism causing addiction--at least to cocaine and other street drugs, where the cues for taking drugs become so front and center in the motivation of the person, consideration of long term consequences to relationships, job, and health get kicked to the back burner. Drug abuse over time deadens the brain's ability to feel pleasure from everyday things in life, requiring more and more alcohol over time to just feel "normal" or at least tolerable. It's all about a change in the brain! see http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/ for more.


user icon ladybulldog#20 - Homestead Elementary : Is it true that most teens take drugs to help cope with problems at home that affect them everywhere?

answer icon James Bjork : Social stress, like a rough home, is indeed a risk factor for drug and alcohol abuse. Most of the time, however, teens use drugs to fit in socially, and to get a temporary high. This is bad though, because taking drugs and alcohol can affect the brain, where a person can become addicted to the drug.


user icon drummingmonkey7 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What are some different ways to approach addicts to help them with their addiction to drugs?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Terrific question! My best advice would be to try to convince the person addicted to drugs to understand that addiction is a disease of the brain, but more importantly, it is a treatable disease. With the proper help, we see much success in terms of treatment to addiction. We should all understand that it is difficult to stop taking drugs, once someone is addicted, so some sort of professional help would be best.

For more information on types of treatment and finding treatment, please visit Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


user icon caroline - South County Secondary School : my brother smokes a lot and no one knows about it what can i do to help him?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi there, smoking is a terrible burden for families. How can you help a loved one? talking to your family doctor can sometimes be helpful in finding a good treatment program. Ultimately, your brother will have to make up his own mind to quit his habit but knowing how concerned and worried you are can make a difference. Don't be afraid to let him know what his behavior is doing to you. Also, you and he can check out the following website for more information on smoking and its negative health affects: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco
Thanks for your question!


user icon mr.Cool - Irving Academy : does doing drugs 2ce a week mean your addicted and why?

answer icon Nora Volkow : Addiction is a disease characterized by uncontrollable drug craving, drug seeking, and drug use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences. So addicted individuals take drugs compulsively-without self-control and at serious cost to their health, their lives, and their loved ones. So, while taking a drug twice a week may mean that you are not yet addicted-because you don't feel the complusive need to take it at all times, with time, twice a week can become everyday and then turn into all day everyday. Twice a day can eventually become addiction.


user icon rhhsjbmg - River Hill High School : why do students smoke and do drugs in school? aren't they afraid of getting in trouble?

answer icon James Bjork : Two main possibilities come to mind-

1) They are addicted, and can't stop themselves, and 2) these individuals have brains that are not as able to think of the possible downsides of what they are doing. Children, even young children, who have problems with impulse control, like thinking of the downside of their behavior, are at increased risk for using or abusing drugs and alcohol as teenagers and young adults. Thanks for askin!


user icon ChrisnKari143 - Sanborn Regional High School : is it true that drugs can affect your memory?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Yes, chronic use of several drugs of abuse have been shown to affect one's memory and ability to learn (for example, marijuana, ecstacy, methamphetamine).

Thanks for the question.


moderator icon Medical Marijuana: Marijuana is not currently approved by the FDA for treating any medical illness. It is not a benign drug, and has significant adverse health and social consequences associated with its useincluding the risk of addiction. Components of marijuana are currently available (e.g. THC as marinol) for certain medical conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. Research is ongoing to develop new medications based on components of the marijuana plant or the system through which it exerts its biological effects (cannabinoid).


user icon cookiemonster - Irving Academy : how do u kno if someone is high

answer icon Wilson Compton : Good question! Each drug has it's own pattern of signs and symptoms. Some of the obvious signs are smelling the drug on someone, bloodshot eyes, confused or slurred speech, erratic behavior. Sometimes you can't really tell much unless you know the person really well. Even then, they can hide it most of the time. That's part of what makes drug abuse so difficult to address--it can be quite hidden until it is really, really severe. For more information on the signs of addiction go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon Carmella101 - Sanborn Regional High School : why are kids so dumb to bring drugs and weed into school?!

answer icon James Bjork : People who have behavior control problems and poor ability to foresee consequences are at increased risk of doing drugs. So, its not a coincidence that the same people who have drugs on them are the same people who may not be good at appreciating the risks of what they are doing. They could also be addicted. Also, sometimes kids do dumb things to be cool to their social group.


user icon yhsjaimie - Yonkers High School : What should you do if one of your friends wants to commit suicide?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Get a trusted adult involved right away. Suicide is forever! A school counselor or nurse can get your friend help. They know the systems and services that are available in your area. Staying quiet about your friend's problems could have disasterous consequences.

Have a friend who needs help? Call 1-800-273-TALK


user icon THE"KOOLAIDMAN" - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : my mom was a real bad crack head and a propane head she just got out of prison about a week ago. she got hooked on pain pills when she broke her ankle why is that?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Thanks for your question. People who are addicted to one substance often get into trouble with others, too. That's why the only safe approach for someone in recovery is to avoid all addictive substances. For information on how drugs affect your brain and can lead to addiction go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction Good luck with your mom. Addiction can really be hard on families.


user icon xCHAOSxROCKST4R - Sanborn Regional High School : MY friend has changed towards me--like his attitude--could he be on drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : That's a huge warning sign for drug abuse or even drug addiction! You are very wise to spot this, and I hope you can convince him to get help, such as 1-800-662-HELP. or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov , where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


user icon DrugFighter! - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : Of the following substances, which is the least harmful? Marijuana, Crack, Cocaine, Heroin, PCP, Special K, Opium, Tobacco, LSD, Mushrooms, Steroids, Hash.

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--good question. Researchers do not like to rank drugs according to how harmful they are because there are so many variables--the user's age, the pattern and amount of drug use and whether the drug is mixed with other substances are just a few variables. The bottom line is that any drug can be harmful to your body now and long-term. And, any drug can impair your thinking and your ability to make good decisicions. This can lead to health consequences, such as HIV, through risky behaviors.


user icon cj - Irving Academy : what does the drug have to make people want more

answer icon Joe Frascella : Great question. All drugs of abuse affect the brain, particularly areas of the brain that are important for motivation and those areas in the brain that make us "feel good". Drugs cause the release of a chemical in the brain called dopamine, and it is the surge of this chemical that produces the rush or feeling of high. People take drugs again and again to have this same feeling or experience, and even though the reinforcing effects of the drugs fade, people become more and more susceptible to addiction with continued use.

For more information on drugs and addiction, check out www.teens.drugabuse.gov, a website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities.


user icon x45 - Sanborn Regional High School : Is it true that pot is not addicting? i hear d rumors it wasn't

answer icon Brian Marquis : Yes. Long-term marijuana use leads to addiction in some people. That is, they cannot control their urges to seek out and use marijuana, even though it negatively affects their family relationships, school performance, and recreational activities (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens). According to one study, marijuana use by teenagers who have prior antisocial problems can quickly lead to addiction (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens). In addition, some frequent, heavy marijuana users develop tolerance to its effects. This means they need larger and larger amounts of marijuana to get the same desired effects as they used to get from smaller amounts.


user icon mikki2008 - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : My cousin smokes pot and he says he wants to quit. How do I help him quit?

answer icon Wilson Compton : If he's having trouble quitting, he needs expert help. He needs to see a counselor. Here's a link to help find a local treatment program: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.

You might also check with your school counselor in case they have useful resources.


user icon The Unique - Casa Verde High School : Are there ways that we could have fun with out doing drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Absolutely!!!!

Sports including extreme sports, fun activities that invoke lots of laughter, being involved in activities that help others are a few of the ways that people feel extremely happy. Be creative. You are at the age when you are supposed to be finding out what is fun for you. Take as many opportunities to explore your intersts as possbile and KEEP AWAY FROM DRUGS! :)


user icon Mz.Candy Girl - South County Secondary School : Whats in drugs that make you high?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! It's not what is in the drug that makes you high, but how it interacts with the brain that produces that effect. All of the drugs that people abuse bind tightly to specific proteins in the brain and they affect the reward circuits of the brain. These circuits are important for natural rewards such as good food, hanging out with friends, going surfing. But drugs are more powerful than natural rewards, and the effects can last longer. That's what makes you feel good, but its also what makes them addictive. Ultimately drugs change the reward system, making you less able to appreciate natural rewards, and even the drug itself is no longer what it was once. Now you need the drug just to feel normal, and you're hooked.
For more information: see http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon tom14 - South County Secondary School : Is it possible that you will smoke if your parents smoke?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! Your parents are a very important influence in your life, and it is really very likely that they have taught you many things by example. Often, children of parents who smoke do grow up copying that behavior. But it does not mean that you will definitely smoke--you still have the opportunity to say "No!


user icon bubblegum16 - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : If you smoked cigarettes for 6 years is it hard to stop cold turkey?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Yes! Help from your doctor is needed and medications and therapy can assist. Thanks for your question, for more info check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/tobacco-addiction


user icon jennifer6 - South County Secondary School : can u please answer my question =) about how drugs can effect how you do in school or the consquences it has on you over all life =) <3

answer icon Brian Marquis : Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individuals ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking and use.

The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use, however, some may occur after just one use.


user icon ashliea - Nueva Vista High School : what are the effects of herion?

answer icon David Shurtleff : After injection (or inhalation), heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier. In the brain, heroin is converted to morphine and binds rapidly to opioid receptors. Abusers typically report feeling a surge of pleasurable sensation - a "rush.". . The rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching. Heroin is addictive because it enters the brain so rapidly, and activates the reward centers just like almost all other drugs of abuse.


user icon Cody Stephens - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : can a drug addict that wants to quit. Quit using drugs without any help?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi, thanks for your question. Many people quit on their own, but we know that treatment can help. If you need help, you will find a link here to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or call 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


user icon jared=stupid - River Hill High School : Are there house-hold items that can cure addiction of drugs?

answer icon Mark Greene : There really is no "cure" for addiction to drugs, household or otherwise. There are, however, treatments that can be successful in allowing a person to lead a productive life. In a sense, the person addicted is the household item that can help him- or herself--by seeking treatment. There is a helpline for people seeking treatment :1-800-662-help.


user icon rachel - Lancaster COunty Career and Technology Center/Will : what are some signs and symptoms of a drug abuser??

answer icon Wilson Compton : That is a good question! There are many signs and symptoms. Symptoms include trouble controlling use of drugs (like trying to quit and being unable to do so), problems wtih family, mood swings, deteriorating performance in school or work. But sometimes, family and friends hardly recognize the symptoms. If a person is compulsively seeking and using a drug despite negative consequences, such as loss of job, debt, physical or mental problems brought on by drug abuse, or family problems, then he or she is probably addicted. For more information on drug seeking behavior go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon !xobile - George Washington High School : So I'm a drug addict. I need help. What should I do?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : The first thing is to go a doctor or clinic and get assesed for the extent of your problem, The doctor can then recommend a course of action, appropriate services and places to get help.
To talk to someone right away call 1-800-273-TALK. To talk to someone about finding treatment programs near you, call 1-800-662-HELP.

Remember - drug addiction is treatable!


user icon cms - Cherokee Middle School : how can these affects affect your child in further generations

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi! By "affects," I'm assuming you mean the effects of addictive drugs. You ask a very important question and one that scientists are just now starting to understand... We know that drugs have dramatic effects on all sorts of biological processes, and we think that some of these affects can be passed on through generations. Some of these effects can be passed on through our genes. We even know some specific genes that are involved in addiction. We are also learning that there are what's called "epigenetic" effects that can be passed on. This means that even though there may not be anything different in your genes, the drugs may cause changes in how your genes are work, which can have effects on your behavior and your health--and the health of future generations. Want more information on addiction? Click on NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon jasmine anicete - George Washington High School : what drug gives you brain damage?

answer icon Ruben Baler : It really depends how you define brain damage. To function properly the brain relies on an amazingly careful orchestration of chemical processes; abusing a drug -even once- can disrupt these processes. Eventually, with continued use, the disruption becomes more widespread and the brain effects, structural and functinal become more and more difficult to reverse. For more information on the neurological effects of drug abuse, please visit http://www.nida.nih.gov/consequences/neurological/


user icon latoursbabe - Centerpoint High School : Thepossible to be born with a drug addiction

answer icon Tim Condon : Interesting question. Infants born to woman who are addicted to drugs of abuse can be born dependent to that drug as well. For example, infants born to opiate-addicted mothers may experience severe withdrawl symptoms which can be managed with medications.


user icon PRINCESS - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Is it bad too mix alcohol?

answer icon Mark Greene : I'm not sure what things you are thinking of when you say "mix alcohol," but there are any number of drugs, including over the counter drugs, that when mixed with alcohol can produce serious effects. One of the over the counter items that many people are not aware of is Tylenol, which when combined with alcohol in large doses can be very toxic to the liver--even fatal.


user icon Shamis6 - South County Secondary School : What are some social consequences of taking alcohol?

answer icon James Bjork : Young people often take drugs and illegal drugs to fit in socially- especially with some crowds. Recent brain research shows that when young people are told they chose something different from others the crowd--like rating the "hotness" of a person in a photograph--this information activates a part of the brain that regulates CONFLICT and PAIN. Also, alcohol and illegal drugs can cause a temporary feeling of "high". Some young people who have depression problems may try drugs to feel normal. The problem is, even the healthy, non-addicted brain adapts to the drug chemicals over time, and can develop tolerance to or dependence on the drug, so people start to take the drug just to feel "normal" or "OK". Alcoholics get so consumed by drinking, they start blowing off friends and loved ones, as well as work or school obligations. Many alcoholic patients I have worked with have alientated themselves from their entire families!

Thanks for askin'!


user icon yahtrick - Lewis-Palmer High School : perscription drugs are not bad

answer icon Brian Marquis : Prescription drugs that are abused or used for nonmedical reasons can alter brain activity and lead to dependence. Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (often prescribed to treat pain), central nervous system depressants (often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (prescribed to treat narcolepsy, ADHD, and obesity).


user icon general12 - George Washington High School : What is a good way to help people that we know that are on drugs get off of drugs?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Thanks for your question. If someone hasn't been able to stop on their own, professional help is needed. Here's a link to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP to find private and confidential help 24/7.


user icon parrish - South Fentress Elementary : why do doctors perscribe pot for cancer patients but dont let people in the public use it??????????

answer icon Tim Condon : Marijuana is not currently approved by the FDA for treating any medical illness. It is not a benign drug, and has significant adverse health and social consequences associated with its useincluding the risk of addiction. Components of marijuana are currently available (e.g. THC as marinol) for certain medical conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. Research is ongoing to develop new medications based on components of the marijuana plant or the system through which it exerts its biological effects (cannabinoid).


user icon edward - George Washington High School : how do drugs affect your mental health

answer icon Joe Frascella : Terrific question. Drugs have direct effects on our mental well being. For example, some drugs can make us feel happy or high the first times we use them, but with chronic use, people can have severe mental health issues, such as paranoia, depression, confusion, inability to concentrate, or even having suicidal feelings. The specific effects depend on the specific drug taken, how much was taken and for how long, and what an individual's vulnerability might be to the drug effects. For more information, check out www.teens.drugabuse.gov, a website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities.

You will also find reports on specific drugs on NIDAs websites:

www.smoking.drugabuse.gov
www.marijuana-info.org
www.clubdrugs.gov
www.steroidabuse.gov
www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov

Thanks for this question.


user icon megan6 - South County Secondary School : does consuming alcohol affect your brain negatively?

answer icon James Bjork : High dose alcohol (high blood and brain concentration from binge drinking) can damage the brain in two main ways. In the developing fetus, it disrupts how the brain wiring develops, resulting in retardation and behavioral problems in adolescence and adulthood. This is tragic. Also, even in adolescence, the brain, especially the frontal lobes are developing into young adulthood. So doing alcohol (or other street drugs) that mess with neurons can cause lasting problems even when alcohol and other drugs are consumed as a teenager. In adulthood, chronic high-dose alcohol increases the rate at which our brain normally shrinks over time, and this is associated with memory and other thinking problems. For more info, see National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)


user icon chatybox12 - Rockville High School : how can you tell if someone in using drugs

answer icon Wilson Compton : The signs and symptoms of drug abuse vary a lot. People sometimes have changes in their behavior--like moodiness, changes in sleep patterns. or you might notice changes in their mental states--they have trouble thinking clearly or communicating. Their speech may be erratic and their behavior really unpredictable. But sometimes, it's really hard to figure out that someone is addicted that's what makes this such a hard disease to identify and treat. For more information on how to tell if someone has a problem with drugs go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction Thanks for your question.


user icon fred - Seminole Middle School : How do highschoolers find drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : Through social connections, and by knowing who the users are.

Don't do it!


user icon yhsjaimie - Yonkers High School : what is an acceptable amount of alcohol for adults under the drinking age

answer icon Mark Greene : None. NIDA is frequently asked whether alcohol is a drug, and where to find information about alcohol abuse. There is another government agency that studies alcohols effects. For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


user icon Sarah - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : If you were addicted to one drug, but have quit, because of your first addiction, would you be at a higher risk of getting addicted to a different drug?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Sarah, this is a fantastic question. I don't have an exact answer for you, but we are starting to find that if someone has been addicted to a drug, the chances are generally better for someone to become addicted to another drug.

Thanks for this question!


user icon yosttoast09 - River Hill High School : to what degree do genetics alone factor into the development of alcoholism?

answer icon James Bjork : Biological children of alcoholics, especially sons of alcoholic fathers, are 4 to 8 times more likely to develop alcoholism. Research is ongoing as to what particular combinations of genes cause this increased risk. Also, there is the social factor, children of alcoholics grow up with alcohol always around and being consumed in mass quantities. Therefore, drinking may be promoted in that way, by LEARNING instead of just genetic effects.


user icon 20118174 - Casa Verde High School : whats the difference between the treatments of a sex addict and a drug addict?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Good question! Both include a focus on controlling behavior and limiting the damage caused. Sex addiction can lead to health consequences (like AIDS/HIV and sexually transmitted diseases) as well as social and family problems. Drug addiction also affects health and behavior. One difference is that we might use medications to help someone quit using drugs but we don't have any medications to help someone with sex addiction. For more information on drug addiction go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon caroline - South County Secondary School : can babies be born addicted to drugs?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. Research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco (and other drugs) if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk for other developmental problems as well. We know that genetics plays a pretty big role in addiction. In fact, we even know about specific genes that have been identified and contribute to alcoholism, for example. It's important to remember, though, that genes don't account for everything....it's just part of the picture.

Other factors that contribute to a person's risk to become addicted to drugs is their environment. So if dad continues to drink and the child grows up in that environment, AND they inherent some of the genes that dad passes on, then the child could be at greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs later in life. There's hope, however! There are treatments and ways to prevent using drugs, so a child born addicted to drugs is not doomed to grow up and have problems with drugs themselves. Want more information on drugs? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov or www.drugabuse.gov and "The Science of Addiction."


user icon juicycouture31 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : How much alcohol does it take to ruin your liver?

answer icon James Bjork : It usually takes several years of frequent, heavy drinking, as in full-blown alcoholism, for fatty liver syndrome to appear. see National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) for more info.


user icon krista JCHigh - Junction City High School : why do you have to be over 21 to drink?

answer icon James Bjork : Because lawmakers decided that young people drinking alcohol before age 21 was too risky for society. Teenagers and really young adults are already very impulsive. Adding alcohol to that can cause a large amount of motor vehicle accidents. And deaths.


user icon barnes22 - Nueva Vista High School : do gay people have a better chance of aids from heroin

answer icon David Shurtleff : Unfortunately, heroin is often taken intravenously, and intravenous drug users are at high risk of getting HIV/AIDS from sharing needles or other contaminated injection equipment. But other drugs as well, especially cocaine, are also linked to the spread of HIV, in part, because they affect judgment, and can lead to risky sexual behaviors. The good news is that drug abuse treatment reduces the spread of HIV, and treatments for heroin addiction in particular (methadone and buprenorphine) have reduced the spread of HIV in injection drug users in this country.


user icon JC119 - Junction City High School : what are the worst negative effects of alcohol consumption?

answer icon James Bjork : Probably getting killed in a DUI car accident.

Our brains, especially the frontal lobes, continue to develop into young adulthood. So doing alcohol (or other street drugs) that mess with neurons can cause lasting problems even when consumed as a teenager. In adulthood, chronic high-dose alcohol increases the rate at which our brain normally shrinks over time, and this is associated with memory and other thinking problems.


user icon student415 - George Washington High School : if i have a girlfriend and she uses drugs (marijiuana) what can i do to help her and tell her to stop. because i care about her && i dont want our relationship to be ruined and messed up. how can i tell her to stop?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Thanks for your concern--your girlfriend is lucky to have you looking out for her. You should talk to your girlfriend and help her to understand the harmful effects marijuana can cause. It can impair her short-term memory, her verbal skills, and her judgment, and can also distort her perception. The good news is that even after long-term or heavy use, a person's cognitive abilitities (i.e. learning and memory) can recover. The best thing to do is let your girlfriend know the facts: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana and let her know where to go to find help quitting: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/.


user icon anonymous - George Washington High School : how many drinks does it take to get you drunk?

answer icon James Bjork : For a person ofnormal weight not used to alcohol, about 4-5 drinks within one hour. People who drink a lot, especially alcoholics, usually need a 2-3 times more.


user icon hooray - George Washington High School : What happens when you drink alcohol as the same time as your madication???instead of drinking water!!

answer icon James Bjork : BAD IDEA!!! Alcohol effects can ADD to the other drug effects. If the drug you are taking already affects the brain, like an anti-anxiety medicationsuch as Valium, this could depress your respiratory system and stop your heart!
Thanks for askin'!


user icon RoeRoe - Hopewell Memorial Junior High School : How much caffine is too much for a teenager

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Everyone has a different tolerance or sensitivity to what we put into our bodies. Some people are exquisitely sensitive to caffeine while others can take in a lot with minimal observable effects. The important question for you, if you use caffeine, is when do the effects of caffeine make you uncomfortable? People take caffeine in order to "wake up" or increase their attention, but others who are sensitive to the caffeine may get very nervous or excitable, or be unable to sleep after as little as a single cup of "regular" after dinner. So you should be aware that caffeine is in a lot of products, and in varying amounts. Some of these beverages are advertised as energy drinks; the amount of caffeine in these is much more than what is in a cup of coffee or a cola drink (about 80 mg per serving); caffeinated teas have less caffeine than coffee (about 50 mg per cup). And, plain water has none!


user icon sam reid - Episcopal High School : are drugs bad for sports like baseball

answer icon Nora Volkow : In the news you hear of baseball players taking drugs like steroids, which in the short term can make you stronger which is why some athletes abuse them. However steroids weaken your heart, among other health effects, so in the end this can produce more damage than help.

Other drugs can interfere with the chemicals in your brain that are required for speed and prescision of movement. For example, meth damages the cells that allow you to initiate movements and that is how they can be bad for sports. Also, once addicted, drugs become the most important thing in your life and so sports, like everything else, suffer.


user icon CookieMonster25 - River Hill High School : A friend does drugs - what can I do to help?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Hi Cookie!

Sadly the only person we can really help is ourselves.
However, you can talk to a responsible trusted adult such as a school counselor or minister or priest who can give you advice and maybe approach your friend directly with a helpful and hopeful message and plan of action.

Know someone who needs help? Call 1-800-273-TALK


user icon fina43sis14 - George Washington High School : is it alright to drink alcohol when it is diluted with a non-alcoholic drink like soda?

answer icon James Bjork : Dilution makes no difference! It's all about how many alcohol molecules are taken into the body. Drinking two 8-ounce 30% drinks in an hour is the same to the brain as one 8 oz stiffer drink with 60% alcohol!


user icon lamal32 - Bair Middle school : can beer affect the lives of people?

answer icon James Bjork : Yes, if consumed too much. Beer, wine, and hard liquor like Jack Daniels all have the ethyl acohol molecule that causes intoxication, which affect and damage the brain in high amounts. Some people assume that they can't be an alcoholic if they only drink beer. This is an ILLUSION!! Alcohol addiction can happen with drinking beer as well as hard liquor!


user icon Myheart2big - South County Secondary School : my friend does drugs do you have any interesting facts about how it will harm him, if he continues?

answer icon Brian Marquis : The physical signs of abuse or addiction can vary depending on the person and the drug being abused. In addition, each drug has short-term and long-term physical effects. For example, someone who abuses marijuana may have a chronic cough or worsening of asthmatic conditions. Stimulants like cocaine increase heart rate and blood pressure, whereas opioids like heroin may slow the heart rate and reduce respiration.


user icon BOOOMHA - New Egypt High School : WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE ABUSE ALCOHOL??????

answer icon Mark Greene : One reason is that it is simply so easy to get, so a great many people have it available even at relatively early ages. Not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes addicted, but genetics and environmental factors like stress can make them vulnerable to alcohol abuse and then addiction.

There is another government agency that studies alcohols effects. For information more on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


user icon coco15 - Gonzaga Preparatory School : My sister is and addict and she's already been to rehab. I need to know how to be able to help her in ways I can.

answer icon Wilson Compton : Most rehab programs offer support for family members. Have you had a chance to meet your sister's counselors? I suggest you attend a family meeting if they have one. Mostly, this is your sister's disease and she has to figure out how to deal with it, but you can certainly let her know that you love her and support her by taking care of herself. Letting her know that you see her behavior getting better when she is clean and sober is helpful.


user icon orange - Nueva Vista High School : why do people do drugs?>

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--people do drugs for many reasons including peer pressure, or a false belief that it will help them feel better physically or mentally. The truth is that any drug has bad short-term and long-term health consequences. Many people aren't aware of the harmful effects of drug use--even experimental or occassional use. For the straight facts on what drugs can do to your body, visit: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.


user icon RCMS Health - Randolph Community Middle Schools : What is methodone?

answer icon Joe Frascella : Hi. Methadone is a medication used to treat opioid addiction, that is addiction to drugs like morphine, heroin, or oxycodone.


user icon bob4 - Gonzaga Preparatory School : what do you do if your addicted to meth

answer icon Wilson Compton : The most important thing is not to give up. Changing behavior and treating addiction takes time. Getting professional help is essential, too.
If you need help, you will also find a link there to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7. Also, for more information on meth go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/methamphetamine


user icon Moses6 - South County Secondary School : Can drugs make you turn sexually improper?

answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there. Yes--drugs change the way your brain works, making you more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex.


user icon Rabab - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : i have been taking steroids and i noticed that my sexual drive is low

answer icon Ruben Baler : Because they disrupt the normal production and balance of hormones in the body, steriods can lead to a long list of alterations, such as reduced sperm production, shrinking of the testicles, male-pattern baldness and breast development in men. So abusing steroids can definitely result in a lower sex drive in males.

If these are steroids that have been prescribed by a doctor, you have to talk to him/her. If you are abusing them, then your body is telling you that it is time to stop-before even more serious health effects occur.

To learn more about steroid abuse, please visit http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/cocaine


user icon rhhs9 - River Hill High School : Which gender is more prone to doing drugs and drinking alcohol?

answer icon James Bjork : Rates of addiction are much higher in boys and men, though women are catching up in nicotine addiction. Plus, animal studies have shown a greater vulnerability to addiction in females, even when they use at the same or lesser rates than males. Researchers are not sure whether social or biological factors are driving these differences--probably a combination.
Thanks for askin'!


user icon whitelily - George Washington High School : With enough will power is it possible to be able to let go of drugs?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi, thanks for your question. Many people quit on their own, but the issue is not will power itself. Even very powerful people can get addicted to drugs and alcohol. But we know that treatment can help. If you need help, you will find a link here to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or call 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


user icon Boomshiqua - Gonzaga Preparatory School : why are drugs legal in amsterdam?

answer icon Tim Condon : Actually...contrary to popular belief, drugs like marijuana are not officially "legal" in the Netherlands. Amsterdam does have some of most liberal drug policies in all of Europe, however as in most countries the production, trading and stocking of drugs remain a criminal offense. The Dutch have tried to decriminalized the use of drugs as much as possible and treat the problem of addiction that can result from drug use as the medical problem that it is.


user icon Rock_hard_a7x - Casa Verde High School : Why are depressed teens more likely to do drugs or die from them that those "normal" teens?

answer icon Wilson Compton : This is a really good question. We've been trying to understand why mental illness like depression is more common among drug abusers. For some people, drugs provide temporary improvement in their mood. Even though it makes their depression worse in the long run, they try to feel better by using drugs. If you'd like more information about how drugs affect your brain please go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon jennifer6 - South County Secondary School : what are overall issues you have when u drink alchol? and other drugs?

answer icon Mark Greene : "Drinking alcohol and using other drugs can lead you to having less control over yourself and your life, and more seriously, addiction. This can lead to problems like not getting along with family, friends, and having difficulties with school work--all things that will affect your future. There are also a great many medical effects, on your brain and the rest of your body.

To find a wealth of research and facts on the science of addiction and treatment, please go to:

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
301-443-1124
www.drugabuse.gov
By clicking on the link Students and Young Adults from NIDAs home page you will be able to access resources tailored for students and young adults , whether you are in middle school and doing research on the effects of marijuana use, or high school student looking to find out about drug use and HIV.


user icon Shadow - Casa Verde High School : Do people give animals drugs ?

answer icon David Shurtleff : Yes. Animals are used in drug addiction research. This research is telling us a lot about how drugs of abuse affect the brain and how brain changes lead to drug addiction. This is important research that will help us understand how drug addiction develops and may lead to novel treatments for addiction or to counter some of the brain changes produced by drugs of abuse.


user icon peewee_hermann - Gonzaga Preparatory School : My friend enjoys marijuana and smokes often. I told him that he is addicted and that he should stop. He says that he is not addicted and to him, marijuana is just another social activity he engages in much like drinking, or even playing ultimate frisbee. Who am I to tell someone else that they are addicted when they seem unharmed by it?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Hi PeeWee,

Well the truth of the matter is that people with drug and alcohol problems will deny them until something really bad happens to them [remember, de Nile (denial) isn't just a river in Egypt]. For students things like having a horrible accident, getting thrown out of schhol, lossing your best friends, losing girl/boyfriend etc.

The thing to keep in mind is that at your age using drugs limits your experiences and thus results in lower levels of attainmnet in later life. Second you can't tell what health, social, psychological and emotional damage is being done to your friend. That will become evident much later.

Did you know NIDA research indicates that in 2006, more than 10 percent of high school seniors admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana in the two weeks prior to the survey? Drugs can alter perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination and other faculties needed for safe driving.


moderator icon Joining us now is Dr. Ivan Montoya who received his M.D. from the University of Antioquia in Colombia and a Masters in Public Health from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Prior to his current position as the Clinical Director of the Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences Grants at NIDA, Dr. Montoya was the Director of the Public Mental Health Program at the University of Antioquia (Colombia), Director of the Practice Research Network of the American Psychiatric Association, and a consultant for the World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organization. He likes all kinds of water sports, in particular swimming and kayaking, and also likes to play the bassoon and dance Latin music.


user icon michael crucial - Rockville High School : What is speed? Will this help me ace the SAT/ACT?

answer icon Ruben Baler : "Speed" usually refers to methamphetamine, but it can also be in reference to other stimulant drugs. The ability to focus is diminished when on speed. So questions that require focus, for example math questions, will be much harder for you to answer. The answer is no, speed will not be helpful to you in taking the SAT or ACT. Just study hard and eat a good breakfast.


user icon saaaaaaammmmmmm - New Egypt High School : how do i help a friend if they are doing drugs?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Letting them know that you think it is a problem is a good idea and working with them to get professional help might make sense. Some schools have a counselor you can ask for help. That's a good place to start. Let them know that they can also seek help by calling 1-800-662-HELP where you can find private and confidential help 24/7. Also see the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov


user icon hxcoreroxstar - Rockville High School : why does long term meth abuse cause you to feel like bugs are crawling on your skin?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : That is a really interesting question--so interesting that we don't really know why that occurs. But my guess is that the drug and its byproducts (metabolites) probably interact with a lot of different acceptor proteins (receptors) in the nervous system in addition to its pharmacological target. Over time, the nervous system adapts to the presence of drugs and changes its responses. That means that over time, the effect of a particular drug after many uses is different than it is after a single use. It is likely that this is one of the things that happens with stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine. We do not know yet if these adaptations are permanent or if they will go away with time.


user icon i love teresa - New Egypt High School : what is hippocampus

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : The hippocampus is a region in the brain that is shaped like a seahorse and is involved with specific types of learning and memory. The hippocampus is connected to many other areas of the brain, so what you learn can influence a lot of functions that are controlled by other brain areas. Some scientists now think of addiction as a learning disorder, with the effects of drugs mediated by the hippocampus.


user icon Micaela JCHS - Junction City High School : What is the percentage of drug users ages 10-18 and what is the main reason they start doing drugs?

answer icon Mark Greene : The reasons why people start doing drugs is complicated and can be different depending on many things including people's environment, family life, school life, and what their friends are doing. For example, the risk of drug abuse increases during times of transition, such as changing schools, moving, or divorce.

There is a lot of information about this in the web site at the end of the next paragraph, but I included some information from that site below:

Since 1975, the MTF survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month. Overall, 48,025 students from 403 public and private schools in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades participated in this year's survey. The survey has been conducted since its inception by investigators at the University of Michigan. Additional information on the Monitoring the Future Survey, as well as comments from Dr. Nora Volkow can be found at http://www.drugabuse.gov/Drugpages/MTF.html.

The 2007 results appear to reflect an ongoing cultural shift among teens and their attitudes about smoking and substance abuse. Lifetime, past-month, and daily smoking among eighth graders has dropped considerably in the past year, and daily cigarette smoking among eighth graders dropped from 4 percent to 3 percent; down from its 10.4 percent peak in 1996. Similarly, annual prevalence of marijuana use by eighth graders fell from 11.7 percent in 2006 to 10.3 percent in 2007, and is down from its 1996 peak of 18.3 percent.

"Over the last decade, there has been a large science-based effort throughout the public health community to drive down the rates of smoking, illicit drug, and alcohol use among teens," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "These results show us we are definitely seeing a decline in substance abuse among our youngest and most vulnerable teens, and we are committed to continuing our efforts."

"We are especially heartened to see the decrease in smoking among eighth graders, and will be watching the next two years closely to see if this decline will stick as these kids get older," said NIDA director Nora D. Volkow. "If this change in attitude is carried with them throughout the rest of their teen years, we could see a dramatic drop in smoking-related deaths in their generation."

The survey also showed that while past-year use of marijuana declined among 8th graders in 2007, it remained steady among 10th and 12th graders. However, in the past decade, there has been a slow downward trend in overall illicit drug use driven by gradual declines in marijuana smoking. Past-year marijuana use among 10th graders sits at 24.6 percent after it peaked in 1997 at 34.8 percent. Similarly, past-year marijuana use among 12th graders registers at 31.7 percent after a 1997 peak of 38.5 percent.

The survey results are not without concerns, however. Prescription drug abuse remains high with virtually no significant drop in nonmedical use of most individual prescription drugs. Vicodin remains one of the most commonly abused drugs among 12th graders: 1 in 10 reported nonmedical use in the past year. The Monitoring the Future Survey traditionally measures misuse of a variety of different prescription drugs including opiates like Vicodin and OxyContin, amphetamines (including Ritalin), sedatives/barbiturates, and tranquilizers, as well as over-the-counter drugs, such as cough syrup. However, for the first time this year, researchers pulled together data for all prescription drugs as a measurable group, and 15.4 percent of high school seniors reported nonmedical use of at least one of these prescription medications within the past year. Recent data for consuming 5+ drinks in a row in the last two weeks--an especially dangerous pattern of consumption--have remained steady at worrisome levels for all three grades. In addition, recent data for drinking have remained steady at high levels, particularly for 10th and 12th graders.

