and are both in use currently and both have tag wiki summaries. Personally I think they're synonyms in the context they are being used - should we jettison one and keep the other, and if so which?

  • $\begingroup$ Couldn't drugs refer to illegal substances and their effects, while pharmacology refers to largely-controlled non-recreational medicines? $\endgroup$
    – Aarthi
    Jan 28, 2013 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ I was just coming here to see if there was a relevant meta question on this topic. I think pharmacology is much more general and covers a wider variety of physiological effects of substances, so it pretty much blankets drugs anyway. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Jan 28, 2013 at 23:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Aarthi The pharmacological mechanisms of drugs of abuse are of great interest to those that study addiction and other related phenomena. I don't think the field as a whole distinguishes between the two from a scientific perspective. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Jan 29, 2013 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Aarthi yeah I think that distinction is made more by the media than in the field, certainly medics refer to medicines as drugs commonly :) $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Jan 29, 2013 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ Pharmacology is the study of the effects/uses/modes of action of drugs on living organisms where the drug tag could be used to simply inform people searching for questions based on their tags that the question INVOLVES drugs but is not necessarily one in of which the asker is interested in how the drugs themselves interact with living organisms. $\endgroup$
    – Josh Pinto
    Jan 29, 2013 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ @BrentonHorne If the question does not ask about a drugs interaction with living organisms or receptors belonging to living organisms it's probably not on topic? $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Jan 29, 2013 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps, but I'm sure there'd be some situations where it's just another piece of information. $\endgroup$
    – Josh Pinto
    Jan 30, 2013 at 7:50
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    $\begingroup$ Given my PhD in pharmacology, I would prefer this term for a tag. (However, I would have preferred having a PhD in drugs...) $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2013 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Aarthi: that is a punk-term and in a science forum people should refrain using the term 'drugs' to mean recreational drugs. $\endgroup$
    Apr 15, 2013 at 11:49


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