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Khat

Qat, cat, chat

Alcoholic Drinks

Common names

Khat, Qat, cat, chat.

Generic name

Catha edulis.

Scientific names

Cathinone (aminopropiophenone), methcathinone.

Action

Khat is one of the central nervous system stimulants.

Drug form

In its natural form, twigs and leaves. Cathinone, the main active ingredient, comes as an off-white powder.

Drug effects

Desired:

Euphoria, alertness, confidence.

Side-effects:

Insomnia, loss of appetite, dry mouth.

Risks

Short-term:

Anxiety, paranoia, tolerance.

Long-term:

Psychosis, dependence.

Medical use

None.

Legal status

Khat leaves are not illegal to possess. Cathinone is Class C under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971.

How is it taken?

Khat leaves are chewed or can be brewed into a tea. Cathinone can be snorted up the nose or injected.

Paraphernalia

If injected: syringe and needle, water, tourniquet.

Images

Where does it come from?

Khat has been used in parts of East Africa and the Arabian peninsular for centuries, and it is used in some Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities in Britain. Cathinone powder is also occasionally seen on the illicit drug market in this country, but the source of manufacture is, as yet, unclear.

Helping services

Drug counselling agencies may be appropriate but few have experience of dealing with khat chewing. Ethnic minority organisations may be able to advise on local sources of expertise on khat or try ringing the National Drugs Helpline on 0800 77 66 00.