Drugs

What about drugs?  Ones that aren’t given by prescription?

All drugs are illegal, excluding prescription medication or over the counter medications. The law is very strict and penalties can be high, including going to prison.

If you are present in a place where there are drugs found such as a car or house, you can be charged by police, even if the drugs are not yours, if you knew that the drugs were there.

If you have prescription medication you should always keep it in its original packaging to prove you are entitled to it.  It is illegal to possess or use prescription medication without a valid prescription. For example, if your friend asks you to hold onto their prescription medication for them and the police find you in possession of that medication without a prescription, you can be charged with an offence. Similarly, it is also illegal to manufacture, cultivate, sell or supply any prescription medication.

Any person convicted of a drug offence will receive a criminal record. A criminal record can lead to difficulties in obtaining a job, credit or visas for overseas travel.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

In the NT, it is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, cultivate or supply an illicit drug. The law is very strict and penalties vary depending on the offence. Significant jail terms can be imposed.

If you are spoken to by police about an alleged drug offence you should seek advice from a criminal lawyer. You can contact the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission on 1800 019 343 for further advice and information.

If you are Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander you can contact the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service on 1800 636 079 or the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency on 1800 898 251.

ACT

In the ACT the law divides drugs into 2 categories:

  • controlled drugs including speed, MDMA, ecstasy, ice, cocaine and heroin
  • cannabis (marijuana) – the offences in relation to cannabis are different to other drugs.  Having, selling and using cannabis is a criminal offence.

Directions ACT is a drug and alcohol support and counselling service.

Western Australia

In WA, it is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, cultivate, sell or supply an illicit drug.

The law is very strict and penalties vary depending on the offence:

  • Possession offences: a maximum $2000 fine and/or 2 years in prison
  • Sell/Supply offences: a maximum $100,000 fine and/or 25 years in prison.

Victoria

In Victoria, it is illegal to possess, cultivate or traffic a drug of dependence. The penalties for using and possessing small quantities of illegal drugs are treated less seriously than for trafficking and cultivating drugs. Importing or exporting drugs is an offence under Commonwealth law.

If you need legal advice or referrals you can contact the following:

For information on alcohol and other drug counselling and referral services check out the following links:

Links to more services in Victoria can be found here.

Queensland

In QLD, it is illegal to possess, use, manufacture, cultivate or supply an illicit drug.  The law is very strict and penalties vary depending on the offence – possession offences can attract a maximum of 25 years in prison, whilst supply offences can mean a maximum of life in prison.