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East African 'drug' plant is legal to use across the UK.

KHAT drug is legal in the UK but has been banned in most countries around the world, including the USA, Canada and the rest of Europe.

The use of it is mainly promoted by Somalis, east Africans and Yemenis.

It can be purchased at about pounds 4 a bundle and it is not illegal to sell or consume it in the UK.

The plant itself is classed as a vegetable and can be bought openly in cities where there is a large east African community.

It includes the substances cathinone and cathine that are class C drugs in the UK.

Cathinone is almost identical to amphetamines and it is this that creates a high when chewed.

It's known to cause mental health problems like psychosis and depression. Chewing can also lead to mouth cancer.

Opponents have claimed that excessive consumption by men has led to an upsurge in domestic violence among east African households. But usage among women is growing.

CAPTION(S):

Causing controversy: A bundle of khat, which can be bought for pounds 4.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 24, 2011
Words:175
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