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Homemental healthKhat: Learn the Side Effects of This Drug

Khat: Learn the Side Effects of This Drug

What is Khat and what are the street names for Khat?

Street terms for Khat: (pronounced Cot) Abyssinian tea, African salad, oat,
kat, chat, and catha. Also referred to as qat in Yemen, tschat in Ethiopia, and
miraa in Kenya.

What does Khat look like?

  • Khat is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the
    Arabian Peninsula.
  • Khat that is sold and abused is usually
    just the leaves, twigs, and shoots of the Khat shrub.

How is Khat used?

  • Khat is typically chewed like tobacco.
  • The fresh
    leaves, twigs, and shoots of the Khat shrub are chewed, and then retained in the
    cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug.
  • Dried plant material can be made into tea or a chewable paste.
  • Khat can also be smoked and
    even sprinkled on food.

What are the health side effects of Khat use?

  • Common side effects include
    insomnia, and gastric disorders.
  • Chronic Khat abuse can result in symptoms such as physical exhaustion, violence, and
    suicidal depression.
  • Widespread frequent use of Khat impacts productivity because it tends to
    reduce worker motivation.
  • Khat can induce manic behaviors,
    hyperactivity, and hallucinations.
  • There are reports of Khat-induced psychosis.

Who uses Khat?

  • The use of Khat is an established cultural tradition
    for many social situations in the areas of primary cultivation: East Africa and
    the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Several million people may currently be using Khat
  • The largest concentrations of users are in the regions surrounding
    the Middle East.

How does Khat get to the United States?

  • Khat, while illegal in the United
    States, is legal in much of Europe, East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Individuals of East African and Middle Eastern descent are mot often responsible
    for the importation, distribution, possession, and use of Khat in the United
  • Khat is usually shipped already packaged in bundles, and wrapped in plastic bags
    or banana leaves to retain moisture and freshness.
  • Khat is
    generally smuggled in passenger luggage, overnight express mail, or shipped as
    air cargo and falsely labeled as "vegetables."

How much does Khat cost?

  • Exactly prices are not known, but Khat is a
    relatively costly drug.

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