NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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What Are Teens Asking About Drugs?

Sara Bellum

November 10th is NIDA's annual DRUG FACTS CHAT DAY! In case you haven't heard of it—more than 40 NIDA scientists and science writers sit down at computers and answer questions sent in live from high school students from all over the country. Last year, 11,000 teens sent in their questions! To actually ask a question on the CHAT your school has to register in advance. But even if you haven't registered, there's a lot of interesting stuff to read by just observing Chat Day, on November 10, 8 am to 6 pm EST. You'll see factoids and quizzes (test your "drug IQ") and links to other sites. And if you are curious to know what kids ask about, the transcripts from the 2007 and 2008 CHATS are also posted.

What do you think the most popular questions were? Last year teens asked a lot of questions about marijuana, cigarettes, and alcohol (yes alcohol and cigarettes are drugs too). They also wanted to know what the "worst" drugs are, and what happens if someone who's pregnant uses drugs.

There were also lots of questions about the effects of drugs on the body, and teens asked how they could find help for friends who had problems with drugs. The most important thing to know about NIDA's DRUG FACTS CHAT DAY is that the scientists just want to give teens the scientific facts about drugs—no lectures.

Girl on a computer.

So if you're near a computer (which you are if you are reading this!) take a look at NIDA's DRUG FACTS CHAT DAY webpage. See if the question you would ask is being asked by someone else. And next year, ask your teacher to register, so your class can post questions directly to NIDA scientists!

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what is the worst drug to take

@faithy--that's a tough one to answer. Funny--we had a very similar question come up at our last chat day. Here's what one of our NIDA scientists said to it:

casa grande - Casa Grande Union High School, Arizona: Are some drugs more addicting/harmful than others? If so, which ones are worst? Which ones are least addictive

Steve Grant: Whichever one you are using. Some drugs can kill you quickly (heroin, methamphetamine), and some can kill you slowly (nicotine). Some won't kill you, but will ruin your health or life prospects. There is a lot we still don't know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so when you choose to use drugs it's a little like playing 'Russian Roulette'. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it.

weed is the worst drug


weed is very bad for your body

It's held yearly?

@Eva--Yes, our Chat Day so far has been held yearly, and we plan to keep it up!

haha thats soooooo cool i like it ! :)

how many teens smoke in one year

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 4.4 million teens (aged 12-17) used tobacco products in 2010. That’s about 18 percent. The full NSDUH results are available at You may also want to check out NIDA’s Monitoring the Future Survey results at

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