There is a growing international interest in the popularity of Khat, a naturally recurring stimulant plant, which contains Cathinone. Cathinone can produce stimulant effects often likened to Amphetamine but quite distinct from Amphetamine. The chewing of Khat is a traditional habit in some African and Arab countries but is becoming popular amongst immigrant communities living in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
There is a constant debate about the toxic effects of Khat, the increasing burden on the health, social and prison services and whether it should be an illegal substance or not. A Systematic Review published by Warfa et al in Social Science and Medicine highlights some of the dilemmas, moral panic and lack of research evidence to support a legal ban. Yet Khat is illegal in many countries, although not in the UK.
A research programme on Khat use is continuing at the Centre for Psychiatry, Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry and as part of the extensive work programme of Careif. In collaboration with the University of Konstance, Linköping University, we are supporting a European Science Foundation Meeting from the 5th - 9th October 2009 in Sweden where the results of our work will be presented and discussed.
Further information available from
Dr Nasir Warfa