Another concern in the survey is the softening of attitudes towards MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD in the younger grades. For the third year in a row, there was a decrease in perceived harmfulness of MDMA among eighth graders. Among 10th graders, there was a decrease in perceived harmfulness of LSD and MDMA and a decrease in disapproval of LSD. Concurrently, there has been an increase in past-year MDMA use in 10th and 12th graders over the past two years.

"We will be watching what happens with MDMA and LSD use in future surveys," said Dr. Volkow. "This decrease in both disapproval and perceived harmfulness among eighth graders shows us that we need to be vigilant in our educational efforts with every drug in each succeeding generation."


user icon tom14 - South County Secondary School : Can diseases be inherited?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi South County! Absolutely. All diseases have some heritable component (this means that you can inherit it). Here's an example. Huntington's Disease is caused by a genetic defect that, if passed on, causes the offspring (their child) to be affected. That means that Huntington's is 100% genetic. Inheritance, in the form of genes, plays a large role in drug addiction also. BUT.....while genes play a big role in causing disease, they are only part of the picture. There is hope! Other factors, like your environment and education, can be protective against developing diseases. That's why I like my job so much. As a geneticist, I think that if we can find the genes that are important in addiction, then we can find very good ways to use that information for improving our treatment and prevention approaches. Want more information on genes, addiction and teens? Check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon :)smileyface(: - George Washington High School : why is ecstasy called a club drug?

answer icon Brian Marquis : Ecstasy is a slang term for an illegal drug that has effects similar to those of hallucinogens and stimulants. Ecstasy's scientific name is "MDMA," short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a name that's nearly as long as the all-night dance club "raves" or "trances" where ecstasy is often used. That's why MDMA is called a "club drug"


user icon Julia6 - South County Secondary School : What are the physical changes of doing inhalents?

answer icon Ivan Montoya : The effects of inhalants are similar to those of alcohol, including slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, and dizziness. Inhalant abusers may also experience lightheadedness, hallucinations, and delusions. With repeated inhalations, many users feel less inhibited and less in control. Some may feel drowsy for several hours and experience a lingering headache. Chemicals found in different types of inhaled products may produce a variety of additional effects, such as confusion, nausea, or vomiting.

By displacing air in the lungs, inhalants deprive the body of oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia can damage cells throughout the body, but the cells of the brain are especially sensitive to it. Go to: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/inhalants.html for more information.


user icon Shamis6 - South County Secondary School : What are some legal consequences for teens who use marijuana?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi there, good question! Getting arrested for possession, a juvenile record, trouble getting your driver's license, trouble joining the armed forces, trouble getting school loans--these are all the kind of consequences. Also, research shows that drivers on marijuana have slow reaction times, impaired judgment, and problems responding to signals and sounds on the road which can lead to car accidents.


user icon TennesseeStar - Big Sandy School : What are the chances of an infant being born addicted to drugs or alcohol?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. Research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco (and other drugs) if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk for other developmental problems as well. We know that genetics plays a pretty big role in addiction. In fact, we even know about specific genes that have been identified and contribute to alcoholism, for example. It's important to remember, though, that genes don't account for everything....it's just part of the picture.

Other factors that contribute to a person's risk to become addicted to drugs is their environment. So if dad continues to drink and the child grows up in that environment, AND they inherent some of the genes that dad passes on, then the child could be at greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs later in life. There's hope, however! There are treatments and ways to prevent using drugs, so a child born addicted to drugs is not doomed to grow up and have problems with drugs themselves. Want more information on drugs? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov or www.drugabuse.gov and "The Science of Addiction."


user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : If your on drugs while your pregnant, how can that effect your unborn child?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. Research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco (and other drugs) if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk for other developmental problems as well. We know that genetics plays a pretty big role in addiction. In fact, we even know about specific genes that have been identified and contribute to alcoholism, for example. It's important to remember, though, that genes don't account for everything....it's just part of the picture.

Other factors that contribute to a person's risk to become addicted to drugs is their environment. So if dad continues to drink and the child grows up in that environment, AND they inherent some of the genes that dad passes on, then the child could be at greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs later in life. There's hope, however! There are treatments and ways to prevent using drugs, so a child born addicted to drugs is not doomed to grow up and have problems with drugs themselves. Want more information on drugs? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov or www.drugabuse.gov and "The Science of Addiction."


user icon RCMS Health - Randolph Community Middle Schools : How do inhalants (computer duster) hurt your brain?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! The propellant behind the compressed air is what affects your brain. Inhalants are typically organic compounds that dissolve fats. The "fats" in your brain (and liver and other organs) are lipids found in the membranes of the neurons and glial cells in your brain; the inhalants damage these.


user icon Chelsea_luvs_u - Sequatchie County High School : does cigarates really give you cancer?

answer icon Anna Staton : Yes, the tar in cigarettes increases a smoker's risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. The carbon monoxide in smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children.


user icon Moses6 - South County Secondary School : what are specific changes in the brain when you use mathamphetamine?

answer icon Joe Frascella : All drugs of abuse affect the brain by releasing the brain chemical dopamine. Research is showing that methamphetamine abuse not only affects the dopamine system, but other parts of the brain, including the cerebral cortex. Methamphetamine appears to produce inflammation in the brain that can lead to long term damage. To find a wealth of research and facts on the science of addiction and treatment, please go to:
http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon whitelily - George Washington High School : Are drugs, such as cocaine, herion,and other drugs, stronger or weaker than smoking and drinking?

answer icon James Bjork : Hi.

Tough question. All these drugs have what are called reinforcing effects--that is, they motivate people who use them once to want to keep using them. With repeated use, they all change the brain in ways that can cause addiction--where people find it extremely difficult to stop using them even though they see that using them is causing them serious, escalating social and health problems. Whether one has stronger reinforcing effects than another or causes addiction faster than another is not too important. The point is, once a person starts using them, they can mess up the person's life.

Thanks for askin'


user icon yellowcracker - George Washington High School : If someone who was addicted couldn't get his or her hands on the drugs would the person go crazy?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Well, they wouldn't really go crazy but they might feel really anxious or restless. If they were physically addicted, they may have withdrawal symptoms, which can be really uncomfortable. For heroin and alcohol, withdrawal can be medically serious and sometimes requires hospitalization, but for most other substances, the symptoms are mild and temporary. Check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction for more information.


user icon hxcoreroxstar - Rockville High School : why does meth make it feel like bugs are crawling on your skin after long term abuse?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Meth has a lot of unpleasant effects, especially after long-term use. This can include psychotic behaviors, paranoia, and hallucinations. All drugs, including meth, have effects other than what the user is looking for, because they interact with several neurotransmitters and with nerve cells all over the body that respond to those particular neurotransmitters. The feeling of bugs under the skin may occur because the methamphetamine releases histamine from mast cells--the same system that causes you to itch when you have an allergic reaction.


moderator icon We'd like to introduce Dr. Aria Crump who helps develop drug prevention programs for NIDA. She also is an expert on substance use prevention programs in ethnic minority communities, and educates teens on the link between drug abuse and HIV. Dr. Crump once worked as an Assistant Professor at University of Maryland, where she conducted drug abuse research in the community and taught students in health communications and minority health. She believes that families can help kids make good health choices in their lives. She enjoys spending time with family, including her husband, six year-old daughter, and 13 year-old dog.


user icon aneesa6 - South County Secondary School : My dad was completely addiacted to smoking...but I'm afraid he's going to go back. What can I do to stop him from doing so? Because his last smoking insident help give him a heart attack.

answer icon Wilson Compton : Here's the bad news: ultimately, your dad will have to take responsibility for his own health and he is the only one who can control his own behavior. Now the good news: knowing that family supports him in quitting smoking can be helpful and he might benefit from medical help, too. There are several medications that help people quit smoking and that's the most important thing he can do to help prevent another heart attack. Good luck and thanks for submitting your question.


user icon latoursbabe - Centerpoint High School : what are the chances that some one can get an std if their boyfriend has sleep with a viraty of people befor he sleep with them.?

answer icon Anna Staton : That depends on if he used safer sex practices. When people engage in risky sexual behaviors (e.g., not using condoms) they are not only putting themselves at risk but also their potential future partners as well.


user icon Mark Millich - South County Secondary School : Why do you think teens are so tempted to try drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Adolescence is by nature a time of experimentation. On the positive side, teens experiement with a wide variety of interests as a way of finding out what they like to do to have fun, what kind of job they might like to have, what type of mate they might like to have, etc. In other words it is a way of trying on positive adult roles without committing to anything.
On the negative side teens can get involved in expeimenting with drugs, risky sexual behaviors, gangs, etc., that lead to what we call "foreclosure." Foreclosure is a situation where a young person adopts inappriopriate or negative behaviors, characteristics, peer groups, etc. that result in limiting their options for the future.

Did you know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse?


user icon johnnie gayle - Big Sandy School : can a new born be addicted to drinking when it's born if there mother drunk when she was pregnant.

answer icon Joni Rutter : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs and vulnerable to being addicted to drugs later in life. For example, research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The same goes for alcohol. One more thing...if a woman drinks while pregnant, her child is at a higher risk of other medical problems like fetal alcohol syndrome and a whole host of other developmental and behavioral problems too. If you want more information on drugs, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and www.abovetheinfluence.com


user icon Dallas AXIS - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : how fast could i get poison from liquor if u drink it alot one day then quit for a while then start agian......

answer icon James Bjork : I wish I could give you a clearer answer, but it all depends on how long "a while" is, and how much you drink, over how many hours. Chronic heavy drinkers like alcoholics are so physically tolerant of alcohol, they can function (sorta) with a blood alcohol content that would kill someone who never drinks, like a .20% blood alcohol level (the legal limit for driving is .08%).


user icon Simbalicious - George Washington High School : Do people mostly use drugs for fun or just to relive stress?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Great question! Ultimately you've identified the two major reasons people use drugs "to feel good" or "to feel better". People often start using drugs because they like the intoxication--the buzz. Others use drugs to keep from feeling so anxious or depressed--to feel better! The first time someone uses a drug of abuse, he or she experiences unnaturally intense feelings of pleasure due to the chemical changes occuring in the brain. But the brain starts changing right away and by abusing drugs, the addicted teen has changed the way his or her brain works. Drug abuse and addiction lead to long-term changes in the brain. These changes cause addicted drug users to lose the ability to control their drug use. For more information go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon gottatakeadump - Sanborn Regional High School : do drugs affect your sex drive?

answer icon Anna Staton : They can but it depends on the drug. Some drugs may increase sex drive and some may decrease it.


user icon DailyTra5h - George Washington High School : Why do drugs have addictive qualities?

answer icon Tim Condon : They change chemical reactions in your brain that cause addiction. Addiction is a disease characterized by uncontrollable drug craving, drug seeking, and drug use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences, such as losing your job, doing poorly in school, getting arrested, or getting sick. Addiction develops because of changes to the brain caused by drug use. Initially all drugs of abuse, either directly or indirectly, increase the activity of the chemical dopamine in the brain's reward centers, which is what makes people feel good. But with continued drug use and excessive activation of dopamine neurons, the brain starts to adapt to the good feeling, so more of the drug is needed to achieve it. This causes dependence and compulsive craving of the drug--sometimes to the point that your brain cannot make the right decisions about what is appropriate, what is healthy, and what could be dangerous. This compulsion to use drugs in the face of potentially devastating consequences is the essence of addiction.


user icon Ettie JChigh - Junction City High School : can your passengers drink in the car while someone sober drives

answer icon Mark Greene : While that isn't as dangerous as the driver drinking, you need to think about what passengers might do if they get drunk. We have all seen people get pretty rowdy when they drink, and I wouldn't want that going on in the back seat while I was driving. Also, in some states it could be illegal to have open containers of alcoholic beverages, even if the driver has not been the one drinking.


user icon ehsknights - Episcopal High School : What is the best way to avoid peer pressure?

answer icon James Bjork : The biggest predictor of drug and alcohol use in teens is the crowd a teen hangs out with, whether drugs and alcohol are a part of THEIR lifestyle or not. It sounds hard and nasty, but finding better friends- friends with ideas who are going places in life is a good way to go. Parents who are really involved in your life are protective too.

If changing your circle of friends is not an option, and you feel like you need to keep the same crowd, when someone offers you a beer or a hit, deflect the offer to something else-- "Naw, I'd rather have a Sprite or a Coke if ya got it." This is less likely to promote a defensive reaction in the person offering you the drugs, and gives them another healthier outlet to "hook you up."


user icon JCgurl123 - Junction City High School : metaphorically speaking.. if i smoke jane about once a week would it still be a despressant, because if so.. "why wouldnt i feel depressed".. you know.. metaphorically speaking of course

answer icon Steve Grant : There are two meanings to "depressant". One meaning is that the drug "depresses" brain activity, like makes you sleepy. The other meaning is psychological, like "feeling depressed". But the more important point is that your brain and body adapts to exposure to drugs. This is called tolerance and is one reason that the more you take a drug, the more you need to get the same effect. Also, part of the way our bodies adapt is to compensate for the drug effect, so that if the drug makes you happy, once it wears off you may feel more unhappy (or depressed) than you were before you took the drug. These are not metaphors, but the way drugs actually biologically affect you. To learn more, please visit: http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon victornub11 - George Washington High School : When people smork do they have control themself? If my friend is having drugs should I stop him or her? What will happen to them when they grow up if they keep having drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : When a person takes any type of drug that makes them "high" they become less inhibited and are less in control. Unfortunately you can't stop someone else from using drugs but you can stop yourself from starting to use drugs. There is no one answer as to how drugs will effect someone in adulthood. That is because there are a wide variety of health, psychological, social, cognitive, and relationship problems that result from drug use and abuse.

You might visit www.drugabuse.gov to find out more on the health effects of drugs


user icon cogan1 - Lewis-Palmer High School : Ive never done drugs, what are the implications?

answer icon Nora Volkow : First I congratulate you. There can be a lot pressure to do drugs and it sounds like you've done a good job of keeping clear. Different drugs have different health implications. But all can lead to addiction, which can totally ruin your life. Even if you use drugs just once, you run the risk of making very poor decisions-like getting into a car with someone who is under the influence or hanging out with people that would put you in a dangerous situation. To learn more go to www.drugabuse.gov .


user icon barnes22 - Nueva Vista High School : what happens if you thizz and play sports

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi. The short answer is that you'll suck at the game and lose. The longer version is that X has effects on brain regions that control motor coordination and movement, judgement, pain perception and more! You don't want to play high! Want more info on X? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon yhsanterrio - Yonkers High School : are all steriods bad

answer icon Brian Marquis : Steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. They do have legitimate medical uses. Sometimes doctors prescribe anabolic steroids to help people with certain kinds of anemia and men who don't produce enough testosterone on their own. Doctors also prescribe a different kind of steroid, called corticosteroids, to reduce swelling. Corticosteroids are not anabolic steroids and do not have the same harmful effects.

But doctors never prescribe anabolic steroids to young, healthy people to help them build muscles. Without a prescription from a doctor, steroids are illegal.


user icon BOOOMHA - New Egypt High School : Can over the counter drugs be as bad as the illegal drugs?

answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. The answer is yes. All drugs have potentially dangerous effects--it all depends on how much you take. Generally, the amount of over-the-counter drugs you need to take for the intended action (like getting rid of an allergy) is much less than would produce a harmful effect. That is why the FDA allows these drugs to be sold without a prescription. But if you take a larger amount, the drug could very well cause harmful effects.


user icon The Unique - Casa Verde High School : Why is it that people do drugs for fun??

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Drugs make you lose you inhibitions. Thus you are more likely to things you wouldn't do ordinarily. This can perceived as fun. Of course there are many positive ways to have fun -- extreme sports, volunteering, group activities, etc.


user icon tha zach88 - Centerpoint High School : how come it is bad to do drugs if you have a problem calming down or paying attension

answer icon Wilson Compton : Thanks for your question. This is because the drugs only help temporarily and can lead to worse symptoms in the long run. Using drugs causes changes in the brain depending on the drug. In addition, each drug has short-term and long-term physical effects. For example, someone who abuses marijuana may have a chronic cough or worsening of asthmatic conditions. Stimulants like cocaine increase heart rate and blood pressure, whereas opioids like heroin may slow the heart rate and reduce respiration. For more information check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon tylerftw - River Hill High School : Are asthma inhalers considered steroids?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Some asthma inhalers do deliver steroids, but they are not the kind of steroids that are abused; they deliver a form of cortisol, which is used to reduce inflammation in the airway. The abused steroids are all androgens, which are derivatives of testosterone, and are used in an effort to build muscles. For a chemical to be a steroid, it has to have a particular chemical structure; estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, cholesterol, and testosterone are all examples of steroids. To learn more about steroids, please go to www.steroidabuse.gov .


user icon Skater Kid - Irving Academy : what will happen if a parent gives a baby drugs like crack or steroids?

answer icon Joni Rutter : I hope to never know that answer. Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. If you do know someone who is endangering the well-being of a child, you may want to talk to an adult that you trust about this situation.


user icon mathmation13 - Homestead Elementary : what is in the drug that knocks you out? and i don't get why guys do that?

answer icon Anna Staton : "If you mean what drugs have been used in date rape situations, there are a numberof drugs that can be slipped into someone's drink and have no taste or smell; these include ketamine, rohypnol and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). These drugs can sedate a person and make them forget what happens to them. Rohypnol and GHB are predominantly central nervous system depressants and can be very dangerous, even fatal, because of their effects on the respiratory system.

To learn more about the side effects and medical consequences of these drugs, visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/RohypnolGHB.html.

If you have experienced any sexual assault report the attack by calling 911. You can also call 1-800-656-4673 to speak with a counselor at any time. More information can be found at http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/date-rape-drugs.html.


user icon CrystalAlyssa. - Yonkers High School : Is there a sort of scent that determines that you are taking in drugs?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : No, but there are likely to be other signs. For example, taking opiates like vicodin can sedate you and enlarge the pupils of your eyes. Other drugs that are stimulants, like cocaine or amphetamine, can make you feel very warm or jittery. Being around pumpkin pie often smells like cinnamon, but it is not an illegal substance!


user icon rob.reuterHSMSE - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : I have been told that a person cannot "OD" on Pot. Can a person use as much as they want?

answer icon Ivan Montoya : There are big individual differences in the amount of marijuana that a person can tolerate. Some people can get really intoxicated with small amounts. In any case, the use of large amounts can make somene very sick with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, heart palpitation, hallucinations, and terrible fear of dying. Too learn more about the health effects of marijuna and other drugs go to www.drugabuse.gov.


user icon Melissa - South Fentress Elementary : I have a really close friend and well she dresses all punkish and wears black and it kinda bothers me to think that she might get into drugs even though she isn't doing them now or anybody that she may hang around. What should I do?

answer icon James Bjork : She's lucky to have a friend like you. Just continut to be her friend, maybe talk about drugs at what seems like a good time, and "feel her out" about how she feels about drugs. Here's a place where you can find lots of information about drugs and their effects on health: http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon *jamezb* - Nueva Vista High School : Does playing a sport on speed make you better

answer icon Wilson Compton : No! Speed can impair judgment and people using speed can make really risky decisions. If a person uses Methamphetamine for a long time, they may become paranoid. They may also hear and see things that aren't there. These are called hallucinations. Because Methamphetamine causes big increases in blood pressure, someone using it for a long time may also have permanent damage to blood vessels in the brain. This can lead to strokes caused by bleeding in the brain.


user icon RCMS Health - Randolph Community Middle Schools : What kinds of pressures make people do drugs?

answer icon James Bjork : Young people often take drugs and illegal drugs to fit in socially- especially with some crowds. Also, alcohol and illegal drugs can cause a temporary feeling of "high". Some young people who have depression problems may try drugs to feel normal. The problem is, even the healthy, non-addicted brain adapts to the drug chemicals over time, and can develop tolerance to or dependence on the drug, where people start to take the drug to feel "normal" or "OK". For more comprehensive information about drugsand their effects, take a look at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon NBEagles - North Bullitt High School : what are speed balls?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : "Speedball" is the combination of heroin and cocaine, and is injected intravenously.


user icon 1371821 - South County Secondary School : what are some specific brain changes that are caused by nicothine and smokeless tobacco?

answer icon Steve Grant : Good question. Nicotine is a drug that affects certain sites or receptors in the brain. Nicotine, like other drugs of abuse, causes the release of the brain chemical, dopamine, that brings feelings of a high or rush. Smokeless tobacco has the drug nicotine in it that makes both nicotine and smokeless tobacco highly addictive. The difference between smoked tobacco versus smokeless tobacco is how quickly the nicotine gets to the brain. It gets there very quickly when smoked. For more information on nicotine, check out http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon student415 - George Washington High School : If have friends that are drug addicts, should I not hang out with them even though I'm not good friends with them but they're nice?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Well, I think the answer to that would be NO!
There are many, many, many nice, fun, interesting, exciting, creative, supportive, people out there who do not use drugs. Friends like that will help you to be like them. As a result you will grow up to be a more interesting, stable, happy, economically sucessful person.
Unfortunately young people who use drugs are limiting their chances for the future. By hanging around with them you will become more like them.


user icon yhsanterrio - Yonkers High School : whats goodie

answer icon Tim Condon : Hard to know exactly what that is -- "Street" terms can vary by region. "Goody Goody" is a term for marijuana. "Good" can be a term for PCP or Heroin. I couldn't find "goodie" on the list I was using.


user icon :)(: - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What does too much vicodine do to the body?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Vicodin is an narcotic drug. Narcotics are opiates, like heroin and morphine. Too much vicodin can make you very sleepy, can also make you very itchy, and can stop your breathing, often leading to death, if not caught in time.


user icon d69ff - McCullough Middle School : Wassup everyone! What are some ways can you deal with peer pressure

answer icon James Bjork : Hey - The biggest predictor of drug and alcohol use in teens is the crowd a teen hangs out with, whether drugs and alcohol are a part of THEIR lifestyle or not. It sounds hard and nasty, but finding other friends- friends with ideas who are going places in life is a good way to go. Parents who are really involved in your life are protective too.

If changing your circle of friends is not an option, and you feel like you need to keep the same crowd, when someone offers you a beer or a hit, deflect the offer to something else-- "Naw, I'd rather have a Sprite or a Coke if ya got it." This is less likely to promote a defensive reaction in the person offering you the drugs, and gives them another healthier outlet to "hook you up."


user icon erter - George Washington High School : What are the negative effects of drugs

answer icon Brian Marquis : Illicit drugs directly cause many medical problems. Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine increase the heart rate while constricting the blood vessels; in susceptible individuals, these two actions together set the stage for cardiac arrhythmias and strokes. The club drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, also called "ecstasy"), which many users mistakenly believe to be safe, has caused malignant hyperthermia, permanent kidney damage, and death. MDMA also damages serotonin nerve fibers in the brain. Heroin can cause a life-threatening kidney condition called focal glomerulosclerosis. The list continues: NIDA research has shown that almost every drug of abuse harms some tissue or organ.

The circumstances and behaviors associated with drug abuse add to the adverse impacts on health. Inadequate housing and poor nutrition, common accompaniments of drug abuse, can increase exposure to diseases and reduce ability to fight off infections. Injecting drug use promotes blood clots, severe skin infections, and blood-borne infections including life-threatening endocarditis, viral hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. Abuse of some drugs is associated with impulsive sexual activity that elevates individuals' risks for acquiring and transmitting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.


user icon Birdcage - George Washington High School : Is there a safe way for people to individually stop doing drugs while being addicted?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Good question. Many people quit on their own but treatment can speed up the process and help a lot more people stay off drugs successfully. One thing we've learned is that quitting is only the first step. Finding ways to stay clean and sober in the long run often requires support. For more information on treatment go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon nkelley - Bedford County Schools : why does people want to be so stupid and ruin their lives by doing drugs?

answer icon Aria Crump : Wow! This is such a loaded question. There are many different ways people get started, but many young people don't think about what may happen to them when they try something new. Many scientists believe that youth experience what is known as an "optimistic bias", meaning that they think bad things are more likely to happen to others than to themselves. Others live lives where people around them are using drugs, and these influences can be very strong. Whatever the reason, it is clear that starting to use drugs can lead to many unintended consequences. Find out about drugs and their effects at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon Mabachi23 - George Washington High School : Can you put ecstasy in alcohol and not die?

answer icon Steve Grant : Thanks for your question. This is a very important issue. Mixing any drug with alcohol is always a bad idea. In fact, mixing any drug with another is a bad idea. Both ecstasy and alcohol not only have harmful effects on their own, if you mix them, you increase the chances that you will do something you otherwise wouldn't because of the danger, like driving or running across a busy street, and that can be very harmful, obviously.


user icon Little Puppet - Denbigh High School : why do guys pressure other guys to smoke?

answer icon James Bjork : Young people often smoke, or take drugs and illegal drugs to fit in socially- especially with some crowds. Recent brain research shows that when young people are told they chose something different from others the crowd, like how "hot" a person was in a photograph, this activates a part of the brain that regulates CONFLICT and PAIN. Also, alcohol and illegal drugs can cause a temporary feeling of "high". Some young people who have depression problems may try drugs to feel normal. The problem is, even the healthy, non-addicted brain adapts to the drug chemicals over time, and can develop tolerance to or dependence on the drug, where people start to take the drug to feel "normal" or "OK".


user icon Josiah - South Fentress Elementary : Why do people like getting high?

answer icon James Bjork : Young people often take drugs and illegal drugs to fit in socially- especially with some crowds. Recent brain research shows that when young people are told they chose something different from others the crowd, like how "hot" a person was in a photograph, this activates a part of the brain that regulates CONFLICT and PAIN. Also, alcohol and illegal drugs can cause a temporary feeling of "high". Some young people who have depression problems may try drugs to feel normal. The problem is, even the healthy, non-addicted brain adapts to the drug chemicals over time, and can develop tolerance to or dependence on the drug, where people start to take the drug to feel "normal" or "OK".


moderator icon Why do so many people seem to relapse after rehab? Sometimes it takes time to learn how to live without drugs. As with other chronic illnesses, like asthma or diabetes, relapses can occur, and signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted.


user icon azzip151 - Rockville High School : How many people in the United States do drugs and what age group has the most people doing drugs and why do you think this is?

answer icon Anna Staton : According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2007, an estimated 19.9 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 8.0 percent of the population aged 12 years old or older. Rates of current use of illicit drugs in 2007 were higher for young adults aged 18 to 25 (19.7 percent) than for youths aged 12 to 17 (9.5 percent) and adults aged 26 or older (5.8 percent). Among young adults, 16.4 percent used marijuana, 6.0 percent used prescription-type drugs nonmedically, 1.7 percent used cocaine, and 1.5 percent used hallucinogens.


user icon AbeJChigh - Junction City High School : do drugs stunt your growth?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Thank you for your question. Indeed, drugs can affect your growth. An example, is steroids. But if someone is taking steorids, how tall they are may be only one of a whole host of problems they will have!! Steroid use can result in problems with maintaining blood pressure, dangerous changes in cholesterol levels, risk of cardiovascular disease, acne, wild mood swings, violence and the list goes on! Want more info on drugs? Click on http://teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon yhskaharey - Yonkers High School : how long does acid last for?

answer icon Steve Grant : Generally, 8 -12 hours for the drug effect itself. There may also be a period of fatigue, both physical and mental, for several days afterward. See http://drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/ACIDLSD.html for more info.


user icon jimmyisawesome - George Washington High School : if i take drugs, does that mean i am cool? Is taking drugs the only way to be cool?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Of course not! What makes somebody cool is all sort of things. I think confidence and competance are the coolest things. Being good at something is really cool--good at science, good at sports, good with friends, good with family. Drugs can interfere with all these things. Ultimately, drugs can take over your life--that doesn't sound so cool to me.


user icon jane - Gonzaga Preparatory School : are people who are addicted to drugs also addicted to sex?

answer icon Anna Staton : No not necessarily. A person could be addicted to both but also could be addicted to one without being addicted to the other.


user icon Godzilla - Irving Academy : Who gets more adicted boys or girls?

answer icon Ivan Montoya : The reasearch is still out on whether there is a gender difference in addiction and it may depend on which drug you are talking about. It used to be that girls used less drugs than boys, but it looks like younger girls are using the same amount as boys.


user icon spm - Irving Academy : how fast can you get addicted?

answer icon Steve Grant : This is a difficult question, because the answer depends on the drug, your personality, and how often and how much you take. In general, the more often you take the drug and the larger amount that you take, the faster you are likely to get addicted. In fact, increased amounts and frequency of drug use is one of the ways that addiction is diagnosed. For more info, see our illustrated and easy-to-read guide at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon ghdfgsgdfgsgfgf - Irving Academy : if you take drugs while pregnet will it effect your babe

answer icon Joni Rutter : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. Research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The child may also have a higher risk of other medical problems like asthma, and possibly behavioral problems too. If you want more information on drugs, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and www.abovetheinfluence.com


user icon BOOOMHA - New Egypt High School : Do you think drug and alcohol images and references make people want to try that substance?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Well, they certainly don't help. The advertising industries works very hard to figure out ways to make alcohol, tobacco, perscription and over the counter drugs look appealing. They might portray substance use (cigarettes, beer, wine, etc.) as exciting, sexy, and healthy. Being aware of what the advertising companies are doing and how they are trying to hook you makes you a more educated consumer and more self protective. Good Job!


user icon danielle - South County Secondary School : what are some physical impacts of doing meth

answer icon Anna Staton : Meth can be a nasty drug. Effects can include increased wakefulness and physical activity and decreased appetite. Chronic, long-term use can lead to psychotic behavior, hallucinations, and stroke. For more info visit www.drugabuse.gov.


user icon kelss - Freeland High School : If you are pregant and you do drugs does your baby get high?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children and adolscents are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs and vulnerable to being addicted to drugs later in life. For example, research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The same goes for alcohol. One more thing...if a woman drinks while pregnant, her child is at a higher risk of other medical problems like fetal alcohol syndrome and a whole host of other developmental and behavioral problems too. If you want more information on drugs, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and www.abovetheinfluence.com


user icon yhsminjeong - Yonkers High School : How can you prevent someone from smoking? );

answer icon Wilson Compton : Preventing smoking and drug abuse can be done in many ways like getting parents to pay closer attention to their kids behavior is important and making sure that the school and neighborhood are drug free can help, and being involved in extracurricular activities such as sports and in your community. In the final analysis, even with the best prevention programs, some people choose to smoke/use drugs anyway. We continue to work with them to get them to quit.


user icon applegate - Centerpoint High School : What does meth contain?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Meth is a shorthand for methamphetamine, a long-acting stimulant. It is dangerous because it can lead to the actual death of brain cells...and they do not grow back! Methamphetamine is known to produce what we call "neurotoxicity.


user icon yhscatarina - Yonkers High School : What is salvia and how does it harm you?

answer icon Brian Marquis : "Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is an herb common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. The main active ingredient in Salvia, salvinorin A, is a potent activator of kappa opioid receptors in the brain.1,2 These receptors differ from those activated by the more commonly known opioids, such as heroin and morphine.

Health/Behavioral Effects

People who abuse Salvia generally experience hallucinations or delusional episodes that mimic psychosis.4,5 Subjective effects have been described as intense but short-lived; they appear in less than 1 minute and last less than 30 minutes. Effects include psychedelic-like changes in visual perception, mood, and body sensations; emotional swings; feelings of detachment; and importantly, a highly modified perception of external reality and the self, which leads to a decreased ability to interact with one's surroundings.5 This last effect has prompted concern about the dangers of driving under the influence of salvinorin. The long-term effects of Salvia abuse have not been investigated systematically


user icon yhsallan - Yonkers High School : what is salvia

answer icon Steve Grant : Saliva is a species of plant in the mint family. Some species of Salvia contain a chemical called Salvidorum A, which acts on a specific chemical receptor in your brain called Kappa opioid receptors--these are related to a natural brain chemical called dynorphin. Salvia A can produce hallucinations, loss of motor control, and dissociation--plus, many people find using Salvia unpleasant or end up injuring themselves because they can't walk.


user icon megan6 - South County Secondary School : What are some academic consequences to using marijuana?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Because marijuana makes you less inhibited, decreases concentration, and makes you sleepy, you are less likely to study and less likely to care about grades. The naural consequnce of this can be poor performance in class failure, sometimes even failure or dropping out.

Did you know most drugs affect the front part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex), the thinking center that powers our ability to plan, solve problems, and make decisions?

Did you know that in 2006, over 289,000 people entering drug treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse?


user icon yhskaharey - Yonkers High School : is it bad to take e bombs, xnanx,vikess, all these pills?

answer icon Tim Condon : It certainly isn't a good idea to take these pills. Some of the pills you mention -- vicodin and xanax are safe when prescribed by a doctor and used in conjunction with treatment for an illness or disorder. But using even a prescribed medication for nonmedical reasons can alter brain activity and produce dependence. E-bombs or ecstasy pills are often found at parties and raves. The drug is a stimulant with psychedelic properties. Short-term effects of ecstasy include feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, enhanced sensory perception, and increased physical energy. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision.


user icon dirtytaco2010 - Notre Dame High School : why can anti-depressents cause suicidal thoughts?

answer icon Nora Volkow : The research is still out, but it is believed that when a person starts to feel less depressed from the anti-depressants they are motivated to do behaviors that when they were depressed they didn't have the energy to do-so they may have had suicidal thoughts while depressed, but didn't act on them until they were feeling more energized.


user icon Boomshiqua - Gonzaga Preparatory School : if im mexican can i smoke pot?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Many people assume that African Americans and Latinos/Latinas use more drugs than whites but according to our national statistics, that's not true. Rates are lower among minority teens than among whites. Even so, smoking pot can cause problems with coordination, increased heart rate, problems with memory and learning, and difficulty thinking and solving problems. For more information on the health consequences of marijuana check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


user icon nighthawkcute - Sanborn Regional High School : Have you ever gotten high with one of your parents?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : No. I hope that is not something that you are encountering. It is risky behavior that can lead to health, social, emotional, psychological and academic problems. If you want to talk to someone about your situation call the teen crisis line t 1-800-272-TALK.

