In the Horn of Africa and the lands surrounding the Red Sea for thousands of years Khat has been chewed. It is a narcotic leaf and considered an ancient plant that grows in the area. It is known to create euphoria in its users and is very much part of the culture in the areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Kenya and Uganda.
Khat is a flowering plant that contains the alkaloid called cathinone. Cathinone is an amphetamine-like stimulant.
When chewed, it causes excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. I can also cause addiction. The World Health Organization has classified Khat as a drug of abuse since 1980. Khat also causes increased heart rate, and blood pressure, hyperactivity and in the long term can cause depression, hallucinations, psychosis, and oral cancer. A hat chewer may have an acute coronary, followed by stroke and death. A khat chewer may delay going for medical care by not recognizing the signs of the heart attack and stroke. Although it is legal in Africa, it is illegal in Canada and some other countries.
When khat is harvested, the leaves and bark must be consumed within five days or the narcotic effects are greatly reduced. For this reason, when it was not so convenient to get things around the world quickly, the use of khat was pretty much in the areas that it was grown. With highways and air travel, the usage of khat has spread worldwide.
Although khat remains a class 4 narcotic, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are on the lookout for this drug. 23 Tons of Khat was seized by RCMP and various other police forces in Canada in 2008. At that time khat was primarily transported by international mail. Half the khat seized was by mail.
60KG of khat was seized at Calgary international Airport recently.
A man and woman arrived from the UK, where khat is illegal, packed the khat into their luggage and headed to Alberta. It is believed it was destined to Fort McMurray. There are many immigrants from the areas that khat is grown in in Fort McMurray. Both people have been charged.
Although khat is considered a minor narcotic in terms of addictions, if you find you or a loved one is addicted to this narcotic, there is help to be had for it. Narconon specializes in all kinds of addictions. Their understanding staff is on hand to talk to you and give you the guiding hand you or your loved ones need to get through addictions. Check out their website.