The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 covers the majority of law that Police enforce regarding controlled drugs although other legislation under the Serious Crime Act 2007, Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and the Medicines Act 1968 is also used in certain circumstances.

Passing drugs amongst your friends is supplying, even if no money is exchanged in return. Allowing your house or premises to be used for drug misuse is also illegal.

A conviction in relation to the misuse of drugs may have a negative effect on:

  • Employment opportunities, particularly in relation to jobs within medical, education, law enforcement or working with children or vulnerable people.
  • Visa applications for holidays and immigration to countries like the United States of America for example
  • Some Insurance policies including; health cover, holiday, vehicle and life insurance which can be invalidated by Convictions in relation to the misuse of drugs.

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - Maximum penalties that can be applied by the Court upon conviction:

Class A - Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD or both

Possession - 7 Years Imprisonment or a fine or both
Supply - Life Imprisonment or a fine or both

Class B - Herbal & Cannabis Resin, Mephedrone, Amphetamine, Ketamine etc

Possession - 5 Years Imprisonment or a fine or both
Supply - 14 Years Imprisonment or a fine or both

Class C - Diazepam, GBL/GBH, Rohypnol, Khat, many Anabolic Steriods etc

Possession - 2 Years Imprisonment or a fine or both
Supply - 14 Years Imprisonment or a fine or both

Some changes in Drugs Classifications since 2003


July 2003
– GHB classified as a Class C drug.

January 2004 – Reclassification of cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

July 2005 – Raw magic mushrooms classified as a Class A drug. Previously, only prepared (such as dried or stewed) magic mushrooms were classified as Class A drugs.

January 2006 – Ketamine classified as a Class C drug.

January 2007 – Methamphetamine (commonly known as “Crystal Meth”) reclassified from a Class B to a Class A drug.

January 2009 – Reclassification of cannabis from a Class C to a Class B drug.

December 2009 – GBL classified as a Class C drug.

December 2009 – Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, classified as a Class B drug.

April 2010 – Mephedrone and other cathinone derivatives classified as Class B drugs.

July 2010 – Naphyrone, a stimulant drug closely related to the cathinone family, and often marketed as NRG-1, classified as a Class B drug.

April 2012 – Methoxetamine, a ketamine substitute, is given the first of a new kind of drug control, a Temporary Class Drug Order (TCDO), which bans its sale, but not possession, for up to 12 months while further classification is considered.

November 2012 – Methoxetamine, as well as a new group of synthetic cannabinoids including ‘Black Mamba’, are classified as Class B drugs.

June 2013 – NBOMe, a related drug to the hallucinogen 2CI, and ‘Benzo Fury’, a related drug to ecstasy, given TCDOs.

July 2013 – Classification of khat, a herbal stimulant, as a Class C drug announced.

June 2014 – Ketamine reclassified from Class C to Class B in response to concerns about damage to the bladder from long term use. A number of substances are classified, including NBOMe and related compounds which are now Class A, and ‘Benzo Fury’ and related Benzofuran compounds which are Class B. Lisdexamphetamine, a medicine which converts into amphetamine in the body, is classified as Class B. Tramadol, an opioid painkiller, is classified as Class C, as are Zaleplon and Zopiclone, which are sedatives similar to the already-classified Zolpidem.

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