Did you know the teen brain is a work in progress? It undergoes dramatic changes during adolescence and into adulthood. Did you know the teen brain is a work in progress? It undergoes dramatic changes during adolescence and into adulthood.


user icon latoursbabe - Centerpoint High School : how do u get an std like how did they even come about

answer icon Anna Staton : Sexually transmitted diseases are caused when the bacteria or virus is passed from an infected to person to a non infected person, usually by not practicing safer sex, so for example not using condoms.


user icon rusty_trombone - Sanborn Regional High School : how does marijuana affect the hippocampus after long periods of use?

answer icon Steve Grant : A very sophisticated question. Clearly you are on your way to a career in neuroscience <grin>. Marijuana acts through cannabinoid receptors, which are highly concentrated in the hippocampus. Cannabinoid receptors generally act to reduce information processing in the hippocampus. After extended use of marijuana, the hippocampus does not work as efficiently as before, which may lead to imparired memory. Furthermore, marijuana sticks around in your body for a long time after you use it, so even if you haven't used marijuana recently, it can take 1-2 weeks for all the marijuana to leave your body. So even though you may no longer feel high, marijuana may be having an effect on your hippocampus. For more info, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


user icon student 94 - George Washington High School : if u have are pregent at the time and you take drugs how many chances will the baby be addict to drugs too?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi George Washington! There is some risk to the baby--not only could the baby be dependent on drugs when he or she is born, but later in life, the child could have a higher risk of becoming addicted. Research shows that children's brains are very vulnerable to the effects of drugs, and the drugs can change the brain in a way that puts them at risk for addiction to drugs later in life. The best thing, is, of course, not to take drugs at all! Want more information? Click on NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon Mabachi23 - George Washington High School : Is it true that using steriods can make your penis smaller and testes less producing of sperm?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Using anabolic steroids over a long period of time will decrease your natural production of testosterone; it will not affect your penis. But it can make you so aggressive that it decreases your chances of getting a date! For more information, visit http://www.steroidabuse.gov/ .


user icon jspecialblend - Lewis-Palmer High School : can lsd cause more brain damange than ecstasy?

answer icon Ivan Montoya : They are different chemical compounds and the effects in the brain are different. They both can have long-term effects in the brain serotonin system. Go to www.drugabuse.gov to learn more about these drugs and why its a good idea not to do them.


user icon This Cold Black - New Egypt High School : Is it possible to make Marijuana and cigarettes a mind over matter situation and you won't get addicted to them as long as you think or feel you aren't?

answer icon Wilson Compton : That is a good question! Cigarettes and marijuana creep up on people. just when you think "I won't get addicted", you find that you're using more than you intended and you're spending a lot of time or money on your habit. The addiction has begun before you know it. Also, how quickly you might become addicted to a drug depends on many factors including your genes (which you inherit from your parents) and the biology of your body. All drugs are potentially harmful and may have life-threatening consequences associated with their use. There are also vast differences among individuals in sensitivity to various drugs. While one person may use a drug one or many times and suffer no ill effects, another person may be particularly vulnerable and overdose with first use. There is no way of knowing in advance how someone may react. The only sure way to avoid addiction is not to start in the first place.


user icon rhhs3 - River Hill High School : Is it true that angel dust makes people think they can fly?

answer icon Steve Grant : Angel dust is the common name for a drug called PCP. PCP is formally called a "dissociative anesthetic," which means that your perceptions are disconnected from your body. So people may think they are floating out of their body. The problem is that they can get seriously injured because they are not accurately perceiving what their body is really doing. For more info, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/PCP.html


user icon applegate - Centerpoint High School : If I was to start doing meth, could that make me be depressed?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Absolutely,! People who use meth are much more likely to experience serious depression. One theory is that the methamphetamine depletes brain chemicals and that's what puts people at risk for depression. At any rate, the depression can be very serious and people can even become suicidal when using meth. For more information on the effects of meth check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/methamphetamine


user icon Holly JCH - Junction City High School : What is the biggest influence on teens to do drugs? Is it peer pressure?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : There are many pressures. Peer pressure is certainly one of the most pervasisve. Others include media, the norms in the geographic areayou live in, the acceptability of drugs in your area, and the natural tendency of teens to experiment with new roles. In addition, teens tend to think that nothing bad will happen to them. Thus, they can think that trying drugs won't lead to addiction for them. But there are no guarantees.

Did you know scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's vulnerability to addiction?


user icon CookieMonster25 - River Hill High School : why do people do drugs in the first place?

answer icon Anna Staton : People usually do drugs to feel better, feel good, perform better, or because they're curious. For more information please see our publication the Science of Addiction at www.drugabuse.gov.


user icon Moses6 - South County Secondary School : what are the legal consequences when you use methamphetamine?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Methamphetamine is illegal to possess or sell. It can lead to imprisonment and complete destruction of your life. For more information on the effects of using meth go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/methamphetamine


user icon rhhsjbmg - River Hill High School : how dangerous is pure MDMA?

answer icon Ivan Montoya : Pure MDMA can be very dangerous. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. MDMA can be harmful to the brain. It can cause damage to serotonin nerve terminals. MDMA can also be dangerous to overall health, including being lethal.


user icon megan6 - South County Secondary School : what are some academic consequences to using METHAMPHETAMINE?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Meth can cause people to make really bad decisions and think erratically. Even though you might believe that people who take stimulants have a chance to do better in school, it turns out that most who use meth actually perform worse. Check out the following site for more information on the effects of using meth: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/methamphetamine


user icon bug-a-boo134 - Bair Middle school : what is the percent of kids smoking drugs

answer icon Mark Greene : I can give an example from a 2007 survey of kids 12 and 13 years old. Approximately 7.9% had used cigarettes at any time in their life, but approximately 1.8% had used cigaretes in the month before the survey was taken. 7.8% had used marijuana/hash in the year before the survey and 3.3% had used in the month prior to the survey. The same study looked at 16 and 17 year olds and estimated that 16% had used marijuana/hash in the previous month.


user icon casey_gerow - Nueva Vista High School : how does weed harm your unborn baby.. say if your like only 3 months prego

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Nueva Vista! Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, children (especially those yet to be born) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of drugs. Studies have shown that children born to mothers who have used mariuana, or "weed" have increased behavioral problems during infancy and preschool years. Later, these kids could are more likely to have problems with decision making, memory, and the ability to pay attention. Since the brain continues to develop throughout life, it's possible the problems go away over time, but they could also get worse.

The best thing to do is to stop using weed! if you need help please go to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


user icon Taylor6 - South County Secondary School : Can you get drunk off of one alcoholic drink if you have never used alcohol before??? and why do people get addicted to alcohol?

answer icon Steve Grant : Yes, you can get drunk from one alcoholic drink, whether or not you have used alcohol before. It depends on how much you drink, your body size, and your genetics. People get addicted to alcohol for the same reasons they get addicted to other drugs. Alcoholism, like other drug addictions, has a large genetic component. If your parents have a history of alcoholism or drug abuse, then you are likely to have a higher risk for addiction as well. For more on how addiction takes hold, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon cyber-nugget! - Sanborn Regional High School : i know some one thats using meth, and they are pregnant? will it affect the baby?

answer icon Aria Crump : It's good that you're concerned about this young woman. Methamphetamine use is potentially very dangerous for the mother-to-be and her unborn child. Although studies are not conclusive, they sugggest that methamphetamine abusers are more likely to have premature deliveres and children with heart and brain abnormalities. Methamphetamine can also hurt a woman's ability to care for her child after it is born, especially if she becomes addicted. Here is a phone number the woman can call if she wishes to get help: 1-800-662-HELP. I wish her luck.


user icon Sanborn16 - Sanborn Regional High School : how hard was it for you to get out your drug problem?

answer icon Anna Staton : Actually I smoked cigarettes for over ten years and three of those years I was trying to quit. It wasn't until I talked to my doctor that I was able to get the help that I needed. The bottom line is it took many attempts but i was eventually able to quit!


user icon goehsknights - Episcopal High School : If alcohol is so bad, why don't people just smoke pot instead? Isn't that better?

answer icon Brian Marquis : Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens). The drug can make you mess up in school, in sports or clubs, or with your friends. If youre high on marijuana, you are more likely to make mistakes that could embarrass or even hurt you. If you use marijuana a lot, you could start to lose interest in how you look and how youre getting along at school or work.

Athletes could find their performance is off; timing, movements, and coordination are all affected by THC. Also, since marijuana can affect judgment and decisionmaking, its use can lead to risky sexual behavior, resulting in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.


user icon wiseneb - Centerpoint High School : What should I do if I drink after a concert?

answer icon Mark Greene : Find some way to get home without driving yourself and without being driven by somebody who has been drinking. There is no quick way to sober up and if you are worried about making a scene when you get home, well, you will just have to face the music.


user icon student - George Washington High School : Call me (415)4196024 I need help

answer icon Tim Condon : First if you are in a crisis situation call 1-800-273-TALK. This is a hotline for suicide prevention and immediate problems. If you are looking for treatment referrals in your area, call 1-800-662-HELP. I'm sorry for your trouble and I hope these might be good resources for you. Also, think about going to an adult you trust, such as one a parent, teacher, or counselor. The sooner you start talking about things, the sooner you can work things out. Good luck!!


user icon eagles123 - George Washington High School : Which one of these effects a drug addict the most, their mental or physical health?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Drugs affect BOTH mental and physical health. The impact depends on the individual. Some people have life threatening medical problems and others have serious mental symptoms. For more information on the effects of drugs and drug addiction go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon Rashall - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : what could drug's do to your brain???

answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. The answer is not about what drugs do to your brain but how they change your brain. We know a lot about how drugs change the brain. You can find out more at http://www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/. Also, check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


user icon JustinS - River Hill High School : does your heriedity affect you in taking drugs?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi River Hill! Absolutely. All diseases, like drug addiction, have some heritable component (this means that you can inherit it). Inheritance, in the form of genes, plays a large role in drug addiction also. BUT.....while genes play a big role in causing disease, they are only part of the picture. There is hope! Other factors, like your environment and education, can be protective against developing diseases. That's why I like my job so much. As a geneticist, I think that if we can find the genes that are important in addiction, then we can find very good ways to use that information for improving our treatment and prevention approaches. Want more information on genes, addiction and teens? Check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


user icon 7ivian - George Washington High School : What chemicals in drugs make you and your brain act high?

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : The drugs themselves interact with the neurons (brain cells) in your brain and change the way your brain works. The drugs attach to particular proteins and set off a cascade of actions within the neurons that your brain interprets as rewarding. However, if you continue to use the drug, the repeated exposures of these proteins to the drug will cause changes in your brain. These changes will alter your perception of the drugs' effects, and they will not seem as rewarding as they once were.


user icon Ian JCHigh - Junction City High School : What is the difference between cocaine and crack?

answer icon Anna Staton : Crack is a form of cocaine but there is a difference between powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed from the powdered cocaine hydrochloride form to a smokable substance. The term crack refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.


user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : if you came to school stoned would u do worse or beter in school

answer icon Ivan Montoya : Most likely you'll do worse because marijuana can make you easily distracted and you won't pay enough attention to what's been tought in class.


user icon Beth - Freeland High School : is alcohol bad for

answer icon Brian Marquis : A teenager's brain is still developing and it is very sensitive to alcohol's effects on judgment and decision-making.


user icon cm302515 - Buckeye Online School for Success : What is the most common way teens start to come across drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : There are so many ways that young people are exposed to drugs. The first is probably through the media which advertises alcohol, tobacco, over the counter drugs and prescription drugs. In addition the media might use drug references that are inappropriate, such as "this is your car on Steroids." Second is through social contacts -- peers, siblings and sometimes parents, who are experimenting with or using drugs. Finally is geographic proximity to places where drugs are sold or used.

To find out more, visit www.drugabuse.gov and search for the online publication, Science of Addiction.


user icon GHETTOGHETTOFAB - River Hill High School : when kids turn to drugs as a "treatment" for depression does it make it worse?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Yes! Drugs may temporarily improve mood but the next day or later that night, depression is much worse. People using drugs when depressed may even become suicidal (Check out the following link http://archives.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol19N6/Depression.html (Archives)) Thanks for your question.


user icon ah96 - Irving Academy : if u do drugs ass a young kid,how will it affect u ass u get older?

answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Irving Academy! Yep!! You may think that drugs give you a high and then it's over, but you should think twice! Drugs can have long-lasting effects on all of the organs in your body, including your brain. They can damage your heart, they can cause inflammation in your lungs, they can make you lose your free will. The worse someone treats their body when they are young, the more health problems they are likely to have as they get older. What more information on drug use? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov


user icon red - Nueva Vista High School : im addicted to every drug you can think of basically. where can i get help?

answer icon Tim Condon : I'm sorry to hear of your problems but take heart because treatment can help. You need to find the right kind of treatment for the best results. First, can you talk to a trusted adult? Someone like a teacher or counselor may be able to help you find treatment. If not and you feel like you are in a crisis situation, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. They have resources for drug abuse and addiction problems. For treatment referrals in your area, call 1-800-662-HELP. Addiction is a chronic disease because the brain changes can persist well after you stop using drugs. So remember it will take some time. Good luck.


user icon Legalize_Now88 - McLain Community High School : Does your administration believe that long term use of cannabis leads to permanent brain damage and/or psychological disorders?

answer icon Anna Staton : I can tell you what the research is showing. Marijuana and mental illness: Marijuana use has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation or attempts. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis. Marijuana intoxication can, though rarely, produce a reversible psychosis, and it may be a causal agent in development of schizophrenia, or schizophreniform disorders in vulnerable individuals. Data on causality are weak, although many studies have found an association present in certain groups: young users, frequent users, those with cannabis dependence, etc. Marijuana may be a means of self-medicating an existing or sub-clinical 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.


user icon DRUG FREE - Irving Academy : PEOPLE THAT DO DRUGS CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT DRUGS HOW COME AND WHY?

answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. People who do drugs CAN survive without drugs, but they feel like they believe they NEED drugs to survive. Drugs change the way your brain functions so that drugs become more valued than other activities. This effect is in large part due to the effects of drugs on the brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine signals the brain when something important happens that is better than you expect, and tells the brain to pay more attention to those things in the future. So your brain ends up thinking that drugs are the most important things in the world. To learn more, look at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


user icon yhssydney - Yonkers High School : How do people get schizophrenia?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Schizophrenia is a very serious mental illness that has genetic causes--this means that it runs in families. But many people develop this disease even though none of their relatives have the illness. See www.nimh.nih.gov for more information. Thanks for your question.


user icon student415 - George Washington High School : Is it possible for adults age 40 and up to be peer pressured into doing drugs?

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Yes, although it is unlikely. Youth are more open to the opinions and pressures of their peer group. With age we become more grounded in our own likes, dislikes and habits. Thus, we tend to be more resistant. However, all transitions open people to risks. Thus, a 40 year old who divorces, moves to a new location without social support, expeiences death of a significant other, etc. may be more susceptible to peer pressure.

Did you know that risk of drug abuse increases during times of transition, such as changing schools, moving, or divorce?


user icon yhsjaimie - Yonkers High School : are using alcohol in religious ceremonies bad?

answer icon Mark Greene : In most cases it is OK to use alcohol for religious ceremonies. However, if there are any family members who have alcohol problems, you may be at risk for developing alcohol problems--so you may want to discuss this with your religious/community leader.


user icon yhsyalile - Yonkers High School : Isn't the drug use rates higher in jail then in the regular population. What is the cause of that? Are many drug users going to jail or do they get hooked on them there?

answer icon Wilson Compton : Great question! The main reason is that people with drug abuse end up in prison. It's not that they get hooked while they are in jail. The addiction starts before they end up in jail. Lately, we've been working with prisons to make sure that people in jail can get treatment to help them stay clean and sober when they are released.


user icon patmcgroin - Centerpoint High School : people have told me that if you "huff gas" even one time, you can die or have serious brain damage. is this true, if so why does huffing do this

answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! Yes, you can die or develop serious brain damage after a single exposure to inhalants. If you inhale too much gas, it can occupy all the sites in your lungs that normally bind to oxygen, and you can't breathe, so you would suffocate. But the other important thing an inhalant does is alter the lipid composition in neurons and glia, which are types of cells in your brain, and slow down functions in important brain sites. Some areas of your brain are concerned with what are called autonomic functions, like breathing and making your heart beat regularly, and regulating your digestive processes. If your interfere with some of these brain areas, there can be serious conseqences.

For more information on the effects of inhalants, visit www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov


user icon yellow - Nueva Vista High School : is it normal to see pixies when your on acid?

answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. Nothing is normal when you take acid (LSD). LSD fundementally changes the way your brain processes sensory information, especially visual information. Other parts of the brain may try to make sense of this distorted information by trying to fit the perceptions to something familiar, like fairies or pixies. Another person may look at the same object and see something entirely different, like an elephant or a sailing ship. It all depends on your own personal history (set) and what is going on around you (setting). In other words, you can be very suggestible when you take LSD. See more info at http://drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/ACIDLSD.html


user icon RHHS1 - River Hill High School : What state has the highest rate of drug abuse??

answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : "I'm not sure but you can get that information at the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at

  • National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) - http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh.htm

  • user icon yhsyalile - Yonkers High School : What are the requirements to turn a drug illegal? Since some drugs are legal.

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Congress and states decide which drugs are illegal and which are legal. Of course, some drugs are legal for prescriptions but illegal for possession and distribution--these include pain medications, sedatives and stimulants. Thanks for your question.


    user icon bgp99 - Junction City High School : what is the worse drug

    answer icon Anna Staton : Well that depends on your perspective. Tobacco is responsible for the most deaths (440,000 each year).


    moderator icon Did you know that when it comes to hallucinogens such as LSD, everyone is NOT doing it? In 2007, 98% of 12th graders did NOT use LSD.


    user icon paige - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : how do drugs affect pregnant woman?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi McCreary Academy! This has been a very popular question today! Drugs affect pregnant women the same way they affect non-pregnant people. There's one BIG (or little, depending how you think about it) difference, and that's the baby. Drugs can have very serious effects on the developing babies organs and brain. To be safe, pregnant women should stop taking drugs. If you know of someone who needs help, click on www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for more information.


    user icon TALK TOME PLEes - South County Secondary School : What are the exact effects of using drugs for ......lets say about 10 years, every day of the year? Im wondering because i know someone who has been doing that and I really want to help them. I want to tell them the statistics so that maybe it will effect him in a certain way...

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individuals ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking and use.

    The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use, however, some may occur after just one use.

    Also, take a look at the following link for trends and statistics. http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/HSYouthtrends.html


    user icon rhhs11 - River Hill High School : Which gender uses more drugs?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : in general, males use more drugs but for some types of drugs, females use more. For example, teenage girls are more likely to abuse pain relievers than teenage boys--but for alcohol and most illegal drugs, teenage boys use more than teenage girls. Good question!


    user icon rhhs10 - River Hill High School : What is the other most commonly used drug in High School?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : We collect a lot of information every year about drug use among high school students. the most common drugs are alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. About 36% of highschool seniors used an illegal drug in 2007. See www.monitoringthefuture.org for details.


    user icon rusty_trombone - Sanborn Regional High School : im addicted to meth and my cheek is rotting through what do i do

    answer icon Tim Condon : You need to get into treatment for your addiction. Do you know an adult you trust -- like a doctor, teacher or school counselor? It sounds like you have some very serious health problems already, so you may want to call for a referral to local treatment facilities - 1-800-662-HELP. If you feel you are in a crisis situation, call 1-800-273-TALK -- this is the suicide prevention hotline but they also have information about drug addiction. Many of hte problems you are experiencing are reversible, but you need to get help now.


    user icon rhhs8 - River Hill High School : Which age group usually takes the most drugs?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Good question, drug use is most common among young adults--18 to 25 year olds. See http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh.htm for the latest information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


    user icon rhhs9 - River Hill High School : Do owners give their pets drugs or alcohol?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi River Hill. Thank you for your question. While some people may think it is funny to give pets drugs, it is VERY dangerous to them...they could even overdose! The only drugs that does should be given are ones prescribed by a vet. Remember, there can be legal ramifications also if the authorities are notified!


    user icon adrian_tristan - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : WHAT IS Illicit Drug Dependence

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Illicit drug dependence is when the brain neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When the drug is withdrawn, several physiologic reactions occur-this is known as the withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal can be very intense and the abuser will use the drug again, even if they are 'ready' to stop, to avoid the withdrawal syndrome.


    user icon pinkblue22 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : How does acid affect your body

    answer icon Anna Staton : The use of acid can cause unpredictable psychological effects and with large enough doses, users experience delusions and visual hallucinations. Physical effects include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; sleeplessness; and loss of appetite.


    user icon TALK TOME PLEes - South County Secondary School : What are the physical changes with using inhalents??

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Inhalants go to the lungs and deprive the body of oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia can damage cells throughout the body, but the cells of the brain are especially sensitive to it.


    user icon nkelley - Bedford County Schools : Why is it that people talk about drugs and want to do them just to look cool?

    answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Some people have the misperception that many people are using drugs and think it will be more acceptable if they use. However, using drugs can actually have the opposite effect, in that you become less interesing, less interested in exploring new opportunities and interests -- and end up being boring.
    Really cool people are interesting, lively, creative, fun to be with, good talkers etc.

    Did you know teens are taking better care of themselves? Illicit drug use declined by 24% from 2001 to 2007.


    user icon Chris Lee - George Washington High School : if my friend does drugz and i known him for like since we were born what can i do to help him , he screams alot and he talks to him self . what should i do if he hits me when HE tellS ME "STOP!! ITS MY LIFE NOT YOURS I CAN DO WHATS EVER I WANT" WHAT SHOULD I DO !!!! OMG IM CRAZY TOO .

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Your friend needs professional help. If you've told him that you think he has a problem, how about talking to a counselor at your school or his family? ultimately, he is responsible for his own behavior. Here's a link to help find a local treatment program: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.
    ,


    user icon 7ivian - George Washington High School : Does drugs weaken you're bones along with your body, mind, and heart?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Illicit drugs can weaken many parts of the body, including the brain and the heart. Little is known about the effects of illicit drugs on the bones.


    user icon fREShMAN2012 - George Washington High School : Hello sir,orma'am i smoke crack every hour on the hour im i gonna die pretty soon;i dont to do it it just calls my names i want to stop but i cant i can i stop without my mother knowing because i been doing this since i was 9 i im 14 now and she still doesnt she wonders about but i say nothing please i need the help really really really really badly and please could you keep this confidental please!!!!!!!!!!

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Tthis is the kind of situation where you need professional help. Here's a link to find a local treatment program: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


    user icon Erica - South Fentress Elementary : if my family member is on drugs how do i help them?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi, here's a link for treatment resources: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


    user icon rhhs9 - River Hill High School : is nicatine gum effective?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Nicotine gum and other nicotine replacement therapies can really help people quit smoking. See www.smoking.drugabuse.gov for more info. good luck!


    user icon taylor_raeshel - South Fentress Elementary : How do you know if somebody is drunk?

    answer icon Mark Greene : Usually the things you can observe are slurred speech and uncoordiated walk--however, there are some medical conditions that can have the same effect. The best way to tell is to test blood-alcohol level.

    There is another government agency that studies alcohols effects. For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


    user icon softballlover94 - South County Secondary School : What are social Consequences of using Tabacco? Marijuana? Alcohol? Inhalants? Methamphetamine?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi South County, EXCELLENT question! The social consequences of drug addiction are far reaching, from the familial strains of having a loved one affected by drug abuse to the costs on society to prevent, treat, and police those who suffer from addiction. While some think there is a 'hierarchy of bad' when it comes to drugs, ALL of them can have very serious effects on someone's life and body. For more information on drugs, click on NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov


    user icon cp304562 - Buckeye Online School for Success : Is it true cold and cough meds can be used to get high?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Some of the brands of cold and cough meds have ingredients that cause hallucinations when taken in high dosages. This can be dangerous but many kids have abused these substances. According to recent data from the Monitoring The Future over 6% of 12th graders in the US abused these cold and cough medicines in 2007.


    user icon missxrage - New Dorp High School : what age group has the most recorded drug addiction?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Good question, drug use is most common among young adults--18 to 25 year olds. See http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh.htm for the latest information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


    user icon joel - South Fentress Elementary : What do you do when your friend gets high?

    answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : When a friend gets high it is best to move on. Being with someone who is high opens you to arguments with a person who is in an undercontrolled state.

    Did you know that repeated drug abuse can reduce the pleasure we get from natural highs?


    user icon noname - Sanborn Regional High School : do some high school students drop out because of drugs if so how many???

    answer icon Wilson Compton : This is a very good question! There are a lot of reasons kids drop out of school. Using drugs is one of the reasons but we don't always know which comes first. Sometimes, kids drop out of school because of drug abuse and sometimes kids abuse drugs because they are no longer in school.


    user icon DirtyJ - McLain Community High School : If i were to take molly, the purest form of mdma, and took plenty of supplements such as 5-htp and vitamins before and afterwards to help prevent oxidation and other damage to the brain is it less harmful than if i were to just take molly without the supplements?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is no firm evidence that taking supplements will prevent all of the adverse consequences of MDMA. On the other hand, the adverse consequences of MDMA appear not to be permanent like we first believed. But there is very good evidence that the more MDMA you take and the more frequently you take it (like "bumping"), the more likely there will be lasting consequences. The best evidence shows that taking a drug that blocks the serotonin transporter will block the effects of MDMA, but only if you take it before you take MDMA.


    user icon yhsAmani - Yonkers High School : how much alcohol in a day can you drink without getting drunk?

    answer icon Mark Greene : It really isn't a matter of drinks per day, but drinks per hour that will make you drunk. An average estimate is that the body can break down 1 drink per hour, but this can differ depending on a person's size and other factors like gender. Also, if a person has many drinks a day, even though they might not get drunk, there is still the problem of alcohol doing damage to parts of the body, such as the liver.

    NIDA is frequently asked whether alcohol is a drug, and where to find information about alcohol abuse. There is another government agency that studies alcohols effects. For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


    user icon blakera - Centerpoint High School : is it easy to quite smoking? When you are really really addicted to it.

    answer icon Anna Staton : Nope and I should know since I smoked for over ten years, but it's definitely possible to quit. Three of the years I smoked I was trying to quit and it wasn't until i spoke to my doctor and was prescribed a medication to help me that I was able to finally stop smoking.


    user icon spm - Irving Academy : are some drugs good for you

    answer icon Tim Condon : When used appropriately -- prescribed by a physician for specific illnesses or disorders -- drugs can really help. The problem is using illegal substances or using medications for nonmedical use. Take a look at our research report on prescription drugs at http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/Prescription.html. Also look at our web site for teens -- www.teens.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon Canadia - Gonzaga Preparatory School : which gender is more suseptible to getting drunk?

    answer icon Mark Greene : A person's size and other individual characteristics may be more important than gender in getting drunk. NIDA is frequently asked whether alcohol is a drug, and where to find information about alcohol abuse. There is another government agency that studies alcohols effects. For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


    user icon student - George Washington High School : What happens if you get high?

    answer icon Aria Crump : Good question.
    Drugs make people high mainly by triggering the same reaction in the brain that makes you feel pleasure when something good happens to you. In technical terms, they increase levels of the chemical dopamine in the part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The differences between the high from drugs and the enjoyment you might get from a good meal, or a conversation with a good friend, or accomplishing something that makes you proud, are that drugs trigger this reaction chemically rather than naturally, faster, and more intensely. Another difference, of course, is that drugs can cause addiction. And, drugs have additional side effects--for example, increasing or decreasing your heart rate--that can be dangerous.
    The science of drugs and their effects is fascinating: For more information, take a look at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon jimmyisawesome - George Washington High School : If my family takes drugs, will i become more likely to take drugs even though my parents always tell me its bad?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi George Washington High. All diseases, including drug addiction, have some heritable component (this means that you can inherit it). Inheritance, in the form of genes, plays a large role in drug addiction also. BUT.....while genes play a big role in causing disease, they are only part of the picture. There is hope! Other factors, like your environment and education, can be protective against developing diseases. Even though your parents are taking drugs, they do not want for you to suffer like they are. Just think about it....they can't stop, even though they may want to badly! They definitely don't want that for you.

    Remember, there is hope for you. That's part of why I like my job so much. As a geneticist, I think that if we can find the genes that are important in addiction, then we can find very good ways to use that information for improving our treatment and prevention approaches. Want more information on genes, addiction and teens? Check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov . Also, click on www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for information on how to help your loved ones find treatment and more information.


    user icon Bombqueef - George Washington High School : how will drugs affect me in later life

    answer icon Brian Marquis :

    Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individuals ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking and use.

    The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use, however, some may occur after just one use.


    moderator icon Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is:

    1. a high tech gasoline
    2. a chemical in marijuana (correct)
    3. a brain neurotransmitter
    4. a dinosaur in Jurassic Park

    user icon Habs31 - Gonzaga Preparatory School : What is oxycotton?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Hi there! OxyContin is a powerful opioid pain reliever that has the medication oxycodone. This drug is chemically related to heroin, opium, codeine and a large number of other substances that are used to treat pain but can be addictive and very dangerous. OxyContin is sometimes prescribed by doctors for medical problems, but these pills are also abused for their effects on the brain. For more information go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/opiates


    user icon general12 - George Washington High School : Why did we ever make drugs in the first place?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Some of the illicit drugs were made by scientists for treatment purposes. For example, narcotics like morphine or oxycontin were developed for the treatment of severe pain and they are excellent analgesics but sometimes people abuse them, or use them without prescription for longer than intended and eventually become addicted.


    user icon riverhill12 - River Hill High School : What is jenkem? Is it dangerous?

    answer icon Tim Condon : I'm not real sure about jenkem. Some information on the internet says it is a substance manufactured from human waste that has hallucinogenic effects. Sounds pretty disgusting to me. If you want to know more about hallucinogens, check out our research report at http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Hallucinogens/Hallucinogens.html and also take a look at our teen web site -- www.teens.drugabuse.gov.


    moderator icon Dr. Richard Denisco is a physician whose expertise is in the areas of nicotine/tobacco use, chronic pain and prescription drug abuse. He has served as an anesthesiologist and as the Medical Director of two chronic pain management and rehabilitation centers. His professional background also includes membership in the American Society of Addiction Medicine and work with a community based treatment center. Dr. Denisco grew up in Florida and was very interested in diving and keeping salt-water aquariums. He enjoys both water skiing and snow skiing, cooking and photography.


    user icon heatherg - South County Secondary School : can you get high from drinking a bottle of cough syrup?

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Dextromethorphan (sometimes called "DXM" or "robo") is a cough-suppressing ingredient in a variety of over-the-counter cold and cough medications. Like PCP and ketamine, dextromethorphan acts as an NMDA receptor antagonist. The most common source of abused dextromethorphan is "extra-strength" cough syrup, which typically contains 3 milligrams of the drug per milliliter of syrup. At the doses recommended for treating coughs (1/6 to 1/3 ounce of medication, containing 15 mg to 30 mg dextromethorphan), the drug is safe and effective. At much higher doses (4 or more ounces), dextromethorphan produces dissociative effects similar to those of PCP and ketamine.

    The effects vary with dose, and dextromethorphan users describe a set of distinct dose-dependent "plateaus" ranging from a mild stimulant effect with distorted visual perceptions at low (approximately 2-ounce) doses to a sense of complete dissociation from one's body at doses of 10 ounces or more. The effects typically last for 6 hours. Over-the-counter medications that contain dextromethorphan often contain antihistamine and decongestant ingredients as well, and high doses of these mixtures can seriously increase risks of dextromethorphan abuse.


    user icon ilikeyoualot - George Washington High School : Since so many people have drugs does the drugs people sell cost cheap?

    answer icon Wilson Compton : Drugs can be very expensive. Sometimes a single dose isn't expensive but as people start using more and more, they spend more and more money to pay for their habit. Thanks for your question.


    user icon ILikePenguins - George Washington High School : Do animals get as cranky and short-tempered as humans do when their brain starts getting damaged?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Thank you for your answer. Cranky and short-tempered are a few things that could happen when a brain is damaged by drugs. While some people may think it is funny to give pets drugs, it is VERY dangerous to them...they could even overdose! The only drugs that should be given to pets are ones prescribed by a vet. Remember, there can be legal ramifications also if the authorities are notified!


    user icon Misterguy - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Both of my uncles were meth addicts but have claimed to be 10 years clean. Do they still crave the drug?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. They very well might. Craving is a form of memory, and memories can be lifelong. Studies have shown that brain areas involved in memory are activated during drug craving. Many people still think about the first person they fell in love with for years after they broke up and even decades since they last saw the person. Drug cravings can be like that, so this is why people who have a past history of drug addiction have to be careful to avoid people, places, and things associated with their past drug use.


    user icon yepez - Seminole Middle School : what are some facts about drugs?

    answer icon Cindy Miner : welcome to NIDA's chat day. You want some facts about drugs? Take a few minutes to read through the questions and answers from our scientists....you will find a lot of facts!


    user icon peace=] - Big Sandy School : My step mom says cigarettes are not addictive but she always says that needs one? why is that?

    answer icon Anna Staton : Cigarettes are addictive. Like cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, nicotine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure. For many tobacco users, long-term brain changes induced by continued nicotine exposure result in addictiona condition of compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative consequences. Studies suggest that additional compounds in tobacco smoke, such as acetaldehyde, may enhance nicotines effects on the brain. A number of studies indicate that adolescents are especially vulnerable to these effects and may be more likely than adults to develop an addiction to tobacco.


    user icon payme - Irving Academy : What will happen if you drink alot of beer.

    answer icon Mark Greene : If you drink a lot of beer, right away you can become drunk and lose the ability to control yourself. We all know about drinking and driving, but falling down steps and other kinds of accidents are possible too. If you drink a lot of beer for years and years, there can be damage to many parts of the body, including the liver and the brain, and the risks for some kinds of cancers can be increased too.


    user icon yhsAmani - Yonkers High School : A friend of a friend tends to smoke weed like 5 times a day, How would I tell her it's bad for you?? I'm really afraid to talk to her adout it.
    from natalie and amani

    answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : Hi Natilie and Amani

    Well I would not talk to her when she is high and I would get a trusted adult involved. Someone who will maintain confidentiality and provide information on resources. As friends you will have less impact on her than a medical or psychological professional and you may lose your friendship over it. So please seek help.



    We published a booklet you can find on our web-site www.drugabuse.gov. it is called Marijuana: facts for Teens. you should read that.

    Treatment for teens
    1-800-662-HELP

    Did you know that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among young people age 15 to 24? Evidence from both real and simulated driving studies indicates that marijuana can negatively affect a driver's attentiveness, perception of time and speed, and the ability to draw on information obtained from past experiences.


    user icon jimmyisawesome - George Washington High School : If my family takes drugs, will i become more likely to take drugs even though my parents always tell me its bad?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi George Washington High. All diseases, including drug addiction, have some heritable component (this means that you can inherit it). Inheritance, in the form of genes, plays a large role in drug addiction also. BUT.....while genes play a big role in causing disease, they are only part of the picture. There is hope! Other factors, like your environment and education, can be protective against developing diseases. Even though your parents are taking drugs, they do not want for you to suffer like they are. Just think about it....they can't stop, even though they may want to badly! They definitely don't want that for you.

    Remember, there is hope for you. That's part of why I like my job so much. As a geneticist, I think that if we can find the genes that are important in addiction, then we can find very good ways to use that information for improving our treatment and prevention approaches. Want more information on genes, addiction and teens? Check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov . Also, click on www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for information on how to help your loved ones find treatment and more information.


    user icon Cjnic91 - Burgard High #171 : do u get high off licking frogs?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Some toads (not frogs) secrete a poison on their skin that is chemically related to LSD (acid). Those toads are fairly rare, though, and toads secrete other chemicals that are poisonous that protect them against predators. So licking toads is a bad idea. Plus you can get warts on your tongue <grin>.


    user icon rhhs5 - River Hill High School : how many drinks can the average person drink before getting drunk?

    answer icon Mark Greene : If an average person drinks more than one drink per hour, they are on the road to being drunk. This can vary based on a person's size, their previous exposure to alochol, and other personal characteristics.


    user icon Hajira 6 - South County Secondary School : can you inherit addiction??

    answer icon Joni Rutter : The short answer is yes. The long answer is that genes play only part of of the role in addiction. The environment (such as having drugs around the house or hanging out with friends who do drugs) also plays a role. Even though you might have inherited some genetic factors that increase your risk, you can expose yourself to other things such as exercise to reduce your risk. There is hope! Click on NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov for more information.


    user icon jleong - George Washington High School : How many beers does it take for a person to get drunk?

    answer icon Mark Greene : A lot depends on a person's size and the amount of body fat, but a rough estimate is that if an average person person drinks more than one drink an hour, the blood levels of alcohol will begin to build up and lead to drunkeness. The more drinks per hour, the more quickly this will occur.


    user icon Phacharee - George Washington High School : can i grow a penis if i take steroids?!

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : No. But, because they disrupt the normal production and balance of hormones in the body, they can lead to a long list of alterations, such as reduced sperm production, shrinking of the testicles, male-pattern baldness and breast development in men. In the female body, anabolic steroids abuse can cause masculinization. This means that females may experience decreases in body fat, coarsening of the skin, and deepening of the voice. Women may also experience excessive growth of body hair (chest, chin, back, etc.) and lose the hair on their head.


    user icon dicks huge - Nueva Vista High School : i smoke chewy like a nut is that worse than weed?

    answer icon Tim Condon : Crack cocaine is not very good for you and highly addictive,can really me ss up your cardiovascular system. The best thing you can do for your health and well being is to learn all you can about thehealth consequences tied to this drug and then seek treatment. Take a look at our research report at http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Cocaine/Cocaine.html and then talk to your doctor about getting treatment. If you need a referral for treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP.


    user icon RCMS Health - Randolph Community Middle Schools : How is substance abuse defined? How many or how much of a drug needs to be used??

