We have launched a short survey to find out your experience of the drug legislation in Scotland. The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) will have been in place for 50 years this year and we’d like to hear from you the impact you feel that this piece of legislation has on people who take drugs and the people close to them.
What is the Misuse of Drugs Act?
The Misuse of Drugs Act
The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) is a piece of legislation that bans the supply, possession, and import of named drugs (e.g. cocaine, cannabis etc). This includes giving the drugs away to your friends for free. This piece of legislation has been in place for 50 years and has not changed much since then.
The Misuse of Drugs Act categorises drugs into three classes which are intended to represent the level of harm those drugs pose to society.
Class A drug
Penalties for possession are up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Penalties for supply are up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
Class B drug
Penalties for possession are up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Penalties for supply are up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
Class C drug
Penalties for possession without a prescription are up to 2 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Penalties for supply are up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. (Most benzodiazepine drugs will be Class C unless prescribed by a doctor.)
What about ‘legal highs’?
The Psychoactive Substances Act
In 2016 the Psychoactive Substances Act was brought into UK law to prevent the sale of any drug that has a psychoactive (mind altering) effect. This law does not cover possession but focuses on sale and import unless someone is in a ‘custodial setting’ such as a prison. The law was created in response to drugs known as ‘legal highs’ that were not covered under the Misuse of Drugs Act being commonly sold in the UK and is why you do not see these drugs being sold in shops in the UK anymore.
We’d like to know about the impact of the Misuse of Drugs Act for people who take drugs and their families in Scotland. This survey is anonymous.
Please respond to the survey by the end of the day on 11th February.
Your survey response will help us provide insights into the experience of people who take drugs in a current consultation on drug law reform in Scotland. The responses you provide are anonymous however any comments you provide may be included in Crew’s response to the Scottish Drug Death Task Force in order to help inform the understanding of the impact of the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) on public health. If you provide any personal details in the comments box these will not be shared. Your IP address will not be logged.