Disease: Khat

    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 anorexia, tahycardia, hypertension, 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 worldwide.
    • 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 States.
    • 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.

    SOURCE: United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Khat.

    Last Editorial Review: 12/13/2011 1:46:46 PM

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

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