Drug abuse is corrosive within communities and turns law-abiding citizens into criminals. The damage caused by drugs crosses all social classes and economic boundaries, leaving victims and misery in its wake.


Effective policing is one of the most powerful tools in dealing with drugs, but enforcement in isolation will not achieve a lasting solution to the problem. There are no easy solutions to the complex drug problem but Cheshire Constabulary is committed to tackling the problem of drugs by working with all interested parties, whether they be partner agencies, communities, businesses or voluntary groups.

Our strategy seeks to combine prevention, education, harm minimisation and treatment with our own enforcement responsibilities. Our challenge is to achieve thisĀ  whilst ensuring that we continue to deliver the high standards of policing that Cheshire deserves.

The Constabulary's approach to drug related issues involves both strong enforcement and active education programmes. We seek to tackle the supply of drugs through enforcement and work with our partners on the Drug Action teams to address demand through a combination of Criminal Justice Interventions and education initiatives.

Classification and penalties

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 categorises drugs under three classes; A, B and C. It is an offence to:

  • Possess a controlled substance unlawfully
  • Possess a controlled substance with intent to supply it
  • Supply or offer to supply a controlled drug (even if it is given away for free)
  • Allow a house, flat or office to be used by people taking drugs.

Penalties for possession and dealing


Drug type



Class A

Ecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, amphetamines (if prepared for injection).

Up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Up to life in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Class B

Amphetamines, Cannabis, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Pholcodine.

Up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Class C

Tranquilisers, some painkillers, Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine.

Up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

Up to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

The Psychoactive Substances Act received Royal Assent on 28 January 2016 and came into force on 26 May 2016.

This legislation will fundamentally change the way police forces tackle psychoactive substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before. It will give police the power to shut down shops that are trading in legal highs and it will also be an offence to import them, for instance buying them from a foreign website.