Khat

Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulant drugs which speed up your mind and body.

RELATED TERMS: QUAT, QAT, QAADKA, CHAT

Khat has a similar effect to speed, although it is less powerful than amphetamine. It is strongest when the fresh leaves are chewed but can also be made into a tea or chewable paste.

How Khat makes you feel

  • More alert
  • Happy and talkative
  • A feeling of calm if it's chewed over a few hours, with some describing it as being 'blissed out'

The law

  • Khat became a Class C drug on 24 June, 2014 meaning it is illegal to have or to supply khat
  • It is an offence to bring khat into the country
  • If you are caught with khat you could be arrested and face up to two years in prison and/or get an unlimited fine
  • Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in jail and/or get an unlimited fine

Short-term effects

  • Khat use suppresses appetite
  • Liver toxicity from excessive use
  • It may disrupt sleep and make pre-existing mental health problems worse
  • It may make people feel more irritable and angry and possibly violent
  • Psychological dependence can result from regular use so that users feel depressed and low unless they keep taking it

Long-term effects

  • Tooth decay and periodontal disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, ulcers, inflammation of the stomach, and increased risk of upper gastrointestinal tumours
  • Cardiovascular disorders such as irregular heartbeat, decreased blood flow, and heart attack
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