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Illicit drug laws

Amphetamines and the law

In South Australia, amphetamines (PDF 127KB) are declared as drugs of dependence under regulation 7 of the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 2011. Amphetamines are also controlled drugs under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984

It is illegal to keep or use amphetamines unless they have been prescribed for you by a doctor for a recognised medical condition. The Controlled Substances Act 1984 prescribes a range of offences in relation to manufacturing, selling, supplying or possessing amphetamines, which vary depending on the quantities involved. For possession or consumption of amphetamines for personal use, a maximum penalty of $2000 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both applies. For larger quantities, these constitute major indictable offences and attract a maximum penalty that varies between $50,000 to $500,000 or imprisonment for 15 years to life or both.

Cannabis and the law

In South Australia, cannabis (PDF 124KB), cannabis oil and cannabis resin are defined under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 and declared as controlled drugs under the schedules in the Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014.  It is illegal to keep, use, grow, sell or give away cannabis, cannabis oil or cannabis resin. Minor offences relating to personal possession or use of cannabis or cannabis resin or related smoking equipment by adults can be dealt with by an expiation, which means a fine that does not attract a criminal conviction.

If a person is alleged to have committed a simple possession offence, pursuant to section 45A of the Controlled Substances Act 1984, a person can be expiated instead of being prosecuted. Expiation fees are fixed by regulation. Trafficking or large scale cultivation and/or sale of cannabis plants constitutes a major indictable offence and attracts a maximum penalty that varies (depending on the quantities involved) between $50,000 to $500,000 or imprisonment for 15 years to life or both.

Ecstasy and the law

In South Australia, ecstasy (PDF 123KB) is a controlled drug under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984. It is illegal to make, keep, use, sell or give away ecstasy. For possession or consumption of amphetamines for personal use, a maximum penalty of $2000 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both applies. For larger quantities, these constitute major indictable offences and attract a maximum penalty that varies (depending on the quantity involved) between $50,000 to $500,000 or imprisonment for 15 years to life or both.

Heroin and the law

In South Australia, heroin (PDF 122.44KB) is a controlled drug under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984. It is illegal to make, keep, use, sell or give away heroin. The maximum penalty for simple possession of a controlled drug is a fine of $2000 or imprisonment for 2 years or both. The maximum penalty for possession, supplying or administering a controlled drug that is not a commercial or trafficable quantity, is $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years or both. For larger quantities, these constitute major indictable offences and attract a maximum penalty that varies (depending on the quantity involved) between $50,000 to $500,000 or imprisonment for 15 years to life or both.

Cocaine and the law

In South Australia, cocaine (PDF 123KB) is a declared drug of dependence under regulation 7 of the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 2011. Cocaine is also a controlled drug under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984

It is illegal to make, keep, use, sell or give away cocaine. The maximum penalty for possession, supplying or administering a controlled drug that is not a commercial or trafficable quantity, is $50,000 or imprisonment for 10 years or both. For larger quantities, these constitute major indictable offences and attract a maximum penalty that varies (depending on the quantity involved) between $50,000 to $500,000 or imprisonment for 15 years to life or both.

Steroids and the law

In South Australia, steroids (PDF 119KB) are classed as prescription drugs under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984. It is illegal to keep or use steroids unless they have been prescribed for you by a doctor for a recognised medical condition. It is also illegal to make, sell or give away steroids. The maximum penalty for these offences are a fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for 2 years.

Hallucinogens and the law

In South Australia, hallucinogens (PDF 118.82KB) such as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) are controlled drugs under section 4(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984. It is illegal to make, keep, use, sell or give away hallucinogens such as LSD.

Volatile substances and the law

In South Australia, it is an offence under section 19(1) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 to sell or give a volatile solvent (PDF 127KB) to another person, if you suspect or have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person:

  • intends to inhale the solvent; or
  • intends to give or sell the solvent to a further person for inhalation by that further person.

It is also an offence under section 19(2) of the Act to purchase a volatile solvent on behalf of another person for that other person to inhale the solvent. The maximum penalty for offences pursuant to sections 19(1) and (2) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 is a fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for 2 years. Section 19(3) of the Controlled Substances Act 1984 makes it an offence to sell or give a volatile solvent to a person under the age of 16 years. This offence attracts a maximum penalty of $10,000.

The volatile substances that these offences apply to are listed in regulation 8 of the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 2011. The offences apply to the pure volatile solvent or if the volatile solvent is included in a product such as a paint or glue.

Drug driving

Under the section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, it is an offence to drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug as to be incapable of exercising effective control of the vehicle.

In South Australia, police conduct random roadside saliva tests to detect the presence of illegal drugs.

You can be tested for:

Unlike drink driving, there is no legal limit when it comes to drugs and driving. It is an offence to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with any amount of these illicit drugs in your system.

The Motor Accident Commission's Drug Drive campaign raises awareness about the risks and consequences of drug driving.

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