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Drug Offences

Drugs are grouped into ‘classes’, depending on their type. The maximum penalties for drug possession, supply (dealing) and production depend on what type or ‘class’ the drug falls into.

ClassDrugPossessionSupply 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) Up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both
What are psychoactive substances?

Psychoactive substances (previously known as legal highs) are new or existing substances which produce the same, or similar effects to illegal psychoactive drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and LSD but are not controlled under legislation by the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.

They are now controlled under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Under the Psychoactive Substances Act it is illegal to:

  • Produce a psychoactive substance
  • Supply/offer to supply a psychoactive substance
  • Possess a psychoactive substance with Intent to supply
  • Import or export a psychoactive substance even if it is for personal use

There is no offence to possess a psychoactive substance for your own personal use. It is however, an offence to possess a psychoactive substance for your personal use in a custodial institution (prison).

This act also introduces a civil process for the Police and Local Authority to prevent the sale of psychoactive substances from premises or by a person.

Anyone caught breaking the law could be given a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years.

It is illegal to sell, supply or advertise legal highs for human consumption. 

What if I find syringes and needles?

The Environmental Health Unit of your local authority is responsible for clearing away syringes and needles from public areas and should be contacted in the first instance for removal of any of these items.

Find the website for your local council on gov.uk.

We will not attend to remove any drugs paraphernalia under any circumstances.

How do I report drug dealing or use?
How do I get drug use support?

Local Substance Misuse Services are extremely effective and are delivered by the local Drug and Alcohol Action Teams (DAATs):

The Home Office and the Department of Health provide information and advice through the Talk to Frank website.

See Also