a base for trade in <drugs>

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Does "drugs" here refer to "habit-forming or illegal substances"? Or refer to "medicines (for treating illnesses)"?

My guess is the former, because of the Opium War.

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Hong Kong (CNN)Hong Kong is a city built for business.
Seized by the British after the first Opium War ended in 1842 and used as a base for trade in drugs and other products, in the late 20th century Hong Kong became a leading global financial center and gateway to the giant Chinese economy


Source:
Does the extradition law really spell the death of Hong Kong?
 
  • NewAmerica

    Banned
    Mandarin
    Then the fact that our dictionary lists it as the first definition of the word is somewhat misleading:

    WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
    drug1 (drug), n., v., drugged, drug•ging.
    n.
    1. Drugs[Pharm.] a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.
    Thank you. :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Then the fact that our dictionary lists it as the first definition of the word is somewhat misleading:
    Thank you. :)
    One definition has to be listed first, even if the usage is similar in terms of frequency.

    Yes, I took the "after the first Opium War ended in 1842 and used as a base for trade in drugs" to mean the drugs were the "non-pharmaceutical" kind, given that phramaceuticals are rarely bought and sold as "trade" items.
     
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