The Provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Quit Marijuana The Complete Guide

New Treatment for Cannabis Dependence

Get Instant Access

The Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 lists controlled substances in three classes in Schedule 2 to the Act. Class A drugs have the greatest propensity to cause social harm, and Class C drugs the least. Class A drugs include cocaine, heroin, mescaline, morphine and opium, Class B includes amphetamine(s), and Class C the benzodiazepines. At the time of writing^ Cannabis is being reclassified. In addition, stereoisomers, salts, esters, ethers and certain preparations are also controlled groupwise, thus removing the need to name each of these individually. Associated with each class of drug are maximum penalties which may be prescribed. Those for Class A drug offences are more severe than those for Class C offences. For Class A drugs, some offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, for Class B 14 years in prison, and for Class C, five years in prison. With respect to each of the listed drugs, the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 is divided into several sections (Table 1.1), with each section relating to a specific type of offence under the Act which is prohibited.

In addition, the Government may create exceptions to the general rules and allow certain substances to be imported and exported, allow persons to use certain drugs under licence, allow medical and veterinary practitioners to supply certain drugs, and allow certain persons to manufacture, possess and work with drugs for educational or scientific research purposes. The mechanism by which much of this is achieved is detailed in the Misuse of Drugs (Regulations), 2001, which details what may be done and how, while the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 details what may not be done.

In this legal area, it is necessary to be able to provide scientific support for any charge brought against individuals to prove that an offence has been committed. The majority of offences relate to possession of controlled substances. However, it is sometimes necessary for the analyst to determine the amount as well as the

Table 1.1 Principle sections of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971 and corresponding offences

Section of the Type of offence which is controlled

Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971

Section of the Type of offence which is controlled

Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971


Importation and exportation of controlled drugs


Production and supply of controlled drugs


Possession of controlled drugs


Cultivation of cannabis


Permit premises to be used for the purposes listed in

Sections 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9


Preparing or smoking opium


Use utensils or allow others to do so in relation to

smoking opium


Induce the commission of a 'corresponding offence'

while overseas while overseas

presence of a drug and on occasion, particularly in relation to supply offences, establish relationships between drug samples. The amount of work that is required depends upon the drug in question and the charge being made. For a small amount of heroin, for personal use, and on admission of guilt, sufficient support is offered by a colour (presumptive) test. However, if the admission is later retracted, a full scientific investigation of the drug is required. For other drug types, it is possible to prove the identity by the simple use of microscopy. This is especially true for cannabis products and the identification of some fungi. However, for other case types a full and rigorous investigation must be undertaken.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Dealing With Drugs

Dealing With Drugs

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At Dealing With Drugs. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To A Parents Guide To The Drug Talk.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment