Skip to content
Font size: A A
Contrast: C C C C
Accessibility How to use this site
Call 999 in emergencies or 101 for non-emergencies
E-mail us

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is the main law to control and classify drugs that are ‘dangerous or otherwise harmful’ when misused.

The act lists all illegal (or controlled) drugs in the UK and divides them into one of 3 ‘classes’ – A, B and C – based on the harm they cause to individuals and society. Class A drugs are considered the most harmful. This is commonly known as the drug classification system.

Class

   Drug

Possession

Supply 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, 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), ketamine, piperazines (BZP)

Up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

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

The act makes it illegal for people to:

  • possess illegal drugs
  • possess illegal drugs with intent to supply
  • supply or offer to supply illegal drugs (including giving them away for free or sharing with others)
  • produce illegal drugs
  • import or export illegal drugs
  • allow a house, flat or office to be used by people to undertake any of these unlawful activities
Page last updated: 30 December 2015