Basic alcohol & drug awareness
For drug and alcohol factsheets including signs of overdose pleasee our Drug & Alcohol Factsheets.
Legal status and effects of drugs
Categories of Drugs
Drugs can be simply classified in two ways: by their legal status and by how they affect the body.
Drugs listed as ‘controlled drugs’ are divided into 3 categories, A, B, and C, with different penalties. Class A drugs are considered the most dangerous and have the highest penalties.
CLASS OF DRUG
PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION
PENALTIES FOR DEALING
Drugs include heroin, cocaine, ecstacy, LSD, magic mushrooms and amphetamines (if prepared for injection)
Drugs include amphetamines and cannabis
Drugs include tranquilisers, some painkillers, GHB and ketamine
New Psychoactive Substances (Legal Highs)
New Psychoactive Substances more commonly known are 'Legal Highs’ are now classified as illegal under the New Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. They can produce the same or similar effects to illegal drugs. You will not be prosecuted for possession only for being concerned in the sale or supply of these psychoactive substances to another. They are just as harmful as illegal drugs.
How they affect the body
Drugs can be classified as depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens.
- Depressants (downers) slow the body down and have a calming effect;
- Stimulants (uppers) cause the body to speed up, increasing heart rate and breathing;
- Hallucinogens (trips) alter perception, the way you see, hear, feel, smell or touch the world.
Understanding these categories can help people recognise signs of drug use. Some drugs cross categories, e.g. ecstasy has both stimulant and hallucinogen effects.
For more information on these and other drugs see the A-Z of drugs on the Know the Score website. For information on how to reduce the harm caused by alcohol visit Alcohol Focus, where a large library of infomation is available.
Depressants (downers) slow the body down and have a calming effect.
Hallucinogenics (trips) alter perception, the way you see, hear, feel, smell or touch the world.
Stimulants (uppers) cause the body to speed up, increasing heart rate and breathing.
New Psychoactive Substances - NPS (Legal Highs)
These are made to produce the same or similar effects to illegal drugs
Read more about NPS