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Brent MP calls for khat be classified as a controlled substance

August 2, 2012 10:22 AM

In a submission to a review of the classification of the stimulant khat, Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has called for the drug to be classified as a controlled substance. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) - which advises the government on the control of drugs - is currently investigating whether or not khat should be classified as an illegal substance.

Khat usage is particularly high amongst people from Somalia and concerns about the use of the drug in the Somali community in Brent are brought to the local MP on a regular basis. Research has shown that khat can lead to psychotic illnesses and is now banned in most European countries as well as the United States and Canada.

Khat provides an amphetamine-like high when chewed and remains legal in its vegetable form in Britain, despite the psychoactive compounds in it being banned. The current review is being carried out after the Coalition Government asked the ACMD to update its previous advice on khat.

Commenting, Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather said,

"I believe that there are compelling reasons to classify khat and welcome the Advisory Council's review. Concerns about khat are brought to me on a regular basis and I have heard of a number of cases where khat has had an extremely negative impact on family life.

"Dependency on khat has lead to families being torn apart and there is a worrying increase in the number of women using the drug. I am also concerned that younger members of the Somali community are now chewing khat.

"The Netherlands has recently become the latest in a long list of countries to ban khat and unless action is taken, there is an all too real possibility that the UK will become a European hub for khat use. For these reasons, I am supporting a number of my constituents and calling for khat to be classified as an illegal substance."

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