Drug Use Charges

Self-administration of or an attempt to self-administer prohibited drugs is an offence under section 12 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).

However the offence of self-administration is not as common as possession, as the police must prove that you self-administered drugs, rather than simply finding drugs in your possession. Without witnessing the administration of the drugs, this may be difficult for them to prove. However, charges arise from, for example, police witnessing a person smoking a joint of cannibis at a festival, or shooting up in a public bathroom.

Types of Drugs

Schedule 1 of the Act outlines the various types of drugs that are considered prohibited. It is a very long list. Some of the better-known types include:

  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Lysergic Acid (LSD)
  • Amphetamines (including Speed and Ice)
  • MDMA (Ecstacy)
  • Steroids


Self-administration is a summary offence, and hence the maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200, or imprisonment for a term of 2 years. As with possession, it is very rare to receive a term of imprisonment for a charge of self-administration alone. Other options in sentencing include:

  • Home detention
  • Intensive correction order
  • Community service order
  • Good behaviour bond
  • Section 10 dismissal


Section 12(2) sets out an exception to a charge of self-administration, where the administration is of a prohibited drug that has been lawfully prescribed to that person. You may also try to prove that you were not the person that the police witnessed self-administering drugs. Other defences include duress or necessity.

Going to Court

This offence is likely to be heard in the Local Court. However, if the offence is accompanied by a charge of possession, the court where the matter is heard will be dependent on the quantity of the drug found in possession. In NSW, the quantity has great bearing on the charge; the larger the quantity of drug, the more serious the penalty is likely to be.

Drug Use Charges

There are various other drug use-related offences prescribed under the Act. These are also summary offences, and include:

  • Possession of Equipment for Administration of Prohibited Drugs (s11)
  • Administration of Prohibited Drugs to Others (s13)
  • Permitting Another to Administer Prohibited Drugs (s14)
  • Forging Prescriptions (s15)
  • Obtaining Prescriptions by False Representation (s16)
  • Obtaining Prohibited Drugs by False Representation (s17)
  • Obtaining Prohibited Drugs from Medical Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners or Midwife Practitioners (s18)

What Can North Shore Criminal Law Do For You?

If you have been charged with self-administration of a prohibited drug, you should seek legal advice immediately. Even if you are in custody, we can come to you, ensuring that your rights are protected.

North Sydney Criminal Law have a wealth of experience successfully advocating on behalf of clients charged with drug-related offences. Let us use our experience to determine the best strategy and argue it on your behalf. We can negotiate with police in an attempt to get a reduced sentence, or a complete dismissal.

Call North Shore Criminal Law now on (02) 9955 2298 or our 24 hour Emergency on 0400 44 64 24.