Administration of Drugs - Charges, Penalties and Sentencing in ACT

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Administration of Drugs


In the ACT, it is an offence to administer a declared substance to another person, yourself or an animal without being authorised to do so. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 100 penalty units and/or 1 year imprisonment.

The Offence of Administering Drugs and Poisons

The offence of administering a declared substance is contained in section 37 of the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008. It prohibits the administration of a declared substance to:

  • another person; or
  • yourself; or
  • an animal

unless you are authorised to do so.

Conviction for this offence can result in a fine of up to 100 penalty units, 1 year imprisonment or both.

What is a Declared Substance?

Declared substances are medicines and poisons classified by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). These substances have been divided into schedules which are contained in the Federal Poisons Standards.

For the purposes of this offence, a declared substance means:

  • a medicine;
  • a dangerous poison;
  • a prohibited substance;
  • a Schedule 10 substance;
  • a low harm poison or moderate harm poison, prescribed by regulation.

Medicines include over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines and controlled medicines which require additional restrictions to reduce misuse or dependence. These are contained in schedules 2, 3, 4 and 8 of the Federal Poisons Standards.

Dangerous poisons are substances with a high potential for causing harm, and are contained in Schedule 7. Well-known examples of dangerous poisons include arsenic, cyanide, mercury and nicotine.

Prohibited substances are generally illegal substances that are subject to abuse. These are contained in schedule 9. Some well known examples of prohibited substances are cannabis, ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, mephedrone and DMT.

Schedule 10 substances are considered to be of such danger to health that their sale, supply and use is prohibited. Schedule 10 includes substances such as hydrogen peroxide in teeth-whitening preparations, lead compounds in paints and inks, and silicones for injection or implantation, except as otherwise prescribed.

Low harm and moderate harm poisons are contained in schedules 5 and 6 respectively. As their names suggest, they are substances with low and moderate potentials for causing harm.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This matter is a summary matter and will be dealt with in the ACT Magistrates Court.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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