Drug Laws in Australia

Drug Laws in Australia – What You Need to Know

To avoid getting on the wrong side of the law in Australia, you should avoid drugs. There are strict drug laws in Australia making it criminal to use, supply or traffic illegal substances.

Each state has its own specific laws on the distribution, possession and manufacture of different substances, but the overall drug laws in Australia have large similarities. See our blog post on ‘Drug Laws in NSW’ for more New South Wales’ specific information.

Drugs offences include:

  • Smoking illegal drugs or substances.
  • Having drugs on your person or property, otherwise known as possession.
  • Cultivating illegal substances, such as growing or harvesting plants that are narcotics.
  •  Trafficking drugs, which includes preparing to sell or exchange illegal substances to people or entities. The penalties for this kind of drugs offence are very strict.

Drug Laws in Australia

Drugs offences relating to driving

In Australia, no matter which state or territory you are in, it is illegal to drive when under the influence of illegal substances.

If you are caught breaking the law this way, you can face:

  • being disqualified from driving,
  • fines, and
  • jail time.

Some states in Australia now also have random testing for amphetamines and marijuana, to catch drivers who are under the influence.

Drug diversion in Australia

If you are suffering from a drug problem and are caught for drug offences, some states and territories in Australia have special drug programs that can help you. Instead of being persecuted for drugs offences, you can receive help, treatment and education to improve your life and help you get off drugs.

Legal drugs in Australia

There are some legal drugs – mainly alcohol and tobacco – that you can use and are not criminalised by drug laws in Australia. However, you need to consume these drugs responsibly.

Alcohol laws

In many states, it is a drug offence to drink alcohol in public places, such as at the beach, on the street, or in a park.

Across all of Australia, you must be over the age of 18 to purchase any alcohol from licensed premises, unless you are accompanied by your guardian. There is also a drugs offence called secondary supply, where you can get arrested for purchasing alcohol for underage drinkers.

Like with other drugs, its also illegal to drink and drive.

See this blog post on ‘Drink Driving Laws in Australia – Don’t Go Over the Limit’ for some more detailed information.

Tobacco laws

You must be aged 18 or over to smoke in Australia. There are also drug laws in Australia surrounding how tobacco is packaged, sold and advertised, and these laws are some of the strictest in the world.

Australia also has laws against smoking in many public areas such as cafes, bars and shopping centres. Recently, quite a few states also introduced new laws that prohibit smoking in a car when there are children present. See our blog post on ‘Smoking in Public Places & the Workplace – NSW’ for some more detailed information relating to New South Wales.

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