If you or someone you know may have consumed drugs and is feeling unwell, you should speak to a member of security staff, or dial 999 immediately.

Cardiff  University Students’ Union does not condone the use of drugs, but wants to ensure that students are making informed choices, and are aware of the resources to help them stay safe. The best way to avoid harm or punishment, is not to take drugs at all.

If you choose to use drugs at university, it is important to understand the risks, where to get advice, and how to be as safe as possible.

There are many different types of drugs, and new psychoactive substances (NPS’) are being discovered all the time. For more information on which substances people consume, you can visit talk to frank.


The Law

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is the legislation that describes which substances are illegal and their legal classification. This legislation classifies drugs as;

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971




 Supply and     production


Crack cocaine, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth)

Up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Up to life in prison, an unlimited fine or both


Amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones (eg mephedrone, methoxetamine)

Up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

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


Anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines (diazepam), gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines (BZP), khat

Up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both (except anabolic steroids - it’s not an offence to possess them for personal use)

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


You can also get a penalty for ‘psychoactive substances’, eg laughing gas, under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Psychoactive substances


Supply and production

Things that cause hallucinations, drowsiness or changes in alertness, perception of time and space, mood or empathy with others

None, unless you’re in prison

Up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both

Alkyl nitrites, aka Poppers are not listed by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. 

Further Consequences 

It is important to consider that being caught in possession of drugs can have serious legal consequences, which can prevent you from getting certain jobs.

Students who study courses that have fitness to practise requirements, (for example Physiotherapy, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing or Medicine, and many more) may be removed from their course if found in possession or to have used any of these substances.

If you are found to be in possession of any drugs or paraphernalia, or found to be under the influence of drugs, in the Students Union night club, then you will likely receive a lifetime ban.


Study Drugs

Some students have reported using drugs in an attempt to improve cognitive ability and to allow them to concentrate for longer periods of time. These drugs are often prescription medication that has been illegally sold on, or imported from outside of the UK.

Common drugs include Modafanil (sold under the brands of Modalert or Provigil), Adderall (Amphetamine), and Ritalin (Methyphenidate). Some of these drugs are listed under the Missuse of Drugs Act 1971, making it illegal to be in possession of them.

Although not a controlled drug listed by the Missue of Drugs Act 1971, it is still illegal to supply modafanil as it is listed in the Medicines Act 1968.  It is illegal to be in possession of both Amphetamine and Methylphenidate. 

Study drugs can have serious side affects, both in the short term and long term, and don't make you smarter. These affects include; tachycardia, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, apetite loss, headaches and skin rashes. 

The best solution to doing well at University is regular excercise, a good diet, enough sleep and working hard. 


Please stay safe and know that Student Advice is a free, non-judgmental, confidential, and independant service. We can be found on the 3rd floor of the SU or in the IV lounge at the Heath.