In October 2010 the Minister Responsible for Drugs asked the ACMD to review khat by considering the available evidence and to advise the government as to the current situation in the UK: the harms caused to individuals and the societal harms in the affected UK's Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities.
Khat is a herbal product consisting of the leaves and shoots of the shrub Catha edulis. It is chewed to obtain a mild stimulant effect and is a less potent stimulant than other commonly used drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine.
Khat is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is currently imported and used legally in the UK.
Khat is imported into the UK from the main khat growing regions of Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen.
Generally, khat chewing is a social event which takes place within family homes, community parties and at khat cafes. Traditionally khat has been used as a medicine and was widely perceived to be a food, not a drug.
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