Drugs and the law

This page has information on prohibited drugs laws in the Northern Territory (NT).

Illegal drugs

It’s an offence in the NT to possess, supply or manufacture a prohibited drug. Many drugs are prohibited.

In the NT, the most serious drugs that carry the highest penalties include all of the following:

  • heroin
  • cocaine
  • PCP or Angel Dust - also called phencyclidine
  • LSD - also known as lysergic acid and lysergide
  • methamphetamine - also known as meth, speed and ice.

Other prohibited drugs include all of the following:

  • cannabis
  • cathinone and methcathinone - also known as meow meow or bath salts
  • ketamine
  • MDMA - also known as ecstasy or methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

Driving and drugs

It’s an offence in the NT to drive if you have a prohibited drug in your blood. This is measured by NT police using a saliva test.

Read more about drug driving penalties.

Young people: crime, alcohol and drugs

If you are under 18 and commit a crime that is connected to alcohol or drug use, the police can send you to counselling or drug and alcohol abuse programs in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs.

Read more about diversion programs for young people.

You may also have to go to the Youth Justice Court. Read more about young people and going to court.

Sniffing and volatile substances

It is not against the law to sniff or inhale a volatile substance.

It is against the law to supply a volatile substance to another person knowing they intend to inhale it. You can read the Volatile Substance Abuse Prevention Act 2005.

Volatile substances can be all of the following:

  • intoxicating fuels for vehicles, such as petrol
  • butane gas (lighter fluid)
  • aerosol paints and spray paint
  • glue
  • spray deodorant
  • correction fluid.

Read about the health effects of inhaling volatile substances.

What the police can do

If the police think you have been sniffing or inhaling a volatile substance they can do any of the following:

  • search you
  • dispose of the substance
  • take you into protective custody
  • take you to a place of safety or to a responsible adult
  • arrest you if you have committed a crime.

Last updated: 27 February 2019

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