Drugs and the Law

Drug misuse has negative effects on both the individuals misusing substances and the community. The Government uses legislation as one tool of controlling drug misuse, as well as acting as a deterrent to others. Drug legislation considers both possession and supply/production and is one tool within a wider approach to tackling drug and alcohol addiction, which also includes education, prevention and treatment.

For more information on Psychoactive Substances visit Operation Nitrox.

Drugs Legislation

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 controls drugs under 3 classes; A, B and C.

It is an offence to:

Penalties for Possession and Dealing

Class Drug Possession Supply and production
A Crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth) Up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both Up to life in prison, an unlimited fine or both
B Amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (eg mephedrone, methoxetamine) Up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both
C Anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines (diazepam), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines (BZP), khat Up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both (except anabolic steroids - it’s not an offence to possess them for personal use) Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Psychoactive Substances

Substances incorrectly referred to as ‘legal highs’ are illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. For more information on this Act see the Government’s drug penalties page.

For more information on Drugs and the Law visit the GOV.UK website.

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