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : There are many definitions of substance abuse, for example, psychiatrists use a diagnostic manual called the DSM-IV in which you can look up "substance abuse". But the way we look at it, substance abuse is the inappropriate or excessive use of a drug (including illegal drugs, prescription drugs, tobacco and alcohol) that is causing harmful consequences to the individual user and to those around them.

    Substance abuse can result in addiction, which is a brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite the many negative consequences of using the drug. Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to persistent changes in the structure and function of the brain. Although it is true that for most people the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, over time the changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a persons self control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs. There is no way to predict how much of a drug a person would need to use to become addicted - it depends on the individual. That's why the only safe decision is to avoid abusing drugs in the first place.


    user icon ~Tiffy~ - Centerpoint High School : What makes you get addicted to drugs?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Centerpoint! Drug addiction is a complex problem with many causes. While scientists have found specific genes that contribute to addiction, it's important to remember that genes don't account for everything....it's just part of the picture. Other factors that contribute to a person's risk to become addicted to drugs is their environment. If you grow up in a environment where there are drugs around, or you hang out with friends who use drugs, AND you inherit some of the genes that your parents pass on, then the you could be at greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs later in life. There's hope, however! There are treatments and ways to prevent using drugs. Want more information on drugs? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov or www.drugabuse.gov and "The Science of Addiction."


    user icon yoyoma - George Washington High School : yoyoma speaking If steroid makes u strong do ur body get worn out after the steroid effect is gone?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Anabolic steroids enhance performance by boosting muscle size and reducing body fat. But there is a down side when steroids are used for such non-medical purposes, because they disrupt the normal production and balance of hormones in the body, and can lead to a long list of alterations, such as reduced sperm production, shrinking of the testicles, male-pattern baldness and breast development in men. In the female body, anabolic steroids abuse can cause masculinization. This means that females may experience decreases in body fat, coarsening of the skin, and deepening of the voice. Women may also experience excessive growth of body hair (chest, chin, back, etc.) and lose the hair on their head. Examples of other effects are increased risk of blood clots and damage to heart muscle. Most important, with continued steroid use, some of these effects can become irreversible. You can find more information on steroids on our website at http://www.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon abcdefgh - Lake City Area Schools : is ice a very powerful drug?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Ice is the street name for the drug methamphetamine, a very powerful and dangerous drug. It is one of the most potent stimulant drugs and the effects last a long time. Plus methamphetamine use can damage your brain and other parts of your body. To learn more about methamphetamine abuse please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html


    user icon Mark Millich - South County Secondary School : I am very bad at school and I have failed 9th grade three times. Is it because I smoke and do steroids?

    answer icon Elizabeth Robertson : This is a great opportunity for an experiment. Stop smoking, using steroids and hanging out with your drug using friends. If you improve in school you'll have an answer.
    I bet it is a combination of things, however - the drug use in combination with other academic factors. Please talk to your school counselor about tutoring and treatment programs. This is the time to ensure your future. Good Luck!


    user icon Rachel - Hopewell Memorial Junior High School : What do inhalants do to your body?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : The lungs rapidly absorb inhaled chemicals into the bloodstream, quickly distributing them throughout the brain and body. Within minutes of inhalation, users feel "high." The effects are similar to those produced by alcohol and may include slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, and dizziness. Inhalant users may also experience lightheadedness, hallucinations, and delusions. The high usually lasts only a few minutes. But with repeated inhalations, many users feel less inhibited and less in control. Some may feel drowsy for several hours and experience a lingering headache. The most important effects occur at your brain. Inhalants often contain more than one chemical. Some chemicals leave the body quickly, but others can remain for a long time, absorbed by fatty tissues in the brain and central nervous system. One of these fatty tissues is myelin, a protective cover that surrounds many of the body's nerve fibers (neurons). Myelin helps nerve fibers carry their messages to and from the brain. Damage to myelin can slow down communication between nerve fibers. Long-term inhalant use can break down myelin. When this happens, nerve cells are not able to transmit messages as efficiently, which 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 sclerosisa disease that also affects myelin.

    Inhalants also affect other parts of your body, especially when used repeatedly. Repeated abuse of inhalants can cause serious harm to vital organs besides the brain, including the heart, kidneys, and liver. Inhalants can cause heart damage, liver failure, and muscle weakness. 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.


    user icon 7ivian - George Washington High School : Are birth control pills concidered drugs?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Birth control pills are not considered drugs of abuse. It is unlikely that they can be abused by people.


    user icon applejax911007 - Rockville High School : Do kids abuse over-the-counter drugs? ANSWER PLEASE!!!!

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Good question. Yes! There are a variety of drugs that can be abused, and even though they are over the counter they can be just as dangerous as other drugs. Mixing over the counter drugs is usually the way of abuse and this can create combinations that have unknown dangers. Also over the counter drugs are usually taken in larger than reccommended amounts and that can cause damage to various organ systems , esp. the liver or kidneys. To raise visibility on issues of addiction and treatment among adolescents, NIDA has developed a number of useful teen-oriented sites, including: www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov, providing a source of free information about the latest science-based drug abuse facts, publications, and teaching materials for parents, teachers and students; http://www.hiv.drugabuse.gov/, with information for young people, parents and teachers about the link between drug abuse and HIV infection, with links to the latest research findings and news updates, and http://www.teens.drugabuse.gov/, a Website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities.

    In addition, the Office of National Drug Control Policy provides additional information specifically for young people. Go to: http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/, for scientific information about illegal drugs and their effects, and http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/, to find an interactive drug prevention site for youth.


    user icon Javon Phillips - George Washington High School : Are human drugs more harmful to humans or animals!?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Thank you for your question. Drugs, if taken in ways other than prescribed by a doctor, can be very harmful to both humans and animals. Overdose is a significant problem, so be careful to read all instructions before taking (or giving) any drug. Want more information on drugs? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


    user icon yeah um, kay. - Sanborn Regional High School : Are you guys doctors or recovering alcoholics/drug addicts?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi there! We ale have advanced degrees such as masters degrees, PhD.'s and MD's. We have all worked in the addiction field in some capacity - some as counselors, and some as recovering addicts. This allows us to give you the "real story" and not just some information from a book. Thanks for your question.


    user icon yhsjaimie - Yonkers High School : what will happen if you never stop taking steroids?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Like most things, the effects depends on the amounts you take. If you take a lot all the time, and you are a male, then you run the risk of developing progressively aggressive behaviors, reduction of testoterone production (leading to reduced sperm production) and compromising your heart's health. If you are a female, your voice may deepen (permanently), your menstrual cycles may stop, and you too may develop aggressive behaviors. It is not at all clear to me why anyone would want to take drugs that can have those side effects when there are so many other awesome things to do.

    For more on steroids, visit: www.steroidabuse.gov


    user icon iloveyou - Irving Academy : why do kids and adults think doin drugs is good for them?

    answer icon Mark Greene : Not sure that they really think that drugs are good for them--but they may think the drugs can make them feel good or feel better--at least temporarily. For some people, drugs can be a way to escape from tough situations that come up in life. In the end the drug does nothing to help solve the problems, and things can get a lot worse if the person becomes addicted. There is also the short term "feel good" that happens the first few times that a drug is taken, but this diminishes with repeated use, and can leave the person feeling worse in the long run.


    user icon lauren stover - Bishop Kelley : is it true that marijuana isn't addictive?

    answer icon Steve Grant : That is a common misperception. Marijuana use, particularly if it is chronic or heavy, can lead to an abstinence syndrome after you stop. Because marijuana takes a long time to leave the body, it can take 1-2 weeks for the symptoms to emerge, which make it hard to identify the abstinence syndrome. Drug abuse and dependence is not only defined in terms of an abstinence syndrome, but also when people continue to use the drug despite harm to themselves or their lives. So using marijuana even when you notice that your grades are dropping would be an indication that you are developing an addiction. And that can certainly happen with marijuana as much as with other drugs.


    user icon Cjnic91 - Burgard High #171 : is red bull and alcohol a leathal combination?

    answer icon Mark Greene : The question of how much of each is important to determine if there is the possibility of a lethal interaction. Certainly large amounts of alcohol alone can be lethal and the red bull is unlikely to prevent that serious effect. Mixing stimulants (red bull) and depressants (alcohol) can be dangerous if a person is tyring to balance out effects of the two.


    user icon Alexis - Carolina Forest High School : My father and grandfather are both alcohcolistics and my mom drinks occasionly... Can I become an alcohcolic?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Thank you for your question! The short answer is yes, but you can prevent it. The long answer is that genes that you inherit from your family are only part of the picture. The environment (such as having drugs around the house or hanging out with friends who do drugs) also plays a role in your risk for addiction. Even though you might have inherited some genetic factors that increase your risk, you can expose yourself to other things such as exercise to reduce your risk. There is hope! Click on NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov for more information.


    user icon linebacker54 - Lake City Area Schools : What drug is the most abused in the U.S.

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. The main active chemical is THC.


    user icon :D - George Washington High School : Is red wine good for you?

    answer icon Mark Greene : There have been some studies that show that moderate consumption of wine (about 2 drinks/day for a man) can have positive effects on the heart. However drinking more than that can be problematic and lead to increased problems with the heart and many other organs in the body.


    user icon helloween - George Washington High School : what happen when people drink alcohol?

    answer icon Mark Greene : In the short term, they can lose control over their actions- both physical and behavioral. Accidents, like drunk driving or falling down stairs can happen. Long term drinking can damage many parts of the body, including the brain and the liver and potetially lead to addiction.


    user icon Alexis - Carolina Forest High School : Can you be a swedish fish/sweethart addict?

    answer icon Tim Condon : Are you talking about the candy Swedish Fish? I don't think you can become addicted to candy although you certainly can overeat sweets and sugary foods.


    user icon NBEagles - North Bullitt High School : what is salvia?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there! Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is an herb common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. It's ingested by chewing fresh leaves or by drinking their extracted juices. The dried leaves of Salvia can also be smoked as a joint, consumed in water pipes, or vaporized and inhaled. People who abuse Salvia generally experience hallucinations or delusional episodes. Effects include changes in visual perception, mood, and body sensations; emotional swings; feelings of detachment; and a modified perception of external reality and the self, which leads to a decreased ability to interact with one's surroundings. Because of this, there is concern about the dangers of driving under the influence of Salvia. The Drug Enforcement Agency has listed Salvia as a drug of concern and is considering classifying it like LSD or marijuana.


    user icon Legalize_Now88 - McLain Community High School : There are many individuals that would say smoking cannabis has no affect on their reflexes and coordination, many of them are professional musicians, craftsmen, or skilled workers. What do you say to these highly talented individuals who say cannabis is harmless and does not impede their ability to function? That it may increase creativity?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is no scientific evidence that marijuana increases creativity. One reason is that creativity is hard to measure. But the more interesting question is that marijuana can distort your perceptions you may feel "creative" than you might otherwise judge your work. As to reflexes and coordination, all drug effects depend on dose, meaning how much you take. Given a high enough dose of marijuan, everyone's coordination will slow down. Also, as you use marijuana more frequently, you become tolerant, that is it take more of the drug to produce the same effect. So it may be that the individuals you are talking about are either very tolerant to marijuana or do not use marijana frequently or in high doses, and it is likely that they showed evidence of being talented and skilled before they started using marijuana. Remember what Thomas Edison said "Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration", and using marijuana and hard work don't often go together well.


    user icon nickjonaslover - Carolina Forest High School : if your like a midget and you smoke weed are the affects going to be more riskier(deadly) than taller poeple affects

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Carolina Forest....what an interesting question! The short answer is that size doesn't matter!

    Let me see if I understand your question. Are you asking if the same dose of drug affects shorter people more or differently than taller people? If so, the answer is...not necessarily. Every person has different genetic factors that can affect how fast their bodies break down a particular drug. Here's an example. In general, a person who has 1 drink of alcohol will break down the alcohol in about 1 hour, however, this isn't true for everyone. There are some peole with a genetic change that makes them break down the alcohol slower. People with this genetic change (in a gene called aldehyde dehydrogenase) are protected from alcoholism because the alcohol stays in their system longer and is more toxic. So, risk has to do more genes than size. Good luck!


    user icon CVHS_Shani-poo - Casa Verde High School : WHY ARE DREPRESSED TEENS MORE LIKELY TO DO DRUGS THAN THOSE WHO ARE CONSIDERD "NORMAL TEENS?" PLEASE ANSWER I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO KNOW :]

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : This is a very good question. Research studies have found that depression is a risk factor for drug abuse. It has been suggested that some people abuse drugs to "self-medicate" or self-treat depression. Unfortunately, the long term use of the drugs may also produce an increase in the depressive symptoms, so instead of self medicating people should seek the advice of a health care professional when dealing with depression. For more information please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon j96 - Irving Academy : Can you get affected by trying it once?

    answer icon Steve Grant : No matter what drug "it" is, yes you can get afffected by trying it once. The critical issue is whether you keep using "it", whatever "it" may be.


    user icon CubsFan2516 - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : why are teens addicted to drugs

    answer icon Aria Crump : I'm guessing that you're asking how addiction happens, rather than why teens take drugs. Our brains have a system, called the reward system, that makes us want to do healthy things--for example, eating good food and exercising--by giving us feelings of satisfaction when we do them. Addictive drugs activate this system to make users want to keep taking them. Eventually, the person can become entirely focused on taking the drug and lose interest in most other activities--even though he or she gets less and less satisfaction from the drug, and suffers conequences like poor grades and losing touch with friends and parents. At that point, the person is addicted. For a more comprehensive discussion of addiction, check out http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon bella-italian - Freeland High School : I'm not happy at home and I'm afraid sooner or later I will resort to alchohol. Any suggestions on how to deal with my problem????????

    answer icon Lisa Onken : I'm sorry to hear that you're not happy at home. It is hard to handle life when you're not happy, and it can be tough to deal with unhappy feelings all alone. If you can talk to your parents about your feelings, that might help. But if you can't talk to your parents about your feelings, then it might be good to talk to a school counselor or another adult that you trust. Whatever you do, resorting to alcohol to deal with unhappy feelings is never a good solution - It can only make things worse, so I hope you find someone to talk with about your feelings, and I hope things work out well for you. Good luck to you!

    If you need help, call 1-800-273-TALK.


    user icon J McLovin' - Lake City Area Schools : answer my questions please..... they are really important. does marijuana kill brain cells?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is no clear evidence that marijuana kills brain cells. But marijuana can lead to long lasting changes in the way that brain cells work, and that can be just as harmful to your abilities and life as if your brain cells were killed.


    user icon chellie21 - Lake City Area Schools : does alchol effect your brain in anyway?

    answer icon Larry Stanford : Yes. Alcohol, depending on the level and when you drink it (or are otherwise exposed to it) can cause significant changes in both the structure and function of many areas of the brain. Early use is particularly dangerous, because the brain is still developing, and because we know that early drug or aclohol use is linked to later drug problems.


    user icon ihatedrugs - South County Secondary School : porque mi amigo hace marijuana y alcohol?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : A veces la gente combina marijuana y alcohol pensando que pueden aumentar el efecto de las dos. El consumo al mismo tiempo de ambas substancias pueden deprimir el sistema nervioso central, producir mucho suenno esto puede ser peligroso. http://www.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon Tarun - Rockville High School : what are the side-effects of prozac or other anti-depressants like zoloft? How exactly does seretonin work in you body?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Early on, these medications that are primarily serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like zoloft or prozac, can cause a feeling of energy and a decrease in appetite. These effects diminish with time, and the mood-improving qualities of the medication become more prominent.

    SSRIs work by affecting levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter naturally found in the brain, that is most often associated with mood (lack of serotonin leads to feelings of depression), appetite, and aggression. It is important to remember that you need only a small amount of serotonin in the brain to get the good effects on mood. If you are prescribed SSRIs, you should follow your doctor's instructions and let him or her know if you experience any side effects. If you do not have a prescription for SSRIs, you should not take them.


    user icon patmcgroin - Centerpoint High School : I TAKE ADDERAL FOR ADHD, IT IS A NARCOTIC. WHY IS IT THAT I DONT BECOME ADDICTED TO IT, WHY DO I NOT DEVELOP SYMPTONS THAT A DRUG ADDICT WOULD?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi, this is a very good question. Adderall is a "controlled substance" , a medicine that is prescribed by doctors. Narcotics are usually opioid derived, but sometimes all drugs that need a prescription are called narcotics. If you take the medicine as directed by your doctor, you should not have any poblem with addiction, it is when the drug is used to "get high" that all the problems with addiction start. Keep doing what you are doing and you will not have problems.


    user icon Joe Pro - Bishop Kelley : How many of the over 400 different chemicals in marijuana are actually harmful to the body?

    answer icon Tim Condon : We don't know exactly but there are a lots of dangerous consequences from them. For more details, check out our teen web site - go to www.teens.drugabuse.gov and click on the Facts on Drug menu and click on marijuana.


    moderator icon Dr. Cora Lee Wetherington is now available to answer your questions. Dr. Wetherington serves as NIDA's coordinator for research aimed at promoting the study of women and sex and gender differences into all areas of drug abuse. Dr. Wetherington also oversees a program of extramural research focusing on a variety of animal and human laboratory areas, including vulnerability to drug abuse, the behavioral effects of exposure to drugs during lifespan development, and sex and gender differences and issues unique to females. She has two children (both in college), two black & white cats, and a boxer, and particularly enjoys gardening, reading, and trying new restaurants.


    user icon ale acosta - Irving Academy : is it danger to smoke

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Yes. Multiple research studies have shown that smoking can produce many health problems including heart problems and cancer. For more information on nicotine please visit www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon 75 - Centerpoint High School : how does crack cocain kill you? is there daedly chemicles in it??

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Crack is the smoked form of cocaine. Cocaine (and crack) block certain proteins called "monoamine uptake inhibitors" which usually stop the action of neurotransmitters like dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline (or epinephrine). We usually think of these transmitters as active in the brain, and responsible for the effects of abused drugs, but they are also in other areas of your body, like your heart. In fact, dopamine and noradrenaline, acting together, make your heart work normally. When their uptake sites are blocked, uptake cannot occur, and the transmitters accumulate and overstimulate the heart. This overstimulation can stop your heart, and that is how crack cocaine can kill you.


    user icon lightbluey415 - George Washington High School : If teens saw their parent use drugs, would they start using drugs too?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Not necessarily, but it might make it more likely that a teen would start to use - they might get the false impression that it is OK to do if they see their parent doing it.

    Did you know that the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse?


    user icon erter - George Washington High School : how harmful is marijuana

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--good question. Many people don't realize it, but marijuana can be addictive and it has many adverse effects. In the short term, marijuana can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Long term effects include harmed mental functions and injured lungs. For more information, go to: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    user icon frank - Bair Middle school : is weed cool

    answer icon Richard Denisco : No! Taking drugs is not cool. I think confidence and competance are the coolest things. Being good at something is really cool--good at science, good at sports, good with friends, good with family. Drugs can interfere with all these things. Ultimately, drugs can take over your life--that doesn't sound so cool to me.


    user icon AsianInvasion - South County Secondary School : Is weed addicting like ciggaretts

    answer icon Larry Stanford : Yes, it is. About one in ten people that use marijuana become addicted.

    For more information on marijuana, see: http://www.marijuana-info.org/


    user icon yhsanterrio - Yonkers High School : have you experienecd drugs in your lifetime and from that experience it's convinced you to change your ways

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Yonkers! Truthfully, I tried a cigarette once. I coughed for 15 minutes straight. That was enough to make me never want to try a cigarette again!! Want more information on drugs? Click on www.drugabuse.gov or www.samhsa.gov


    user icon sanbornnnnnn - Sanborn Regional High School : what do you do if your parents do drugs

    answer icon Richard Denisco : If your parents have a drug problem, they may need expert help. They need to see a counselor. Here's a link to help find a local treatment program: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.

    You might also check with your school counselor in case they have useful resources.


    user icon jennifer6 - South County Secondary School : why do guys get perverted or sexual when the do drugs?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Many drugs have the effect of making people more impulsive and less able to control themselves. Drugs affect brain areas, especially in the front part, that are responsible for considering the long term consequences of our actions. When you only consider the immediate consequences of your actions, you are less likely to recognize that you could be causing long term harm to yourself or others.


    user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : my mother has been on weed for 5 years how should do i help her quit?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : If she's having trouble quitting, she needs expert help. She needs to see a counselor. Here's a link to help find a local treatment program: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.

    You might also check with your school counselor in case they have useful resources.


    user icon josh - Apollo Middle School : what is inside of marijuana to get you addicted to it.

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi! Marijuana has a chemical in it called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as "THC." A lot of other chemicals are found in marijuana, tooabout 400 of them, many of which can harm you. But THC is the main psychoactive ingredient. In fact, marijuanas strength or potency is related to the amount of THC it contains. The THC content of marijuana has been increasing since the 1970s.


    user icon CVHS_Shani-poo - Casa Verde High School : Why are depressed teens more liable to do drugs of some sort than those who are "normal?"

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Good question! Of course, not all depressed teens do drugs for the same reason. Some might be trying to escape or avoid their depressed feelings. Some might be trying to fit in better with some of their peers who are doing drugs. But whatever the reason, doing drugs never helps depression. It can only make it worse.

    There are many good medical treatments for depression - teens should feel free to talk with their physicians or school nurse about getting help.


    user icon laurenjessie - Freeland High School : what is the most popular age that drugs are used?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Good question, drug use is most common among young adults--18 to 25 year olds. See http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh.htm for the latest information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


    user icon jane - Gonzaga Preparatory School : is it possible to get addicted the first time you try drugs?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Gonzaga Prep! I think that it is possible that the first time you use a drug it can put you on a track towards addiction. That's why it's just better not to try it. There is no one single factor that determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs. The overall risk for addiction is a combination of factors, including your biological make-up, your gender, your ethnicity, your age, etc. For more information see www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon drug FREE - Irving Academy : how can you prevent someone from smoking?

    answer icon Aria Crump : Congratulations for not smoking, and for being concerned about your friend's or family member's health. One very powerful thing that you can do is to provide encouragement or support. If the person is someone who has not started smoking, you can tell them how glad you are that they don't smoke. You can go places together that are friendly to non-smokers. Because people are more likely to start smoking if friends and family members smoke, it protects a person to be surrounded by non-smoking environments. If the person has started smoking, you can still make it clear what your opinions and value systems are regarding smoking. A lot of times, providing information about the dangers of smoking alone is not sufficient to help an individual stop, especially if he/she is addicted. But it may be helpful to provide information along with the knowledge that you're willing to support the person in any way you can. You can also provide resources for quitting, for example, http://www.smokefree.gov/.


    user icon noname - Sanborn Regional High School : how do you know if someone is addicted to drugs???

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The signs and symptoms of drug abuse vary a lot. People sometimes have changes in their behavior--like moodiness, changes in sleep patterns. or you might notice changes in their mental states--they have trouble thinking clearly or communicating. Their speech may be erratic and their behavior really unpredictable. But sometimes, it's really hard to figure out that someone is addicted that's what makes this such a hard disease to identify and treat. For more information on how to tell if someone has a problem with drugs go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction Thanks for your question.


    user icon Preston Cellers - South County Secondary School : I have been taking drugs for the past month. My grades have gone down and I'm not sure if it's the drugs causing this. Is this a possibility?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : It is hard to know for sure, but there's a good chance that the two are related. Did you know most drugs affect the front part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex), the thinking center that powers our ability to plan, solve problems, and make decisions?

    Visit www.drugabuse.gov or www.teens.drugabuse.gov to find out how drugs affect the brain and body.


    user icon cool guy 415 - Nueva Vista High School : why do people get addicted to crack

    answer icon Steve Grant : Crack is cocaine that is smoked. When drugs are smoked they get into the brain faster and therefore have a more intense effect. On the other hand, the effects also go away quicker. So crack is more addictive because the high is more intense and shorter lasting than other ways of taking drugs. So people repeat their crack use more often. And the more you use a drug and the more frequently you take a drug, the higher the chances of becomng addicted. For more information about cocaine/crack abuse please visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Cocaine.html


    user icon j17 - Irving Academy : How do you now if you neet help?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Good question! You don't really need to know FOR SURE that you need help to ask for it. If you think you MIGHT have a problem, you can always ask for help from a parent, a school counselor, a trusted adult, or you can even call a confidential hot line, such a 1-800-273-TALK, just to talk to someone to help you figure it out. It is much better to ask for help BEFORE you really have a problem than to wait until after you DEFINITELY have one. Good luck to you!!


    user icon yhsjanely - Yonkers High School : Why do some children tend to become alchohlics, drug abusers etc. if when they were born their parents didn't do these things?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Yonkers! You make a very good observation, and one that is a hallmark of what we call "complex disease." Addiction is a complex disease where no one factor determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs. It's true that if one or both of your parents is addicted, then you have a higher risk, but that doesn't mean that you are going to become addicted to drugs. In general, the risk for addiction is impacted by your biological make-up (genes), gender, ethnicity, age, and environments (such as conditions at home, school, neighborhood, etc). Need more information? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


    user icon Brandy Martin - South Fentress Elementary : How quick can you die after an overdose of drugs?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Depends on the drug, but for some drugs 3-4 minutes after a lethal dose is taken, death can occur. The best way is not to use drugs because you have no idea how much of a drug is sold to you. You are trusting the drug lab and pusher with your life. BTW, an overdose of heroin or cocaine is called a "hot shot". Also, Inhalants can cause death by suffocation. This occurs when the inhaled fumes take the place of oxygen in the lungs and the brain. This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death. Check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/ for more information


    user icon sol - Irving Academy : what is the worst dugs

    answer icon Tim Condon : Good question but hard to answer. Scientists are reluctant to rank drugs in terms of their addictiveness. There are so many variables including things like the genes you inherit, your prenatal development, the nurturing quality of your parents, your school, your community, and your vulnerability to other disorders. Then there are issues of drug availability. For example, tobacco causes 440,000 deaths a year. That's pretty awful even if other drugs are more toxic or addictive. Take a look at our publication about the science of addiction to get a better idea of what addiction can do to your brain and body. Go to www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction.


    user icon Anzu2Luna - Rockville High School : Where do drugs originate from?

    answer icon Larry Stanford : That's a really good question. Drugs can come from many different sources. Some come from natural plant sources--for example, nicotine comes from tobacco. There are other drugs that can be abused that are made in laboratories for a specific purpose, such as some pain medications like OxyContin.


    user icon cms - Cherokee Middle School : has people ever commited suicide because of drugs ruining thier life?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : YES! YES! YES! The misery of drug addiction is so bad that it's a common way for addicts to die. It may have some excitement at a party, but the pain and suffering begins soon after. Check out the following link for more information: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon cnoemi29 - Rockville High School : can drugs cause mental illness?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Marijuana use has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation or attempts. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis. Marijuana intoxication can, though rarely, produce a reversible psychosis, and it may be a causal agent in development of schizophrenia, or schizophreniform disorders in vulnerable individuals. Data on causality are weak, although many studies have found an association present in certain groups: young users, frequent users, those with cannabis dependence, etc. Marijuana may be a means of self-medicating an existing or sub-clinical 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.


    user icon Mo's class - River Hill High School : I would like to know about the neurochemical imbalances caused by different drugs.

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brains communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that drugs are able to do this: (1) by imitating the brains natural chemical messengers, and/or (2) by overstimulating the reward circuit of the brain.

    Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, have a similar structure to chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain. Because of this similarity, these drugs are able to fool the brains receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages.

    Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters, or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signal between neurons. These drugs disrupt normal communication patterns in the brain.

    Nearly all drugs, directly or indirectly, target the brains reward system by flooding it with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. This system normally responds to natural behaviors that are linked to survival (eating, sex, etc.). Overstimulation of this reward system by drugs produces euphoric effects, and sets in motion a pattern that teaches people to repeat the behavior of abusing drugs.

    If a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward system. As a result, the abuser is less able to enjoy the drugs and other things that previously brought pleasure. This decrease compels those addicted to drugs to keep abusing drugs in order to attempt to bring their dopamine function back to normal. And, they may now require larger amounts of the drug than they first did to achieve the dopamine highan effect known as tolerance.

    Long-term abuse causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting thinking and the ability to learn. Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decisionmaking, learning and memory, and behavior control. Together, these changes can drive an abuser to seek out and take drugs compulsively despite adverse consequencesin other words, to become addicted to drugs.


    user icon Airalys*Melanie - Apollo Middle School : Are there other places where you can get help besides rehab?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Absolutely. There are hotlines that you can call to get referrals to treatment (1-800-662-HELP), and there are hotlines you can call just to talk (1-800-273-TALK), but you can also talk to your parents, or a school counselor, or a trusted adult who might be able to talk with you about your needs. And you might be able to get treatment as a outpatient, rather than going into residential rehab treatment. Thanks for your question!


    user icon Eyob6 - South County Secondary School : can your testicle dissapear if u take sterioids

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : No, but steroids can certainly reduce your production of testosterone!


    user icon redneck08 - Lake City Area Schools : What is the most used drug by teenagers

    answer icon Richard Denisco : We collect a lot of information every year about drug use among high school students. the most common drugs are alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. About 36% of highschool seniors used an illegal drug in 2007. See www.monitoringthefuture.org for details.


    user icon Taylor6 - South County Secondary School : I think one of my friends is abusing drugs i know he is a user is there any way to help him?

    answer icon Aria Crump : Yes. I suggest that you help your friend stay in touch with positive, drug-free influences in his/her life. Help your friend to (as much as possible) connect with supportive and safe adults. Be there for your friend, but don't let your dedication put you in risky situations. Finally, be ready to offer your friend information on resources to help him/her get help. This may include counseling and drug treatment. Here's a number to have on hand in case your friend is ready to try treatment: 1-800-662-4357. Your friend is lucky to have you for a friend. Good luck to you both.


    user icon 75 - Centerpoint High School : ARE ALL DRUGS 100 PERCENT BAD FOR YOU

    answer icon Tim Condon : No. For example, when prescribed by a physician and used for medical purposes, many drugs can be life savers. The problem is using things for nonmedical reasons. Take a look at our research report on prescription drugs for information at http://drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/Prescription.html. We also have information on our teen web site at www.teens.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon rhhs4 - River Hill High School : i have two freinds who do drugs. i tried to tell them to try and stop but they say they're not addicted and got mad at me. what should i do?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi River Hill. I'm sorry to hear about your friends and I can understand why you would be mad. Dealing with friends that have drug problems must be EXTREMELY stressful. Maybe your friends are not being truthful with you because they are embarrassed and don't know how to ask for help. They also may not recognize that they are in need of help. One thing you can do is give them as much support that you can give (even though they make you mad). Here are some resources that you can pass along to them www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov and www.teens.drugabuse.gov I would suggest also that you talk to an adult that you trust. Good luck...you are a good friend!


    user icon trenise - Apollo Middle School : How is nicotine made?

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Nicotine is the drug in tobacco leaves. Whether someone smokes, chews, or sniffs tobacco, he or she is delivering nicotine to the brain. Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. Nicotine is what keeps people smoking despite its harmful effects. Because the smoker inhales only some of the smoke from a cigarette and not all of each puff is absorbed in the lungs, a smoker gets about 1 to 2 milligrams of the drug from each cigarette.


    user icon noname - Nueva Vista High School : i eat a lot of weed brownies is that bad

    answer icon Steve Grant : Yes, it is bad for any number of reasons. First, marijuana use is illegal. Second, when you eat marijuana it takes longer for the effects of the drugs to occur, so some people take too much because they think the drug isn't having an effect. Third, marijuana stays in your body for a long time, so the drug effect may last longer than you intend or want. In addition, if you get drug tested, marijuana can be detected many days after you take the drug and even longer if you eat it in a brownie. Finally, marijuana, whether smoked or eaten, causes changes in your brain that can affect your memory and other brain functions that impair you performance at school and other activities. To learn more about marijuana and its effects on teh brain and body, you can visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon Sanborn16 - Sanborn Regional High School : What is your anti drug

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Exercise-working out at the gym, snow skiing, and water skiing, and friends- good people are the best anti-drug! Thanks for your question!


    user icon dirty squirl - Cherokee Middle School : is licking toad real?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Apparently so. A story on National Public Radio about 2 years ago described the odd behaviors of a dog that licked toads in the family's backyard. When you think about it, toads (and other plants and animals) exude chemicals through their skin for protection or attraction of other toads. These are often described as "natural products" and often form the basis of many ethical pharmaceuticals that are in use today. However, we don't usually know what any particular species of toad (or plant or other animal), exudes, and without that knowledge, that is a dangerous practice--it might kill you.


    user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : Is there any drugs that a doctor is not allowed to prescribe?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : There are some drugs that the DEA calls schedule 1 - they have no medical value, and are not prescribed.


    user icon sanborn - Sanborn Regional High School : ok well weed has never killed anybody its a natral herb it just grows that way it should b completey legial

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there. Sounds like you might not be aware of all the harmful effects marijuana can have. It can cause severe adverse effects on both your brain and your lungs, and increased heart-rate. Research has shown that marijuana use is also linked to serious mental conditions such as psychosis. Not only that, it can cause disaster on the highway. Research shows that drivers on marijuana have slow reaction times, impaired judgment, and problems responding to signals and sounds on the road. It's important to know the facts on marijuana. To find out more on the long-term and short-term effects, go to: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    moderator icon Needle Exchange: Scientific data show that syringe/needle exchange programs (SEPs/NEPs), as part of comprehensive HIV prevention, can be effective in reducing the spread of infectious diseases and getting hard-to-reach populations into drug treatment.

    • Note: Needle exchange programs are often thought to be part of a harm-reduction approach, but the term harm-reduction in itself has different meanings depending on context of use. NIDA does not view harm-reduction as a scientific term for any particular approach to addressing addiction.

    user icon kclovers4ever - McLain Community High School : does the dopamine completely run out

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Interesting question. The cells in your brain (neurons) that produce dopamine will always produce it as long as they are not damaged. The neurons produce dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) by mixing amino acids that enter your bloodstream from food you eat with specialized enzymes within the neuron, so it is really unlikely that you would run out of the basic building blocks of transmitters. But when dopamine cells die, like they do in people who have Parkinson's Disease, the effects can be devastating. People with Parkinson's have lost most of their dopamine neurons and they have very severe difficulties in walking, reaching for items like a coffee cup, and often have impairments in memory or their ability to make decisions. It's in your best interest to preserve all of your neurons as long as possible--they do not come back after they die.


    user icon Justin - Apollo Middle School : Is weed better for you than doing cocaine? i know that they are both bad but i just want to know which one can hurt you more.

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Some drugs work in the brain because they have a similar size and shape as natural neurotransmitters. In the brain in the right amount or dose, these drugs lock into receptors and start an unnatural chain reaction of electrical charges, causing neurons to release large amounts of their own neurotransmitter.

