Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: see food adulteration.

Common term for sulfonamide drug, any member of a class of synthetic antibacterial drugs with a particular chemical structure including both sulfur and nitrogen atoms. Their effectiveness against bacteria was discovered in 1932 by Gerhard Domagk, and they became the first chemical substances systematically used against human bacterial infections. Sulfa drugs inhibit the growth and multiplication of certain bacteria (but do not kill them) by interfering with the synthesis of folic acid. Because of their toxicity and growing bacterial resistance, sulfa drugs are no longer in common use (except for urinary-tract infections, certain forms of malaria, and preventing infection of burns), having been largely superseded by less toxic antibiotics.

Learn more about sulfa drug with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or medicinal poisoning

Harmful effects of drugs, from overdose or sensitivity to regular doses. Many medicines are dangerous; the margin between dose and overdose is often narrow. A normally safe dose may be toxic in some people, over time, or in combination with certain foods, alcohol, or other drugs. Safeguards to prevent drug poisoning include testing in animals, then human volunteers, and then patients. Drugs unsafe for self-medication are available only to doctors or by prescription. Pharmacists advise the public on proper use.

Learn more about drug poisoning with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or chemical dependency

Physical and/or psychological dependency on a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance (e.g., alcohol, narcotics, nicotine), defined as continued use despite knowing that the substance causes harm. Physical dependency results when the body builds up a tolerance to a drug, needing increasing doses to achieve the desired effects and to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Psychological dependency may have more to do with one's psychological makeup; some people may have a genetic tendency to addiction. The most common addictions are to alcohol (see alcoholism), barbiturates, tranquilizers, and amphetamines, as well as to the stimulants nicotine and caffeine. Initial treatment (detoxification) should be conducted with medical supervision. Individual and group psychotherapy are critical elements. Alcoholics Anonymous and similar support groups can increase the success rate of other efforts. The ability to admit addiction and the will to change are necessary first steps.

Learn more about drug addiction with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Any chemical agent that affects the function of living things. Some, including antibiotics, stimulants, tranquilizers, antidepressants, analgesics, narcotics, and hormones, have generalized effects. Others, including laxatives, heart stimulants, anticoagulants, diuretics, and antihistamines, act on specific systems. Vaccines are sometimes considered drugs. Drugs may protect against attacking organisms (by killing them, stopping them from reproducing, or blocking their effects on the host), substitute for a missing or defective substance in the body, or interrupt an abnormal process. A drug must bind with receptors in or on cells and cannot work if the receptors are absent or its configuration does not fit theirs. Drugs may be given by mouth, by injection, by inhalation, rectally, or through the skin. The oldest existing catalogue of drugs is a stone tablet from ancient Babylonia (circa 1700 BC); the modern drug era began when antibiotics were discovered in 1928. Synthetic versions of natural drugs led to design of drugs based on chemical structure. Drugs must be not only effective but safe; side effects can range from minor to dangerous (see drug poisoning). Many illegal drugs also have medical uses (see cocaine; heroin; drug addiction). Seealso drug resistance; pharmacology; pharmacy.

Learn more about drug with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Synthetic version of a controlled narcotic substance. Designer drugs usually are synthesized for the first time in an attempt to create a chemical whose molecular structure differs only slightly from that of some well-known controlled substance but whose effects are essentially the same. Because of the difference in molecular structure, the designer drug, unlike the controlled substance, ordinarily will not be specifically listed as illicit by law-enforcement organizations. Many designer drugs are manufactured in clandestine laboratories, often by amateurs; for this reason they are sometimes more dangerous than the drugs they are intended to replace. One of the best-known is MDMA (3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine), a variation of methamphetamine, popularly called Ecstasy. Nonnarcotic synthetic chemical compounds designed to interact with specific proteins and enzymes in order to combat disease also have been called designer drugs.

Learn more about designer drug with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Any drug used to treat depression. The three main types inhibit the metabolism of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. The aim is to keep these monoamine neurotransmitters from dropping to levels associated with depression. The drugs may take a few weeks to show any effect. Tricyclic antidepressants, which inhibit inactivation of norepinephrine and serotonin, help more than 70percnt of patients. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors apparently block the action of MAO, an enzyme that helps break down norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in neurons. They have unpredictable side effects and are usually given only when tricyclic drugs do not help. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) apparently block reabsorption only of serotonin, allowing its levels to build up in the brain. SSRIs, which include fluoxetine (trade name Prozac), often help with depression unrelieved by tricyclics or MAO inhibitors and have milder side effects.

Learn more about antidepressant with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1927, it inspects, tests, approves, and sets safety standards for foods and food additives, drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and household and medical devices. It can prevent untested products from being sold and take legal action to halt the sale of undoubtedly harmful products or of products that involve a health or safety risk. Its authority is limited to interstate commerce; it cannot control prices nor directly regulate advertising except of prescription drugs and medical devices.

Learn more about Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

1199: United Healthcare Workers East (originally known as the Drug, Hospital, and Health Care Employees Union District 1199) was a labor union originally founded by Leon J. Davis for pharmacists in New York City in 1932. While the union was founded by left-wing, predominantly Jewish pharmacists, it organized all workers in drug stores on an industrial basis, including pharmacists, clerks, and so-called "soda jerks." The union led pioneering pickets and strikes against racial segregation and racially discriminatory hiring in Harlem and elsewhere in New York City during the 1930s.

Since 1199 was a "left-led" union, its leadership was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1948 for Communist "infiltration". 1199 was a tiny local at the time, however, and during the expulsions of large left-led unions from the CIO in the 1940s, 1199 as a local eventually found shelter under the auspices of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. In the late 1950s, the drugstore-based union launched large-scale organizing drives at voluntary hospitals in New York, mobilizing a heavily Black and Puerto Rican workforce in the first flush of the postwar Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King famously described 1199 as "my favorite union," and his widow Coretta Scott King became the honorary chair of 1199's organizing campaigns as it sought to expand outside of New York City beginning the late 1960s.

The union's first campaign outside of New York City was the formation of District 1199B in Columbia, South Carolina in 1969. The union led a strike there that never led to a contract, but had success in creating new 1199 districts in Upstate New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, elsewhere in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and elsewhere.

Serious faction fights broke out within the flagship New York local and among other 1199 locals after the retirement of the union's original leadership. 1199 eventually left the RWDSU to form a short-lived National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees during the 1980s, but its constituent locals soon thereafter sought mergers with other unions. Most 1199 locals joined the Service Employees International Union, with 1199C in Philadelphia being the largest 1199 local to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The large flagship New York local remained independent until joining SEIU in 1998.

Further reading

  • Fink, Leon; Greenberg, Brian (1989). Upheaval in the Quiet Zone. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-06047-4.(Information on the early history of 1199.)

Search another word or see drugon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature