Legal framework in the UK

The most commonly abused drugs which are likely to cause physical, psychological and social harm has been included under the category of “controlled substances” under the “Substance Misuse Act (1971)” of British Government. According to this act, it is illegal to possess, give away or sell any drug coming under the category of controlled substances.

Under ‘Misuse of Drugs Act’, 1971, the drugs classified as controlled substances have been divided into three classes, namely, class A, class B and class C (see table 2). This classification is based on the decreasing order of the severity of harmful affects caused by each drug, with drugs belonging to class A group being most harmful and those belonging to class C being least harmful of the three classes. Thus highest priority is given to class A drugs, which are most harmful (Home Office, 2007).

Strongest legal action is taken against individuals found to be possessing, selling or supplying class A drugs. The legal action taken against individuals possessing or dealing class B drugs is stronger than that taken for Class C drugs but is less stronger than that taken for class A drugs. Though it is considered to possess or supply even class C drugs, the laws pertaining to this class of drugs are least strong among the three (Home Office, 2007).