What is a drug?

A drug is any chemical substance which brings about a change in a person’s emotional state, bodily functioning or behaviour and includes illegal drugs, legal/prescription drugs and alcohol.


Drug Classification

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, illegal drugs are placed into one of 3 classes – A, B or C. This is broadly based on the harms they cause either to the user or to society when they are misused.

The class into which a drug is placed affects the maximum penalty for an offence involving the drug. For example, Class A drugs attract the most severe penalty as they are considered likely to cause the most serious harm. Drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act are illegal to have, produce, give away or sell.

• Class A include: Heroin, Cocaine, (including Crack Cocaine),  Methadone, Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD and Magic Mushrooms

• Class B include: Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Codeine, Cannabis, Cathinones, (including Mephedrone), and synthetic Cannabinoids

• Class C include: Benzodiazepines (Tranquilisers), GHB/GBL, Ketamine, Anabolic Steroids and Benzylpiperazines, (BZP)

Not all drugs are illegal, and recently new ‘Legal Highs/Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)’ have been developed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs like cocaine and ecstasy but are structurally different enough to avoid being classified as illegal substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act. However, they can still have dangerous side effects. More information on NPS. 


Drugs And The Law

The drugs which are deemed most harmful are in class A and those deemed least harmful are in class C

  Class A Class B Class C 
Up to 7 years imprisonment/Fine or both Up to 5 years imprisonment/Fine or both Up to 2 years imprisonment/Fine or both
Possession With Intent To Supply: Life imprisonment/fine or both 14 years imprisonment/fine or both 14 years imprisonment/fine or both


For more information about drugs,visit the national ‘FRANK’ website:

Finding help in Walsall

If you are worried about your own or someone else’s drug using behaviour ‘The Beacon‘ is a Walsall based service to support the recovery of adults, (18yrs+), and young people, (10-19yrs) who misuse drugs or alcohol.

Last Updated: 23/06/2017