    Some drugs lock onto the neuron and act like a pump, so the neuron releases more neurotransmitter. Other drugs block reabsorption or reuptake and cause unnatural floods of neurotransmitter. [1]

    All drugs of abuse, such as nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana, primarily affect the brain's limbic system. Scientists call this the "reward" system. Normally, the limbic system responds to pleasurable experiences by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which creates feelings of pleasure.


    user icon fransein - Sanborn Regional High School : can other people be affected by a drug addiction?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Good question! It is estimated that an addict negatively effects AT LEAST 10 other people, parents, friends, employers, family. The pain that an addict causes themselves and others is horrible, and one of the reasons we are trying to reduce this suffering.


    user icon bailey.s - Irving Academy : is it hard to get a job like yours?

    answer icon Steve Grant : I'm glad to hear that you are interested in substance abuse research. There are many types of jobs in the substance abuse field. I went to college, then to graduate school for my Ph.D., and then additional research training. So I was in school for nearly 20 years. But I wouldn't have done things differently. I think I have one of the greatest jobs in the world because I can't wait to go to work each day. There is so much to learn about how the brain functions that there is always something new and interesting to learn. And what I do helps people with problems. You can't get a job much better than that. So even though it took a lot of studying and a long time, it was well worth it.


    user icon twinkster - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : what will happen if you go to a job interveiw stoned or drunk

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi McCreary Academy. That's an interesting question. A few things could happen and none of them are good. 1) The person won't get the job, or 2) The persons could have an accident on the way to the interview and hurt themselves and others, and 3) The person could get arrested and land in jail. If the person goes jail, the criminal record they get could reduce their chances of future employement. The bottom line is, if someone wants to make a good impression on an interview, being stoned or drunk during the interview is NOT the way to do it! Want more information on drugs? Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


    user icon Carlos - Apollo Middle School : what is AIDS and HIV

    answer icon Brian Marquis : HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). AIDS is a disease of the immune system for which there is treatment, but no cure, at the present time. The virus (HIV) and the disease it causes (AIDS) are often linked and referred to as "HIV/AIDS."


    moderator icon To find a wealth of research and facts on the science of addiction and treatment, please go to:

    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    301-443-1124
    http://www.drugabuse.gov/

    By clicking on the link "Students and Young Adults" from NIDA's home page you will be able to access resources tailored for students and young adults, whether you are in middle school and doing research on the effects of marijuana use, or high school student looking to find out about drug use and HIV.

    If you need help, you will also find a link there to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.

    You will also find facts, trends, statistics, graphics and reports on specific drugs on NIDA's Web sites:

    http://www.smoking.drugabuse.gov/
    http://www.marijuana-info.org/
    http://www.clubdrugs.gov/
    http://www.steroidabuse.gov/
    http://www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon yhsmatthew - Yonkers High School : Can stimulants make your thyroid gland release a dangerous amount of hormones?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : No


    user icon Justin - Apollo Middle School : (PLEASE ANSWER) What is the main ingredient in meth that causes the body to react the way it does?

    answer icon Steve Grant : The main ingrediant in meth is meth. Meth is short for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine acts in the brain to release the neurochemical dopamine because methamphetamine has a chemical structure similar to dopamine. Meth also produces inflammatory responses in the brain that can lead to long term damage to brain cells. You can learn a whole lot more by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html


    user icon crystal 11 - Irving Academy : can you say no to drug

    answer icon Aria Crump : Yes, you can. It's easiest to say no if you've never started using drugs and if you are careful to avoid situations where you know there will be pressures to try. It's also easier to say no if you plan what you will do in a situation where you are tempted. For example, "I've got markjuana, want some?" "No, thanks, I don't want to mess up my brain. I'd love a soda, though, if you're feeling generous." Don't wait until you feel pressured to determine what line you will use to say no. Know what your limits are in terms of being in places where people have drugs or are using drugs.


    user icon bella-italian - Freeland High School : I have a LOW self-esteem and i think i make my friends mad everytime i talm bad about myself. Ho w can i be happier person and learn to like myself?? I just have a bad feeling that i will fall into an even worse depression and turn to drugs and alchohal..... I dont nko if i could handle that.

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Drugs and alcohol might make you feel better the first time or two you try them, but very soon after that the drugs will not work and you will feel worse abot yourself. Is there a parent or, counselor that you can talk to about how you feel? Also, try to get involved in an activity that you enjoy. You will meet real friends that way. An exercise activity or sport is also a good way to feel better.
    Knowing how drugs can negatively impact your mind and body is also important...check out http://teens.drugabuse.gov/ for more information.


    user icon Thomas Rea - Rockville High School : Could you explain how an ADHD Medication acts on the brain of a non diagnosed vs diagnosed person? What are the negative impacts?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : The effect of ADHD medications on diagnosed and non-diagnosed individuals appears to be similar. However, in an individual with ADHD the medication has a therapeutic effect of controlling the symptoms of ADHD. In someone without ADHD, since there are no symptoms to treat, there is no point in using this type of medication. Especially since it has the potential of becoming a drug of abuse when not taken under the care of a doctor.


    user icon student - George Washington High School : Did you Do. or use to do drugs or drink alcohol?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi George Washington. Truthfully, I drink alcohol on occasion, but usually no more than 1 drink an evening. I tried a cigarette once, but coughed for about 15 minutes and that was enough of that! I haven't tried any other drugs. For more information on drugs and teens, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov


    user icon Mark Millich - South County Secondary School : I am very bad at school and I have failed 9th grade three times. Is it because I smoke and do steroids?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : I'm very sorry to hear this. I'm guessing - since you said you failed 9th grade three times - that you've already spoken to lots of people about your problem. But maybe it would be good for you to speak up again or to speak with someone else? If you can't talk further with your parents, a school counselor, or another trusted adult, you might try calling a confidential hotline (1-800-272-TALK) to help figure out a plan to help you with your bad grades, and also to help you with your drug use. It is never too late to start a new and better and happier way of living. Good luck to you!


    user icon asdfasdf - Rockville High School : Can smoking marijuana give you lung cancer?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : There is no conclusive research on this topic. However, if people smoke marijuana the tar that they inhale, which is known to produce cancer, may eventually be a risk factor for cancer. For more information on the effects associated with marijuana abuse please visit www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon Justin - Apollo Middle School : Why do people do drugs?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi--thanks for your question. There are a number of reasons why people do drugs--peer pressure and a belief that drugs can make you feel better physically and mentally are two of the big reasons. What people need to know though, is that drugs have serious, often deadly, health consequences. For information on particular drugs and their effects, and to read real-life stories on teens who have abused drugs, visit NIDA's teen site at: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon i luv louise - Irving Academy : Could you die if you do alot of drugs???

    answer icon Tim Condon : How dangerous a drug is depends on a lot of factors, including your own biological makeup, your environment, the type of drug and the amount you are using. So there isn't an easy answer. There have been instances of someone using inhalants just once and dying. Tobacco kills 440,000 people a year in the United States. Since we can't tell exactly who might suffer the most from using drugs and how much abuse of a drug it might take to harm or even kill you, the best thing to do is stay drug free. Go to www.teens.drugabuse.gov for information about many different kinds of drugs and the science of drug abuse and addiction.


    user icon ILikeMen - George Washington High School : How do steroids make you stronger in SOME parts and not in others ?:]

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Your body produces many different classes of hormones called steroids. These include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and cholesterol. Each of the steroids binds to specific receptors and produces very unique effects. These receptors are found in specific parts of your body. For example, androgen receptors are found on certain muscles in the neck, back, arms and legs. These are muscle groups that body builders want to enhance, which is why they sometimes abuse androgen steroids. Steroids cannot work where there are no receptors, so not all areas will respond to the same steroid. And steroids that are not androgens will not make any "part" stronger, because they do other things, like reduce inflammation (cortisol) and prepare the body for pregnancy (estrogen and progesterone).

    For more info on steroids, visit: www.steroidabuse.gov


    user icon kaiteephinkle - Lancaster COunty Career and Technology Center/Will : What can happen if you mix alcohol and very high-intensity drugs, such as cocain?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : If you mix alcohol and cocaine at the same time you are mixing a depressant and a stimulant of the brain. Research has revealed a potentially dangerous interaction between the two. Taken in combination, the two drugs are converted by the body to cocaethylene. Cocaethylene has a longer duration of action in the brain and is more toxic than either drug alone. While more research needs to be done, it is noteworthy that the mixture of cocaine and alcohol is the most common two-drug combination that results in drug-related death.


    user icon jgkfjhklgjhkgj - Burgard High #171 : if you get high befor an exam will you get a high grade

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Burgard, you cannot actually believe this can possibly occur....In general, getting high before an exam will have disastrous consequences. Getting high can cause you to have problems with memory, concentration and thinking clearly. To get a high grade, you have to study hard and apply yourself. You need more information on the effects of drugs on the brain. Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and find the publication on "Drugs, Brain and Behavior".


    user icon Anthony - Apollo Middle School : can u get high off of everythingg??

    answer icon Steve Grant : No, not everything. Drugs that get you high generally have to act in the brain, and not all drugs can get into the brain. Also, there are a lot of compounds (drugs, medications, food components) that do get into the brain but do not produce a high. To learn more about many of the drugs that cause a high (or euphoria) please visit www.drugabuse.gov and browse through the hyperlinked list on the right.


    user icon N3NA - C.H.Yoe High School : what the hell is weed brownies

    answer icon Tim Condon : I think that refers to brownies that have marijuana baked into them. If you want more information about marijuana, check out our web site at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    user icon melii - Apollo Middle School : Is rehab the most effective way to help drug users???

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Rehab it just one way to help drug abusers, but there are many others. There are scientifically-based treatments available that can help. There are outpatient treatment programs that can help. We hear about rehab a lot because of media reports about celebrities going into rehab. But there are many ways to treat drug addiction, and rehab isn't necessarily the best way for every person.

    Why do so many people seem to relapse after rehab? Sometimes it takes time to learn how to live without drugs. As with other chronic illnesses, like asthma or diabetes, relapses can occur, and signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted.


    user icon Niky :) - C.H.Yoe High School : How many brain cells can you kill when your smoking?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is no good evidence that smoking (whether marijuana, cigarettes, or crack) "kills" brain cells. However, smoking drugs allows more of the drug to get into your brain more quickly. The more intense the drug effect, the more your brain changes to adapt to the effects of the drug, and the more you are at risk of becoming addicted. One exception is smoking methamphetamine (ice). Meth does appear to actually damage brain cells, and that is why meth is so dangerous.


    user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : Why would people take depression relief drugs that are known to cause suicide?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi there. Depression relief drugs taken as directed usually relive depression, but in some cases especially with adolescents the chance of suicide can increase for a period of time while the depression is lifting. The main thing is to work with your doctor and be honest with how you feel. There are some resources that are anonymous - for example, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. They don't just talk about suicide; they can help with a lot of issues including drug abuse, and can connect you with a professional close by. There is also a website with information about treatment programs: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. Because talking with someone about drug use can be uncomfortable, you may want to ask an adult you trust, like a teacher or coach, to help you figure out how best to help your friend.


    user icon awsome - Irving Academy : are all drugs bad for some people?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Irving Academy, in short....yes. All drugs, if taken in ways other than prescribed by your doctor, can be bad for all people. As with any other disease, though, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. In general, the more risk factors an individual has (genetic factors, social environments, age, etc), the greater the chance that taking drugs will lead to abuse and addiction.


    user icon devanbree - South Fentress Elementary : if you use drugs once, does that mean you'll be addicted?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. Using drugs once doesn't mean you will be addicted. But the fact that drugs are available to you and the fact that you decided to use the drugs increases the chances that you may use the drug again. And the more often you take the drug, and the larger the amount of drug you take, the more your chances of getting addicted.


    user icon latart@RMS - Rancier MS : why are drugs so easily addictive to the brain and what is the difference between male and female response?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! Drugs produce feelings that people like, and they want to experience those feelings repeatedly. Everyone has their own threshold for addiction, though, and we don't know how to predict reliably who will become addicted and who will not. But we do know that females become addicted more easily than males. Part of it has to do with the fact that females have more estrogen than males, and for reasons we do not understand, estrogen seems to increase vulnerability to drug abuse--at least in animals. Another reason has to do with the fact that most people take the "same" amount of drug, but because most females are smaller than most males, the effective dose is larger in females than in males.


    user icon Jes JCHigh - Junction City High School : Does marijuana cause personality changes?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : It is not known if marijuana can cause a personality change. However, it has been reported that chronic marijuana use is associated with what is called an "amotivational syndrome". That is, the person loses interest in the fun things in life, their affect is flat, and they have low initiative and motivation. It is not known if this is only due to marijuana use or if it only happens in people who already have a personal predisposition.


    user icon ChrisnKari143 - Sanborn Regional High School : is it ture that marijuana can lower your sperm count????

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Yes.


    user icon Mary - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Is it common for all high school students to try alcohol and drugs?

    answer icon Aria Crump : Good question. Sometimes young people have the impression that drug use is more common than it really is. According to the Monitoring the Future Monitoring the Future Study, an annual survey, about 60% of U.S. 10th graders and 72% of 12th graders had tried alcohol at least once. This is just the number who have tried drinking at least once. However, the number who had a drink in the past 30 days was much lower--only 44% of 12th graders and 33% of 10th graders. Regarding drugs, most illicit drug use is marijuana use, and only 17% of 10 graders and 22% of 12th graders have used an illicit drug (usually marijuana) in the last month. Clearly, only a minority of high school students are drinking and using drugs. You'll find complete information about teen use of each type of drug at http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/07data/pr07t3.pdf


    user icon J McLovin' - Lake City Area Schools : can you get high if you eat dog poop?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Lake City. I have to say, this is a very interesting question. You won't get high, but you could get very sick. Getting high, however, does affect your decision-making abilities, so one might do something like eat dog doody, or engage in other behaviors that could even be life-threatening. Remember this...one of the slogans at NIDA is "Get high. Get stupid. Get HIV/AIDS."


    user icon Taylor6 - South County Secondary School : do people use inhalants for breathing problems?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : No, they use inhalers, which are usually a form of steroid that reduces inflammation in the airways, or are bronchodilators, which open their breathing passages. Inhalants, on the other hand, are common household chemicals that have a volatile component and which are abused. For more information, please see www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov


    user icon rhhs4 - River Hill High School : i know that doing drugs can be a result of having depression, but can depression be a cause of drugs?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : That is a great question! Drug abuse and addiction and other mental disorders are intimately related, so this question is like a coin that can be looked at from two different sides. On one hand, we have known for a long time that people who abuse drugs, in general, have higher rates of many mental illnesses. In fact, there is evidence that drug abuse early in life may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders or accelerate their course. On the other hand, it is equally true that persons with mental illnesses are more likely to use drugs than other people. For example, children and adolescents with conduct disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities are at higher risk of abusing drugs than other youth, particularly if the mental illness is left untreated.
    If you or someone you know feels depressed, talk to a doctor. There are many treatments for depression. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and there are psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications.


    user icon nw300371 - Buckeye Online School for Success : is it possible to produce the same "feel good" effects in a person that come from drugs, without the use of actuall drugs?

    answer icon Tim Condon : I've heard that people who work out experience a "natural high" from the endorphins produced by exercise. I can't attest to this myself since I don't run or exercise much! But getting involved in things you are really interested in can certainly make you feel good. Learn about the science of drug abuse and addiction online at www.drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction.


    user icon trenise - Apollo Middle School : Do most kids know the risks of drugs

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Risk and protective factors can affect children at different stages of their lives. At each stage, risks occur that can be changed through prevention intervention. Early childhood risks, such as aggressive behavior, can be changed or prevented with family, school, and community interventions that focus on helping children develop appropriate, positive behaviors. If not addressed, negative behaviors can lead to more risks, such as academic failure and social difficulties, which put children at further risk for later drug abuse.
    http://www.nida.nih.gov/Prevention/risk.html


    user icon BmR2011 - Lake City Area Schools : If you have a drug addict in your family can u become one?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Lake City, thank you for your question! The short answer is yes, you do have a risk of becoming an addict, BUT you can do things to lessen your risk. Genes that you inherit from your family are only part of the picture. The environment (such as having drugs around the house or hanging out with friends who do drugs) as well as how old you are can also plays a role in your risk for addiction. Even though you might have inherited some genetic factors that increase your risk, you can expose yourself to other things such as exercise to reduce your risk. There is hope! Click on NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov for more information.


    user icon Azkadelia23 - Lancaster COunty Career and Technology Center/Will : What are the permanent effects of taking multiple pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals drugs at one time? eg: at a party where there are many drugs thrown into a bowel and people just grab handfulls and take them!

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The effect of mixing drugs in this manner is completly unknown, the mixtures are too numerous to know, but some of the medications found in medicine chests are for heart disease or blood pressure and can cause great damage to those who do not need them, they do not get you high but can cause serious problems that just cannot be predicted, but none of them are good. Thanks for your question!


    user icon I Use Marijuana - The High School for Math Science and Engineering : I smoke marijuana, I am not addicted, I like it, I do well in school. Tell me something I don't know that would get me to stop smoking.

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Great question. There is a lot of new research about the effects of marijuana on the brain. One of the most important is the discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid system. This is a system that has receptors in the brain where marijuana produces its effects. They are called cannabinoid receptors. The use of marijuana kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thoughts, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that marijuanas adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level. Research on the long-term effects of marijuana abuse indicates some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term abuse of other major drugs. For more information please visit www.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_Notes/NN0058.html


    user icon howmuchwetalkin - Gonzaga Preparatory School : i was thinking about getting high, but im not sure if i want to could i get addicted?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Some people are more likely to become addicted than others. The fact is that addiction is a very complex disease, which means that the overall risk of becoming addictedonce you start using drugsis made up of a huge number of contributing risk factors at both the biological and environmental levels. These include the genes you inherit, the conditions during your prenatal development, the experiences of your early childhood, the parenting style at home, the nurturing quality of your school and neighborhood, the level of stress you are exposed to, and any vulnerability to or co-occurrence of other mental disorders you may have; all these just to name a few! This high level of complexity explains why it is so difficult to predict who will become addicted and who won't. This difficulty notwithstanding, there are well-known risk factors that help us to identify those who are most vulnerable and focus our prevention efforts. For example, addictions tend to run in families: if your parents smoke, you're more than twice as likely to smoke as someone whose parents do not smoke. Also, if somebody suffers from certain mental illnesses he or she is also more likely to abuse certain drugs and become addicted.


    moderator icon ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - a mental disorder usually diagnosed in childhood and often treated with stimulant medications. These medications have been shown to be safe and effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD when taken as prescribed. Currently, the evidence suggests that stimulant medications do not increase the risk of substance abuse in children with ADHD, and may even be protective.


    user icon Brandy Martin - South Fentress Elementary : Is some wine good for you?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi there! In adults that are not genetically predisposed to alcoholism small amounts of wine, especially red, MAY improve cardiac risk factors for a heart attack. But some cardiac doctors are still not sure of the evidence, and the risk benifit ratio between heart disease and the risk of liver disease or alcoholism is not clear.


    user icon bailey.s - Irving Academy : how can i get a job like yours?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Irving Academy. I am a geneticist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. To become a geneticist, I worked very hard in high school and college to get good grades (sounds dorky, but it's true!). I then spent 4 years at Dartmouth Medical School studying and doing research in genetics and earned a PhD degree. After that, I spent another 4 years doing "post-doctoral" research, which is like mentored training in how to do research. After all of that work, I feel like I am very well trained.

    The important things for me along the way were to study hard, talk to lots of people about my ideas, and never give up on things that I truly believed in (again, sounds dorky, but it's true)! If you like what you do and believe in yourself, you can have any job you want! Good luck!!


    user icon alyssa:) - C.H.Yoe High School : HELP! sometimes I smoke weed before class starts and then I think its hard to concentrate....My mom says that she's sending me to boarding school in India if I get in trouble any more...What should I do????

    answer icon Steve Grant : You should seek treatment for your marijuana use. Smoking before class is definitely going to make it hard for you to concentrate. One aspect of addiction is that a person continues to use the drug despite adverse consequences. And your marijuana use is obviously leading to bad consequences. I am sure your Mom will be glad to help you find a treatment program that works for you. The first step, though, is to realize that your use of weed is causing real problems in your life and that you need to take steps to address those problems. Also, finding healthy activities that you love and enjoy doing (perhaps arts & crafts, music, sports, movies, writing, reading, whatever) and trying to become better and better at it can be enormously rewarding in and of itself and can really help you redirect your interests into more productive activities. It will also help you to become more knowledgeable about marijuana and its effects on the brain and body: please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon melii - Apollo Middle School : if drugs are so bad why did i hear that a hospital uses mariguana or weed as medecine to cure some patients???

    answer icon Tim Condon : I haven't heard about any hospital using marijuana as medicine. Perhaps they were using a component of the plant that has been made into a medication? These THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) pills don't actually cure diseases but they can help with some of the symptoms like nausea from cancer chemotherapy and body wasting in AIDS. Marijuana is not currently approved by the FDA for treating any medical illness. It is not a benign drug, and has significant adverse health and social consequences associated with its useincluding the risk of addiction. Components of marijuana are currently available (e.g. THC as marinol) for certain medical conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. Research is ongoing to develop new medications based on components of the marijuana plant or the system through which it exerts its biological effects (cannabinoid).


    user icon chantalmelendez - Apollo Middle School : can you get addicted by consuming mushrooms ?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Mushrooms get you high because they contain a chemical similar to LSD. These chemicals do not produce withdrawal as with heroin or other drugs. And if you take mushrooms or LSD regualarly, they stop having much of an effect. That is why some people say that mushrooms are not addictive. But another aspect of addiction is continuing use despite adverse consequences. So if your grades drop because you prefer to take mushrooms than do your school work, then taking mushrooms has become an addiction.


    user icon yudi - Apollo Middle School : WHAT IS WEED MADE OF?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Thanks for your question. Marijuana, or 'weed' comes from Cannabis sativa--also known as the marijuana plant. The chemical in marijuana that has the biggest impact on the brain is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Want more information? Click on www.marijuana-info.org


    moderator icon Please welcome Dr. Kevin Conway. Dr. Conway is the deputy director of NIDA's Division of Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research, and studies the epidemiology and genetics of drug abuse. His scientific interests include the causes of drug addiction, as well as psychopathology and violence. When he is not chasing his two little kids, he likes to play basketball, tennis, and ultimate Frisbee.


    user icon jjand amber - South Fentress Elementary : I have family that does drugs. What are some things that I can use to tell them or tips that I can help them to quit?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : You sound like a very caring person, and I'm impressed that you are looking to help your family. Since you're asking about things to tell them it sounds like you feel like you have a good enough relationship with them to talk about it. If that's the case you can certainly let them know that you're concerned, and you can also let them know there are treatments for drug addiction that work. You can give them the link to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7. If you can't talk with them about it, you can try to talk with a school counselor or another trusted adult - to help you figure out how to deal with the situation. Best of luck to you!


    user icon HALEY*** - C.H.Yoe High School : can you get high off of sharpies?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Good question! Sharpies contain volatile solvents--when inhaled these solvents can produce a "high." The effects of inhalants (such as Sharpies when they are abused) are similar to those of alcohol, including slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, and dizziness. For more information on inhalents, including their sometimes deadly effects, visit: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/inhalants.


    user icon $.LeRoy.$ - Apollo Middle School : (Please Answer) How does COCAINE affect you??

    answer icon Steve Grant : Cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the way that the brain signals that something good has just occurred, usualy better than what you expected. So cocaine makes you feel like things are going great and your are accomplishing something important. But that is an illusion, in fact the only thing that cocaine leads you to accomplish is to use more cocaine. To learn more about cocaine and its effects on teh brain please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Cocaine.html


    user icon nanza - C.H.Yoe High School : if you do coccine when your are pregnant....does it pass pass on to the child

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Yoe High! Unfortunately, depending on the drug, children (especially those that are unborn) are very vulnerable to the effects of drugs and vulnerable to being addicted to drugs later in life. For example, research has shown that if a mother smokes while she is pregnant, her child may be more likely to use tobacco when they become a teenager, and to become addicted to tobacco if they do use it. The same goes for alcohol and also cocaine. One more thing...if a woman takes drugs while pregnant, her child is at a higher risk of other medical problems and a whole host of other developmental and behavioral problems too. If you want more information on drugs, click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov and www.abovetheinfluence.com


    user icon me me - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : will it hurt you to take pill and drink beer and othere drug's ????

    answer icon Larry Stanford : That's a very good question. Since everyone responds to different drugs in different ways (including alcohol) the effects of mixing drugs is very difficult to predict in any one person. For that reason, mixing drugs can definitely increase the risk for a bad reaction and perhaps even death.


    user icon yudi - Apollo Middle School : {ANSER QUICKLY} MY FRIEND IS WHAT YOU CONSIDER A GANGSTER SHE DOES WEED WHAT MAKES HER SO ADDICTIVE?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There are many reasons why your friend may do weed so much. Maybe she has low self-esteem and weed makes her feel important and part of a group. You may want to talk to her about how concerned you are about her weed use, but emphasize that you will be there for her if she wants to stop using weed. It is always a good idea to seek confidential help from a school counselor or another trusted adult.


    user icon ss - Apollo Middle School : does weed affect our brian?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Absolutely. In order for a drug to affect our feelings, moods, and behavior, the drug has to enter and have an effect on the brain. Marijuana gets into the brain very easily, and can have long lasting effects on the way the brain works. For more information, you can visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon Airalys*Melanie - Apollo Middle School : PLEASE ANSWER Can you get high off nail polish or acetone??

    answer icon Tim Condon : Yes. Inhaling (or huffing) chemicals in nail polish remover can get you high but at a very high price. Take a look at our teen site information on inhalants to get the complete picture of what inhaling can do to you brain and your body. It isn't pretty. Go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/inhalants


    user icon Anthony - Apollo Middle School : if your parents do drugs..does that mean ur going 2 do drugs 2?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Thanks for your answer! All diseases, including drug addiction, have some heritable component (this means that you can inherit it). Inheritance, in the form of genes, plays a large role in drug addiction also. BUT.....while genes play a big role in causing disease, they are only part of the picture. There is hope! Other factors, like your environment and education, can be protective against developing diseases. Even though your parents are taking drugs, they do not want for you to suffer like they are. Just think about it....they can't stop, even though they may want to badly! They definitely don't want that for you.

    Remember, there is hope for you. That's part of why I like my job so much. As a geneticist, I think that if we can find the genes that are important in addiction, then we can find very good ways to use that information for improving our treatment and prevention approaches. Want more information on genes, addiction and teens? Check out NIDA's website, www.teens.drugabuse.gov . Also, click on www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for information on how to help your loved ones find treatment and more information.


    user icon sexy - Irving Academy : what do steroids do to you

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Your body produces many different classes of hormones called steroids. These include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and cholesterol. The type of steroids that are abused are androgen steroids.

    Each of the steroids binds to specific receptors in the body and produces very unique effects. For example, androgen receptors are found on certain muscles in the neck, back, arms and legs, which is why body builders and athletes sometimes abuse androgen steroids. However, there are many side effects of androgen steroids that make abusing them dangerous. For example, they can interfere with the natural production of testosterone in your body.

    Steroids that are not androgens will not make you stronger, because they do other things, like reducing inflammation (cortisol) and preparing the body for pregnancy (estrogen and progesterone).

    For more on androgen steroids and their side effects, visit www.steroidabuse.gov


    user icon ilovepink08 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What types of mental problems can come from using any drug?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : The mental problems associated with using drugs usually depend on the type of drug and the psychological predisposition of the individual who uses them. For example, the chronic use of alcohol can produce a Korsakov Syndrome that is characterized by amnesia, lack of insight, apathy and confabulation which is invented memories due to gaps in memory. Marijuana use has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation or attempts. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis. Marijuana intoxication can, though rarely, produce a reversible psychosis, and it may be a causal agent in development of schizophrenia, or schizophreniform disorders in vulnerable individuals. Data on causality are weak, although many studies have found an association present in certain groups: young users, frequent users, those with cannabis dependence, etc. Marijuana may be a means of self-medicating an existing or sub-clinical 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 information please visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/.


    user icon yudi - Apollo Middle School : WHAT IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT IN WEED

    answer icon Brian Marquis : Marijuana has a chemical in it called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. A lot of other chemicals are found in marijuana, tooabout 400 of them, many of which could affect on your health. But THC is the main psychoactive ingredient. [1] In fact, marijuanas strength or potency is related to the amount of THC it contains. The THC content of marijuana has been increasing since the 1970s. For the year 2007, estimates from confiscated marijuana indicated about 8 percent THC on average.
    http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    user icon tyleraustin - South Fentress Elementary : Why would somebody even do drugs?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Good question! Peer pressure and a mistaken belief that drugs won't do any harm are a few reasons. To read the real-life stories of teens who have abused drugs, visit: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/stories/index.asp.


    user icon RAUL13 - Irving Academy : WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU TAKE A DRUG AND YOU DON'T KNOW ITS A DRUG?

    answer icon Steve Grant : This is an important question. Some people think it is fun to give someone a drug without telling them. It is not fun, it is dangerous. The effects of a lot of drugs can be different depending on whether or not you know that you are taking it and you expect to have some effect. If you start feeling different or unusual, then find a friend you trust and tell them to take you home or someplace safe. Chances are the drug will wear off after a while,but it is important to have someone be with you. If you have reason to suspect that someone might have administered a drug to you it is very important to seek immediate medical help.


    user icon mathmation13 - Homestead Elementary : why do so many teens use or addicted to drugs?

    answer icon Larry Stanford : That's a really good question and one that is a really complex. The teen years are years when the brain is undergoing very rapid development in many different areas, especially areas like the prefrontal cortex, that we now know are important in processes like decision-making and judgement. Also, recent findings suggest that areas of the brain that are very responsive to the rewarding properties of drugs develop earlier than those areas that help us exercise judgement. This may be at least part of the reason why adolescents are more likely to experiment with drugs. Prevention programs have shown, however, that when youths perceive drug abuse as harmful, they reduce their level of abuse.

    To raise visibility on issues of addiction and treatment among adolescents, NIDA has developed a number of useful teen-oriented sites, including:

    www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov, providing a source of free information about the latest science-based drug abuse facts, publications, and teaching materials for parents, teachers and students; www.hiv.drugabuse.gov, with information for young people, parents and teachers about the link between drug abuse and HIV infection, with links to the latest research findings and news updates, and www.teens.drugabuse.gov, a Website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities.

    In addition, the Office of National Drug Control Policy provides additional information specifically for young people. Go to: www.abovetheinfluence.com, for scientific information about illegal drugs and their effects, and www.abovetheinfluence.com, to find an interactive drug prevention site for youth.


    user icon abrown - Georgetown Middle : What does esctasy do to you body and what does it look like?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : HI! Ecstasy is a form of methamphetamine, and has all of the effects of that drug. So it can increase your heart rate, make your body temperature go up, and make you jittery. It can also impair your judgement and your memory. Ecstasy is taken in the form of small pills; there are at least 300 known types of pills. For more information, please go to www.clubdrugs.gov


    user icon yudi - Apollo Middle School : Their is this girl and i dont know how to tell her to stop smoking and taking drugs! (She takes heroin.) 'IM SCARED!!

    answer icon Lisa Onken : You sound like a very good friend! I don't blame you for being scared. The drug addiction you describe is very dangerous. But you should know that there are effective treatments available. You can let your friend know that you are concerned about her, that it is possible to stop, and that there are many places to get treatment. You could even let her know that there is a hotline (1-800-662-HELP) that she can call to let her know where she can get that treatment, and that there's another confidential hotline (1-800-272-TALK) you or she can call just to talk with someone. Best wishes to you and to your friend!


    user icon Poquito - Rockville High School : my friend told me that i should try to smoke, but what should i do?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Peer pressure can be really difficult to handle. Here are a few tips. Remember that it's your body and at the end of the day, YOU live with the consequences of your choices. So, be assertive about what you want (tell them to back off). You may want to give them reasons such as "I don't want to be addicted to cigarettes" or "Cigarettes can lead to cancer, why would I want to smoke?" or even "I can't come home smelling like cigarettes." You may have to ask yourself if your friends are really acting like "friends" if they keep asking you to do something that you don't want to do--especially when it is something that's harmful to you. Stay strong!!!! and good luck!


    user icon Jaimee Pollock - Gateway Community School -Recovery Classroom : Student asks Can you crystalize your lungs by holding in meth smoke?

    answer icon Steve Grant : No. Your lungs will be damaged when you smoke meth, just like your lungs are damaged when you inhale any kind of smoke. Meth has some additional effects that add to the damage to your lungs, especially direct effects on the blood vessels in your lungs that are needed to absorbe oxygen. Smoking meth damages your lungs whether or not you hold in the smoke, but holding in the smoke makes the damage worse. To learn more about methamphetamine and its effects on the brain and body, you can visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html


    user icon Anthony - Apollo Middle School : can ur penis fall off if you do drugs?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Hi Apollo High. I'm a girl, so I am not in danger of this! Seriously though, when you do drugs, your decision-making abilities are impaired so you could engage in risky sexual activity that could lead to getting a sexually-transmitted disease. Here's to good decision-making and keeping your body parts!! Click on www.teens.drugabuse.gov for more information on drugs and teens.


    user icon sting - Irving Academy : how do you talk a freind out of drugs

    answer icon Aria Crump : Try using the facts; they're pretty convincing. Drugs may make you feel good for the moment, but they can quickly lead to addiction and other health problems. In fact, scientists have established the the younger a person is when he or she starts using drugs, the likelier he or she is to become addicted. The reason is that the teenage brain is still developing new connections that will be needed to deal with all the rich experiences life has in store. Drugs interfere with this process, and instead cause powerful changes that can lead to a person losing interest in almost everythng except drugs. For more comprehensive information about drugs and their effects, check out http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/. If your friend is already using, talk may not be enough. People who have become deeply involved with drugs often need professional help to quit. A number to keep on hand in case your friend wishes to try treatment is 1-800-662-HELP.


    user icon askylitdrive111 - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Is drugs and alcohol the main reason STD and HIV and AIDS are spreading?

    answer icon Tim Condon : When you use drugs or alcohol, the part of your brain that helps you make decisions becomes impaired. That means you are more likely to engage in risky behavior, including risky sexual behavior. So drugs and alcohol can in fact lead to the spread of STD's and HIV. We have a good web site about this link between HIV and drug abuse that goes into this in more detail. It also contains webisodes pulled from a public information campaign we created around this subject. Go to www.hiv.drugabuse.gov for more information.


    user icon yhsAmani - Yonkers High School : can people fully recover from the parkinsons disease?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Unfortunately, people with Parkinson's Disease never fully recover from it. There are drugs that people with Parkinson's take to help with their symptoms; these drugs increase the amount of a neurotransmitter, dopamine, that is available to the brain. The drugs help, but lose effectiveness over time. Dopamine is a specialized neurotransmitter involved in movement and in cognition, and Parkinson's Disease occurs because the neurons that make dopamine die. When these neurons die, the brain cannot replace them.


    user icon Aya - Apollo Middle School : Why do adults pressure kids into not doing drugs, instead of trying to help them to stop using the drugs, isnt talking to a child better then yelling at them? wont they listen better if you speak to them in an orderly fashion

    answer icon Aria Crump : I think the reactions of some adults to kids who are using drugs shows the amount of fear and concern that adults feel about drug use. It's true that talking is much more effective than yelling when you are trying to pursuade someone. Research suggests that some attempts by adults to chastise youth, scare youth, or provide the "worst case scenario" when talking about drugs can backfire. One goal of this Chat Day is to provide a calm, information-based dialog on drugs. I think that adults need reminders that youth need encouragement and support in addition to honest information.


    user icon howmuchwetalkin - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Is marijuana bad for you?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Using marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and can be addictive! Chronic or long-term exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can cause problems with memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and can also distort perception. Not surprisingly, students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety although we do not know yet whether marijuana can cause mental illness, particularly in healthy people who are not otherwise vulnerable to these disorders. There is good news, however, since there is evidence that if an individual quits marijuana, even after long-term or heavy use, their cognitive abilities (learning, memory) can recover. For more info on marijuana go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

    For more information on marijuana, see:


    user icon rhhs - River Hill High School : At what age do kids usally start using drugs?

    answer icon James Bjork : Drug and alcohol abuse are increasingly considered by the medical community as "developmental" psychiatric diseases, because they so often start in the teen years! By 12th grade, most American high schoolers have tried alcohol, and some 44% have tried an illicit drug at least one time.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : do you do drugs?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--no I don't. But I knew people in high school and college who did. Many of them had trouble keeping their grades up and wound up losing sight of reality. Some made a few pretty bad decisions while under the influence of drugs.


    user icon i luv louise - Irving Academy : Is alcohol dangerous to kids???

    answer icon Larry Stanford : Yes, alcohol can be dangerous to kids, including very young kids. Exposure to alcohol can cause changes in the way that the brain develops.

    Alcohol is a drug, and the younger a person begins to use drugs, the more likely he or she will progress to more serious drug abuse. For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


    user icon ja102806 - Irving Academy : can the marijuana brownies be dangerous?

    answer icon Tim Condon : Marijuana is illegal. Also, it can impair your judgment, your ability to drive, your short-term memory, and your verbal skills. We have data that show students who regularly smoke it get lower grades and are less like to graduate from high school than nonsmoking students. So the best course of action is to stay drug free.


    user icon drugeducator - Bishop Kelley : How effective is hair for drug testing?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Hair testing is very effective for detecting the past use of drugs, but it cannot be used to determine current drug use. That is because the drug is actually incorporated into the hair and the hair must grow out. There are also some issues with the accuracy of drug testing, as certain shampoos and hair products (and exposure to smoked drugs like tobacco and cocaine) can alter the test results. There are also apparent ethnic differences in the protein composition of hair that can make this testing somewhat unreliable.


    user icon ncj - River Hill High School : why does marijuana induce paranoia in users?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : That's an interesting question. It is known that some individuals, probably with some particular genetic predisposition, can have paranoia when they smoke marijuana, even with very small doses of the drug. However, the brain mechanisms by which marijuana produces paranoia are not completely understood. Possibly the effects may be due to the impact of marijuana on neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine and serotonin and even the endogenous cannabinoid system. For more information on marijuana abuse please visit our website at www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon pb1996 - Irving Academy : if someone keeps drinking drugs, would their skin and face get ugly?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Drugs have lots of affects on your body, including affects on your skin. You can get things like acne (with the use of steroids) or skin sores (with the use of meth) and blood shot eyes (by smoking marijuana)--none of which will help you get a date!! But, there are also other (even worse) consequences...you can end up with heart disease, cancer, stroke, HIV/AIDS, lung disease, obesity, and other diseases. Ultimately though, if someone keeps using drugs they run the very real (and very ugly) risk of addiction. If you or a friend are addicted please go to Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7.


    user icon Justin - Apollo Middle School : What chemical reactions occur in the brain that cause one to feel high?

    answer icon Larry Stanford : Nearly all drugs of abuse directly or indirectly target the brains reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine, a brain chemical that makes us feel good.

    To raise visibility on issues of addiction and treatment among adolescents, NIDA has developed a number of useful teen-oriented sites, including:

    www.backtoschool.drugabuse.gov, providing a source of free information about the latest science-based drug abuse facts, publications, and teaching materials for parents, teachers and students; www.hiv.drugabuse.gov, with information for young people, parents and teachers about the link between drug abuse and HIV infection, with links to the latest research findings and news updates, and www.teens.drugabuse.gov, a Website for teens with information on the science behind drug abuse, facts on drugs, questions and answers, real stories and interactive activities.

    In addition, the Office of National Drug Control Policy provides additional information specifically for young people. Go to: www.abovetheinfluence.com, for scientific information about illegal drugs and their effects, and www.abovetheinfluence.com, to find an interactive drug prevention site for youth.


    user icon KIBACA - Irving Academy : HOW COME WEED GEST'S YOU HIGH?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Weed contains chemicals called cannabinoids. The main one is called THC. THC looks very similar to natural chemicals that brain cells use to communicate among themselves. When the brain cells see HC they get confused and think that it is its own normal chemical. You can say that THC fools the brain. In this way THC forces your brain to process information differently, one of the effects is the experience of a high. You can learn much more about marijuana and its effects on the brain by going to http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon ja102806 - Irving Academy : could you go crazy for drugs

    answer icon Tim Condon : Drug abuse and addiction and other mental disorders are intimately related, so this question is like a coin that can be looked at from two different sides. On one hand, we have known for a long time that people who abuse drugs, in general, have higher rates of many mental illnesses. In fact, there is evidence that drug abuse early in life may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders or accelerate their course. On the other hand, it is equally true that persons with mental illnesses are more likely to use drugs than other people. For example, children and adolescents with conduct disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities are at higher risk of abusing drugs than other youth, particularly if the mental illness is left untreated.

    The reasons why addiction and other mental disorders are so closely linked and often coincide (or co-occur) in the same person are not fully understood. But scientists believe there may be at least three different reasons for this:

    1. Drug abuse may cause one or more symptoms of another mental illness, through long term negative changes in brain structure and function. For example, repeated cocaine use can cause panic attacks, which can then persist even when a person stops using cocaine.
    2. Mental illnesses may lead to drug abuse, if, for example a mentally ill person begins to abuse a drug in an attempt to self medicate (i.e., to reduce or manage the symptoms of the disorder or those caused by a medication prescribed for the disorder). The high rates of tobacco addiction in people with schizophrenia may be linked to reducing the cognitive disturbances of schizophrenia or countering medication side effects.
    3. Drug abuse and other mental disorders may be both caused by common factors, such as underlying brain deficits or early exposure to stress or trauma. NIDA-supported investigators are using neuroimaging, genotyping, statistical modeling, and other tools to better understand the interplay of risk factors in the development of such disorders.

    For further information see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_notes/NNvol21N2/DirRepVol21N2.html


    user icon green100 - Irving Academy : Is there a way to stop being addicted when you have taken pills or marijuana like a lot of times already?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : I'm so glad you asked this question. The answer is that there is absolutely a way to stop being addicted. It is never too late to deal with addiction. There are many effective treatment options available. You can find treatment programs by calling 1-800-662-HELP. If you want to speak with someone confidentially, you can call 1-800-272-TALK. The fact that you are asking this question makes me think that you must be ready to start living the rest of your life without drugs. Best of luck to you on your journey towards a happier and healthier life!

    Did you know teens are taking better care of themselves? Illicit drug use declined by 24% from 2001 to 2007.


    user icon Anthony - Apollo Middle School : can you lose a body part if you do drugs?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : It is possible-for example, people who operate heavy machinary can lose body parts if they are on drugs and lose focus. Also, people who use meth can lose their teeth. The biggest thing you lose if you do drugs is your free will-it may not be a body part, but you will definitely miss it.


    user icon J McLovin' - Lake City Area Schools : I have heard lot's of debate on whether marijauana kills brain cells or not. I want to know if it does or not.

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : There is no evidence that marijuana actually kills brain cells at this time. However, it does reduce the ability of the brain cells to function at their best. You can get more information about marijuana by going to www.marijuana-info.org


    user icon RCMS Health - Randolph Community Middle Schools : What is the percentage of people who DON'T do drugs or smoke

    answer icon Richard Denisco : According to a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2007 over 14% of people used an illicit drug and about 70% of people used tobacco among those age 12 or older. For more information go to http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/LOTSect2pe.htm


    user icon RICKY - Discovery Secondary School : IS WEED A VERY BAD DRUG

    answer icon Kevin Conway : Weed can lead to lots of problems -- medical, social, emotional -- as well as addiction. For more information about marijuana go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.


    user icon ANTHONY - Discovery Secondary School : Is marijuana bad for you?

    answer icon Tim Condon : Using marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and, contrary to popular belief, it can be addictive. Chronic or long-term exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and can also distort perception. Not surprisingly, students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. In addition, marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety although we do not know yet whether marijuana can cause mental illness, particularly in healthy people who are not otherwise vulnerable to these disorders. There is good news, however, since there is evidence that if an individual quits marijuana, even after long-term or heavy use, their cognitive abilities (learning, memory) can recover.

    For more information on marijuana, see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html


    user icon ncj - River Hill High School : why isnt pot addicting?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Contrary to some people's beliefs, research has shown that chronic use of marijuana can produce addiction. Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which make it difficult to quit. These withdrawal symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 23 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.


    user icon STARZ&HEARTZ - Irving Academy : IF A 11 YEAR OLD SMOKES MARY JANE WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

    answer icon Larry Stanford : Good question. Marijuana can slow your thought processes, cause you to feel confused, and make you dizzy. It can also cause difficulty in remembering and in learning.

    Marijuana use has also been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation or attempts. Currently, the strongest evidence is for the link between marijuana and psychosis. Marijuana intoxication can, though rarely, produce a reversible psychosis, and it may be a causal agent in development of schizophrenia, or schizophreniform disorders in vulnerable individuals. Data on causality are weak, although many studies have found an association present in certain groups: young users, frequent users, those with cannabis dependence, etc. Marijuana may be a means of self-medicating an existing or sub-clinical 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.


    user icon ChEMiK - Discovery Secondary School : wat duz THC meen

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi--good question. All these initials can get confusing! THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces the "high" and can cause addiction. THC has damaging effects on the brain, and interferes with learning and memory. The amount of THC in marijuana is directly related to how strong, or potent, the marijuana is.


    user icon lauren stover - Bishop Kelley : what exactly is LSD?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : LSD is shorthand for lysergic acid diethylamide, a chemical that binds to specific proteins in the brain and produces visual and auditory hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not there). Its immediate effects are caused by the activation of specific serotonergic receptors in the brain (serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger made by specific neurons in the brain). You can find out more about LSD at http://www.clubdrugs.gov/


    user icon whitney&misty - South Fentress Elementary : what is the main over the counter drug that people abuse most?

    answer icon Aria Crump : We don't have statistics to answer this definitively, but possibly cough medicines containing an ingredient called detromathorphan. At high doses, dextromethorphan can cause dissociative, out-of-body effects similar to PCP or ketamine that last up to 6 hours.


    user icon Joe Pro - Bishop Kelley : What is the best way to confront someone about a drug addiction?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Good question, but a really tough one to answer. I guess it is fair to say that there is really no one best way - it depends upon the person, and it depends upon your relationship with the person. But if you have a good relationship with someone, probably the best way way to confront them is to let them know that you care about them and that you're concerned about their drug use. And to also let them know that drug addiction is treatable. You can also let them know about hotlines where they might find out about treatment options, such as 1-800-662-HELP. Good luck to you!

    For science-based facts on the health effects of drugs, visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov or www.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon jake_deezy - Lake City Area Schools : how common is marijuana use?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Well according to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2007, about 10% of individuals aged 12 or older had used Marijuana or Hashish in the past year. About 40% of individuals in this same aged group had used marijuana or hashish in thier lifetime. In a national school survey last year, about 15% of 8th graders, 32% of 10th graders, and 42% of 12th graders reported having used marijuana at least once in their lifetime.


    user icon imforced2dothis - Sanborn Regional High School : is cutting yourself act like a drug

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Yes, it changes the chemicals in the brain, so in that sense it is like a drug. You can also get a "natural high" by other activities such as sports, friends, even sky diving. A person needs to find healthy positive ways to get a natural high. If you know someone who is cutting themselves, this could mean a serious depression wich should be treated. Encourage this person to talk to a parent teacher or counselor. If you or someone you know feels depressed, talk to a doctor. There are many treatments for depression. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and there are psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications.


    user icon lukas york - South Fentress Elementary : what should you do if you seen some do meth

    answer icon Joni Rutter : If you see someone doing meth, there's probably little you can do for that person at that time, so the best option for you is to get yourself out of that situation. If the person is a friend, then you can definitely talk to them about how bad meth is for your health, and for your life. Go to www.drugabuse.gov to learn more facts about meth. Another option is to offer to go with them to talk to a trusted adult about their drug use. If they are interested in getting treatment, you can call 1-800-662-HELP or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov to find treatment providers.


    user icon jake2 - McLain Community High School : Dose Excedrine migrane cause rebound headaches if you take too much?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Good question, Yes, it can cause rebound headaches. These are headaches that develop as a result of taking the medicine to treat them for too long - causing a "rebound" when the medicine is not taken. If this is happening, talk to your doctor to taper the medicine slowly so the rebound does not occur.


    user icon MZ.SCOOBYDOO - Bair Middle school : CAN YOU BE KILLED IF YOU KEEP TAKING STEROIDS?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Yes. Long-term use of steroids can produce many medical complications, for example cardiovascular problems that can predispose to heart attacks. In some rare cases liver and kidney tumors or even cancer may develop. For more information please visit www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : Is marijuana dangerous?

    answer icon Tim Condon : There are adverse physical, mental, emotional and behavioral changes that can occur when you use marijuana. It can even be addictive in some individuals. Chronic exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm your lungs. Students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school. Take a look at our teen site information on marijuana at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    user icon ANTHONY - Discovery Secondary School : can the marijuana brownies be dangerous?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there-- yes, no matter how it's consumed, marijuana can cause dangerous effects to your short and long-term health and to your decision-making abilities. For info. on what marijuana does to your body (no matter how you use it--even in brownies), check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.


    user icon freshprinceofbk - Bishop Kelley : What is the most popular illegal drug right now among high school students?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : We collect a lot of information every year about drug use among high school students. The most common illegal drug is marijuana. About 36% of highschool seniors used an illegal drug in 2007. See www.monitoringthefuture.org for details.


    user icon super nerd - Irving Academy : Can you die if you take steroids every day?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Dying of steroid overdose would be awfully unusual--your body actually produces the steroids you need in the amounts you need every day. But if you are taking extra steroids that you don't need, there can be serious effects over time. The most serious could be a change in your behavior--you could become more aggressive than you normally are, and act in ways you normally wouldn't. Withdrawing from large amounts of steroids can also induce depression. Over a long time, abusing steroids can affect your heart and your liver in ways that are not healthy, but I don't know of any case of dying directly from steroid use---unless you make another person angry enough to kill you!

    For more information on steroids and their effects, visit www.steroidabuse.gov


    user icon RAUL13 - Irving Academy : HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE SO THAT A PERSON CAN GET ADDICTED TO A DRUG??

    answer icon Steve Grant : It depends. There are many factors that influence the risk of becoming addicted, including how often you take a drug and how much you take. And there are other factors such as your genetics, your family history, your personality, and stresses in your environment; these can all contribute to the risk of addiction. But, by far, the most critical factors is how early you start using: if you start using a drug during childhood or adolescnece your chances of becoming addicted are dramatically higher that if you start later in life. To learn more about drug abuse and addiction please visit www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon l.c.h.s 2008 - Lake City Area Schools : can a person that is bipolar baecome worse if they do drugs often?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : People who are depressed sometimes turn to using illicit drugs to feel better, but that would be a temporary solution at best. More typically it is asking for more serious trouble. Illicit drugs can make you feel high for a little while soon after you take them, but when they leave your body you won't feel any better--and you may feel worse--than before you took them. With continued drug abuse, the period of feeling good grows shorter and the subsequent bad feelings get worse. If you or someone you know feels depressed, talk to a doctor. There are many treatments for depression. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and there are psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications.


    user icon KIBACA - Irving Academy : HOW DO THE DRUG'S MESS UP YOUR BRIN CELL'S

    answer icon Larry Stanford : "Drugs are chemicals and they work in the brain by tapping into the brain's communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. The human brain is the most complex organ in the body and changing the function of any one part of it can have many different effects. Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

    To find a wealth of research and facts on the science of addiction and treatment, please go to:

    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    301-443-1124
    www.drugabuse.gov
    By clicking on the link Students and Young Adults from NIDAs home page you will be able to access resources tailored for students and young adults , whether you are in middle school and doing research on the effects of marijuana use, or high school student looking to find out about drug use and HIV.

    You will also find facts, trends, statistics, graphics and reports on specific drugs on NIDAs Web sites:
    www.smoking.drugabuse.gov
    www.marijuana-info.org
    www.clubdrugs.gov
    www.steroidabuse.gov
    www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov


    user icon Luz13 - Irving Academy : What will happen if someone took drugs by mistakes?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : It can be a very scarry situation. Drugs taken by mistake can have the same effect as drugs taken on purpose. If this happens to you, tell somebody you trust to help you. It may be a good idea to go to the ER and seek medical attention. If this happened in the past, then try and figure out what went wrong-so you don't make the same mistake again.


    user icon i luv louise - Irving Academy : Why do people smoke alot cigarrets???

    answer icon Steve Grant : When you take any drug, your brain tries to adapt to the presence of that drug. Drugs work by attaching to parts of a brain cell called receptors. One adaptation to stimulation of a receptor by a drug is to decrease the number of receptors. So then you have take more of the drug to get the same effect because there are fewer receptors available. People also smoke a lot of cigarettes because the active drug in cigarettes, nicotine, does not stay very long in the body. So you have to smoke a cigarrette frequently to keep nicotine in your body, and you have to smoke more and more cigarrettes because the nicotine causes the number of receptors to decrease. So it is a vicious cycle.


    user icon fitlifebmx - Challenge Charter High School : do people get stupid when they do thizz

    answer icon Steve Grant : You could say that. Drugs, like thizz (MDMA or ecstasy) interfere with the way the brain normally works, especially parts of the brain that recognize when we make mistakes or are likely to make mistakes. People do stupid things when they take drugs because the parts of the brain involved in judgement and decision-making and the ability to monitor your actions no longer work properly.


    user icon will-i-am - Bair Middle school : what happens when girls take steroids?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : When girls take anabolic steroids they can experience physical changes usually associated with males such as the development of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, and a deep voice. In addition, steroids can produce acne, stunted growth (in adolescents), menstrual problems. For more information please visit www.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon jmorrell - Buckeye Online School for Success : How does a drug make you feel 'high' or so happy and fun, when it is actually kiling brain cells and causing someone such illnesses as depression?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Nearly all drugs of abuse directly or indirectly target the brains reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine, a brain chemical that makes us feel good. But it resets the brain and the normal amount of dopamine will result in depression, and a repeated drug abuse can reduce the pleasure we get from natural highs and again a depression results. Some people say you have to "pay for your fun" (with depression)


    user icon Andrew - Big Sandy School : can steroids make a man's penis go shorter???Why?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : No, but steroids can shrink the testicles.


    user icon whitney&misty - South Fentress Elementary : What are the most likely reasons people use drugs and alchol?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : In general, people take drugs to:
    1) feel good temporarily (the 'high' doesn't last)
    2) feel relaxed (some people use drugs to relieve social anxiety, depression, or distress)
    3) do better (some people think that drugs can enhance their athletic ability or improve their thinking)
    4) curiosity (for the experience of the drug)

    The thing about drugs is that no matter why someone starts they have a good chance of experiencing the negative effects-sooner or later. Afterall, every person that is addicted started off with just trying. For more information see www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon yessica - South County Secondary School : what is tabacco

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Tobacco is a plant that contains the active ingredient of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and snuff. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is responsible for the stimulant effects and addictive properties of tobacco. For more information about tobacco, you can visit http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/tobacco.html


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : can heavy drugs make you lose memory like drinking can?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Yes, there are many types of memory, so drugs can impair memory in many ways. However, there is evidence that brain function can recover over time once a person stops taking drugs.


    user icon redneck08 - Lake City Area Schools : How can I tell if someone is doing weed?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The signs and symptoms of drug abuse vary a lot. People sometimes have changes in their behavior--like moodiness, changes in sleep patterns. or you might notice changes in their mental states--they have trouble thinking clearly or communicating. Their speech may be erratic and their behavior really unpredictable. But sometimes, it's really hard to figure out that someone is addicted that's what makes this such a hard disease to identify and treat. For more information on how to tell if someone has a problem with drugs go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction Thanks for your question.


    user icon aeropostale-96 - Irving Academy : how can i notice someone that has taken drugsl?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The signs and symptoms of drug abuse vary a lot. People sometimes have changes in their behavior--like moodiness, changes in sleep patterns. or you might notice changes in their mental states--they have trouble thinking clearly or communicating. Their speech may be erratic and their behavior really unpredictable. But sometimes, it's really hard to figure out that someone is addicted that's what makes this such a hard disease to identify and treat. For more information on how to tell if someone has a problem with drugs go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction Thanks for your question.


    user icon devanbree - South Fentress Elementary : what do people act like when they're addictied to drugs

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The signs and symptoms of drug abuse vary a lot. People sometimes have changes in their behavior--like moodiness, changes in sleep patterns. or you might notice changes in their mental states--they have trouble thinking clearly or communicating. Their speech may be erratic and their behavior really unpredictable. But sometimes, it's really hard to figure out that someone is addicted that's what makes this such a hard disease to identify and treat. For more information on how to tell if someone has a problem with drugs go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction Thanks for your question.


    user icon green100 - Irving Academy : if a an 11 year old is getting high very often is it hard to tell.or how can you tell he or her is geting high?

    answer icon Aria Crump : Would you feel comfortable asking the 11-year-old? If not, there probably will be signs you can see. Has there been a marked change in his or her behavior or personality? Has the 11-year old lost interest in things that used to be important to him or her? Has he or she changed friends or started doing poorly in school? If this person is using drugs,I hope he or she gets help. A number to call for help is: 1-800-662-HELP.


    user icon babyg32 - Irving Academy : what happends when some 1 tells you 2 take them and you say no but they threaten you 2 take them what should we do about that..?

    answer icon Aria Crump : No one has the right to force you to take drugs. If the person is someone you care about, you need to be firm about your intention to not take drugs. If the person is someone who is bullying you, seek help from a trusted adult or from the authorities if necessary. Do your best to stay out of situations where you can be forced to do things that you don't want to do and that are unhealthy.


    user icon Lil P-Chung - Junction City High School : Does weed affect how you play sports?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : If the sport requires a person to stay focus or is physically demanding, then the answer is yes. It is known that smoking marijuana can produce drowsiness, lower concentration, and slow reaction. Additionally, the smoke can affect the lungs and reduce performance. For more information please visit www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon devanbree - South Fentress Elementary : why do people get addicted to drugs?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Some people are more likely to become addicted than others. The fact is that addiction is a very complex disease, which means that the overall risk of becoming addictedonce you start using drugsis made up of a huge number of contributing risk factors at both the biological and environmental levels. These include the genes you inherit, the conditions during your prenatal development, the experiences of your early childhood, the parenting style at home, the nurturing quality of your school and neighborhood, the level of stress you are exposed to, and any vulnerability to or co-occurrence of other mental disorders you may have; all these just to name a few! This high level of complexity explains why it is so difficult to predict who will become addicted and who won't. This difficulty notwithstanding, there are well-known risk factors that help us to identify those who are most vulnerable and focus our prevention efforts. For example, addictions tend to run in families: if your parents smoke, you're more than twice as likely to smoke as someone whose parents do not smoke. Also, if somebody suffers from certain mental illnesses he or she is also more likely to abuse certain drugs and become addicted. check out our publication on the science of addiction at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon TRAVIE - Discovery Secondary School : I heard that weed is a "gateway drug" what does that mean?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : This refers to a theory claiming that taking certain drugs (like marijuana) can lead to taking other drugs (like cocaine). This belief is widely held, but it hasn't been proven. It's just not that simple. People use drugs for a lot of different reasons, but it is not at all clear that use of one type of drug increases the chances of using another type of drug. For more information about the reasons why people use drugs visit www.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon Samantha - Galt High School : Why do you get bad tripps off mushrooms?

    answer icon Steve Grant : People have bad trips for a number of reasons. Mushrooms and other hallucinogens (LSD) have unpredictable effects, and so sometimes the effects are more intense than a person expects. Also the environment that a person is in can have a big effect as well as the psychological state the person is in. So if a person is in a situation where they feel threatened or frightened, the experience will be much more intense and long lasting that usual. Some people get physically sick from mushrooms because the drugs in mushrooms also act on the digestive systems, so if someone feels physcially ill they may think they are dying and that can set off a bad trip.
    You can learn more about hallucinogens by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Hallucinogens/Hallucinogens.html


    user icon RAUL13 - Irving Academy : WHAT THE DIIFERENCE BEWTEEN HEROIN AND COCAIN???:)

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Heroin is a narcotic that makes you sleepy. Other narcotics include medications like morphine, vicodin, and hydrocodone that are prescribed for the control of pain. Cocaine is a stimulant that has the opposite effect - it makes a user energetic and jittery.

    Each of these different classes of drugs acts in different areas in the brain, but ultimately the neurons that they stimulate converge into a common pathway that is involved in rewarding, pleasurable feelings. This feeling is why people sometimes abuse heroin and cocaine. Both heroin and cocaine cause a range of medical problems, and can lead to dependence and addiction. For more information on these, please go to www.drugabuse.gov or www.teens.drugabuse.gov,


    user icon britany - Irving Academy : How many kids do drugs every year ?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--teens are taking better care of themselves today than in the past, and they are well informed about the downsides to drug taking. According to NIDA's Monitoring the Future Study--a national survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders--drug use among teens is down. Since 2001, annual use has fallen by 32 percent among 8th-graders, nearly 25 percent among 10th-graders, and 13 percent among 12th-graders. According to the survey, in 2007 illegal drugs were used by 13% of 8th graders, 28% of 10th graders and 36% of 12th graders. To view more information on high school and youth drug trends, check out: http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/HSYouthtrends.html.


    user icon cool guy 415 - Nueva Vista High School : i love dope is that bad?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : Well, if you love dope that would mean that you probably smoke it a lot. Smoking marijuana can lead to lots of problems -- social, emotional, medical -- and addiction. So, yes, loving dope can be bad.

    If you realize that you just can't stop-then you have probably developed an addiction. If you trust an adult, see if they can help you find treatment. Otherwise, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov to find a treatment program near you.


    user icon lneumeier - Pioneer Technical Center : What are the long term effects of marijuana on the body/brain?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Marijuana acts on processes in the brain that permit the brain to grow and adapt to changing circumstances, such a formation of memories. Marijuana interfers with those processes, and the effects can last a long time after you stop feeling high. Fortunately, research suggests that your brain can recover once you stop taking marijuana although it may take weeks to months for that to happen. You can learn more about marijuana and its effects on the brain by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon CHALLENGE - Challenge Charter High School : WHAT IS CRANK

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Crank is a street term that refers to Crack Cocaine; heroin; amphetamine; and methamphetamine. Often, street terms will change from region to region of the country.


    user icon splinter - McLain Community High School : Is addiction classified as a disaese, and if it is why is it that addicts are treated like criminals rather than patients?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Great question. Addiction was classified by the AMA as a disease in 1964, before tht it was felt to be moral failure, weakness of will, or criminal act. For that reason the laws that we are under today were writen in about 1912. Unfortunately, it is hard to change public policy and the use of drugs is illegal, and therefore addicts are criminals. There are initiatives to get addicts treatment as a option instead of jail, such as drug courts. But we have a system that has these two approaches to the question of addiction. Drug addiction can also lead to changes in their behavior or you might notice changes in their mental states--they have trouble thinking clearly or communicating. Their speech may be erratic and their behavior really unpredictable. These can sometimes lead to criminal behavior such as stealing.


    user icon dizzle - Discovery Secondary School : what if i did bad things for crack cocaine???/ do i need help

    answer icon Aria Crump : I think you're very brave to ask this question. Crack is a highly addictive form of cocaine and using it puts you at great risk at great risk for other health problems as well. I suggest that you talk to a trusted adult about what's happening in your life. I also suggest that you keep in mind how important it is to you and your family that you take care of yourself. I also suggest that you seek drug treatment. Here's a number to get connected to a treatment program: 1-800-662-HELP. Good luck.


    user icon megan6 - South County Secondary School : what are some academic consequences to using nicotine/smokeless tobacco?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Good question. I'm not aware of conclusive results of studies looking at the academic consequences of using smokeless tobacco. I suspect that given the stimulant effect of tobacco, there may be some initial stimulant effects during use but after stopping there may be some "crash" effects with fatigue and somnolence (similar to caffeine crash) and that may lower the academic performance. Your question could be a good subject for a research project.


    user icon ja102806 - Irving Academy : are all steroids bad?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Your body actually produces all the steroids you need, so to call a steroid "bad" makes no sense. You produce a variety of estrogens, progesterones, androgens, cortisol, and cholesterol and many others. Your body needs the right amounts of each to work properly.

    I think you are thinking of androgenic anabolic steroids (which are testosterone-like) that some people use to increase the size of their muscles. Use of too much of these very powerful hormones is not good for you; often their use changes your mood and leads to aggressive behaviors. The other steroids do not have the same effects, and in fact, help you to fight inflammation, and other things.

    For more info on steroids, visit www.steroidabuse.gov


    user icon Samantha - Galt High School : What drug is the worst for the human brain?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Not to be glib, but the drugs you take for fun are the worst for the human brain. The same drug can be helpful or addictive depending on whether you are taking it to treat a medical condition or taking it just for fun. It is virtually impossible to predict which of the abused drugs would be the worst for a particular person. Each drug has its nasty potential to cause significnat damage. Methamphetamine, for example, has particularly damaging effects on the brain and body, while the nicotine in cigarettes is usually the first drug that people take, the hardest to give up, and one that causes the highest number of deaths.


    user icon redneck08 - Lake City Area Schools : people say that smoking is bad, but my grandma has been smoking since she was 14 and she is now 87 years old, is there a reason for this?

    answer icon Joni Rutter : Your grandmother is definitely not like most grandma's-in fact, 8 times out of 10, smoking for that long will have very bad consequences. So, your grandmother is one of the lucky ones in that she didn't develop any serious problems as a result of her habit--but she's not out of the woods yet. In general, smoking has many bad consequences including heart attacks, stroke, emphysema, and cancer. If you want more information on smoking or drugs, see www.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon cbanda116 - Irving Academy : why dose drugs mess up the brain?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Drugs work by mimicking or blocking the effects of chemicals that the brain uses normally. Drugs mess up your brain because they disrupt the normal functioning of the chemical signals in the brain. Learn more about various drugs of abuse at www.drugabuse.gov


    user icon ANTHONY - Discovery Secondary School : WHAT IS marijuana???

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Hi Anthony. Here is some information from our booklet for teens:

    Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. There are more than 200 slang terms for marijuana.

    Sinsemilla (sin-seh-me-yah; its a Spanish word), hashish (hash for short), and hash oil are stronger forms of marijuana.

    All forms of marijuana are mind-altering (psychoactive). In other words, they change how the brain works. They all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuanas effects on the user depend on its strength or potency, which is related to the amount of THC it contains

    To learn more, go to Marijuana for Teens at http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens or check out our teen website information at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    user icon Reginaxo92 - Rockville High School : can smoking marijuana make you want to have sexual intercorse?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi--thanks for your question. Marijuana use can cause changes in your brain that impair your ability to use good judgment and increase the odds that you will engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex. Check out NIDA's "Learn the Link" campaign at: http://hiv.drugabuse.gov/.


    user icon noname - Nueva Vista High School : if i smoke meth once will i become addicted to it or just like alot

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Some drugs are more addicting than others. This means that for some drugs, someone who is predisposed to addiction will have to take the drug a number of times before they become addicted, but for other drugs taking the drug only once can cause addiction; and meth is one of those drugs that just onc use can be addicting. Also, some people are more likely to become addicted than others. The fact is that addiction is a very complex disease, which means that the overall risk of becoming addictedonce you start using drugsis made up of a huge number of contributing risk factors such as the genes you inherit, the experiences of your early childhood, the parenting style at home, the nurturing quality of your school and neighborhood, the level of stress you are exposed to, and any vulnerability to or co-occurrence of other mental disorders you may have; all these just to name a few! However, there are well-known risk factors that help us to identify those who are most vulnerable and focus our prevention efforts. For example, addictions tend to run in families: if your parents smoke, you're more than twice as likely to smoke as someone whose parents do not smoke. Also, if somebody suffers from certain mental illnesses he or she is also more likely to abuse certain drugs and become addicted.


    user icon TRAVIE - Discovery Secondary School : what deos meth do to your head?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Meth causes the release of the neurochemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Meth also triggers an inflammatory response in brain cells, making your brain think that there is an infection. That can lead to brain cells getting damaged or even dying. That is why meth is so dangerous. Learn more about methamphetamine abuse by visiting http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/stimulants


    user icon iceman - Discovery Secondary School : I've been smoking for 7 years. 4 of those years I've smoked everyday. I quit smoking for about 3 weeks but i would like to continue smoking because everything I do now seems boring without weed. Is there anything u can suggest for me?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Wow. You describe a no-win situation: Life with weed, or a boring life. But I'm guessing that the reason you're asking for suggestions is because you suspect that there may be a better way, and the good news is that there is! It is just hard to see it now, because of your addiction to marijuana. Here's my suggestion: Talk with someone who can help you get the help you need. If you can, talk to your parents. If you can't talk to your parents, then talk to a school counselor or another trusted adult. Or, you can call a hotline. You can call 1-800-272-TALK just to talk. Or you can call 1-800-662-HELP to find out where to get treatment. Whatever you choose to do, you should know that life without drugs doesn't have to be boring - that it can be interesting, happy and fulfilling. And you should also know that there ARE effective treatments available. You should be proud of yourself for managing to quit for 3 weeks (that is hard to do once you're addicted, and that is a very good start!), but that 3 weeks without weed (after 7 years with it) doesn't give you a chance to know how good life can be when you are free of feelings coming from the addiction. You've made a good start. Best wishes to you on your quest for a better life!


    user icon Dan 12 - Hopewell Memorial Junior High School : Will ectasy cause you to pass out?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : When a person takes ecstasy they may have a variety of experiences including feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, enhanced sensory perception, and increased physical energy. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. Estasy can cause a dangerous increase in body temperature that can lead to kidney failure. It can also increase heart rate, blood pressure, and heart wall stress, as well as cause nausea, chills, sweating, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. A person can overdose on ecstasy the symptoms can include high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and in severe cases, a loss of consciousness and seizures.


    user icon Grape - Lake City Area Schools : I dont understand when men use steriods why do people say that there penis will shrink is it true?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : People who abuse steroids are usually taking what we call androgenic anabolic steroids. These are chemicals that look like the body's own testosterone and have the same pharmacological effects. These androgens are anabolic, meaning they build up tissue. Many body builders use them because they think they will help increase their muscles. But too much of a good thing (normal amounts of testosterone) can be bad, and too much androgen can reduce your own body's production of testosterone, leading some men to become impotent or infertile. However, your penis will not shrink. It just won't rise to the occasion.


    user icon chikachikaboom - Galt High School : After how much time does ecstasy being to take its toll on one's mind?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Depends on what you mean by taking a toll on your mind. Many people may feel good soon after taking ecstasy, but then feel awful 2-3 days later. Current research shows that ecstasy (MDMA) is more likely to have bad effects if you take multiple doses in one night (bumping). Research also indicates that the more MDMA you take the more of a toll it takes, and that somewhere between 20-50 times is the most likely to lead to persistent impairments. You can learn much more about Ecstasy by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/MDMA.html


    user icon pr1997 - Irving Academy : What affects does marawana have?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Using marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and, contrary to popular belief, it can be addictive. Chronic or long-term exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and can also distort perception. Not surprisingly, students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. There is good news, however, since there is evidence that if an individual quits marijuana, even after long-term or heavy use, their cognitive abilities (learning, memory) can recover.

    For more information on marijuana, see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html


    user icon lneumeier - Pioneer Technical Center : What are the long term effects of marijuana on the body/brain?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Research has found that marijuana actually interferes with specific chemical signals in the brain. Those chemicals regulate the way the brain adapts to and process new stimuli, such as during the creation of new memories. Marijuana interferes with those processes so that information is not processed and stored properly. If you stop taking marijuana the brain can recover, but it may take weeks to months. You can learn much more about the long term effects of marijuana use by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon jennifer6 - South County Secondary School : my dad smokes and ive been trying to tell him to quit but he just wont how can i tell him to stop?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Excellent point. There is no question right now that smoking can produce many health problems and, fortunately, there are many ways to help people quit smoking. The simplest is to give your dad information about the medical problems of smoking that you can find in websites like: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Nicotine.html You can also ask your dad to visit some websites or call some smoking quit lines, where he can get help to quit smoking. Finally, he can talk with his doctor about his nicotine addiction and get a prescription for a medication to help him quit. Right now there are very effective medications that are helping people to quit. The American Cancer Society (800-ACS-2345) also maintains a list of smoking quit lines.


    user icon dizzle - Discovery Secondary School : what is salvia????

