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Call For New Controls On Legal Drug Khat

June 17, 2010

Ten years ago an average of 10 tonnes of Khat were imported into the UK every year.

That figure has now risen to 10,000 tonnes per year.

The Khat plant is grown in Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Users chew the leaves then swallow the juice, which contains an ingredient similar to amphetamine.

Although banned in North America and most of Europe, Khat is legal in Britain and sold openly in corner shops.

After a few hours users become talkative and experience feelings of alertness, euphoria and excitement.

But symptoms can include depression, lack of concentration and psychosis.

Abukar Awale, a Somalian living in North London, claims he was addicted to Khat for seven years.

He lost his confidence and self-esteem and became depressed and paranoid.

He told Sky News: “This drug is destroying the Somali community in Britain and should be made illegal.

“The government banned ‘Meow Meow’ within weeks. That was clear discrimination because it was white people taking it.

“Last year there were 16 Khat-related deaths but you don’t see that on the six o’clock news.”

The legality of Khat in Britain means London has become a hub for smugglers.

In May David Sydenham, 32, was sentenced to three weeks in prison after smuggling 70kg of Khat into Canada hidden in his suitcase.

The consignment was worth £100 in the UK but on the black market in North America, it would have fetched £26,000.

Conservative Peer Baroness Warsi wants to make the sale of Khat illegal in Britain but opponents claim this would discriminate against and criminalise Britain’s Somali community.

Last year the Home Office commissioned two studies to explore the social harms associated with khat use, which will be published later this year.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to addressing any form of substance misuse and will keep the issue of khat use under close scrutiny.”

Source: Sky News

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5 comments on “Call For New Controls On Legal Drug Khat

  1. I think, Sky is exaggerating the whole story. £100 worth chat fetched £26,000. Wow! When story being made it only lose it’s credibility. Chat is not different from chewing tobacco. It is a bad habit but not as described above Sky News. We know Tobacco kills but Chat makes a person lose his appetite and remain calm and meditative. If Chat was a danger to health the population of east Africa wouldn’t been doubling every 20 years.

  2. Yes Sky is right.Chat used to make me talk too much when i got the ‘merkana’ and it caused me sever depression.
    Thanks God! I got over with it long time ago.No more chat in my life.

  3. Khat, I never new what it was until I took a couple of suit cases full over to Canada. What a mistake. Well I suppose you learn the hard way. I did 21 days with gang bangers and some nasty people, and take it from me if you get caught you don’t just get deported they lock you up and in America its the same as class A’s so don’t be stupid. If i had made it to Chicago and got caught I would of got 3 to 4 years or more please just think before you consider it send me a email at davidsydenham2010@hotmail.com

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