I only smoke marijuana and not any other substance so you can say that I take drugs.

I wrote drug in singular, but I was wondering why it sounded off. When we say drugs can it refer to many drugs of one kind only like marijuana or drugs in plural implies you're taking many kind of drugs?

  • 2
    For some reason it is common to say drugs in this context perhaps because it is assumed people who experiment with one also try another.
    – mdewey
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 15:03
  • If it's one drug you need an article, "a drug" or "the drug xxx".
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 17:53
  • 1
    "taking a drug" sounds really weird and non-idiomatic.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


Take drugs

is an idiom meaning that it happens more than a very few times

You might say

I smoked marijuana two or three times back in college.

If that were true, you would give a misleading impression were you to say

I took drugs back in college.

So the plural form “drugs” at least references a multitude of uses of at least one type of illegal drug.

I smoked marijuana often back in college but no other illegal types of drug.

If that were true, it might give the wrong impression to say

I took drugs often back in college.

The most idiomatic use seems to imply multiple times of use with more than one type of illegal drug.


Surprisingly, drug is nearly always treated as countable in this context.

You can say I took a drug. When you mean I took some medicine on one occasion.

But if you mean recreational drugs, you would say I took drugs.

If it was just one type of drug, you could name it:. I took ecstasy at college. You don't say I took drug.

  • Is there a reason for that rule. It seems nonsensical.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 21:37
  • I agree! But there you go... Not everything makes sense
    – James K
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 21:41

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