Definition of drug noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//drʌɡ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//drʌɡ//
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  1. 1  an illegal substance that some people smoke, inject, etc. for the physical and mental effects it has He does not smoke or take drugs. teenagers experimenting with drugs I found out Steve was on drugs (= regularly used drugs). drug and alcohol abuse a hard (= very harmful) drug such as heroin a soft drug (= one that is not considered very harmful) Drugs have been seized with a street value of two million dollars. She was a drug addict (= could not stop using drugs). She was found to be under the influence of drugs. He was charged with pushing drugs (= selling them). (informal) I don't do drugs (= use them). drug rehabilitation Wordfinderabuse, addict, deal, dependence, detoxification, drug, hallucinate, overdose, rehab, withdrawal CulturedrugsThe problem of drug abuse, the use of drugs for pleasure, is common in Britain and the US, especially among young people, but using drugs is illegal in both countries. Most teenagers try drugs before they leave school, and many of them use drugs regularly. There is also concern that younger children are being offered drugs. Drugs are much more widely available today than they were in the past and can be easily obtained from pushers (= drug sellers) on the streets, in schools, at nightclubs and elsewhere.Many different drugs are available, each known by a variety of slang names. They include amphetamines (uppers or speed), barbiturates (barbs or downers), cannabis (marijuana, dope, grass, pot or weed), cocaine (coke, crack, ice or snow), heroin (junk or smack), LSD (acid), and also benzodiazepines which are sometimes prescribed by doctors as tranquillizers. Other drugs include mescaline, methadone, morphine, nitrates (poppers) and phencyclidine (angel dust or PCP). Some children experiment with glue-sniffing (= breathing in the gas given off by strong glue). The use of MDMA, better known as Ecstasy or E, has led to several highly publicized accidental deaths.Many people are concerned about the problems associated with drug-taking. The main worry is that using drugs often leads to addiction (= the inability to stop using a drug), poor health, and even death. Reflecting public concern, the courts have taken a tough attitude towards pushers and drugs barons, the people who supply drugs to the pushers. Addicts (= people who are unable to give up drugs) are less severely punished but are encouraged to get medical treatment and attend rehabilitation centres.Drug-taking is blamed for a lot of crimes, as addicts sometimes steal in order to get money to buy drugs. Also, criminal organizations that sell drugs use violence to prevent others selling them. In the 1980s these problems caused the US government to begin the War on Drugs and it set up the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 1988. But not everyone supports the programme: many young people say that they can use drugs without becoming addicted. They also say that it is wrong for alcohol, also an addictive drug, to be legal, while the drugs they use are not. In Britain there have been many campaigns to try to reduce drug use, and in 1998 the government appointed a drugs czar to lead the fight against drugs.There are often calls in both Britain and the US for soft drugs, the less harmful drugs such as cannabis, to be made legal, but this is resisted by many experts on the grounds that people taking them are likely to go on eventually to hard drugs, the more dangerous drugs such as heroin. People who want drug-taking to be legalized say that making tougher laws against using drugs has not worked, and that many of the problems associated with drugs would be solved if it were legal to use them. For instance, the government would be able to control the supply of drugs, and their quality and price. Criminal organizations would no longer be involved, and that would help reduce violence. The government could put a tax on drugs, as is the case with tobacco and alcohol, and the money could be used to help pay for medical treatment for people who become addicted. But many people are worried by the increasing use of drugs and do not believe that legalizing them is a solution.
  2. 2  a substance used as a medicine or used in a medicine prescribed drugs The doctor put me on a course of pain-killing drugs. drug companies The drug has some bad side effects. Wordfinderchemotherapy, cure, disease, drug, injection, medication, osteopathy, palliative, physiotherapy, radiotherapy CollocationsIllnessesBecoming ill catch a cold/​an infectious disease/​the flu/(British English) flu/​pneumonia/​a virus/(informal) a bug get (British English) ill/(North American English) sick/​a disease/​AIDS/​breast cancer/​a cold/​the flu/(British English) flu/​a migraine come down with a cold/​the flu/(British English) flu contract a deadly disease/​a serious illness/​HIV/​AIDS be infected with a virus/​a parasite/​HIV develop cancer/​diabetes/​a rash/​an ulcer/​symptoms of hepatitis have a heart attack/​a stroke provoke/​trigger/​produce an allergic reaction block/​burst/​rupture a blood vessel damage/​sever a nerve/​an artery/​a tendonBeing ill feel (British English) ill/​sick/​nauseous/​queasy be running (British English) a temperature/(North American English) a fever have a head cold/​diabetes/​heart disease/​lung cancer/​a headache/(British English) a high temperature/(North American English) a fever suffer from asthma/​malnutrition/​frequent headaches/​bouts of depression/​a mental disorder be laid up with/ (British English) be in bed with a cold/​the flu/(British English) flu/​a migraine nurse a cold/​a headache/​a hangover battle/​fight cancer/​depression/​addiction/​alcoholismTreatments examine a patient diagnose a condition/​disease/​disorder be diagnosed with cancer/​diabetes/​schizophrenia prescribe/​be given/​be on/​take drugs/​medicine/​medication/​pills/​painkillers/​antibiotics treat somebody for cancer/​depression/​shock have/​undergo an examination/​an operation/​surgery/​a kidney transplant/​therapy/​chemotherapy/​treatment for cancer have/​be given an injection/(British English) a flu jab/(North American English) a flu shot/​a blood transfusion/​a scan/​an X-ray cure a disease/​an ailment/​cancer/​a headache/​a patient prevent the spread of disease/​further outbreaks/​damage to the lungs be vaccinated against the flu/(British English) flu/​the measles/(British English) measles/​polio/​smallpox enhance/​boost/​confer/​build immunity to a disease see also designer drug See related entries: Medication
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French drogue, possibly from Middle Dutch droge vate, literally ‘dry vats’, referring to the contents (i.e. dry goods).Extra examples He’s taking drugs for depression. Many addicts start on soft drugs, such as cannabis. Prescription drug prices rose. She confessed to having experimented with drugs in her youth. She took a tablet of the designer drug Ecstasy. Some addicts start on soft drugs. Some infections are now resistant to drugs. Some veterinary drugs are not approved for use in food-producing animals. Some workplaces have introduced mandatory drug screening. The doctor put me on anti-inflammatory drugs. The new federal drug czar claimed the nation was winning the war on drugs. The nurses came around to give the patients their drugs. They committed the crime while high on drugs. They had a liberal attitude to recreational drugs. They’re hailing it as the new wonder drug. We want to make it possible for African companies to produce cheaper generic drugs. You used to be able to buy this medicine over the counter, but it is now a prescription drug. a powerful drug against tuberculosis a review of the drug sentencing laws to make penalties harsher an athlete who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs drugs that help the growth of skin tissue heroin and other hard drugs new drugs that have been developed recently the dangers of drink and drugs the government’s former drugs tsar the latest moves in the drug war Drug companies are always developing new products. Drugs have been seized with a street value of 2 million dollars. He does not smoke or take drugs. He was charged with pushing drugs. I don’t do drugs. I found out Tim was on drugs. a drug addict/​dealer
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: drug