There are hundreds of prescription and illegal drugs available, and all are classed under different types of drug classifications. Find out more about the different drug classifications here.
A Comprehensive Guide to Drug Classifications
In the UK, drugs are classified into three categories known as Class A, Class B, and Class C. This classification system is used to determine the legal penalties associated with the possession, trafficking, and production of different drugs. The classification is based on the perceived harm and potential for abuse of the substances.
It’s important to note that drug classification and legislation can change over time due to shifts in public perception, scientific research, and legal considerations. The classification system helps inform law enforcement, legal proceedings, and public health initiatives related to drug use and abuse.
In the UK, we classify drugs into Class A, Class B, and Class C, from the highest severity to the least. In the US, they use Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V to classify drugs, again from the highest severity to the least.
Whilst Class A, Class B, and Class C drugs have clear examples, NI Direct also explains that psychoactive substances, sometimes mislabelled as legal highs, are known as ‘Temporary Class Drug Banning Orders’. This is because the chemical composition within these substances can change very quickly, therefore a temporary banning order allows a substance to be banned until a full analysis can be completed to assess the risk that the substance has on human health, both physically and psychologically.
Some methylphenidate substances, such as Isopropylphenidate, Ethylnaphthidate, and their derivatives have been known to be temporary class drugs. Possession of this class of drugs is unlikely to result in a prison result, however, police can confiscate the drugs. If you’re supplying or producing these drugs, then you could get up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
When it comes to psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas), you could get a prison sentence of up to 7 years for supply and production. GOV UK defines psychoactive substances as things that cause hallucinations, drowsiness, or changes in alertness, perception of time and space, mood, or empathy with others.
Different Drug Classifications
See below the different classifications of drugs in the UK, including drugs in each group and the penalty for each.
Class A Drugs
Class A drugs are considered the most harmful and have the highest potential for abuse. Penalties for possession, trafficking, or production of Class A drugs are the most severe. Possession of Class A drugs could result in up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
Supply and production of Class A drugs could lead to a life prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine. Examples of Class A drugs include methadone, methamphetamine, magic mushrooms, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, and crack cocaine.
Class B Drugs
Class B drugs are considered to have a lower potential for harm compared to Class A drugs but still pose significant risks. Penalties for possession, trafficking, or production of Class B drugs are less severe than for Class A drugs but are still substantial. You could get a prison sentence of up to 5 years and/or an unlimited fine if you possess Class B drugs.
If you supply or produce Class B drugs, you could get a prison sentence of up to 14 years and/or an unlimited fine. Examples of Class B drugs include cannabis (although its classification and legal status can vary), amphetamines, barbiturates, codeine, ketamine, synthetic cathinones, and some synthetic cannabinoids.
Class C Drugs
Class C drugs are considered to have the lowest potential for harm among the three categories. Penalties for possession, trafficking, or production of Class C drugs are generally less severe compared to Class A and B drugs, however possession of these drugs could result in up to 2 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine (except in the case of anabolic steroids as it’s not an offence to possess these for personal use).
Supply and production of Class C drugs could result in up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Examples of Class C drugs include certain anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and some sedatives.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
Treatment for drug addiction typically involves a combination of physical and psychological therapies to help individuals overcome their substance abuse. The appropriate treatment approach can vary depending on the specific drug, the individual’s needs, the severity of the addiction, and other factors.
Detoxification is often the first step in addiction treatment, especially for individuals with severe addiction. Drug detoxification is the process of safely managing the physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person stops using the drug. It can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting, but always with medical supervision to manage potential complications and reduce the risk.
Counselling sessions or talking therapies can be extremely helpful during addiction treatment. These could be individual or group-based and provide a supportive environment for individuals to explore the underlying causes of their addiction, learn healthy coping strategies, and develop a strong support network. This type of treatment could continue even after completing the addiction treatment programme by attending a local Narcotics Anonymous group where they encourage the 12-step programme to recovery.
Other types of therapy that are used to address the psychological aspects of addiction are behavioural therapies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), stress management, relapse prevention therapy, and mediation therapy.
Some rehab centres also include well-being therapies as an integral part of their addiction treatment programmes. These may include mindfulness, yoga, relaxation and sleep therapy, meditation, art therapy, nutritional supplement therapy, and fitness therapy.
Whilst all the above are proven examples of addiction treatment therapies, it’s important to note that there’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to recovery from drug abuse. Private rehab centres will design a bespoke treatment programme based on your unique needs to ensure you receive the most beneficial treatment for your long-term recovery – get in touch if you need help today.
Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2023 at 1:58 pm in Latest News.