What are Drugs? – Illegal Drugs

The 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act

The laws governing which drugs are legal, and the penalties for having illegal drugs are governed by the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.

It divides illegal drugs into three different categories based on the potential harm they can cause and how addictive those drugs are:

 

  • CLASS A DRUGS: such as cocaine, ecstasy and heroin. Possession of these drugs could get you up to SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON. Supplying these drugs can get you LIFE IMPRISONMENT!
  • CLASS B DRUGS: such as amphetamines and cannabis. Possession of these drugs could get you up to FIVE YEARS IN PRISON. Supplying these drugs can get you FOURTEEN YEARS IN PRISON.
  • CLASS C DRUGS: such as anabolic steroids and tranquilisers. Possession of these drugs could get you up to TWO YEARS IN PRISON. Supplying these drugs can get you FOURTEEN YEARS IN PRISON.

Effects of Drugs

Example Classification Effects / Risks Penalty
Heroin A Heroin is an opiate, derived from the poppy. It can be snorted,   smoked or injected and give an euphoric feeling of happiness. It is highly   addictive and overdoses can induce coma or kill. Possession – 7 Years

Supply – Life in prison

Ecstasy A A stimulant, often taken in the form of a tablet at parties and   in nightclubs. Gives a sense of euphoria (happiness) and relaxation. Can   cause sweating, and thus dehydration and increased heart rate. This can put   strain on organs, due to dehydration or on the heart. Possession – 7 Years

Supply – Life in prison

LSD A An hallucinogen, causes the person who takes it to ‘see things’   or ‘hear things’. The effects can last up to 12 hours and can be   unpredictable and terrifying depending on the environment in which it is   taken. Has been linked to depression and increased anxiety. Death can occur   due to accidents under its influence. Possession – 7 Years

Supply – Life in prison

Cocaine A Usually in the form of a powder that is snorted. It can be mixed   for injection. It is a very powerful stimulant which makes the user feel   confident and in control. The effects last about 30 minutes and can be   replaced by depression and confusion. It can cause heart problems, including   heart attacks as well as damage to the inside of the nose if snorted   regularly. Overdose can kill. Possession – 7 Years

Supply – Life in prison

Crack-Cocaine A This is cocaine but manufactures into lumps (or ‘rocks’) that   can be smoked. The effects are similar to cocaine (as above) though can be   more intense. Possession – 7 Years

Supply – Life in prison

Amphetamines (Speed) B These are stimulants to increase awareness and wakefulness. They   can also supress appetite. They can lead to depression and paranoia and can   lead to strain on the other bodily organs. They have been linked to long term   organ damage and possibly schizophrenia. Possession – 5 Years

Supply – 14 Years

Cannabis B The only drug listed that grows in its natural form and can be   smoked simply as dried leaves. Otherwise it is manufactures into resin.   Causes a feeling of relaxation. Some studies have linked long term use to   psychological problems, such as schizophrenia. It can also be associated with   a lack of motivation. Possession – 5 Years

Supply – 14 Years

Anabolic Steroids C Legal if prescribed by a doctor as they are often used to treat   all sorts of conditions, from asthma to eczema. Often they are used illegally   by body-builders to increase muscle bulk. They can cause aggression as well   as damage to bodily organs with continued use. They can also cause breast   growth in men and interfere with women’s menstrual cycle. Possession legal.

Supply – up to 14 Years.

Tranquilisers (e.g. temazepam) C Legal if prescribed by a doctor and used to treat anxiety or   depression. They have a relaxing or calming effect but slow reactions which   can lead to accidents, especially when driving or operating machinery.   Dangerous to mix with alcohol. Possession – 2 Years without prescription.

Supply – 14 Years.

 

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