Drugs and the Law

PROGRESS can guide you to the UK Home Office website address to access information about drugs and the law, another option may be to access the Release website link below

Drugs penalties

You can get a fine or prison sentence if you:

•take drugs
•carry drugs
•make drugs
•sell, deal or share drugs (also called ‘supplying’ them)

The penalties depend on the type of drug or substance, the amount you have, and whether you’re also dealing or producing it.


Types of drugs

The maximum penalties for drug possession, supply (selling, dealing or sharing) and production depend on what type or ‘class’ the drug is.

Class A Crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth)

Possession Up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Supply and Production Up to life in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Class B Amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (for example mephedrone, methoxetamine)

Possession Up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Supply and production Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Class C Anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines (diazepam), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines (BZP), khat

Possession 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)

Supply and production Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Temporary class drugs* Some methylphenidate substances (ethylphenidate, 3,4-dichloromethylphenidate (3,4-DCMP), methylnaphthidate (HDMP-28), isopropylphenidate (IPP or IPPD), 4-methylmethylphenidate, ethylnaphthidate, propylphenidate) and their simple derivatives

Possession None, but police can take away a suspected temporary class drug

Supply and production Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

*The government can ban new drugs for 1 year under a ‘temporary banning order’ while they decide how the drugs should be classified

Psychoactive substances penalties

Psychoactive substances include things like nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’).

You can get a fine or prison sentence if you:

•carry a psychoactive substance and you intend to supply it
•make a psychoactive substance
•sell, deal or share a psychoactive substance (also called supplying them)


Psychoactive substances

Things that cause hallucinations, drowsiness or changes in alertness, perception of time and space, mood or empathy with others

Possession None, unless you’re in prison

Supply and production Up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Food, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, medicine and the types of drugs listed above do not count as psychoactive substances.

Possessing drugs

You may be charged with possessing an illegal substance if you’re caught with drugs, whether they’re yours or not.


If you’re under 18, the police are allowed to tell your parent, guardian or carer that you’ve been caught with drugs.

Your penalty will depend on:

•the class and quantity of drug
•where you and the drugs were found
•your personal history (previous crimes, including any previous drug offences)
•other aggravating or mitigating factors

Cannabis

Police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90 if you’re found with cannabis.

Khat

Police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £60 on the first 2 times that you’re found with khat. If you’re found with khat more than twice, you could get a maximum penalty of up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

Dealing or supplying drugs

The penalty is likely to be more severe if you are found to be supplying drugs (dealing, selling or sharing).

The police will probably charge you if they suspect you of supplying drugs. The amount of drugs found and whether you have a criminal record will affect your penalty.

For further information please follow the link below

www.homeoffice.gov.uk/

Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law - providing free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals. Click here

Progress - National Consortium of Consultant Nurses in Dual Diagnosis & Substance Use