Talk:drug

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misc[edit]

Verb form (past of drag) is past participle only, right? --Connel MacKenzie 01:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

It’s both past participle and past tense, but both are either substandard (like ain't, snuck, dove, et) or dialectal. —Stephen 17:30, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

The definition of drug as it currently stands bears little resemblance to the definitions supplied by any major dictionary. The differentiation of psychoactive drugs from other drugs is novel. drug when used to refer to something other than a pharmaceutical refers to a narcotic. Narcotic may refer to either a sleep-inducing drug (the traditional definition) or any drug subject to the same restrictions as traditional narcotics. 68.225.52.60 00:58, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

archived talk[edit]

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drug

You have discussed "drug" in WT:RFC#drug, so you might be interested in the following inquiry.

Can you name substances that exemplify the four senses at drug that we have? I can see two senses fairly clearly: (a) drug as a pharmaceutical such as aspirin, sometimes available only on prescription by a medical doctor and (b) drug as a substance that is usually prohibited and is taken for mood improvement or later because of addiction, such as marijuana or cocaine. I would rank alcohol under (b) even though it is not prohibited. But I have no clue what the other senses are about and what substances exemplify them. --Dan Polansky (talk) 11:33, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

For easy reference, our four current senses are (verbatim):
  1. (pharmacology) A substance used to treat an illness, relieve a symptom, or modify a chemical process in the body for a specific purpose.
    Aspirin is a drug that reduces pain, acts against inflammation and lowers body temperature.
    The revenues from both brand-name drugs and generic drugs have increased.
  2. (pharmacology) A substance, sometimes addictive, which affects the central nervous system.
  3. A chemical or substance, not necessarily for medical purposes, which alters the way the mind or body works.
  4. A substance, especially one which is illegal, ingested for recreational use.
    • 1971, Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Harper Perennial 2005 edition, p. 3,
      We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
    • March 1991, unknown student, "Antihero opinion", SPIN, page 70
      You have a twelve-year-old kid being told from the time he's like five years old that all drugs are bad, they're going to screw you up, don't try them. Just say no. Then they try pot.
    • 2005, Thomas Brent Andrews, The Pot Plan: Louie B. Stumblin and the War on Drugs, Chronic Discontent Books, ISBN 0976705605, page 19
      The only thing working against the poor Drug Abuse Resistance Officer is high-school students. ... He'd offer his simple lesson: Drugs are bad, people who use drugs are bad, and abstinence is the only answer.
I think sense 1 is exemplified by aspirin and antibiotics. Senses 2 through 4 are almost certainly incorrect as worded. Assuming arguendo that they're correct as worded, though, sense 2 is exemplified by heroin and Prozac, 3 by heroin and snot, and 4 by heroin and salsa.​—msh210 03:51, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) I like your wording in (b), above. Maybe we can distill an exactly right definition out of that, replace at least one of the existing ones with it (or add it as a new one), and change the rfc to an rfc-sense or an rfd-redundant. How's "A taboo substance ingested to alter the mood, especially one that causes dependency or addiction"?​—msh210 19:47, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Thank you. A couple of questions to help further clarification:

  • Q1. The way the first sense is worded, it includes "A substance used to ... modify a chemical process in the body for a specific purpose" as a hyponym, because of the use of "or" as a conjunction. Thus, per its current wording, the sense one seems to subsume all other senses as subsets. Do you agree?
  • Q2. Do you think Prozac belongs also to sense 1?
  • Q3. Do you think Prozac is "a substance used to treat an illness, or relieve a symptom"?
  • Q4. Do you think sugar belongs to sense 3?
  • Q5. Do you think sense 3 should better be modified thus: "which alters" --> "whose intake alters"?
  • Q6. What do you mean by "snot"? Do you mean nasal mucus?
  • Q7. By salsa you seem to mean spicy tomato sauce, often including onions and hot peppers. Is a spicy sauce really referred to as "drug" in English?
  • Q8. What do you think are all the non-strict hyponymy relationships between the senses?
  • Q9. Finally, do you think native English speakers really use the word "drug" in four distinct senses?

Thank you for your patience with my questions. I'll be grateful for answers to at least some of them. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:44, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

