Drugs & the Law

Drugs are grouped into three classes based on how harmful they are to your health. Class A drugs are the most harmful, with Class C drugs being less so. However, the drugs in all three classes are considered dangerous and addictive.

Cannabis has recently been upgraded from a Class C to Class B drug. Reclassification normally happens in light of new medical research.
Remember that all drugs are illegal, even Class C drugs like GHB and ketamine.

Selling drugsonto other people, or carrying a small amount of drugs in your pocket, are criminal offences and it’s likely that the police will get involved. If you’re found guilty of any of these offences, you may face a fine or time in prison. Class A drugs carry the most severe sentences.

Penalties for possession and dealing
Possession Dealing
Class A Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, amphetamines (if prepared for injection). Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine or both.
Class B Amphetamines, Cannabis, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Pholcodine. Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.
Class C Tranquilisers, some painkillers, Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or both. Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Why do people take drugs?

People don’t start taking drugs with the intention of getting addicted, but many drugs contain substances that can lead to addiction.

Everyone has their own reasons for experimenting with drugs, but here are a few common reasons why people start using:

  • as a way of coping with problems in their life
  • peer pressure – trying to fit in with a group of people
  • just being curious about how a drug makes you feel or behave

If you start to use drugs on a regular basis, or if you become dependent on them, it can affect your family and friends as well as having a serious impact on your own physical and mental well-being. If you’re worried that you’re becoming addicted to a substance there are local services in Sheffield that can help and support you. (See Advice & Support with Drugs below)

What are the risks?

In some cases, drug overdoses can be fatal. You can even die instantly from misusing drugs that you can buy over the counter – this includes things like aerosols, glues and other solvents.

Class A drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crack, LSD and ecstasy can be highly addictive and can cause serious problems with anxiety, paranoia, heart problems or convulsions (muscle spasms).

As many drugs can affect your co-ordination it is also illegal to drive or operate machinery whilst under the influence of drugs (even some prescription ones).

Here are some other common risks associated with drug use:

• Drugs sold by a dealer may not be pure. They can be mixed with a range of different substances including kitchen scourer, bleach, talcum powder and other harmful/toxic chemicals.

• You can never be completely sure of what effect a drug may have on you.

• Sharing syringes, needles and other injecting equipment carries a serious risk of passing infections such as hepatitis and HIV.

• Injecting can damage veins and cause abscesses and thrombosis.

• Using any types of drug can affect your decision making and lead to you taking more risks with your personal safety or sexual health.

Advice & Support with drugs

All services are free:

The Corner
Sheffield’s young people’s drug and alcohol service
Tel: 0114 2752051

The Corner
91-93 Division Street
S1 4GE

Turning Point Adult Treatment Services
Advice, information and help for people who use drugs.
Tel: 0114 275 5973
Turning Point website

Breakthrough Sheffield – Multi-ethnic drugs service
Support, counselling, education and information for drugs users from Black or Minority ethnic communities.
Tel: 0114 249 3700

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