News24

Dutch ban khat

2012-01-10 17:32

The Hague - The Dutch government on Tuesday banned the use of khat, a leaf native to East Africa chewed for its stimulant properties mainly by the Netherlands' sizeable Somali community.

"The drug khat is banned," the Dutch Immigration, Health and Justice departments said in a joint statement.

Khat is grown in the Horn of Africa and has for centuries been chewed by users in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.

"The problem lies especially within the Somali community, which is much larger than the Kenyan or Yemeni communities within our country," immigration department spokesperson Frank Wassenaar told AFP, adding there were about 27 000 Somalis living in the Netherlands.

"If taken in moderation there are no major problems, but an investigation showed it to be problematic among some 10% of khat users," leading to health and social issues, added the statement.

An independent report commissioned by the Dutch government has cited noise, littering and groups of men who "roam the streets perceived as threatening", as some of the effects.

With high unemployment and low education levels, the Dutch Somali community was "late" in terms of integration, the report said.

Imported legally via Amsterdam's Schiphol airport four times a week, khat is distributed throughout the Netherlands but also in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, it added.

Around 843 tons of khat, worth a minimum €14m passed through Schiphol in 2010, up from 714 tons in 2009 and 693 tons in 2008.

Britain and the Netherlands currently allow the import, trade and consumption of khat, according to a European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction letter of July last year entitled "Drugs in focus".

Fifteen of the European Union's 27 states and Norway list khat as an illegal narcotic, while in the other EU countries, the plant was not subjected to any controls, the EMCDDA letter said.

Comments
  • Frik - 2012-01-10 19:59

    Not sure of the spelling but they call it chard or something like that

  • Jamie - 2012-01-10 20:06

    The drug khat is banned," the Dutch Immigration, Health and Justice departments said in a joint statement. Oops

  • Matthew Patrick - 2012-01-11 00:46

    The synthetic version is becoming a problem in SA. It's called 'cat' which is short for methcathinone (spelling?). I know 2 people who've had to go to rehab 'cause of it.

  • GWS - 2012-01-11 08:52

    The Netherlands has also inherited a legion of Kosovo Albanian drug dealers that now literally control Amsterdam....also refugees. What a swell country.

  • Blade - 2012-01-11 10:13

    Why did they let the Somali scum into the country in the first place?

  • Moi - 2012-01-11 10:28

    Khat (pronounced “cot”) is a stimulant drug derived from a shrub (Catha edulis) that is native to East Africa and southern Arabia. The khat plant itself is not scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act; however, because one of its chemical constituents, cathinone, is a Schedule I drug, the Federal Government considers its use illegal.1 Health/Behavioral Effects The main psychoactive ingredients in khat are cathine and cathinone, chemicals that are structurally similar to, but less potent than, amphetamine, yet result in similar psychomotor stimulant effects. Chewing khat leaves can induce a state of euphoria and elation as well as feelings of increased alertness and arousal. The user can also experience an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. The effects begin to subside after about 90 minutes to 3 hours, but can last 24 hours. At the end of a khat session, the user may experience a depressive mood, irritability, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping.1

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