Substance Abuse: Fact & Fiction

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This quiz will help test your knowledge about substance abuse. Some of the answers may surprise you.


  1. The drug most frequently abused in the United States is: 
    • cocaine 
    • marijuana 
    • alcohol
  2. The average age of the first time drug user is: 
    • 16.3 years 
    • 12.5 years 
    • 20.7 years
  3. How long does marijuana stay in the body after it is smoked? 
    • 12 hours 
    • 2 days 
    • up to 2 months
  4. If a person takes a drug and doesn't suffer any negative effects, that person's response to another dose of the same size will be:
    • the same 
    • improved, since the body is used to the drug 
    • unpredictable
  5. The purity of illicit drugs such as marijuana and cocaine: 
    • is essentially the same as it was 20 years ago 
    • has dangerously increased 
    • has decreased, as dealers dilute drugs to get more sales out of one lot
  6. The only way to sober up someone who has been drinking is: 
    • black coffee or caffeine 
    • walking and a cold shower 
    • time
  7. A person can be treated for drug problems without getting in legal trouble: 
    • under federal law 
    • if the person is a minor 
    • if the person hasn't committed any other crime
  8. Cocaine is: 
    • addictive only if smoked or injected 
    • not addictive if it isn't used regularly 
    • a powerfully addictive illicit drug
  9. Alcohol should never be used with: 
    • amphetamines 
    • cocaine 
    • sedatives
  10. Most first-time drug users are induced to try a drug by: 
    • drug dealers 
    • friends 
    • curiosity
      1. Alcohol. More than 100 million Americans use alcohol and 37 million use other drugs. About 18 million Americans are alcoholics, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. 
      2. 12.5 years. The age of first-time users of both alcohol and drugs has been steadily dropping, and use frequently begins in grade school. 
      3. Up to 2 months. The effects from smoking a single marijuana cigarette can last more than one day, although users are often not aware they are still under the influence of the drug. Since marijuana's active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) accumulates in fatty tissues, it may take many weeks before all traces of THC disappear from the body of a regular user. 
      4. Unpredictable. Many factors influence a person's reaction to a drug, including stress, general heath, and other drug use. A drug dose of the same size may not have the same purity, and previous drug use may cause biochemical changes in the body. That is why people who have "safely" used cocaine or inhalants may suffer sudden death from cardiac arrest, respiratory failure or brain hemorrhage after taking another same-size dose. 
      5. Has dangerously increased. Marijuana contains three times as much THC as it did 20 years ago, and cocaine purity has increased 20 to 80 percent. Users are at risk because they are unable to estimate a dose's purity or their physical response to it. 
      6. Time. A person is not sober until the body has time to eliminate alcohol from the bloodstream, usually about two hours for every drink taken. This process cannot be speeded up by exercise, caffeine or body shocks. 
      7. Under federal law. Federal law allows people with drug problems to seek medical help, and in most instances requires treatment center staff to keep information about the patient confidential. 
      8. A powerfully addictive illicit drug. Human beings will destroy their jobs, finances, families and health to get cocaine. People who use cocaine may be unable to turn it down when it is offered, or may be unable to cope with stress, or handle other situations without it. 
      9. Sedatives. Alcohol is a sedative. When combined with tranquilizers, sleeping pills or other sedatives, the cumulative effect may result in impaired physical and mental functioning, coma, or death. 
      10. Friends. Peer pressure from friends, along with the appearance that the friends are "safely" using the substance, most often induces nonusers, especially children and teens, to try drugs.