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : From our fact sheet on salvia:

    Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is an herb common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. The main active ingredient in Salvia, salvinorin A, is a potent activator of kappa opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors differ from those activated by the more commonly known opioids, such as heroin and morphine.

    Check out the rest at http://drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/salvia.html


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : What is THIZZ?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi--good question! Thizz is a slang term for ecstasy, an illegal drug that has effects similar to those of hallucinogens and stimulants.


    user icon catodd - Bishop Kelley : is Nancy having a bad day?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : No, but thanks for asking!


    user icon pb1996 - Irving Academy : do old people get high just like yung people??

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi Good question! Drug use is not limited to any one age group, anyone can get high. The most common age goup is 18 to 25 and adolescents. Also the risk of using drugs exists for all age groups- no one can use drugs without risk.


    user icon k-dawg&s-man - Freeland High School : Can the use of drugs make you cut yourself or is it just other problems like depression?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Yes, it changes the chemicals in the brain, so in that sense it is like a drug. You can also get a "natural high" by other activities such as sports, friends, even sky diving. A person needs to find healthy positive ways to get a natural high. If you know someone who is cutting themselves, this could mean a serious depression wich should be treated. Encourage this person to talk to a parent teacher or counselor. If you or someone you know feels depressed, talk to a doctor. There are many treatments for depression. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and there are psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : what makes something a drug

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : That's a great question. A drug is a substance that you put into your body to have a certain effect. For example, some drugs are medicines and you would take them to improve your health. Other kinds of drugs are taken because the person thinks they will change their behavior or make them feel better. Some of these are legal, like alcohol and tobacco, and others, like cocaine and marijuana, are not. The drugs in the last two categories can have seriously bad effects on people who use them. You can find out more about that at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/


    user icon homegirl - Irving Academy : How many people had died by smoking,or drinking?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi there! About 450,000 people die from smoking each year, and about 50,000 die as a result of alcoholism each year.


    user icon Latart@RMS - Rancier MS : what is cheese/as a drug?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : "Cheese" heroin or "starter heroin" is a combination of black tar heroin and ground up cold medicine containing acetaminophen and diphenhydramine. The mixture is a powder that is snorted.

    According to users, the effects of "cheese" heroin include euphoria, disorientation, lethargy, sleepiness and hunger. This combination appears to be highly addictive. Withdrawal symptoms from "cheese" heroin may begin within twelve hours of use and include headache, chills, muscle pains, muscle spasms, anxiety, agitation, disorientation and disassociation.


    user icon Kristin JCHigh - Junction City High School : What is sudafed?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : It is a ephedrine compound, which is a stimulant medication. It has the property of opening airways that are stuffed from a cold, but taken in high doses it can cause anxiety, jitteryness, high blood pressure, and even heart beat abnormalities. Even though you are young, undiagnosed heart beat abnormalities are the cause of death for many high school and college atheletes, so even if you are young and in good shape it can cause severe injury. Thanks for your question!


    moderator icon The main chemical in cigarettes that is addictive is:

    1. tar
    2. carbon monoxide
    3. nicotine (correct)
    4. formaldehyde

    user icon joshsucks - Centerpoint High School : how many teens do drugs today and are already addicted?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the most commonly abused substance among teens is alcohol, followed by tobacco. The most commonly abused illegal drug is marijuana. In 2006, 16.6% of 12 to 17 year olds had abused alcohol, 10.4% had abused cigarettes, and 6.8% had abused marijuana in the month prior to the survey.

    How many teens are addicted to drugs? According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2006, 8.0% of youth in the United States (that's more than 2 million) between the ages of 12 and 17 met diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence (addiction) on illicit drugs or alcohol. Of these only 181,000 youths received treatment at a specialty facility--about 8.7 percent of youths who needed treatment.

    You can learn more about drug abuse trends and statistics at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Stats.html.


    user icon clements93 - Galt High School : ive smoked marijuana three times, and im not addicted. i never want to do anything more, like cocaine or meth or anything else, but does this mean that im going to be more suceptible to other drugs? thinking that i wont get addicted so i can stop when i want to? or does it just mean that "it takes time"?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : This is a slippery slope. Smoking marijuana can impair your judgment. So while you think that you won't use other drugs, you can't be sure and the fact is, when you are on drugs you run the very high risk of doing something stupid-like using meth or cocaine or getting in the car when impaired. Remember -- nobody ever plans to become a drug addict.


    user icon yhssydney - Yonkers High School : Why are steroids so popular among athletes?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! Athletes who abuse steroids believe that they will make them stronger and improve their endurance. However, although we know that androgen steroids may make muscles larger, we don't know if bigger muscles work any better. And there are several side effects that are totally undesirable for athletes - and for anybody else too. For more information, visit www.steroidabuse.gov


    user icon abstinence!#14 - Centerpoint High School : what is cocaine made up of?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Cocaine is a chemical all by itself. The version that people snort or inject is the hydrochloride form; the version that makes up crack is the base. And you thought chemistry would never be important!


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : What is marijuana?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--marijuana is a mixture of dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The mixture can be green, brown, or gray. The main active ingredient in marijuana--although it has about 400 different chemicals--is THC. For more information on the effects of marijuana and to learn more about the drug, check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.


    user icon britany - Irving Academy : What do drugs do to kids 12 or under ?

    answer icon Aria Crump : That's a good question, but we don't have a clear answer. Fortunately, it is highly unusual for kids under 12 to use drugs, so very little research has been done on this. We can speculate that drugs might have similar types of effects on younger kids to those they have on older kids. Because younger kids are at an earlier stage in brain development, however, they might be more vulnerable to addiction, and the long-term effects on their thinking and behavior might be more severe. You can find out more about drugs' effects on the brain here: http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon simon chen - George Washington High School : is there anyway if you to take drugs, but not get addicted?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Hi Simon. I don't have an easy answer to your question. Some people are more likely to get addicted than others and there are a number of factors that contribute to your risk of becoming addicted -- both biological and environmental. So it depends on your genes, the nurturing you get from your parents, school and community, the level of stress you are under, your vulnerability to other disorders and problems, and many, many other things. Addictions tend to run in families -- if your parents smoke, you're more than twice as likely to smoke that someone whose parents don't smoke. also, someone suffering from a mental illness is more likely to abuse certain drugs and become addicted. So my advice is stay drug free! Take a look at our publication on the science of addiction at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon stripped_socks - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Does your mental state affect drug use? Example: happy, sad, ect.

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Yes. It has been reported that some people use illicit drugs to "self-medicate" some symptoms of mental disorders. For example, some people may abuse tranquilizers without a prescription when they feel too anxious. Other people may take stimulants when they are sad or depressed. However, when drugs are taken without the supervision of a health care professional a person has no way of knowing how the drugs will impact them and they run the risk of suffering negative consequences.


    user icon MajicPurpleJUJU - South County Secondary School : cocaines not that bad......right?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Wrong! Cocaine is a very addictive drug that can cause heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. Large amounts can cause bizarre and violent behavior. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter.


    user icon JDizzle865 - Cherokee Middle School : is it more likely for older or younger people to OD on drugs

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Good question, drug use is most common among young adults--18 to 25 year olds. See http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh.htm for the latest information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


    user icon ERIN! - C.H.Yoe High School : why did the doctors let heath ledger overdose? i mean....do all doctors not care about their patients health? if i have to have anti depressents will they make me overdose cause my doctor doesnt care if i DIE????

    answer icon Richard Denisco : I do not know the details of Heath Ledger other than what I heard on the news. But if a person does not take medication as prescribed they can die. A doctor can not control what a person does with the medicines prescribed to them. Doctors DO care about a persons health, but the person has a responsibility. If you need antidepressants, talk to your parents and your doctor, and you should get the impression that the doctor does care about you and only wants the best for you. Thanks for your question.


    user icon twinkster - McCreary Academy- Alternative Education : what effects does crystal meth have on your brain and what kind of bodily harm does it do to you

    answer icon Steve Grant : Meth causes the release of the neurochemicals dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Meth also triggers an inflammatory response in brain cells, making your brain think that there is an infection. That can lead to brain cells getting damaged or even dying. Meth also has damging effects on your heart, blood circulation, and other parts of your body. Plus meth supppresses your appetite, so you don't eat as much and become nutritionally deprived. You also don't sleep so well, so your body can't restore itself. That is why meth is so dangerous. Learn more about methamphetamine abuse by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html


    user icon steve stevenson - Galt High School : what does them oxycottens have in em

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi there! OxyContin is a powerful opioid pain reliever that has the medication oxycodone. This drug is chemically related to heroin, opium, codeine and a large number of other substances that are used to treat pain but can be addictive and very dangerous. OxyContin is sometimes prescribed by doctors for medical problems, but these pills are also abused for their effects on the brain. For more information go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/opiates


    user icon lastname - Seminole Middle School : What kinds of diseases do Drugs like Meth give us other than lung cancer(cigaretts, tobbacco , etc.)?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Meth can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and gum disease and tooth decay. You also eat and sleep less when you take meth, so your body doesn't get the proper nutrition and rest required for good general health. So meth can cause a large variety of diseases both directly and indirectly. To learn more about the medical consequences of methamphetamine and other drugs of abuse, you can visit: http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/


    user icon LoveHate<3 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What are the chances of you getting addicted to a drug after one use?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : It is not likely, yet it is important for you to know that we really don't know enough yet about individual vulnerabilities to different drugs. That is, some drugs can be so reinforcing to some people after just a single use, that they are "driven" to go back and use again. So - scientifically, the jury is still out. But when we look at people who abuse illegal drugs, they tend to have also used marijuana and nicotine and alcohol. Each of these drugs can have significant health risks, and it is probably best to avoid these "opportunities.


    user icon cms - Cherokee Middle School : alcohol can damge your brain

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : A lot of kids ask that question. Chronic use or use of large amounts of alcohol can produce brain damage. For more information about alcohol, you can visit http://www.thecoolspot.gov/


    user icon lneumeier - Pioneer Technical Center : What does over use of cough medicine do to you?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Some of the brands of cold and cough meds have ingredients that cause hallucinations when taken in high dosages. This can be dangerous but many kids have abused these substances. According to recent data from the Monitoring The Future over 6% of 12th graders in the US abused these cold and cough medicines in 2007. Thanks for your question!


    user icon TRAVIE - Discovery Secondary School : whats pcp?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : PCP (phencyclidine) is a hallucinogenic drug and was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic. The use of PCP as an approved anesthetic in humans was discontinued in 1965 because patients often became agitated, delusional, and irrational while recovering from its anesthetic effects. There are some nasty adverse effects, both physical and psychological. Check out our fact sheet at http://drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/hallucinogens.html


    user icon rhhs8 - River Hill High School : Can drugs lead to mood disorders?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : "That's a very good question.

    Many drugs of abuse can produce mood changes. For example, cocaine can produce euphoria while marijuana can make people more mellow. In some people the use of certain drugs can produce a severe mood change that can trigger a mood disorder. Also, in people with mood disorders the use of some drugs can worsen the prognosis of the disorder.


    user icon emobird - Galt High School : I am emotionaly unwell. My grades are falling and my last resort is weed. I need some help. Should I smoke more or quit? Help me please.

    answer icon Lisa Onken : I'm so glad that you are asking for help, and I'm so sorry that you are feeling unwell emotionally, and that your grade are falling. The fact that you are writing, though, is a good sign. You've got self-awareness, and you're actively looking for a better answer to your problems than weed. So I think you already know that the answer to your question is that you should quit. But you also know that it isn't that easy to just quit when you're feeling unwell and when you've already started smoking. That said, no matter what your emotional or drug problems are, there IS help out there, and there ARE effective treatments that can help you feel better. So here's what I suggest. If you can talk with your parents, let them know how you're feeling, and let them know that you need help (and you can find out where to get help at 1-800-662-HELP). If you can't talk to your parents, or if feel like they don't understand, then you can speak with your school counselor or another trusted adult. You can also call a hotline to speak with someone in total confidence (1-800-273-TALK). The person at the hotline can help you figure out the next step. You've already taken the first step, and you should feel very good about that. I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of a better, happier, and healthier life!


    user icon 21223011229179 - George Washington High School : where does cocaine and mrijuana come from?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Both cocaine and marijuana come from plants. Plants make these chemicals as defenses against bugs and other organisms that can harm them. Our brain and bodies use similar chemicals to support normal function. Cocaine and marijuana affect us because these chemical look very similar to natural chemicals that are already in our bodies.


    user icon simon chen - George Washington High School : is there a drug that will make you go crazy

    answer icon Kevin Conway : Drugs with psychedelic properties (marijuana, LSD, mushrooms) can temporarily alter your consciousness in major ways-like causing hallucinations or paranoia-so you may experience similar symptoms of major mental illnesses. Also, some studies have suggested that use of marijuana can lead to psychosis in some people.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : arnt some legal drugs just as bad as the ilegal ones?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi, good question! Some legal drugs can cause addiction and overdose death, just like illegal drugs, if they are not taken as directed. However if they are taken as directed they are much safer than illegal drugs, and are used to treat an illness, so the good outweighs the bad. One thing about illegal drugs is that they are made by people who do not care about you-just making money, and will add all kinds of things even poisons to stretch the drug and make more money.


    user icon potatochips - George Washington High School : can someone die from smelling a can of air freshner because it is used to make things smell better right?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Although the scent of some air fresheners is pretty potent (and maybe even unpleasant), the reason someone might die from inhaling air freshener is not because of the scent, but because of the propellant used to get the scent out of the can. The propellant belongs to a class of drugs called inhalants, and these are usually common household products. For more information on how inhalants work, please go to www.inhalants.drugabuse.gov


    user icon fred - Seminole Middle School : What state are drugs most found in?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : Most illegal drugs are found in all states. But some drugs are more common in certain geographic areas--methamphetamine is found more commonly in the western US, especially California and Hawaii. Cocaine is common in Florida, among other states and drugs like marijuana are available everywhere.


    user icon sanborn - Sanborn Regional High School : what age group abuses drugs the most?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : Drug use is most frequent among the age group18-25


    user icon Alex Hom - George Washington High School : What kind of nicknames are there for drugs? I'm afraid some of my friends might be using them because they always talk about words that dont have meaning with their sentences.

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Nicknames (street terms) for drugs can vary from region to region. I can't give you a totally comprehensive listing but the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) does have a pretty long list at http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/streetterms/


    user icon reddie22 - Notre Dame High School : who uses drugs more teens or adults

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : The highest rates of drug use are reported by young adults age 18-25.


    user icon elena:) - New Dorp High School : What is in marijuana that makes you high?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : That's actually a very scientific question. Marijuana is a plant that has many chemical compounds. Among them, there are some called "cannabinoids" and one of them is the tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. When THC reaches the brain it produces the "high" effect. Unfortunately, THC is also responsible for the addictive effects of marijuana. For more information on marijuana, check out www.marijuana-info.org


    user icon yhsjasmine - Yonkers High School : Are there children who die of drugs?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : Unfortunately, yes. People of any age can die of a drug overdose.


    user icon ashcash21 - Sanborn Regional High School : hello JAN LIPKIN!

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Hi back! I hope you're enjoying being in on the chat. We are having a lot of fun answering your questions.


    user icon s.chelsea.soto - McCullough Middle School : how old do majority of the kids start using drugs?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : First, you should know that the majority of kids do not use drugs. Second, there is no absolute answer to the average age that kids start because it varies depending on the drug and a person's race, ethnity, and sex .


    moderator icon Just entering the Chat Room is Dr. Steve Gust who directs NIDA's international program, where he is responsible for coordinating the institute's international research and training activities. He has experience in the development, management and evaluation of many types of research programs in the substance abuse field - including laboratory research on the behavioral and cognitive effects of drugs, studies of the effects of drug use on workplace performance, the development and evaluation of workplace drug policies and programs, and the relationship between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.


    user icon barnes22 - Nueva Vista High School : what happens to you after you make a drug smoothie mixed with meth weed coke and ectacy

    answer icon Steve Grant : I hope you are kidding. For starters, any combination of drugs can lead to greater effects than taking the drugs indivdually. Some of the drugs act to enhance or increase similar effects; other drugs may act in opposite directions. For example, both meth, coke and ecstasy (MDMA) increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Taken together, they add up and pose a serious health risk. Weed will make you sedated and counteract the stimulant effects of meth/coke/ecstasy, so you may end up taking more of the drug combination because you don't think the drugs are working as much. This can lead to a vicious cycle of taking larger and larger amounts of drugs. In short, really bad idea.


    user icon Tam510 - Galt High School : what is the most addictive drug?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Thanks for your question! I wish I could answer it simply, but it's one of those questions that has no clear answer since so many factors are involved. Genetics, environment, and development of a particular user (i.e. a person's age), all play important and changing roles in determining how much a particular drug will lead to addiction. The bottom line is all drugs--including marijuana--can be addictive. Check out our fact sheets for teens on specific drugs: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.


    user icon student - George Washington High School : If you are addicted to one drug, is it most likely to be addicted to another?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Although, people who have an addiction to one drug are more likely to have an addiction to others, this isn't a simple question to answer. Most people who use marijuana do not go on to abuse other illicit drugs, but most people who abuse other drugs have previously used marijuana. For those people, did the marijuana use lead to the use of other drugs? Possibly, and for a number of different reasons. Being exposed to peers who use drugs, having greater access to drugs, greater problems in the first place that led to the initial drug use, or persistent effects of the drug on the brain could all make other drug use more likely. The latter, in fact, is supported by some research done in animals. Thanks for your question and check out our site for more info on addiction: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction


    user icon NigaHiga - South County Secondary School : please answer my question, i really wanna know because im going to become a movie star and i wanna know if smoking will ruin my career as a movie star, please answer!??! you got 5 min to answer before i go!

    answer icon Ivan Montoya :
    Some movie directors think smoking looks cool, but if you want to be healthy movie star, then smoking for sure could ruin your health and your career. Plus it makes you smell bad! For more facts on smoking, check out this site: www.smoking.drugabuse.gov


    user icon polarpuppies - George Washington High School : how addictive can drugs get?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is no end to how addictive drugs can get. Some people struggle with addiction their entire lives. For other people, addiction only ends when drugs end up killing them. People don't' intend to become drug addicts, some may realize they have a problem when it is too late, but in reality, few people even recognize that they have developed a drug problem. That is what makes drug addiction such a problem. Please visit www.drugabuse.gov for more information


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : What drug is most adictive?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--good question, we're getting a lot like it! Because there are so many factors involved, there's really no way to determine this. The bottom line is that all drugs are addictive and can cause harmful effects to your brain and body.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : have people been known to focuse more in school by doing drugs

    answer icon Kevin Conway : Some people think that taking certain drugs will help them in school. While, certain stimulant drugs, like caffeine, in small doses, can enhance concentration can make you more alert, the truth is that if you use too much, it can have the opposite effect and you actually LOSE concentration. And, it is not easy to know how much is too much. Probably the best way to improve your focus in school is to get plenty of sleep at night, eat well, and exercise regularly.


    user icon J.T - Irving Academy : HOW CAN YOU GET HELP?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : I'm very glad you're asking for help. Whether you want help for emotional problems, addictive problems, or problems with friends or at home, you should know that help is available. Of course you can speak with your parents, but if you feel like you can't, you can speak with a school counselor or another trusted adult. And if you don't want to do that, or if you want to speak with someone else as well, you should always know that you' can call a hotline just to talk with someone - confidentially - at 1-800-273-TALK. If you're asking WHERE you can get help for addictive problems, you can call another hotline at 1-800-662-HELP. Best of luck to you, and thanks for reaching out!


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : Is marijuana bad for you?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--a very good question, and one that a lot of other teens are wondering about! The answer is that marijuana has both short term and long term health effects. Also, since marijuana can affect judgment and decision making, using it can lead to risky sexual behavior, resulting in exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. For more information on the health consequences of marijuana, check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana


    user icon raymond125 - George Washington High School : My uncle started smoking a long time ago because of my grandpa died of smoking and he smelled it when he was young. He is still smoking and he is in his mid 50s. When do you think he might die if he doesn't stop smoking soon?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : There is no way to predict when your uncle will die if he continues smoking but it is clear that smoking will increase the risks of getting cardiovascular problems or cancer and the risk of dying earlier will increase. You may want to talk with your uncle about quiting smoking. There are excellent websites to help him achieve it. Why don't you have your uncle read this Web site about how to stop smoking: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/tobacco/cessation. For more information on smoking, try www.smoking.drugabuse.gov. Good Luck. You are a good teen for caring so much about your uncle.


    user icon raymond125 - George Washington High School : Is there more girls that take drugs or is it the other way around?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : The answer depends on the drug. For example, more girls than boys are beginning to use marijuana , tobacco and alcohol for the first time. And more girls than boys are abusing prescription drugs. Also, although fewer girls than boys use cocaine, girls who use cocaine are over three times more likely to become addicted to cocaine than boys who use cocaine. Unfortunately, the gender gap that once existed between males and females (ie. males using more than females) is disappearing for many drugs.


    user icon DCHAVARRIA - Irving Academy : WHY DO PEOPLE USE DRUGS?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Many people use drugs to make them feel better. They could be depressed or unhappy. They could have problems that are difficult to address. But while they may feel okay at first, they are setting themselves up to possibly become dependent or even addicted to them. Drugs of abuse increase the activity of the chemical dopamine in the brain's reward centers, which is what makes you feel good. But the brain soon needs more and more of the drug to achieve that good feeling and that can cause you to crave a drug even in the face of devastating consequences. That uncontrollable craving and use is addiction. Take a look at our publication on the science of addiction at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon Shmaery - Seminole Middle School : How many American do drugs?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : Approximately 20 million Americans reported past month use of illegal drugs in 2007.


    user icon cms - Cherokee Middle School : how many people in america do drugs?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : Approximately 20 million Americans reported past month use of illegal drugs in 2007.


    user icon Avril Rocks - Irving Academy : Which is more bad for you smoking cigarrets or smoking weed

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Great question. They both can be bad because they can produce physical problems and can produce addiction. However, as you know, cigarettes are legal, and marijuana is not legal and has the additional problem of getting you in trouble with the police. For more information on marijuana, check out: www.marijuana-info.org.


    user icon HALEY*** - C.H.Yoe High School : My friend just in an accident ans she is on pills to relieve th pain. Im afraid that if she continues to rely on the pills to reduce the pain she will be addicted to them. How do i prevent this from happening?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Many people who get addicted to pain pills initially take them as prescribed for legitimate medical reasons. She should be encouraged to take the medicine only as directed for the relief of pain and not use them for the feeling they cause. Also some people can develop a physical dependence on pain medications, but this is not addiction and her doctor can wean her off the medicine. For more information on pain medications go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/opiates


    user icon Luz13 - Irving Academy : What will happen if a person smoke,does it affect the persons attitude?

    answer icon Aria Crump : People who smoke regularly usually are addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. They need to keep smoking to maintain high levels of nicotine circulating in their blood, or else they will experience withdrawal. Some of the symptoms of withdrawal are being irritable and anxious. So the answer is yes, smoking affects mood, but mainly during withdrawal.
    Or were you thinking of people who smoke marijuana? Marijuana apparently can have very important effects on attitude. Researchers have suggested that regular marijuana smoking can cause an 'amotivational syndrome', where the smokers lose much of their drive to do thinkgs and experience life. A slang word for this is "slacker".


    user icon student - George Washington High School : do holes from the brain recover?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Drugs rarely cause "holes" in the brain. Some drugs may lead to a loss of brain cells, such as methamphetamine. But most drugs lead to adaptations in brain function that are rarely to the person's benefits. The "holes" in the brain that you may be thinking of could represent measurements of some aspect of brain function where the "hole" is an area that is less functional than other areas, but these are not physically empty spaces in your brain. Fortunately, research has shown that the brain can recover in many cases, at least partially, although it can take months to years.


    user icon raymond125 - George Washington High School : Can girl's perfume make you high if you keep smelling it?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Perfumes are highly complex mixtures of chemicals, but perfumes do not contain any chemicals that we consider to be 'drugs'. Your sense of smell is directly connected to emotional centers in the brain, so it is no surprise that perfume may affect how you feel.


    user icon TRAVIE - Discovery Secondary School : WHAT DEOS METHADOM DO TO YOU?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Methadone is an opioid narcotic that is used as a pain medication or to treat heroin addiction. It can act like a morphine-like medication and cause euphoria, nausea-vomiting, loss of appetitie, slow respiration and as a result cause death. It also can cause heart beat abnormalities which can also prove lethal. It's a very powerful and dangerous medication. For more information on opiates go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/opiates


    moderator icon Did you know that repeated drug abuse can reduce the pleasure we get from natural "highs?"


    user icon simon chen - George Washington High School : how many teens are taking drugs the first time this year?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : Between 1 and 2 million teenages (age 12-17) used illicit drugs for the first time this year.


    user icon Lidanwng - George Washington High School : when drug breaks the body,like brain and lungs,how does it recover? does it recover after u stop,or does it remain broken?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Great question. Drugs work because they mimic chemicals normally used by the brain and body during normal functioning. By blocking or enhancing the normal effects of those chemicals, drugs can lead to long-term changes in the functioning of the brain and body, usually for the worse. Fortunately, the brain and body have an amazing ability to recover from toxic insults, so, given enough time, many functions can return almost to normal. We don't know, however, how long it takes for all functions to return to normal or whether some functions are permantly changed. However, the sooner a person stops abusing drugs, the sooner the healing can begin.


    user icon CHALLENGE - Challenge Charter High School : CAN YOU GET AIDS FROM DRUGS?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Drug use is definitively a risk factor to get AIDS in 2 ways: 1) if you use intravenous drugs (with needles) and use syringes contaminated with the HIV virus and 2) when you use drugs your judgement can be impaired and you might eventually have unprotected sex with someone who is infected with the virus. We once had a public health campaign that said "Get High, Get Stupid, Get AIDS." That says it pretty well. Now we have a campaign called "Learn the Link." This refers to the link between drugs and AIDS. We have a great Web site for teens on this topic. Check out www.hiv.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon TennesseeStar - Big Sandy School : If a man does drugs then gets his wife pregnant will it affect their children

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Thanks for the great question. Unfortunately, we don't know very much about how paternal drug use might affect unborn children. There are some scientific data suggesting that drug use may affect genes, but there is not enough to figure out what that contribution is yet.

    We know a lot more about the effects of drug use on the mother and her unborn child. For example, we know that if a mother uses alcohol during pregnancy, it can cause a very serious disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa50.htm). Research shows that the children of mothers who smoke tobacco while pregnant are more likely to have low birth weight, health problems like asthma, and behavioral disorders. Other drugs can cause still other problems. This is why doctors advise pregnant women to stay away from all drugs for their health and the health of their children.

    We also know that genetics and family environment can contribute to the risk of using drugs, the severity of drug effects, and the risk of becoming addicted. So for people with a family history of drug abuse, on either their father's side or their mother's, it is especially important to avoid becoming a drug user.


    user icon Student - George Washington High School : Konichiwa! How many types of drugs are there in the world and are some drugs more addictive than others?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Konichiwa to you too! I don't have a simple answer to your questions. There are a number of drugs -- you can get information about some of the major ones on our web site --- www.drugabuse.gov. Scientists are reluctant to rank drugs in terms of their addictiveness. There are so many factors that contribute to whether someone will become addicted -- from biological to environmental. It could depend on the genes you inherited, the nurturing you get from your parents, school and community, your vulnerability to other disorders, the level of stress you are under, the drugs that are available to you, and so on. We have a good publication online about the science of addiction that could give you some additional insight -- http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon simon chen - George Washington High School : If you were addicted drugs,is there way for you tor get unaddicted?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Yes. Absolutely yes. Drug addictior n is treatable. In fact, there are many types of effective scientifically-based treatments for drug addiction. If you want to know where to find treatment near you, you can call 1-800-662-HELP. Good question. Thanks for asking it!

    For information on methods of treatment, visit www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/treatmeth.html.


    user icon ja102806 - Irving Academy : how can you tell if some body is doing drugs?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : People who are using drugs typically change their behavior, often abruptly. Drugs become increasingly important to drug users, and everything else becomes less important (like friends, school, sports, hobbies). Some people become erratic, irritable, depressed, anxious, etc. If you think you know someone who is using drugs, you should probably talk to somebody you trust who can offer help. If you're wrong -- that's OK. But if you're right, you might be reaching out to somebody who really needs help. To find a treatment center near you, call 1-800-273-TALK or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.


    user icon i luv louise - Irving Academy : Why do kids get high???

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there. There are many reasons why some children and young teens get high. For instance, many young people smoke marijuana because they see their brothers, sisters, friends, or even older family members using it. Some use marijuana or other drugs because of peer pressure. Others may think its cool to use marijuana or other drugs because they hear songs about drugs and see drugs on TV and in movies. Some kids may feel they need marijuana and other drugs to help them escape from problems at home, at school, or with friends. Remember: You dont have to use marijuana just because you think everybody else is doing it. Most kids and teens do not use drugs!


    user icon lastname - Seminole Middle School : What is the most common chemical, substance, and comany in almost all drugs?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : The most commonly used abused drug is tobacco, followed by alcohol. The most commonly used illegal drug is marijuana.


    user icon elmo - Irving Academy : How do you get HIV/AIDS?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Usually the HIV virus that causes AIDS is transmitted in one of 2 ways: 1) having unprotected sex with someone infected with the virus, 2) sharing and using injection equiptment (e.g., needles) that is contaminated with the virus. There are also some cases that pregnant mother with the virus can pass the virus to the newborn. We have a great Web site for teens about this topic: www.hiv.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : can bipoler medication give you a lot of lows instead of highs

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Bipolar medication should reduce the highs and the lows, in effect, even a person out and make them feel better as a result. It should not increase the low feelings but rather reduce them. Of course all medication reqires adjusting by a physician and the patient should honestly tell them how they are feeling. If you or someone you know feels depressed, talk to a doctor. There are many treatments for depression. There are medications that have been tested and approved by the FDA, and there are psychosocial or behavioral treatments that can help improve feelings of depression that do not involve taking medications.


    user icon pete - Discovery Secondary School : can u over dose on weed can u pleas answer me im asking u nicly

    answer icon Steve Grant : Depends on what you mean by overdose. If you mean die, most drug deaths are cause by either decreased breathing (opiates and alcohol) or heart attacks (stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine). But an overdose can simply mean taking more than you wanted or intended. So in that sense you can overdose on any drug.


    user icon DTorres787 - Irving Academy : How many pepal die of an overdose

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The exact number is not acurately known because the exact cause of death is not always apparent, but in 2005 about 22,400 accidental drug overdoses were reported by the CDC. Thanks for your question!


    user icon DJRocks123 - South County Secondary School : Why do people get addicted to drugs?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : That is a really great question. You probably already know that individuals have different skills and abilities in other aspects of life, so it is natural to expect that different people respond to drugs differently. The ability of drugs to affect different people in different ways is called vulnerability. We do not really understand what makes one person more or less vulnerable to drugs than others, but we believe that genetics most likely influences how people respond to drugs. Other factors are also important, like your family, your social setting, the influence of your peers, and your expectations, which can alter your perceptions of what a drug is doing to you. We are very interesting in learning more about vulnerabilities because that knowledge can help us devise treatment and prevention strategies to reduce drug use. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon Katherine - South County Secondary School : WHAT DO INHALANTS DO TO YOU

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. Regular abuse of inhalants can cause serious harm to the brain and other vital organs including the heart, kidneys, and liver.


    user icon elmo - Irving Academy : Is TABACCO bad for you ?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Tobacco is really bad for you. It can cause cancer, heart disease and a lot of other problems. People who smoke generally do not live as long as non smokers. If you are a teenager and you have started smoking, you might find it harder to quit. You can ask a doctor for help in quitting. If you want more information about the health effects of tobacco, you can visit www.smoking.drugabuse.gov


    user icon babyg32 - Irving Academy : what do foot balls do 2 u..?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : "Foot balls are a street term for amphetamines, which are part of a class of drugs known as stimulants.

    Stimulants elevate mood, increase feelings of well-being, and increase energy and alertness.

    Stimulants often produce a feeling of euphoria in users. Examples of stimulants include cocaine, crack cocaine, amphetamines, Methamphetamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), nicotine, and MDMA (3-4 methylenedioxyMethamphetamine, better known as Ecstasy).

    Get more detials on our teen site at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/stimulants


    user icon lilaznboiXD125 - George Washington High School : A girl I know takes drugs and I can't stop her. I mean like seriously dude she slapped me and I feel offended. What should I do? Should I slap her back?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Who wouldn't feel offended if they are slapped? But NO WAY should you slap her back. I'm glad to hear that you'd like your friend to stop taking drugs. If you can find a time to talk with her when she can listen, and not act aggessively, you can let her know that you're concerned about her drug use. And you can even let her know that she doesn't need to stay addicted - and that you've spoken to someone at NIDA who has told you that there ARE effective treatments for addiction. And you can also let her know that she can call 1-800-662-HELP to find out where to get treatment. Or she can call 1-800-273-TALK just to talk with someone. Good luck!


    user icon midnight - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Why do halluinogens give you flashbacks?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is not conclusive evidence for "flashbacks". Hallucinogens can produce very intense emotional experience and very unique perceptual alterations, and like any intense and novel experience, these can produce long lasting memories. However, these memories are not the same as a reoccurrance of the drug effect itself. You can learn much more about hallucinogens and their specific effects on the brain by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Hallucinogens/Hallucinogens.html


    user icon Katherine - South County Secondary School : Are there legal consequences to using alcohol?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : If you are under 21 years old then the possession of alcohol is illegal and carries various penalties in different states. Also buying alcohol for someone under 21 is illegal and the penalty can even be more severe.


    user icon allen yu - George Washington High School : is it possible to stop using drugs even if you are addicted past help?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : First, you should know that no matter how addicted a person is, they are never passed being helped. If you or a friend or relative are addicted, help is available no matter who you are or where you live. There are some resources that are anonymous - for example, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. They don't just talk about suicide; they can help with a lot of issues including drug abuse, and can connect you with a professional close by. There is also a website with information about treatment programs: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/, which lists them by location. Recovering from addiction is hard, but it can be done. It may require several episodes of treatment, but it is possible to achieve long term recovery and regain your life, so please don't give up hope.


    user icon jill smalley - Apollo Middle School : Are mushrooms addictive?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question! The powerful hallucinogenic chemical in "shrooms" is called psilocybin. Only certain types of mushrooms contain psilocybin, and they are found in tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. You might find it interesting to know that the use of psilocybin is associated with a lot of negative physical and psychological consequences. The physical effects, which appear within 20 minutes of ingestion and last approximately 6 hours, include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. Psychological side effects include hallucinations and an inability to tell fantasy from reality.

