Sentencing of drug offences involving newer and less common drugs

Since publication of the Drug Offences guideline in 2012, there has been an increase in the number of cases before the courts involving newer drugs, such as synthetic opioids, which may have much higher potency and potential to cause harm than more common drugs. In addition, some new offences have been created, for example, those in the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

We have therefore published guidance on the sentencing of offences involving newer and less common drugs, in particular covering how to assess the harm caused. This guidance does not carry the same authority as a sentencing guideline, and sentencers are not obliged to follow it. However, we hope that sentencers will find it useful in assisting them to deal with these cases.

The Council published an assessment of the current Drug Offences guideline on 1 June, and has now started work to revise the guideline. We will consult on a revised draft guideline in due course, and consultation documents will be available on our consultation pages.