Menu
Class A Drugs

What are Class A, B and C Drugs?

Illegal drugs are divided into 3 classes – A, B or C as per the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These classes are based broadly on the resulting harms to society or user when they are abused.

The drug class determines the maximum penalty a user will suffer for an offence that the drug was involved. For instance, the penalties for Class A drugs are the most severe since they are most likely to result in the most serious harm. It is illegal to possess, produce, sell or give away any drugs that are controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Every drug isn’t illegal, however, they can still be harmful.  For instance, alcohol and tobacco could result in serious health problems. New drugs that produce ‘legal highs’ have been made to ape illegal drugs effects such as ecstasy and cocaine, however, are different enough structurally so that they don’t fall into the class of an illegal drug as outlined in the Misuse of Drugs Act. Even so, the drugs could still produce harmful side effects.

Certain drugs have an actual use like in medicine, scientific studies or in industry. Home Office provides licenses for those who want to use, produce or import these 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.

Photo Credit: “Bunch of pills” (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel