I just noticed we now have a tag and it's been added to quite a few questions.

In the past we used to add such things as synonyms to the tag. In particular we have [medicine] which is a synonym of [health]. We also have a history of subdividing topics as we grow to cover more specific tags.

However there's a problem with [drugs] in that it has two divergent meanings, both of which are relevant to travel.

One is prescription drugs, i.e. medicine.

The other is illegal drugs.

Then of course there's the blurry area in the middle for medicines which require a prescription or might be totally banned in some countries. Notably Pseudoephedrine, which has come up on the site a few times.

I must say that I'm in favour of splitting out the [medicine] synonym into its own tag to cover the former sense above.

But inherently ambiguous tags are always a bad idea. I don't think we should go with [drugs] for this reason. We should think about alternatives such as [illegal-drugs], [narcotics], [banned-substances], etc.

Related, if we split the [health] and the [drugs] tags into "good drugs" and "bad drugs" tags, I think the current [health] synonyms [vaccination], [immunisations], and [shots] should probably move over to being synonyms of the "good drugs" tag. If so would this make [medicine] non-ideal as the main tag? Also we could split just those three out into a new tag that covers them, in case which name would be best since maybe not all imminusations and vaccinations might require shots?

So let's discuss all these related topics. We don't have to come up with a definite all-encompassing answer just yet but the more thoughts and arguments we can get, the better.

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    "Good drugs" and "bad drugs," however we label them, isn't really a useful distinction, since something like adderall or peeoeophedrine could be both depending on the country. Same with [banned-substances], it may be banned, restricted, or uncontrolled in different places. I'd say just have a tag for drugs, or pharmaceuticals, or medicines or similar and leave it at that, with maybe a separate tag for recreational drugs. Aug 28, 2016 at 8:38
  • Presumably the questions would be like "is adderall legal in country X" rather than. "is adderall legal". If the latter we could ask the OP for more information just as we do when their citizenship is important. It's like saying we shouldn't have the [legal] tag after all since some things are legal in one country and illegal in another. It's worked fine so far despite that fact. Aug 28, 2016 at 10:34

2 Answers 2


Not all non-medical drugs are illegal. For example, is generally legal, and is popular enough to get its own tag. Tobacco is similarly legal (though without the tag), and marijuana is legal in an increasing number of locations.

The tag is confusing, covering both medications and recreational substances. It should be split into (or , or whatever), and , and a policy created for recreational-drug questions.

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    Alcohol is actually right on the fence because it is illegal in some places, but not as many as where it's legal. So yeah "legal" and "illegal" are not the right words to use in the tags, they were just to illustrate what I was getting at as the difference. Same as how I used "good" and "bad". "Medicine" (the kind of word that doesn't need to be a plural to be a topic/subject/tag) vs "recreational drugs" seems to be what commenters are settling on, which is good enough for me. Oh I should say, marijuana is on the corner of two fences - since it is legal, illegal, and medical! (-: Aug 31, 2016 at 6:44
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    In my 'dialect' of english, 'drugs' refers almost exclusively to the illegal kind whereas the legal/prescribed kind would almost exclusively be referred to as medicine/medication. Arriving in the US and seeing 'drug store' for the 1st time did give me a second or 2 of WTF!? So I'd support this as being less confusing for international audiences.
    – brhans
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:08
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    @brhans: Exactly! "drugs" is not universally neutral enough to be used for medicine for this reason. Sep 1, 2016 at 15:01
  • I went ahead and created a new medication (doesn't need to be plural) since it wasn't already a synonym of drugs. I applied it to one new question that didn't have any other tags under discussion. Where should we proceed from here? I think the mods need to edit the synonyms before regular users can help in any other way. Sep 2, 2016 at 13:03
  • Should the 'recreational drugs' tag cover uncontroversially legal drugs like snus and chewing tobacco, or would a better alternative be to rename the 'smoking' tag to either 'tobacco' or 'smoking-and-tobacco'? I went ahead and created the tag and added it to the Saudi question. Oct 14, 2016 at 3:17

Just for clarification reasons, do our rules allow the discussion of illegal drugs on the site?

I am for splitting drugs for health reasons from drugs for 'highs' or 'recreational' reasons. But a further split in the drugs for health reasons I do not see as needed.

I personally would appreciate not having much on the second set, we are a site about travel, not about finding illegal substances which might not be blocked in some countries.

  • Best is to look at what the questions with the [drugs] tag are already are about. But I can imagine such as "Twenty years ago I was arrested for smoking a joint. Am I still eligible for a visa to country X?" Keep in mind that alcohol is an illegal substance which is not blocked in some countries. It all depends on perspective. Anyway, if we don't want the "bad drugs" questions then [drugs] is the worst name for the tag since it has that connotation and we should rename it [medicine] or such after unsynonymizing that tag from [health]. Aug 28, 2016 at 10:38
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    Here's a quick summary of the Q's I currently see under the tag: 1. adderall 2. Christiania Copenhagen 3. weed 4. hallucinogens 5. medicine 6. birth control 7. poppy seeds 8. antidepressants 9. tramadol 10. adderall 11. xanax 12. shamanic ceremonies 13. animal drugs. 14. prescription drugs 15. white powder 16. drug misdemeanor 17. weed 18. departure anxiety cure 19. prescription drugs 20. getting high 21. drugs planted in luggage 22. medication 23. weed 24. medication 25. weed 26. weed 27. opium poppy farms 28. illegal substances 29. drugs or bomb planted in luggage - wow quite an assortment! Aug 28, 2016 at 10:46
  • If the tag is not on one of the Amsterdam questions, it is lacking.
    – Willeke Mod
    Aug 28, 2016 at 11:03
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    I say, have a recreational-drugs tag, distinct from medicines, then clarify whatever our policy is on questions about banned substances in the tag description. Aug 28, 2016 at 23:37
  • @user568458: Would you like to submit that as an answer to see if it attracts more votes (or downvotes)? It seems as good a way forward as any. Aug 30, 2016 at 4:24

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