  • 1 through 3, yes.
  • 4, yes, as sense 3 is currently worded.
  • 5, I guess so, but I think it still would be incorrect.
  • 6, yes.
  • 7, that's what I meant. Certainly it's not referred to seriously as drug — nor is sugar or snot. I was merely illustrating that the senses are worded badly.
  • 8, I don't know what you mean by non-strict, but, anyway, I don't think it's worthwhile thinking too hard about these senses as written, since I think they're incorrect (except sense 1).
  • 9, not sure. I can think of three: very roughly "a medicine", "a taboo substance", and "(humorous) a non-taboo substance treated as if taboo" ("Coffee is my drug of choice").
​—msh210 19:57, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks again. By non-strict hyponymy I meant one corresponding to improper subsethood. Thus, each sense is non-strictly hyponymous to itself. The term "strict subset" seems to see some use.
Let me think of some more questions that could suggest what could be done about "drug":
  • Q10. Do you rank alcohol as "a taboo substance" or as "a non-taboo substance treated as if taboo"? (Alcohol is not illegal in most countries, but it is probably seen as much more problematic than coffee. Furthermore, alcohol was illegal in the U.S.for a period of time, unlike coffee, AFAIK.)
  • Q11. Do you think there is a native English sense of "drug" that subsumes all other senses of "drug"? I intend the question with disregard to whatever senses the current "drug" entry has identified.
  • Q12. Do you think the entry should consist of disjoint (non-overlapping) senses? Or should there be some overlap between the senses?
--Dan Polansky (talk) 20:10, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
  • 8, so you're asking which senses coincide (as written)? None, I don't think.
  • 10, well, a Chardonnay sipped once a day would not usually be seriously called a drug, whereas a couple of fifths of gin drunk once a day may well. (I think.) Maybe substance is the wrong word?
  • 11, an older sense? Dunno. I'm not up on old senses of English words in general. Check the OED. I don't think there's a current sense (in the States, anyway): when someone says drug I think he means either the one kind or the other not both.
  • 12, see my answer to 11. If there's a sense that includes the others, great. If not, then I think the senses are distinct (and disjoint for the most part. The only overlap would be if someone takes marijuana for medical reasons but others view it as illicit, or the like. Even that case wouldn't really be overlap: the illicit-sense drug meant by the one person and the medicinal-sense drug meant byt he other would have the same object as referent but looked at differently, so there are sort-of two distinct referents, if that makes sense. Not that I really know what I'm talking about here; consult a semanticist).
​—msh210 20:28, 18 March 2013 (UTC) Fixed indent.​—msh210 07:01, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll think about a follow-up action on "drug" entry. The way the entry is now, I really don't like it. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:36, 18 March 2013 (UTC) Fixed indent.​—msh210 07:01, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Nor do I, in case you couldn't tell.  :-) ​—msh210 07:02, 19 March 2013 (UTC)


RFD[edit]

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Concerned sense: A substance used to treat an illness, relieve a symptom, or modify a chemical process in the body for a specific purpose.

I propose that the underlined part of the definition is deleted: "or modify a chemical process in the body for a specific purpose."

If that is done, "relieve a symptom" should better be preceded with an "or", and perhaps expanded to "relieve a symptom of an illness".

The sense exists since diff from 18 March 2003.

The underlined part makes the definition too broad, covering illicit drugs and who knows what.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 13:06, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