    If a user eats a large dose of mushrooms, panic reactions and psychosis may occur. Another big risk is poisoning, if one of the many varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom. While there is no evidence that users may become physically dependent on psilocybin, tolerance for the drug does develop when it is taken continuously over a short period of time (which means that the drug will stop being as effective). Please check out this website for additional information: http://www.drugabuse.gov/about/welcome/messagepsilocybin706.html. Hope this information helps!


    user icon dizzle - Discovery Secondary School : my mom is a heroin addict and my dad is a alchoholic.... i tried to stop smoking weed butt my environment is not helping...... what do i do?????

    answer icon Kevin Conway : You are very smart to realize that your environment and your current drug use are leading you down a very dark road of addiction. The bottom line is that you need to reach out to somebody you can trust -- like a teacher, doctor, priest/rabbi, or find a meeting of narcotics anonymous. Maybe you can ask a friend to help you figure out your options. There is help out there for you -- so start asking for it.. One place to start is at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov or 1-800-662-HELP, where you can find private and confidential help 24/7. If you feel like you need someone to talk to immediately, call 1-800-273-TALK.


    user icon RHS Rider Room - Roosevelt High School : What are the effects of steriods on men and women?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--great question! Steroid use can effect hormone balance. Using steroids, guys can experience shrunken testicles and reduced sperm count. They can also end up with breasts, a condition called gynecomastia. Women who use steroids can become more masculine, their voices can deepen, they can grow excessive body hair and their breast size can decrease.


    user icon anime-naruto - Rockville High School : Does age effect how long an effect of a drug lasts

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Thanks for the question! Each drug has what is known as a half-life, which means how long it takes for 50% of the drug to be metabolized (processed by your body). Larger doses take a longer time to metabolize. If you are very young, it is also likely that you are smaller than an adult, and so a relatively small dose for an adult might be a large dose for you. So, indirectly, age does affect how long a drug lasts! Hope that helps.


    user icon aaf - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Is it true that cocaine makes men turn gay?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : "Not true. Using a drug -- any drug -- does not have an effect on your sexual orientation.

    Cocaine belongs to a class of drugs called "stimulants," because they usually make you feel euphoric, energetic, hyperstimulated, and mentally alert. The high from snorting may last 15 to 20 minutes, while smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Cocaine can also make you feel hypersensitive to touch, sights, and sounds. Some cocaine abusers report feelings of restlessness, irritability and anxiety. Some of the immediate effects after using cocaine include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure. Heavy doses can lead to violent behavior and users may experience tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, and paranoia. As a user begins to increase the dose and/or the frequency of drug taking the duration and intensity of the high may lessen, and once it is over, users can feel very tired and depressed. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug, and while it can make you feel high when you first use it, addiction is a very real albeit unpredictable possibility. Naturally, the wisest move is never to start.

    See http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Cocaine/Cocaine.html for more information.


    user icon Meretrix - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What parts of the brain do tryptamines affect?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Most hallucingenic drugs have either a tryptamine or an indoleamine chemical structure. Current evidence indicates that the hallucinogenic properties of these drugs are due to their ability to bind to a specific class of receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin, known as the 5-HT2a receptor. This receptor is widely distributed throughout the brain, especially in the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. So these drugs affect many parts of the brain.


    user icon Katherine - South County Secondary School : Are there legal consequences for using nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, inhalants, and meth? If so what are they

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Hi there, good question! Getting arrested for possession of any illegal drug can lead to a juvenile record, trouble getting your driver's license, trouble joining the armed forces, trouble getting school loans--these are all the kind of consequences. Also, research shows that drivers on drugs or alcohol have slow reaction times, impaired judgment, and problems responding to signals and sounds on the road which can lead to car accidents.
    Possession of tobacco if you are under 18 and possession of alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal and the penalties vary by state. Buying alcohol for someone under 21 is also illegal and sometimes the penalties for this can be even greater than possession.


    user icon Mark Millich - South County Secondary School : i am very bad at school and i have failed 9 grade three times is it because i smoke and do steriods

    answer icon Aria Crump : Probably not. Cigarettes cause lots of problems, but not problems with learning. Steroids might affect someone's ability to do schoolwork, but only if while they are actually under the influence.
    Many people struggle in school who don't use drugs. Some have learning disabilities and can do better with the right kind of help. I suggest you talk to your school counselor. Good luck.


    user icon Xezbeth - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : How does Lithium affect your brain, and how does it treat Bipolar Disorders?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Lithium stabilizes the electrical potential in the cell membranes in the brain, this causes a "leveling out" of the neurotransmitters in the brain - reducing the highs and the lows. The person feels better because their mood is more stable with less mania and less depression. Thanks for your question.


    user icon student - George Washington High School : why is ghb so powerful?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Thanks for the interesting question! Coma and seizures can occur following use of GHB. Combining GHB with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. GHB and two of its precursors, gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol (BD), have been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and deaths.

    If you are interested in more science-based information on GHB, visit www.ClubDrugs.gov, www.Teens.drugabuse.gov, and www.BacktoSchool.drugabuse.gov; or call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.


    user icon Sanborn - Sanborn Regional High School : What do people mean by when they say a girl has the herps and dont hit that?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there. Herpes is one of many sexually transmitted diseases. Using drugs impairs decision making which can lead to risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. Unprotected sex can lead to herpes, HIV and other STDs. To read more about this, check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/hiv-aids-and-drug-abuse.


    user icon pete - Discovery Secondary School : can u over dose on weed can u tell me because im going to try it for the first time pleas answer me i dont want to die from weed

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : So, I see that you have decided to try weed. Before you act on that decision, and regardless of whether you can over dose on it, there are a few things about weed you should know. First, although it may seem that everyone smokes marijuana that's not the case. In fact, a majority of teens do not use. In a national school survey last year, about 15% of 8th graders, 32% of 10th graders, and 42% of 12th graders reported having used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. Second, what if you try it and like it and then begin regular use? Well, you should know that using marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and, contrary to popular belief, it can be addictive. Chronic or long-term exposure to marijuana smoke, just like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and can also distort perception. Not surprisingly, students who regularly smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers. In addition, marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety although we do not know yet whether marijuana can cause mental illness, particularly in healthy people who are not otherwise vulnerable to these disorders.

    So, those of some things you might want to think about before you decide to try it. Regarding overdose--its not very likely, but people do injure themselves and others if they drive while under the influence of marijuana and some people experience a rather unpleasant anxiety reaction to the drug.
    For more information on marijuana, see: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html


    user icon Justin - Apollo Middle School : Is it true that cocaine was sold commonly as a "Heal-all"??

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Early in the 20th century, before the addictive qualities of cocaine were recognized, people did consider cocaine as a mood elevator. No less than Sigmund Freud used cocaine for this purpose. Around the 1920's, there was a red wine product that contained cocaine, called Vin Mariani. This was removed from the marketplace about 1930. I don't know if there was a product called "Heal-All" but it would be fair to say it was used in this capacity!


    user icon RAUL13 - Irving Academy : WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR LUNGS IF YOUR YOUNG AND TAKE DRUGS THEN YOU GET OLDER AND STOP TAKING DRUGS????

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Well, it depends on the type of drug. The worst effects on the lungs are produced by drugs that are smoked or inhaled because they go directly to the lung and damage the tissues. The long-term effects of smoking depend on many factors like the amount use, the lenghth of time used, and the type of damage to the tissues. For example, the lung disease emphesema---where it is hard to breathe---is associated with smoking and a person with this terrible disease may never recover. For more information on smoking---one of the worst drugs for your lungs---go to: www.smoking.drugabuse.gov


    user icon melisasantacruz - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Is alcoholism passed to generations?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : A family history of alcoholism is a strong risk factor for developing alcoholsim. But, lots of people who have familial alcoholism never become alcoholic themselves, and lots of alcoholics have no family history and yet-they became alcoholics. This means that alcohism does in fact "run in families" but it represents only one of many risk factors associated with alcoholism.


    user icon james - Discovery Secondary School : HOW DOES WEED GET YOU HIGH.

    answer icon Steve Grant : Weed contains a chemical called THC that mimics a chemical found in your brain and that can indirectly affect the dopamine system, which is respopnsible for the feelings of pleasure. You can learn much more about marijuana and its effects on the brain by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon DoubleYouTeeEff - George Washington High School : is there chemicals that can prevent the bad effects of drugs if you do drugs?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There are drugs that can block the effects of drugs of abuse. For example, naloxone will block or eliminate the effects of opiates, and is the standard way of treating opiate overdoses. But combining drugs is always tricky. The best way to avoid the bad effects of drugs is not to take them for recreational purposes in the first place.


    user icon The Joker - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What causes depression?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : There are many reasons for depression, but since this is drug abuse Chat Day, I am thinking that you are wondering if depression is related to drug abuse. The answer is yes. There is evidence that depression does make a person more susceptible to drug abuse. Also, research has show that teens who abuse drugs are more susceptible to depression (and this is especially true for girls). Also, you should know that there is a very strong link between cigarette smoking and depression.

    If you are depressed or you know someone who is depressed, please do seek help. There are a number of effective treatments available for depression, and you might start by discussing this problem with a trusted adult such as your mother, father, teacher, guidance counselor, or member of the clergy.


    user icon MajicPurpleJUJU - South County Secondary School : can you help me i dont have sex i dont do drugs and i dont drink......why dont people like me

    answer icon Aria Crump : Doing drugs and having sex don't actually make kids more or less likeable. According to Monitoring the Future, a study on drug use in the U.S., most kids are not using drugs. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for DI, many aren't having sex. And certainly deciding to have sex or use drugs will not automatically make you liked. The teenage years are really hard for many kids because you're figuring out who you are and your going through so many changes. Find fun safe (and legal) activities to do that fit who you are--and others who like those activities will be there to enjoy your company.


    user icon Aya - Apollo Middle School : PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!!! What chemicals are possessed in Mushrooms to cause people to hullisunate???

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Psylocybin is the chemical in "shrooms" that causes hallucinations. Not all mushrooms contain psilocybin, and accidental poisoning sometimes happens when people eat one of the many kinds of poisonous mushrooms by mistake.

    The use of psilocybin has serious physical and psychological consequences. Effects appear within 20 minutes of ingestion and last approximately 6 hours, including nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. Psilocybin can also cause hallucinations, an inability to tell fantasy from reality, panic and psychosis, particularly with a large dose. For additional information visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/about/welcome/messagepsilocybin706.html.


    user icon hawkgirl666 - George Washington High School : My friend is shooting heroin in the school bathrooms. He is so weird now. Help?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. If you want to help your friend, you can let them know that drug addiction is treatable. That is, there are scientifically-based effective treatments available. And if they wants to find out where they can get this treatment, they can call 1-800-62-HELP. Or, you can let them know that they can speak with someone, anytime, and in confidence at 1-800-272-TALK. Your friend doesn't need to lead their life shooting heroin, seeming "weird" to his friends. Let them know that a scientist at NIDA believes that they can turn their life around. Thanks very much for caring about your friend!

    Your friend should be aware that certain viruses - such as HIV - are spread through "dirty" needles and syringe equipment. Simply abusing a drug can put someone at a big health risk because of affected judgment, but your friend is taking even more chances.


    user icon DoubleYouTeeEff - George Washington High School : what drug is the most dangerous?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : This question is one of our most popular today, but I have no easy answers. It is hard to rank the most dangerous substances. For example, there are instances of someone using an inhalant for the very first time and dying. Tobacco kills 440,000 people a year. Most drugs impair your judgment, which means you might be more likely to engage in risky behavior like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which makes you more likely to get into a serious accident, or engaging in risky sexual behavior, which can lead to contracting deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS.
    Drug abuse can lead to serious medical conditions like cancers, heart disease and liver disease. If you become addicted, the drug soon becomes the most important thing in your life, causing major problems at school, home or work. Take a look at our online publication on the science of addiction at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon KatieRose - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : How does marijuana affect the dopamine receptors?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Marijuana does not have direct effects on dopamine receptors. Marijuana contains a chemical called THC that works on a different receptor called cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors do interact with the dopamine system in many ways, one of which leads to increased release of dopamine. Many drugs act to increase dopamine release or enhance the effects of dopamine, and this is thought to be a common mechanism that starts off the process that leads to addiction.


    user icon samsters - Galt High School : what types of drugs should a person with HIV be taking?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Are you talking about medical treatments? The answer depends on how advance the HIV infection is. In general, HIV infection is treated with medications called "anti-retroviral" medications. Are you talking about illicit (illegal) drugs? People with HIV infection should not use illicit drugs because they can worsen the outcome of the infection. Did you know that taking illegal drugs can actually lead to getting HIV/AIDS? This can happen in two ways. One-if you inject drugs (with a needle) and you share the needle with someone who is infected, you can catch the virus. Two-if you get high, you often have impaired judgement, which can lead to risky sexual behavior. You might end up having unprotected sex wuth someone who has AIDS, with a possible disastrous outcome. We have a great Web site for teens on this subject at: www.hiv.drugabuse.gov


    user icon tiffanyrenee - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Why do poppy seeds show up as a drug on a drug test?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Poppy seeds contain small amounts of opiates (opiate drugs are derived from the poppy). But don't worry--you need to ingest about 7 poppy seed bagels to have a positive drug test--and that is an awful lot of carbohydrate at one sitting!


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : is it normal to be into drugs as a young teen or as an older teen?

    answer icon Aria Crump : If you're asking whether most kids are into drugs, the answer is NO. Every year there's a study conducted of youth drug use in the U.S. called the Monitoring the Future Study. According to this study, only 7% of 8th graders and 22% of 12th graders used any illicit drug in the past 30 days.


    user icon Renald - George Washington High School : what is the first drug known to man?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : I'm guessing it would be a poppy derivative--opium. Or maybe alcohol!


    user icon purpleprinces12 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : 1. What are the symptoms for misuse of vicodine? 2.How can you tell if somebody is under the influence of narcotics?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : The symptoms are the same as for any opioid or morphine like drug. They can be cause you to feel sleepy or "nod out" at inapproriate times, have very narrow pupils, abnormal sweating, loss of appetite and a gray color or complexion. You can tell if you see these signs, plus a loss of interest in school and friends or other activities that used to be interesting, dropping grades, arguments with parents and loss of money-used to buy drugs. For more info go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/educators/curricula-and-lesson-plans/mind-over-matter/opiates


    user icon desiree_s - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Why do relapses occur?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : The bad news is that more often than we want to believe, drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder. When people are addicted to drugs, the brain changes in such a way that even after they are abstinent, they may sometimes find it hard to resist using. It could be because that they are experiencing bad emotional feelings. It could be because something reminds them of the drug. Or it could be something else. But the good news is that even though drug addicts sometimes relapse, this doesn't mean that there aren't effective treatments for addiction. There are. In fact, there are a number of scientifically-based effective treatments for drug addiction. The good news is that even though a drug addict may experience relapse, ultimately, they can still go on to achieve a freedom from addiction. Drug addiction IS a treatable disease.

    Why do so many people seem to relapse after rehab? Sometimes it takes time to learn how to live without drugs. As with other chronic illnesses, like asthma or diabetes, relapses can occur, and signal a need for treatment to be reinstated or adjusted.


    user icon somethingsimple - River Hill High School : What does heroine do to your body when you inject it?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Great question. Heroin is chemically much like morphine and other opiates (like vicodin) which are used to relieve pain. But heroin is much stronger. It can cause many problems, including death, when a person takes too much. Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are always at risk of overdose or death. And even if heroin doesn't cause death, it can cause a variety of other problems. For example, it can cause changes in the brain that make a person addicted to heroin - they then need the drug to avoid going through a difficult withdrawal.

    Most people who use heroin reach a point where they will do anything to get heroin and their interest in other things, such as school, sports, relationships, etc., disappears. Interestingly, one of the side effects of opiates is that they can cause intense itching. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon rasta - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Are addictive personalities towards drugs passed on through genes?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : The notion of an "addictive personality" has largely been rejected by research. But, personality traits are probably heritable, some personality traits are more common among addicts than non-addicdts, and there is some evidence that certain personality traits (such as impulsivity-having a tendency to act on sudden urges or desires) are more common in families of addicts than families of non-addicts. It seems possible that the genes that are associated with drug addiction are similar to the genes that are associated with impulsivity (thereby suggesting shared genetic factors), and there are several studies that are trying to figure this out.


    user icon hopy09 - C.H.Yoe High School : What do you think is the next drug that might become the next big drug abuser? Like date rape drugs, cocaine, ect.

    answer icon Aria Crump : Let me look into my crystal ball... Seriously, there is a very disturbing trend toward the use of prescription drugs, most notably "opioid analgeisics" or synthetic opiate drugs prescribed by doctors to relieve pain. While rates of the use of most illicit drug use have declined or held steady over the past several years there has been an increase in the use of these drugs. You may have read or heard about some well-known people who have had problems with addiction to opioid analgesics--and it turns out that some youth are trying this too. In fact as many as 5% of 12th graders in the Monitoring the Future Survey report using Oxycontin, one of the opioid analgesics. Researchers believe youth think these are safe alternatives to street drugs, when in fact they are only safe when used as prescribed by a doctor.


    user icon Katherine - South County Secondary School : Please answer this, I've asked a billion questions but nobody is answering. What are some physical effects of using alcohol, meth, and inhalants?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi Kathrine! Each of these substances can have dangerous physical effects--both short term and long term. Inhalants can effect the functioning of vital organs such as your kidneys and liver. Chronic, long-term use of meth can lead to psychotic behavior, hallucinations, and stroke. Research has shown that alcohol can have long-term effects on your heart, among other things (aside from the effects it has on one's judgment and decision-making). For more detailed information on the effects of specific drugs, visit: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts.


    user icon almost17 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Is there really any way to help out a person that has an addiction? If so, how can we help them?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Good question! Yes, sometimes it seems (from what we read and see on TV ) that there's no way out of addiction. But this is simply not true. The truth is that there are many effective treatments for addiction. Many effective scientifically-based treatments, I should say. If you are a friend of a person who is addicted, and if you are a close enough friend that you can talk to that person, you can let that person know of your concern. And you can tell that person that addiction is treatable. And you can even tell that person that help is just a phone call away--- And that if they call 1-800-662-HELP, they can find out where to get treatment. Thanks for being concerned, and looking for solutions!


    user icon Katherine - South County Secondary School : What are some social consequences of using nicotine, marijuana, alcohol, inhalants, and meth? IF you dont answer i am going to assume there arent any

    answer icon Cindy Miner : You should take the time to read through some of the answers we've posted today, we've addressed this question many times, there are many consequences, explore the chat day transcript!


    user icon isaac l - South Fentress Elementary : can u get high from eatin mushrooms

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : If someone eats the kind of mushroom that contains the chemical psilocybin, they may experience hallucinations - but they can also experience panic, psychosis, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and lack of coordination. Not all mushrooms contain psilocybin, and if someone mistakenly eats the wrong kind of mushroom, they can be poisoned. Please see this website for additional information: http://www.drugabuse.gov/about/welcome/messagepsilocybin706.html.


    user icon melisasantacruz - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Some people feel depressed after doing marijuana? Why is that?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Marijuana, like most drugs affects the front part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex), the thinking center that powers our ability to plan, solve problems, and make decisions. Also, the abuse of drugs directly or indirectly target the brains reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine, a brain chemical that makes us feel good. Repeated drug abuse can reduce the pleasure we get from natural highs and also causes depression as a reslt of this depletion of dopamine. In 2006, over 289,000 people entering drug treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse. For more info go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana Thanks for your question!


    user icon tiffanyrenee - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What are the main causes for drug use?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : It is very difficult to identify causes of drug use (or any sort of behavior, for that matter). Rather, researchers have identified factors that increase (risk factors) or decrease (protective factors) the risk for drug use. Some of these are listed below. Research has also shown that many of the same factors apply to other behaviors such as youth violence, delinquency, school dropout, risky sexual behaviors, and teen pregnancy.

    Protective factors:

    • strong and positive family bonds;
    • parental monitoring of children's activities and peers;
    • clear rules of conduct that are consistently enforced within the family;
    • involvement of parents in the lives of their children;
    • success in school performance; strong bonds with institutions, such as school and religious organizations; and
    • adoption of conventional norms about drug use.

    Risk factors:

    • chaotic home environments, particularly in which parents abuse substances or suffer from mental illnesses;
    • ineffective parenting, especially with children with difficult temperaments or conduct disorders;
    • lack of parent-child attachments and nurturing;
    • inappropriately shy or aggressive behavior in the classroom;
    • failure in school performance;
    • poor social coping skills;
    • affiliations with peers displaying deviant behaviors; and
    • perceptions of approval of drug-using behaviors in family, work, school, peer, and community environments.


    user icon DTorres787 - Irving Academy : Can you eat weed and get hi

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Yes. But my advice is to stay drug free! Marijuana has a number of adverse physical, mental, emotional and behaviorial effects. It can even be addictive. Check out http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html


    user icon snuggles - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : If a pregnet woman is addicted to the drug, and doctors know that the baby will be a drug baby, isn't there a way to help the baby become a healthy baby?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : I am so glad you asked that question because the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! From your question, I assume that you know a pregnant woman who uses drugs. Maybe it is you, your mother, your sister, your friend. It doesn't matter who it is, they can get treatment for their drug addiction so that the baby will be born as healthly as possible. It is important that they get proper prenatal care, because for some drugs the baby will require specialized care when it is born (for example, if the mom is addicted to heroin, the baby will need to be treated at birth). There are some resources that are anonymous - for example, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. They don't just talk about suicide; they can help with a lot of issues including drug abuse, and can connect the person with a professional close by. There is also a website with information about treatment programs: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/, which lists programs by location. Also, you should know that there is research showing that the early environment in which a baby is raised can also strongly effect the baby's development --making it even more urgent that the mom gets treatment and the baby gets the best chance possible to have a healthy happy live.


    user icon Meretrix - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Is there any research into hallucinogens being used as spiritual or mystical aids?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Yes, there is. John Halperin at Harvard is involved in research using ayahuasca.


    user icon ally666 - Challenge Charter High School : what in drugs makes u so addicted?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Drugs interfere with brain systems that signal what things in the enviroment are important and worth paying attention to. Repeated use of drugs leads to the brain placing more value on things associated with drug use than any of the other things one should naturally pay attention to (like food, family, and friends). In addition, drugs interfere with brain systems that allow us to recognize when we make mistakes, inhibit actions that lead to bad consequences, and design complex strategies to pursue long-term goals. So over time, the brain is fooled into thinking that drugs are the most important things in the world, and ignores any bad consequences that are associated with drug use. You can learn much more about drugs of abuse and their ill effects by visiting


    user icon CHALLENGE - Challenge Charter High School : HOW BADDOES MAIJUANA KILL YOUR BRIAN CSLLS?

    answer icon Steve Grant : There is no evidence that marijuana kills brain cells. However, marijuana can cause long term adaptations in brain cells that can take months to return to normal.


    user icon elephant - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : I have a friend that took ecstacy not knowing that she was 2 weeks pregnant, will the ecstacy affect the baby when it is born?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : It is hard to predict whether the baby will be affected. But, what's more important for her to know is that the best way to make sure the baby is born as healthy as possible is to make sure she gets help for her drug use if she is still using ecstasy or any other illegal drugs. And, of course, if she hasn't already seen a medical doctor, she should see one as soon as possible to make sure she stays healtly throuout her pregnancy. Instead of feeling guilty about using ecstasy when she was 2 weeks pregnant, she should take all steps she can from now on to make sure she and her baby are healthy (and not exposed to drugs) for the rest of her pregnancy.


    user icon Boby Brown - Lewis-Palmer High School : can you die from doing ectacy once?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Good question. It's possible. Ecstasy can be dangerous in high doses. It can cause a noticeable increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which also has been associated with dehydration. Hyperthermia can lead to cardiovascular problems, seizures, liver failure, and muscle breakdown that can cause kidney failure. These have been reported in some fatal cases at raves.


    user icon cindy - George Washington High School : Why does steroids make you faster/grow muscles faster when it's bad for you ?

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Excellent question. Sometimes something that seems to be good for you in one way can be bad for you in other ways. While you can get bigger muscles with steroids, it certainly is not worth it! Major effects of steroid abuse can occur due to hormone imbalances in the body. In males, adverse effects may include shrinking of the testicles and breast development. In females, adverse effects may include growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, and deepened voice. In teenagers, growth may be halted prematurely and permanently. Other adverse effects can include severe acne, high blood pressure and jaundice. YUK! In some rare cases liver and kidney tumors or even cancer may develop. For more information on steroids check out www.steroidabuse.gov.


    user icon CVHS_Shani-poo - Casa Verde High School : Why are depressed teens more likely to do drugs than those who are considered "normal teens?"

    answer icon Ivan Montoya : Scientists are studying the relationship between drug use and mental illness, like depression. Which comes first? Do teens use drugs to make them feel less depressed...or does the drug use contribute to the depression? We don't know all the answers yet. Drug use may be a means of self-medicating an existing or mental illness that has not yet been treated by a doctor ; it may also be a sign 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.Confused? If you are feeling depressed, you should seek help from a parent, counselor or doctor. Taking drugs will only cause more problems. You can find someone to talk to at 1-800-662-HELP. It's free!


    user icon White - Seminole Middle School : why are people doing drugs?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : There are a number of reasons people use drugs. They may feel depressed or unhappy and just want to feel better. The problem is that after a while the brain needs more and more of a drug to get the same pleasurable feelings. This can lead to cravings and compulsive drug taking even in the face of terrible consequences. Check out the science of addiction at http://drugabuse.gov/scienceofaddiction/


    user icon sdb - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : If harmful drugs block off dopamine receptors, and eventually destroy them, how is it possible that addicts continue to feel the high?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Drugs do not actually destroy dopamine receptors. Instead, with repeated use, they seem to "reset" the functioning and fine tuning of the neurons that respond to dopamine.

    You can think of drug actions and their effects as forming a circuit that produces the effect. There is a lot of redundancy in the brain, so several circuits can activate the same function (remember that you "only" use about a tenth of your brain power! The rest is in back up circuitry!). The chemicals (neurotransmitters) that are involved in producing rewarding effects can also be picked up by distinct but closely related neurons (dopamine neurons can take up serotonin and vice versa), so there are many ways to keep the high going. That is one of the reasons it is SO hard to quit.


    user icon freshprinceofbk - Bishop Kelley : what are your thoughts on the rap industry's references to drug use, specifically snoop dogg's lyrics "hey hey hey. Smoke weed every day."

    answer icon Aria Crump : As you may know, there's a real controversy brewing around the question you raise. Believe it or not, there are actually researchers who are interested in the impact that music lyrics have on young people's decisions about drugs.
    Some people feel that songs and other entertaiment reflect society, and only reflect behaviors that are already present. But there is certainly research to suggest that the media can influence how people behave. Such research has led to efforts to reduce the amount of smoking in movies.
    While definitive evidence is still needed, I believe that the music industry reinforces the notion that drug use is common and acceptable and may send a message that drugs are more widely used than they really are. However, I think it's important to applaud the efforts of the musicians who are out there who try to provide a realisic picture of drug use. Finally, I think it's important to acknowledge that drug references have been in various kinds of music and entertainment for decades and this is not solely a rap industry issue.
    You've asked a good and important question. Maybe you should become a researcher!


    user icon Meretrix - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What are the effects of phenethylamines such as the 2C family, mescaline, or any 2,5-Dimethoxy such as DOB/DOI/DOM?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : I would refer you to the latest edition of Goodman and Gilman.


    user icon lneumeier - Pioneer Technical Center : Does getting a dog high on marijuana have the same effects as a person getting high on marijuana?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : We can't ask the dog. But why would you want to do that to an innocent, trusting dog?


    user icon hello - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Why doesnt your body reject drugs if their so bad for you?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : Rejection is an immune response; drugs of abuse are too small to mount an immune response without being linked to an adjuvant.


    user icon freshprinceofbk - Bishop Kelley : Why does meth affect your appearance?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Meth affects your appearance for many reasons. Two major reasons is that when you take meth you don't sleep or eat properly. Nobody looks good if they don't sleep or eat right. Plus meth affects blood circulation, which is likely the reason for bad skin and gum disease as well as neglecting your hygiene in general. To learn more about meth abuse and its effects visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Methamphetamine.html


    user icon Ixxxxxxx - Junction City High School : my parents have tried drugs but they never continued with it... is it possible to be the same with me?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : This is a slippery slope. Genetics plays a role in addiction-so you are very lucky that neither of your parents developed an addiction to drugs. This doesn't mean, however, that you won't. Addiction depends on a number of factors, including the drugs used-your environment-the age at first use, etc. Remember -- nobody ever plans to become a drug addict. To learn more about drug abuse, visit www.drugabuse.gov.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : I have a friend that smokes crack. How do I stop her?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Good question. But this is also a tough question, because there is no way that a friend can definitely make another friend stop smoking crack. But if you have a good enough relationship with her to speak openly, you can tell her that you are concerned about the crack smoking. And you can let her know that there are several effective and scientifically-based treatments for cocaine addiction. And you can also tell her about a hotline that tells you where to get treatment (1-800-662-HELP). Good luck, and thanks for being a caring friend!


    user icon juggernaut - George Washington High School : Can alcohol kill a person even if it is the person's first time?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Yes, if the person ingests a lethal amount it can kill them, it makes no difference if it is the first or 100th time. Also, drinking and driving can impair driving, which can lead to car accidents.
    For information on alcohol, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism Web site at: www.niaaa.nih.gov.


    user icon GeorginaLFP - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What does AMT do to your body?

    answer icon Steve Grant : AMT is classified as a halluncinogen, although it is relatively mild compared to LSD or other such drugs. Halluncinogens act by interfering with the neurotransmitter serotonin at a sub-class of receptors known as the 5-HT2a receptor. You can read more about hallucinogens by visitng http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Hallucinogens/Hallucinogens.html


    user icon student - George Washington High School : what is meth?

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It is very toxic and has devastating, negative consequences. Take a look at our research report for more information at http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Methamph/methamph3.html#short


    user icon Carlos - Apollo Middle School : what can make people go to drugs

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--there are different reasons why some people resort to drugs. Peer pressure is one reason. Other people see their friends and family members using drugs and try it because they think it's cool. The bottom line is that most kids and adults aren't using drugs--so don't let people tell you otherwise! To read the personal stories of teens who have abused drugs, check out: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/stories/index.asp


    user icon replytoquestion - George Washington High School : are any drugs safe?

    answer icon Richard Denisco : While it is true that some drugs are more dangerous than others, all have some risk, and the risk is different for different people so you can never be sure that a particular drug will be safe for you. Also, if it is an illegal drug you have no idea who manufactured it or what is really in it. Many people add dangerous chemicals to stretch the drugs effect and increase the amont of money they can make. For more information go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts


    user icon devera - George Washington High School : how is prescription drugs good for you

    answer icon Richard Denisco : If you take them as prescribed by your doctor - for a valid medical reason. Thanks for your question!


    user icon pb1996 - Irving Academy : what if parents take drugs and have children,and if the parents makethe childens drink it, will the little kids get sick really fast????

    answer icon Kevin Conway : It is always dangerous for children to use drugs or alcohol. Some studies suggest that kids of alcoholics (or drug addicts) are more susceptible to the effects of drugs because they metabolize alcohol or drugs differently from kids of parents who aren't alcoholics or drug addicts. So, it is especially dangerous for children of alcoholics or drug addicts to use substances.


    user icon student - George Washington High School : if this lady's pregnet w/ this dude that is addicted to drugs will it mess up the baby too? and if she's pregnet and she drinks the baby gets "addicted" to the drug or w/e so that means that when it grows up then it will be addicted to it?

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : That is a very good question about the baby's father. Unfortunately, there has not been enough reseach to answer that question. But, we do know that if the pregnant woman uses drugs or alcohol while she's pregnant, that could be harmful for the baby, and she therefore should get treatment for her drug use. But being exposed to alcohol or a drug doesn't mean that the person will be addicted to that substance as an adult.


    user icon Kayseh<3 - Apollo Middle School : What is the best thing to do if you are aware of someone who does drugs and needs proffesional help ? O:

    answer icon Aria Crump : I suggest that you let the person know that you care about him/her and would like to provide support. Be clear, though, that if the person is thretening his well being or the well being of others, and particularly if he/she shows signs that using drugs is interfering with his/her functioning, treatment is needed. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a helpline that can help this person locate a treatment program: 1-800-662-HELP.


    user icon challenge - Challenge Charter High School : can alcohol kill you faster if your short very short

    answer icon Cora Lee Wetherington : absolutely not


    user icon CherryRed16 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Why would someone want to persuade their so-called friends to do drugs?

    answer icon Aria Crump : Many drugs are used socially, that is, within groups. Perhaps the best example is alcohol, which is commonly shared between people. Someone may think that they are including you in the group by offering you a drug. Unfortunately, this is the way many people start using drugs--because someone who is a friend offers the drug. Ultimately, you have to decide what groups you are willing to be a part of and you will have to decide who your friends are. This may be one of the most important decisions you make as chosing friends who will support your smart decisions (about drugs and other matters as well) can have a major impact on your success in life.


    user icon emericaskater10 - Gonzaga Preparatory School : Does doing drugs affect you sexual experinces?

    answer icon Stephanie Older : Hi there--drugs can cause you to engage in risky behaviors that you might not otherwise engage in. Unprotected sex is an example of a risky behavior. This can lead to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.


    user icon Latart@RMS - Rancier MS : If a male takes female steroids,what might happen?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : You may get breasts and the desire to go shopping. A lot.


    user icon lneumeier - Pioneer Technical Center : What is LSD? Is it true that LSD is also in ecstasy?

    answer icon Nancy Pilotte : LSD = Lysergic acid diethylamide. LSD is different than ecstasy, but you can never be sure of what you are getting when you get things like ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) from people who do not submit their products to the FDA or other regulatory bodies. Anyone can mix anything into those pills, and LSD has been reported in some, as has been PCP, lactate, and many other things.


    user icon annayu123 - George Washington High School : if you use drugs is there a medicine that can help you

    answer icon Richard Denisco : Yes there are, but you should consult an expert in addiction medicine for the proper medicine for the drug that a person is addicted to. For more information go to http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts


    user icon #2011 - Lake City Area Schools : can you physically be addicted to pot?

    answer icon Steve Grant : Yes. Recent research has demonstrated that long term, heavy use of pot can result in an abstinence syndrome when you stop using. The syndrome was difficult to characterize because marijuana leaves the body so slowly that the symptoms don't appear for about 1-2 weeks. The main symptoms are irritability, inability to sleep, memory problems and difficulty in concentrating. Most of the symptoms disappear after about a month. You can learn much more about the effects of marijuana abuse by visiting http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens


    user icon CherryRed16 - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : What is the drug that people with a higher income would be drawn to?

    answer icon Kevin Conway : People can be drawn to drugs for lots of different reasons. And, addiction is a disease that affects people from all income levels. Some say that addiction is an "equal opportunity" disease.


    user icon Daniella - Center for Advanced Research and Technology : Please if you could just answer this question really fast. Will a person be affected by proscibed and monitored steriods and will it hurt them in the long run? Thank You!

    answer icon Cindy Miner : Steroids can be used safely if they are prescribed and your use is monitored by a physician.


    user icon <3Roxy<3 - Galt High School : I have a friend that stopped doing drugs for about a few weeks now. Will they ever go back into doing drugs again and if they do what should I do?

    answer icon Lisa Onken : Congratulations to your friend! And good question. I share your hope that your friend has stopped for good. But many times people who are trying to quit using drugs start using again. That is, they have a relapse. Relapsing doesn't mean that you will always be a drug addict. But if your friend has a relapse, and isn't in drug addiction treatment, it is probably wise for your friend to start. If your friend needs treatment, you can let your friend know that there are effective treatments available, and that your friend can find treatment by calling 1-800-662-HELP. Best if luck to you and to your friend!


    user icon yhsdillon - Yonkers High School : can i take drugs to make me better at football

    answer icon Jan Lipkin : It can be dangerous and counterproductive. One of our researchers has come up with programs for high school athletes that uses nutrition and exercise to improve your abilities -- they are called ATHENA and ATLAS. Take a look at our information about the negative consequences of steroids at www.steroidabuse.gov


    moderator icon Thanks to everyone who participated in our second Drug Facts Chat Day. We received over 11,000 questions. We tried to answer as many questions as we could, but we couldn't get to them all. We encourge everyone to go to our website, http://www.drugabuse.gov/. You will find answers to many of your questions there. We will also be posting the transcription of our chat day in a few days, so if you didn't see your question answered, come back to see if we got to answer it or a question similar to it at a later time!!!! See you next year, when we do our next Chat Day. Thanks also to all of our scientists who took time out of their busy days to answer your questions!

    Back on to 8 am to Noon transcript