Drug Classifications

In the UK, illegal drugs are classified into three main categories. They can be Class A, B or C, with A attracting the most serious punishments and fines.

Each drug is designated as controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is allocated to a class based on the harm it is considered to cause.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, it is an offence:

  • to unlawfully possess a controlled drug
  • to possess a controlled drug with intent to supply it
  • to unlawfully supply (sell/give/share) a controlled drug
  • to allow premises you occupy or manage to be used for the smoking or use of drugs
Class Drug Possession Supply & 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 (e.g. mephedrone, methoxetamine), ketamine 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),  piperazines (BZP), khat Up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.