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.
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.
What Are Some Consequences 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.