Drugs and crime


If drug dealers are caught, they will not be the only ones arrested. Carrying narcotics for personal use can result in a hefty punishment or even time in prison. Understanding the rules governing drug classifications, possession, and intent to supply is a good idea.

The law and drugs

It’s against the law:

  • to possess or possess drugs,
  • to supply drugs to others,
  • to manufacture drugs,
  • to import or export drugs

It’s also illegal to enable any drug-related activity to take place on property you own, rent, utilise, or inhabit.

If you’re caught with drugs near a school, youth centre, or other gathering place for young people, the courts will consider it an aggravating factor and may apply harsher punishments.

Drug addiction is a serious problem!

Increased drug usage can develop to dependency in many drug users, which can lead to a slew of new issues. It may become increasingly difficult to work and maintain a job as drug misuse and dependency rises. This might cause financial difficulties because expenses such as mortgages, rent, and rates, as well as other household bills, are unable to be paid.

Even social security benefits may not be sufficient to cover the cost of drug use. Money may need to be borrowed, and if repayments are not made, additional issues arise.

As drug abuse becomes increasingly prevalent, some people may resort to crime, such as burglary, to locate objects that may be stolen and sold to others in order to fund the purchase of more drugs. Others may resort to more serious crimes like robbery, theft, or extortion in order to obtain funds to purchase drugs. Some people will turn to dealing to supplement their income, but if they are discovered by the authorities, they may face harsher punishments from the courts.

It’s critical to understand that using drugs can lead to a slew of additional issues that affect your health, your relationships with family and friends, your financial well-being, and where you reside.

How are medications classified?

Drugs are classified into one of three categories based on their level of danger and the impact they have on society, not on the individual. It’s important to note that different medications have varied effects on different persons. All drugs, not just those in ‘Class A,’ are extremely deadly.

Class A, Class B, and Class C are the three types of drugs:

  • Class A substances include heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD.
  • Class B drugs include speed, cannabis, ketamine, mephedrone, and some amphetamines; Class C drugs include anabolic steroids, GHB,
  • and some tranquillizers. “Temporary Class Drug Banning Orders” are for psychoactive substances (sometimes mislabelled as legal highs).

The chemical make-up of these novel compounds is constantly changing. A temporary banning order prohibits the use of a chemical until it can be analysed to determine the possible dangers to human health.

Having drugs in your possession

If you are stopped by the authorities and found to be in possession of narcotics, you will almost certainly be arrested. The drugs will be confiscated and destroyed.

If you’re caught with drugs, whether they’re yours or not, you could be prosecuted with possessing (or possessing with intent to provide – a considerably more serious offence). If you’re under the age of 17, the police can inform your parent, guardian, or caretaker that you’ve been apprehended.

If you are caught with drugs, the severity of your penalty will be determined by the type of substance, the quantity of drugs found, where you were located (if you were found near a school or youth club, the court may impose a harsher sentence), and your personal history (previous crimes, but importantly, any previous drug offences).

For example, if you are under the age of 18 and are caught with a Class C substance, you should expect at the very least a formal (recorded) warning and a police caution, depending on the circumstances. It’s also possible that you’ll be referred to the police Youth Diversion Scheme. If you are over the age of 18, you should expect a caution and future action, such as prosecution, will be dependent on the Public Prosecution Service’s judgement.


Drug offences in the past

You will be punished if you are found with a Class A or B drug and have a history of drug offences.

The maximum penalties for drug possession are as follows:

For a Class A drug, up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) is possible;

  • for a Class B drug, up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) is possible;
  • for a Class C drug, up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) is possible;
  • and for a Class C drug, up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both) is possible.

If you’re providing or supplying drugs, even if it’s just to pals with no money passing hands, your sentence may be increased.


Cannabis is a controlled substance. It’s a Class B substance.

Possession of cannabis carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A fine of up to £2,500 can be imposed by a magistrate’s court.

If you’re charged with distributing or creating an illegal narcotic, you might face a maximum term of 14 years in jail.

Substances with psychoactive properties (sometimes mislabelled as legal highs)

Producing, supplying, or offering to supply any psychoactive substance that is likely to be used for its psychoactive properties is illegal.

Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and “Poppers,” or alkyl nitrites, aren’t considered psychoactive. Psychoactive substances are not defined by the Human Medicines Regulations (2012) or medicines prohibited by the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971).

Possession of a psychoactive substance in a “custodial institution” (jail, young offender centre, removal centre, etc.) is illegal.

Individuals who import a psychoactive substance, which includes buying a psychoactive substance from a non-UK based website, may face criminal charges.

Possessing any psychoactive substance with the intent to supply, supplying or proposing to supply, creating, importing, or exporting are all punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine, or up to seven years in prison or a fine, respectively.

Offenses involving psychoactive substances could be regarded ‘aggravated’ if they involved the supply of psychoactive substances to people under the age of 18, or if they occurred near a school or a children’s home.

Supplying and trading with the intention to supply

Drug distribution isn’t limited to dealers. It’s still deemed supplying if police assume you’re planning to distribute narcotics with your buddies.

If you’re accused of supplying narcotics, you’ll almost certainly face charges. When deciding on a sentence, the amount of drugs detected on you and whether or not you have a criminal past will be considered.

The following are the maximum penalties for drug trafficking with the intent to supply:

  • For a Class A drug, up to life in jail, an unlimited fine, or both;
  • for a Class B or Class C drug, up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

Other limitations

If you are convicted of a drug offence, it may have an impact on your future. It’s possible that you won’t be able to pursue the career of your dreams. If you’ve been convicted of a drug offence, several countries will refuse to let you enter even if you’re a tourist.

About the Author: Noor Ul Huda Naeem

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