What Are Class B Drugs?

"Class B drugs" is a term used in the Original Misuse of Drugs Act passed by the British Parliament in 1971.

As of July 2009, this Act remains the foundation of UK drug law, and the term "Class B" drugs is still used in Britain to describe a group of drugs that are illegal, but with less severe penalties than more serious "Class A" drugs. This term is not routinely used within the United States, but a similar classification system is in place which classifies drugs into "Schedules." Drugs range from Schedule 1 Drugs, which are considered to be the most dangerous drugs, to Schedule V.

Class B Drugs

Class B drugs include Acetyldihydrocodeine, Amphetamine, Cannabis, Codeine, Dexamphetamine, Dihydrocodeine, Ethylmorphine, Methylamphetamine, Methylphenidate, Nicocodine, Norcodeine, Phenmetrazine and Pholcodine. In the most recent change to UK drug law, Cannabis was downgraded from a Class A drug to a Class B drug in 2006.


Drugs are classified based on a number of factors. Class B drugs are considered to be less dangerous than Class A drugs, including cocaine, heroine, LSD, mushrooms and ecstasy, but more dangerous than Class C drugs including steroids and Valium. If new medicinal uses become apparent for a drug and/or the prospective side effects of a drug are re-evaluated in the medical community, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs can write a report recommending a change to the drug's classification.


The Original Misuse of Drug Act prohibits possession, possession with intent to supply, supplying or offering to supply, or allowing your premises to be used for production or supply, of any prohibited substances including Class B drugs. This means it is unlawful to have any of the prohibited classes of drugs, including class B drug in your possession, to give that drug to others (for money or otherwise) or to allow a location that you occupy, own or manage, to be used to store drugs or for the exchange of drugs.

Penatlies for Class B Drugs

Penalties for possession of a Class B drug range from 4 months to 14 years in prison and/or a fine depending on the court prosecuting the crime and the amount of the Class B drug found in your possession. Possession is only a crime if you do not have a valid prescription for the controlled substance. Penalties for supplying a Class B drug range from 6 months to 14 years in prison and/or a fine. Again, penalties depend upon the court prosecuting the crime and other factors including the perpetrator's history of drug possession and the amount of the Class B substance he has in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Drug Classes in the United States

The United States uses Schedules to classify drugs, instead of Classes. A Schedule I drug is a drug with a high potential for addiction and no accepted medical uses. While a Schedule II drug is a drug with a high potential for abuse, but with accepted medical uses in very limited situations. A Schedule III drug has less potential for abuse than a schedule I or schedule II drug. Many drugs that are classified as Class B drugs in the UK are classified as schedule I drugs in the United States including Acetyldihydrocodeine, Amphetamine, and Codeine,