The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is the
main legislation covering drugs and categorises drugs as Class A, B
and C. These drugs are termed ‘controlled substances’ and Class
A drugs are those considered to be the most harmful.
The Misuse of Drugs Act
states it is an offence to
- Possess a controlled substance
- Possess a controlled substance with
intent to supply it
- Supply or offer to supply a
controlled drug (even where no charge is made for the drug)
- Allow premises you occupy or manage
to be used for the purpose of drug taking
Drug trafficking attracts serious
punishment, including life imprisonment for Class A
To enforce this law, the police have
special powers to stop, detain and search people on ‘reasonable
suspicion’ that they are in possession of a controlled
Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 creates powers
to enable the police to close, for a period of up to six
months, premises (including licensed premises) where there is
evidence of the sale, use or production of Class A drugs, and
where there is also related serious nuisance or disorder.
Health and Safety at Work Act
1974 places a duty on employers to protect the
health, safety and welfare of both staff and those who may be
affected by their undertaking.
This is underpinned by the Management of Health and Safety at Work
Regulation 1999, which requires an employer to carry out a risk
assessment and where there are five or more staff, record the
findings. With respect to drug use, this should cover areas such as
violence to staff, how to decrease the risk of injury (e.g.
needle-stick injury), what to do if a needle or other drugs
paraphernalia is found, and what to do if injury occurs.
Environment Protection Act 1990 - under this act
(Duty of Care) ‘sharps’ (needles) and blood contaminated products
are classified as clinical waste and must therefore be disposed of
using a registered clinical waste carrier. This responsibility lies
with the occupier of the premises.