Tackling Khat abuse in UK

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Somalilandsun- This a 5 minute presentation about Khat that was made by Mohamed Ali of medeshivalley.com at Kingston Council Hall on Friday the 7th of Dec. 2012

What is Khat ?Miraa Khat imported from Kenya to UKKhat is fresh young leaves of the Catha edulis shrub plant that is cultivated primarily in East Africa and Yemen.

A stimulant drug with effects similar to amphetamine – chewing it makes people feel more alert, talkative, and suppresses appetite. Users describe an ensuing calming effect when used over a few hours.

Regular use may lead to insomnia (inability to sleep), anorexia and anxiety, irritability, anger and possibly violence

Psychological dependence – users feel depressed and low unless they keep taking it.

Who uses Khat in the UK

Immigrants from the Horn of Africa (Somalia , Ethiopia , Djibouti and Kenya ) and Yemen are the main users of Khat in the United Kingdom. There is a growing number of white British users among the young generation that have recently started using Khat .

Social effects of khat

This drug causes mental illness , sleeplessness and suppresses sexual desire. It particularly makes men sexually impotent as the drug takes away their desire to have sex or makes their organs weak and ineffective.

In UK, men particularly chew Khat all night and sleep all day. They do not support family life or seek jobs . Khat is also expensive and has caused family breakdowns among users due to conflict initiated by husbands who want to use the benefits money for financing their Khat consumption.

Health effects of khat

The main health problems associated with the heavy use of khat include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, insomnia, constipation, lethargy (tiredness), hyperactivity, loss of appetite, diminishing sex drive, depression, tooth darkening ( tooth plague ) , oral cancer , euphoria (excitement) and hallucinations and mental health problems.

Legal drug

Khat is a legal drug in the UK but is banned in the US , Canada and Europe. Despite several campaigns by local charities to make the UK government ban khat , no decision has yet been made by the Home Office to ban it and this drug is currently found throughout the UK cities.

Khat seized by the Canadian authorities : Photo Credit: Leslie Young, Global News

What to do to reduce impact of Khat

Advocate for the international and national control and ban of khat in the UK .

Promote awareness of the heath effects of khat among the users and the wider public .

Lobby the Home Office , the MPs , councillors and the legislation authorities to demand the banning of khat in the UK.

References : Drug scope

(Medeshi)

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