How does it make the definition too broad? "Illicit drugs" are still drugs. There are plenty of drugs that don't treat illnesses, but instead are taken to change how a healthy body behaves. If we delete that, then the definition would no longer fit the contraceptive pill, HRT, statins, aphrodesiacs or steroids in their most common uses (not to mention recreational drugs, of course). That said, sense 3 is redundant to this one, so Keep this sense, delete sense 3. Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:45, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Can you show me some quotations that use the word "drug" in a way that covers both pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs? I do not deny that the word "drug" is used to refer in its various uses to either pharmaceuticals or illegal drugs, but these are distinct senses of the word "drug" rather than one sense covering both aspirin and heroin, from what I can tell. --Dan Polansky (talk) 15:20, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
One more question: can you show me a quotation that ranks contraceptive pill as a "drug"? --Dan Polansky (talk) 15:24, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
  • 2000, Malcolm Gladwell, "John Rock's Error", New Yorker, 10 March 2000:
    It has often been said of the Pill that no other drug has ever been so instantly recognizable by its packaging: that small, round plastic dial pack.
  • 2010, Manju Puri, Management of High Risk Pregnancy: A Practical Approach, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (2010), ISBN 9789380704739, page 451:
    Rifampicin accelerates the metabolism of oral contraceptives and other drugs resulting in sub-therapeutic serum levels.
  • 2012, Voices of the Women's Health Movement (eds. Barbara Seaman & Laura Eldridge), Seven Stories Press (2012), ISBN 9781609804459, unnumbered page:
    This applies to all drugs, not just the pill and other drugs for women.
Astral (talk) 17:04, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Also, I'm in agreement with Smurraywinchester's reasoning: keep sense 1, delete sense 3. Astral (talk) 17:06, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
These are great quotations to show that contraceptives are considered "drugs", thanks. Still, can you show me some quotations that use the word "drug" in a way that covers both pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs? --Dan Polansky (talk) 17:47, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Certainly:
  • 2011, Sandra Alters, Essential Concepts for Healthy Living, page 188
    Why do people abuse certain drugs such as cocaine and not others such as aspirin?
  • 2007, Dennis Coon, Psychology: A Journey, page 201
    Some drugs, such as Ecstasy, amphetamine, and some antidepressants, cause more neurotransmitters to be released, increasing the activity of brain cells.
  • 2009, William L. Heinrich, Principles and practice of dialysis, page 315
    Occasionally, toxicology screening tests may be necessary to exclude the ingestion of drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, or methylphenidate (Ritalin).
Smurrayinchester (talk) 19:43, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
@Dan Polansky: I think we need to retain the underlined portion of sense 1 because, as Smurraywinchester pointed out, removing it would exclude pharmaceuticals which aren't used to treat a pathological condition or symptom, but are nonetheless prescribed by physicians to alter the normal function of the body in a way that can be broadly described as "therapeutic" (i.e., achieving a beneficial/desired effect in the patient).
HRT and hormonal contraceptives are two examples that come to mind. Both have uses that fall under the umbrella of "used to treat an illness or relieve a symptom" and one that does not. Hormonal contraceptives, for instance, can be used to treat various conditions like dysmenorrhea and endometriosis. But of course the menstrual cycle itself is not pathological, so using hormonal contraceptives strictly to suppress ovulation and prevent pregnancy doesn't fall under the "used to treat an illness or relieve a symptom" umbrella. And, while giving hormone replacement therapy to a biological male who can't produce male hormones due to a congenital condition or loss of testicular function through cancer, etc., giving the same hormones to a transgendered male (i.e., biologically female) patient as part of his sex reassignment therapy might not fall under the "used to treat an illness or relieve a symptom" umbrella, as female physiology itself isn't pathological.
The distinction between pharmaceutical drugs and recreational drugs can also be ambiguous. There's no qualitative difference between marijuana and medical marijuana; the only difference is that the former is used for recreational purposes (sometimes legally), and the latter is used for therapeutic purposes. Also, some drugs which are now illegal and only used recreationally, like heroin and cocaine, were once prescribed/used by physicians for therapeutic purposes.
I think it might be beneficial to add some type of qualification to the underlined part of sense 1, like "modify a chemical process in the body for a specific therapeutic or medically-approved purpose." Astral (talk) 22:11, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
@Smurrayinchester: Thank you for the work of finding the quotations. If we intend the first sense to truly include "heroine", which its current definition does, we should be very explicit about that using a "such as" clause, IMHO. Thus, I would extend the definition with "such as aspirin, antibiotics, and cocaine" or the like, or "including pharmaceuticals and illegal recreational drugs". Once we do that, we will need to figure out whether there is a sense of "drug" in English that only refers to pharmaceuticals and not to cocaine. Related to that, there are probably many translations given as pertaining to the first sense that do not really map to it; the Czech translation is a case in point, as it only applies to pharmaceuticals.
@Astral: I like your "therapeutic or medically-approved purpose", but it turns the 1st sense into one that excludes illegal recreational drugs, while we now have quotations suggesting that there are occurrences of "drug" that use an all-encompassing sense. We might need two senses: one encompassing, another one restricted to pharmaceuticals. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:27, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Striking as no consensus for deletion of the underlined part. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:59, 30 June 2013 (UTC)


RFV 1[edit]

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Rfv-sense: (pharmacology) A substance, sometimes addictive, which affects the central nervous system.

I doubt this sense can get attested as defined, used in pharmacology. Sugar seems to come within that sense, as well as chocolate, lard, and various other foods. The job this sense was supposed to do is probably the one done by the current sense #4: "A substance, especially one which is illegal, ingested for recreational use", but I am not really sure. --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:20, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Do foods affect the central nervous system? Mglovesfun (talk) 18:48, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Chocolate does, because of the alkaloids it contains. I doubt that lard does in any meaningful way. Sugar's effect is the same effect it as on any living cells in the body, so it does, in an indirect sort of way. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:25, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
"Affects the central nervous system" is very broadly stated. Surely all food affects the central nervous system in that it keeps it supplied with energy. —Angr 20:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
An IP offered this revamping of the definitions (Dan rightly reverted the clumsy change). - -sche (discuss) 19:37, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
Still, I think the IP is on the right track. Except for the (presumably accidental) deletion of all the translations, the edit looks like a good start to me. —Angr 20:53, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
  • RFV failed: no citations added. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:54, 30 June 2013 (UTC)


RFV 2[edit]

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Rfv-sense: A chemical or substance, not necessarily for medical purposes, which alters the way the mind or body works.

I request attestation in the form of quotations that not only shows the existence of this sense, but also such that the quotations do not belong to senses 1 and 4:

  • 1. A substance used to treat an illness, relieve a symptom, or modify a chemical process in the body for a specific purpose.
  • 4. A psychoactive substance, especially one which is illegal and addictive, ingested for recreational use, such as cocaine.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 12:31, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

  • RFV failed: no citations added. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:55, 30 June 2013 (UTC)