Drug Awareness


Taking drugs comes with several serious risks affecting health and wellbeing, relationships with family or friends, has financial implications, could potentially lead to police involvement, and could eventually lead to a criminal conviction. 

It is important to remember that the best way to avoid harm or punishment to yourself and others is not to take drugs at all. 

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 provide the legislation which determines which substances are illegal and into which legal classification they fall.  

Under the legislation, the current classifications and penalties which can be imposed by a court are set out below. 

Class A 

Includes:?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 

Includes:?Amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (e.g., 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 

Includes:?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 is not an offence to possess them for personal use). 

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

Psychoactive Substances (previously referred to as ‘legal highs’) 

Includes:?Plant food, NPS, Mdat, Eric 3, Dimethocaine, Bath salts. 

Possession:?No penalty, unless in prison. 

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

ShapePrescription Drugs 

Research suggests that as many as a quarter of people in the UK at any one time are taking addictive prescription medicines such as antidepressants, sleeping pills and opioid painkillers with many having been on these for at least a year and potentially a sign of dependency. 

Addiction to prescription drugs is therefore a dangerous and often complicated issue which usually begins after a person has a legitimate need for them relating to health. While these are often carefully prescribed by medical professionals, many are addictive. 

They can often act as a gateway to other illegal substances, particularly when a prescription runs out and like all addictive substances share common effects on health and wellbeing when their use becomes problematic. 

Smart Drugs (also known as Study Drugs) 

Smart Drugs refers to a range of mostly prescribed medications which act as stimulants, increasing alertness, energy, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. A misconception is that they increase learning or thinking ability, instead typically they are perceived by the user to help them focus. 

Typically, such drugs are used to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as such are received usually from someone, they know who already has a prescription. There are numerous health risks to taking such drugs which are often initially prescribed in low doses that are then slowly built upon. 

They have a potential to cause serious physical and mental health problems including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, seizures, stroke, paranoia, and other mental health problems. Many perceive them to be harmless although they can be highly addictive and often overused compared to other substances. 

If you do need to focus on academic work there are proven ways to boost concentration and beat stress without the risks including meditation, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a variety of health foods. Remember you can also submit Extenuating Circumstances asking for an extension depending on your situation.  

Further information can be found by accessing the following sites: