Illegal drugs

I’m under 16 years of age

Possession and supply

Drug driving

Drug rape


Illegal Drugs

If you’re caught with an illegal drug, you risk getting a criminal record, a fine or you could go to prison.

Having a drug-related conviction can make it difficult to get a job and could mean losing a job you already have or losing out on one you go for in the future. It’s also worth remembering some countries won’t issue visas for travel to people with criminal records. So if you’ve got your heart set on travelling around the world or moving abroad you might want to rethink your drug choices.

To find out more about controlled drugs and the implications you could face from possessing them visit Release which goes into detail with a list of controlled drugs.

What happens if you’re under 16?

The misuse of any drug, whether or not it’s controlled in terms of the Misuse of Drugs Act, can mean you have to go to a Children’s Hearing if you’re under 16

What’s the difference between possession and supply?



This is where you get caught with drugs that you’re going to use yourself. A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal to decide whether to prosecute you or not. Depending on the Class of drug you’re caught with and individual circumstances, you may get up to 7 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.


Supply (Dealing)

You don’t have to be a big-time drug dealer to be charged with supply-related offences. If you’re caught with drugs and it looks like you’ve bought them to sell, or give to your friends, you could be charged with ‘possession with intent to supply’ or ‘supplying drugs’. Either offence can mean up to life imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both. 

The facts

  • The law divides drugs into three classes – A, B and C.
  • Class A drugs carry the heaviest penalties.


Class A

Drug: 2CB, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Heroin, LSD, Magic Mushrooms, MDMA – Ecstasy, Mescaline, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Opiates, Opioids and Painkillers, PCP, PMA.

Possession: Up to 7 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

Production or dealing: Up to life in prison, or a fine, or both.


Class B

Drug: 2-DPMP, Amphetamines, Cannabis, Codeine, Mephedrone, Methoxetamine or MXE, Naphyrone, Opiates, Opioids and Painkillers, Synthetic Cannabinoids.

Possession: Up to 5 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

Production or dealing: Up to 14 years in prison, or a fine, or both.


Class C

Drug: Anabolic Steroids, Gamma hydroxybutyrate, Ketamine, Khat, Phenazepam, Piperazines, Tranquillisers.

Possession: Up to 2 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

Production or dealing: Up to 14 years in prison, or a fine, or both.


It’s your legal duty to ensure you’re fit to drive


Lots of drugs can affect your ability to drive safely including some over-the-counter medicines (like cough and hay-fever medicines) and many prescribed drugs. Always read the information leaflets that come with medicines carefully or ask a pharmacist or your doctor for advice.

Read on to find out how drugs affect driving and the consequences of getting caught.


The effects of drug driving

Driving under the influence of drugs can seriously affect your driving and increase the danger of having an accident. The effects of driving under the influence of drugs include:

  • Slower reaction times
  • Lack of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Overconfidence
  • Loss of concentration
  • Increased risk-taking behaviour
  • Inappropriate driving
  • Not being able to judge distances and speeds properly


Drug driving and the law

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle whilst impaired through the use of drugs.

Causing death by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs will result in a maximum 14-year jail sentence and a minimum 2-year driving ban.


Consequences of drink or drug-driving

The amount of drinks or drugs you have taken makes no difference. Whether you’re just over the limit or well over the limit, in the eyes of the law you are still a convicted drunk-driver or drug-driver and the consequences are exactly the same. If you’re caught drunk-driving over the limit the ‘next morning’, you face the same consequences as if you had been caught the night before.

Driving, or attempting to drive, while over the limit or while under the influence of drugs will result in:

  • Loss of your licence with an automatic 12-month driving ban
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • A criminal record for a minimum of 20 years
  • An offence which stays on your licence for 11 years
  • Possibly losing your vehicle

Police Scotland has officers in every area of the country who are trained to detect drug-drivers. If a police officer suspects a driver is under the influence, they can take them to a police station where a doctor will take a blood sample for testing.


Drug rape


Some victims of rape and sexual assault report having been deliberately drugged or ‘spiked’. If you have been sexually assaulted, whether as an adult or a young person, it is important to remember that it wasn’t your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don’t be afraid to get help.



The main drug associated with sexual violence is Alcohol.  Alcohol can be taken voluntarily or sometimes drinks are ‘spiked’ with stronger drinks or additional measures before the rape or sexual assault.



Certain drugs are more commonly associated with sexual violence.  Drugs can make people become physically weak or pass out.   Rohypnol is well known, although many other prescription drugs and illicit substances are used including ketamine, temazepam, valium, GBL and GHB.  Most of these drugs have no colour, smell, or taste and people often do not know that they have taken them.


The effects
Depending on the drug, the effects of these can vary but include:-

  • Feeling really tired or sleepy
  • slurred speech
  • Have a very slow or very fast heartbeat
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • confusion
  • poor balance and coordination
  • aggression
  • decrease in inhibitions or acting out of character
  • Things not feeling real
  • Hallucinations – hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or even tasting things that are not real
  • Have trouble moving or controlling your muscles

Alcohol can make the effects of these drugs even stronger and can cause serious health problems such as difficulty breathing, seizures

If you have been affected

There is support available that is free and confidential, even if you do not remember much of what happened. No matter how much you drank or what drugs you took, sexual assault is never your fault. It’s common to go through a range of emotions afterward.

Rape Crisis Scotland provides a national rape crisis helpline and email support for anyone affected by sexual violence, no matter when or how it happened.

Having sex with anyone without their explicit consent is rape. If someone isn’t able to say yes then they have in fact said no and have not been able to consent. If they have not said yes, or even if they have said yes but later say no, it is still rape.