Drugs & Alcohol

Drug Information

Penalties under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Class*PossessionPossession + intent to supplySupply/dealing
A7 years in prisonLife imprisonmentLife imprisonment
B5 years in prison14 years in prison14 years in prison
C2 years in prison14 years in prison14 years in prison
*An unlimited fine applies to all classes.


Alternative names:Drink, booze, grog, beer, lager, wine, spirits, alcopops, numerous trade names.
Forms:Usually liquid.
Effects:Relaxation, increased confidence, loosening of inhibitions.
Risks:Headache, vomiting, loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, impaired judgement. Heavy drinking can cause alcohol poisoning, and liver, heart and stomach problems.
LegalityIllegal to sell to under-18s (except in restaurants).


Alternative names:Speed, whiz, uppers, amph, billy, sulphate.
Forms:Usually comes as a grey/white powder, or as tablets.
Effects:Increased energy and confidence, suppressed appetite, rapid heart rate.
Risks:Coming down (tiredness and depression), possible anxiety, panic and hallucinations.
LegalityClass B drug.


Alternative names:Marijuana, pot, dope, grass, blow, hash, ganja, weed, puff.
Forms:Usually smoked with tobacco, or eaten in cooking ('skunk� is a very potent form of cannabis).
Effects:Relaxation and talkativeness (�getting stoned�), heightening of senses, painkilling effects.
Risks:Tiredness, lethargy, paranoia, effects on short-term memory and ability to concentrate.
LegalityClass B drug.


Alternative names:Coke, charlie, candy, snow, rock, wash, stone.
Forms:Powder that can be snorted or injected. �Crack� is the smokeable form of cocaine.
Effects:Feelings of alertness, wellbeing and confidence (the effects of smoking crack are more intense).
Risks:Coming down (tiredness and depression), paranoia, confusion, nausea. Heavy use can cause heart or lung problems, and convulsions.
LegalityClass A drug.


Alternative names:E, fantasy, doves, Mitsibushis, dolphins, Rolexes, (chemical name: MDMA).
Forms:Usually comes as small tablets.
Effects:Increased energy and confidence, heightened senses and awareness.
Risks:Coming down (tiredness and depression), possible liver and kidney problems. Ecstasy can sometimes be fatal.
LegalityClass A drug.


Alternative names:GBH (chemical name: gammahydroxybutrate).
Forms:Colourless, odourless liquid in small bottles or capsules.
Effects:Sedative effects, euphoria.
Risks:Illness, collapse, can be slipped into drinks and used to aid �date-rape�, can be fatal when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
LegalityClass C drug (possession of GHB without a prescription is not illegal, but supply is against the law).


Alternative names:Smack, junk, skag, gear, brown, horse, H, jack.
Forms:Powder that can be snorted, smoked or injected.
Effects:Senses of warmth and wellbeing, or relaxation and drowsiness.
Risks:Dizziness and vomiting, long-lasting destructive addiction, overdosing can cause coma and death.
LegalityClass A drug.


Alternative names:K, special K, vitamin K.
Forms:Usually powder to be snorted, or tablets.
Effects:Out-of-body experiences and hallucinations (�being in a K-hole�), anaesthetic and painkilling effects.
Risks:Inability to move, very dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol, heavy doses carry risk of breathing problems and heart failure.
LegalityKetamine is a prescription-only medicine (possession without a prescription in not illegal, but supply is against the law).


Alternative names:Acid, trips, tabs, microdots, (chemical name: lysergic acid diethylamide).
Forms:Usually comes in tiny squares of paper, sometimes with a picture on one side.
Effects:Hallucinations, changes to the perception of time, objects, colour and sound (�trip�).
Risks:Bad trips, paranoia, anxiety or fear.
LegalityClass A drug.


Alternative names:Crystal, crystal meth, tina, ice, crank, yaba.
Forms:Powder that can be snorted or injected, the crystal form (�ice�) is smoked in a pipe.
Effects:Exhilaration, sharpened focus, increased sexual desire.
Risks:Paranoia, mood swings, short-term memory loss, difficulty eating or sleeping, large doses can cause coma and death.
LegalityClass B drug.


Alternative names:Numerous trade names, (chemical names: amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite).
Forms:Liquid in a small bottle that is inhaled.
Effects:Brief but intense �head-rush�, increased heart rate, often used as an aid to anal sex.
Risks:Headache, nausea, dangerous for those with anaemia, breathing or heart problems.
LegalityPoppers are a prescription-only medicine (possession without a prescription is not illegal, but supply can be).


Alternative names:Glue, gas, aerosols, various trade names.
Forms:Inhalation of the fumes in ordinary household products (especially those found in lighter refills, hairsprays, deodorants, air fresheners, glues, paints, thinners and correcting fluids).
Effects:Hallucinations, thick-headedness, dreamy or giggly feeling.
Risks:Drowsiness, headache, vomiting, nausea, long-term use can damage to brain, liver and kidneys, can cause instant death (even on first use).
LegalityIt is illegal for retailers to sell these products to under-18s, or if they suspect the product is intended for abuse.


Alternative names:Cigarettes, cigars, ciggies, rollies, straights.
Forms:Plant that is smoked.
Effects:Relaxation, relief from nervousness.
Risks:Nausea, addiction, causes cancer, respiratory problems and heart disease.
LegalityIllegal for retailers to sell tobacco products to under-16s.


Alternative names:Tranks, numerous trade names (chemical names include diazepam and temazepam).
Forms:Usually tablets or capsules.
Effects:Relief from anxiety, depression or sleep problems.
Risks:Addiction, slowed reactions, dangerous if mixed with alcohol.
LegalityPossession without a prescription usually is not illegal, but supply is against the law.


See Dying For A Hard-On?