late 14c., drogge (early 14c. in Anglo-French), "any substance used in the composition or preparation of medicines," from Old French droge "supply, stock, provision" (14c.), which is of unknown origin. Perhaps it is from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German droge-vate "dry barrels," or droge waere, literally "dry wares" (but specifically drugs and spices), with first element mistaken as indicating the contents, or because medicines mostly consisted of dried herbs.
Compare dry goods(1708), so called because they were measured out in dry (not liquid) measure, and Latin species, in Late Latin "wares," then specialized to "spices" (French épice, English spice). The same source produced Italian and Spanish droga, Swedish drog.
Specific application to "narcotics and opiates" is by late 19c., though the association of the word with "poisons" is from 1500s. Druggie "drug addict" is recorded by 1968. Phrase a drug on (or in) the market "thing which has lost its value and is no longer wanted" (mid-17c.) is of doubtful connection and may be a different word, perhaps a play on drag, which was sometimes written drug c. 1240-1800.
c. 1600, "tendency, inclination, penchant" (a less severe sense now obsolete); 1640s as "state of being (self)-addicted" to a habit, pursuit, etc., from Latin addictionem (nominative addictio) "an awarding, a delivering up," noun of action from past-participle stem of addicere "to deliver, award; devote, consecrate, sacrifice" (see addict (v.)).
The sense of "compulsion and need to take a drug as a result of prior use of it" is by 1906, in reference to opium (there is an isolated instance from 1779 with reference to tobacco).
c. 1600, "to mix (a drink, etc.) with drugs, make narcotic or poisonous," from drug (n.). Meaning "dose (a person or animal) to excess with drugs or medications" is from 1730. Related: drugged; drugging.
1972 as a verb, "subject (someone) with an addiction to detoxification," a colloquial abbreviation of detoxify; 1975 as a noun, "place for the treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts," a colloquial abbreviation of detoxification (center, facility, etc.).
alkaloid obtained from the leaves of the coca plant, 1874, from Modern Latin cocaine (1856), coined by Albert Niemann of Gottingen University from coca (from Quechua cuca) + chemical suffix -ine (2). A medical coinage, the drug was used 1870s as a local anaesthetic for eye surgery, etc. "It is interesting to note that although cocaine is pronounced as a disyllabic word it is trisyllabic in its formation" [Flood]. Cocainism "addiction to cocaine" is recorded by 1885.
Middle English drien, from Old English drygan, "make dry, free from water or moisture of any kind," also intransitive, "lose moisture," cognate with Dutch droogen, Low German drügen, from the source of dry (adj.). Related: Dried; drying. Of liquids, "to evaporate," early 14c. Meaning "to wipe (dishes, etc.) dry after washing up" is by 1935. Dry out in the drug addiction sense is from 1967. Dry up "stop talking" is by 1853.
"disease of alcohol addiction," by 1882, from alcohol + -ism, or else from Modern Latin alcoholismus, coined in 1852 by Swedish professor of medicine Magnus Huss to mean what we now would call "alcohol poisoning, effects of excessive ingestion of alcohol." In earlier times, alcohol addiction would have been called habitual drunkenness or some such term.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 1930, shortened from Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration.
proprietary name of dimenhydrinate, an anti-nausea drug, 1949. Said to have been developed originally as an anti-allergy drug at Johns Hopkins.