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May 19, 2024 4:05 pm

The UK khat ban: ‘protecting vulnerable communities’

In June 2014, the UK government made the decision to ban khat, a plant-based stimulant commonly used in East African and Yemeni cultures, making it a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The decision was made based on evidence and considerations for public health and societal impact.

Khat contains cathinone, a substance that is structurally similar to amphetamine. This means that khat has a stimulating effect, and its use can lead to feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and alertness. However, these effects can also lead to dependence and addiction, as well as physical and mental health problems.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) conducted a review of the drug’s effects and potential risks before recommending the ban. The ACMD found that khat has a mild stimulant effect similar to that of amphetamine and cocaine. The ACMD also highlighted the potential risks of long-term use, including mental health problems, tooth decay, and gum disease.

The UK government’s decision to ban khat was made to address concerns about the impact of khat use on public health and societal harms, including family breakdown, crime, and social isolation, particularly in the Somali and Yemeni communities.

Despite the ban, khat is still available in some areas of the UK. The illegal importation of khat remains a problem, and some members of the affected communities continue to use the drug despite the ban. There have also been reports of new synthetic versions of khat that have been developed to get around the ban.

To address the ongoing issue of illegal khat importation and use, the UK government has worked closely with law enforcement agencies and border control authorities. The government has also provided support to affected communities, including outreach and education programs to promote health and wellbeing.

In conclusion, the UK government’s decision to ban khat was made based on careful consideration of the evidence and potential risks associated with the drug. Despite the ban, illegal importation and use of khat remain a problem. The UK government continues to work with affected communities and law enforcement agencies to address this issue and promote public health and safety.

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