Sometimes my brain gets all tangled up when I try to decide if I should use the term 'medicine' or 'drugs.'
For example, my mom has been telling me for years that when I write about giving free drugs to HIV+ patients, I should use the word 'medicine' instead of 'drug.' Ok, point taken. In writing, I can usually remember to do that, but when I'm showing a foreign tour group around, it often slips out: We give free drugs to HIV+ patients. They know that I mean prescription medicine, but I would just like to use a term that they are more comfortable with.
I use the word 'drug' because that's the word Nigerians use. It has just entered my everyday vocabulary.
Recently I have come to understand that although 'medicine' can be used as another word for 'drugs,' it also has the connotation of witchcraft/charms/juju in Nigeria.
It's a real challenge to choose the best words to communicate to my audience. One day I'll have to come up with a list of different English terms used by Americans, Brits, and Nigerians. Good communication requires a great deal of thought.