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About Drugs: Khat

Information
Khat is a herbal substance from the leaves and shoots of the plant Catha edulis.  The main growing areas are East Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Swaziland) and parts of the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and Yemen).  Like many plants there are variations dependent upon the area of cultivation.   The plant is a bush or a small tree that can grow up to 10 metres in height.   The active substance is cathinone.

Effects
Khat users experience a stimulant effect by chewing on freshly harvested leaves and shoots. It can include increased energy, awareness, confidence and euphoria.   Khat is claimed by users to relieve respiratory problems.

Method of using
Consumption is oral and the shoots are chewed by the user and produce a stimulant effect.  Occasionally tea is brewed from the leaves.  Although Khat is used by individuals in private it is often consumed in a group setting with others.   Weekends, weddings, religious events and other social gatherings are occasions to use Khat.

Street namesKhat, Bushman’s tea, Abyssinian tea, African Salad and Kafta.

Dangers
Little is known about the dangers of using the substance but excessive consumption is believed to affect the central nervous system and can result in psychiatric problems.

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