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Drugs - advice and support

This page contains general information about drugs and links to other web pages that provide information about drug related issues.

The best advice that can be given regarding illegal drugs is to stay clear, the risks greatly outweigh any perceived benefits. However, some people still choose to take them or become involved with them inadvertently.

Either way it is best to know the facts:

  • People can develop dependency on a range of legal substances including prescription drugs, cigarettes, caffeine and glue.
  • The effects of drugs are influenced by: the amount taken, the frequency of previous use (tolerance), body weight, the surroundings in which they are taken and the reactions of other people. These factors are all influenced by social and cultural attitudes to, and beliefs about drugs.
  • The same person may react differently to drugs at different times, according to their mood.
  • Drugs can be smoked, sniffed, swallowed or injected.
  • Injecting is the least widespread way of using drugs and is the most hazardous method as all the drug is carried directly to the brain.
  • Illegal substances are not subject to manufacturing controls so may contain a range of unknown impurities.
  • A buyer will not know the strength of the substance, its 'purity', and will not necessarily know how much to take. These factors contribute to the unpredictability of using illegal drugs.

Drugs and the law

Definitions

Possession:

Being caught with an illegal drug for your own use.

Possession with intent to supply drugs:

The intention of dealing, which includes sharing or giving. This may be based on the quantity or the circumstances and carries heavier penalties.


Class A Drugs

  • Heroin, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, LSD, magic mushrooms, speed (amphetamines) prepared for injection.

Maximum penalties

  • Possession: up to seven years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both.
  • Supply: up to life in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both.

Get help

The Cocaine Anonymous UK Helpline is answered
10am - 10pm Every Day

0300 111 2285
(mobile friendly)
or 0800 612 0225
(free from UK landlines)

Email: helpline@cauk.org.uk

Class B Drugs

  • Speed (amphetamines)

Maximum penalties

  • Possession: up to five years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both.
  • Supply: up to 14 years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both.

Class C Drugs

  • Cannabis, GHB, rohypnol, ketamine, supply of anabolic steroids and tranquillisers, possession of temazepam

Maximum penalties

  • Possession: up to two years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both.
  • Supply: up to 14 years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both.

Exceptional circumstances

  • Barbiturates (some): legal
  • Heroin: can only be prescribed with a special licence
  • Methadone: you must have a legitimate prescription