Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Drug and Medicine

Drug vs Medicine

The terms “drug” and “medicine” are often mistakenly used as two similar terms. However, in the strictest sense, the two have different meanings or definitions, and they can serve different purposes.

It is just the government or the law that dictates that these two have a thin line of separation. It is not the dictionary that gives their distinct definitions but the terms of its legality and social perception. As defined by law, medicines have fairly negligible toxicities while drugs are habit-forming substances that may lead to some serious adverse effects even though it is still initially used to cure diseases.

The term “drug” nowadays is linked more to specific kinds of medications including: stimulants, hallucinogens, and narcotics. With this, it is safe to say that drugs are those substances that have some form of stimulating effect and have the potential for addiction when used in an abusive way. Some of these drugs are very easy to administer like adding them to your regular drink. Using these kinds of substances is also therapeutic to some extent.

“Drug” is taken from the French term “drogue.” It is a substance that can induce what’s called a form of stupefaction because it stupefies one’s line of thought and state of mental well-being. This is the reason why those taking drugs in an uncontrolled manner are called drug addicts. They take in these substances regularly. A person who sells illegally addictive drugs is known as a drug peddler.

On the other hand, medicine is recognized as any preparation that is meant for treating or preventing illnesses. In the past, this term is limited only to the preparations administered orally. Nowadays, it has taken on a broader scope.

In another sense, medicine is a field of study that is concerned about the clinical assessment, making medical diagnoses, treating diseases, as well as preventing the occurrence of such. Professionals who’ve graduated in the field of medicine and who’ve officially passed the medical board exam are called M.D.’s (medical doctor) or physician. This person is an expert in prescribing and administering the right kind of medications to the ailing patient. Contrary to drugs, medicine in general is something that won’t lead to addiction. Thus, it doesn’t stupefy the mind. The term is actually of Latin origin “medicina.”


1.Drugs can stupefy the mind unlike medicines.
2.Drugs have a potential of addiction while medicines (in the general sense) don’t lead to such.
3.The term “drugs” (either for therapeutic or non-therapeutic purposes) is nowadays thought to have a more negative connotation.
4.Drugs are substances that can still cure diseases to some extent but can have severe adverse effects if used more than what’s necessary.
5.Medicine can be a field of study whose graduates are called physicians or M.D.’s.

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  1. interesting for learners

  2. Nonsense. “Drug” is currently a synonym of “medicine”, “medication”, “pharmacetical product”. Vide Food and Drug Administration (USA) – they don’t deal with narcotics but with medicines (their EU counterpart is called European Medicine Agency). Your essay has no relevance to the reality of modern English usage.

    • Jab kuchh jaante nahi to kahe bolte ho
      Drug is all type drug jaise crude drug narcotic etc and medicine is part of drug

  3. this article is so funny

    so, if I am a person who has the tendency to abuse “medicine”.. it’s called “drugs”


    if I am a person who has total self control and will never abuse any form of “drugs”, it’s called “medicine”…

    drugs is medicine
    medicine is drugs

  4. Drug stores sell medicines (non-prescription drugs/medicines), they also sell prescription drugs/medicines I agree that medicines and drugs are the same thing.

  5. Ofcourse his writing makes sence. Its depends on you used the two terms “drug” and “medicine”

  6. this article is making sense. I don’t know why you people are saying its not.

  7. Am just confused. Am on assignment

  8. Tank u very much . u have done very well but is only a fool that will read and can’t interprete.

  9. Thanks for the elaborations. It is understood that drug and medicine goes together

  10. Please can anyone critically analyse this statement” All medicine are drugs and not all drugs are medicine”

  11. Thank u for making the difference for us

  12. Well done,you’ve me understood that drugs are medicine but not all medicines are because,drugs can lead one to become addicted unlike medicine

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