Khat may not be as commonly abused compared to other stimulant drugs but it is used by a lot of people because it contains psychoactive chemical ingredients like cathine and cathinone. Even though Khat is classified as a Schedule I drug and the Federal Government considers the use of Khat illegal, that doesn't stop users from obtaining the drug.
There may be as many as ten million people in the world that chew khat but according to NIDA, khat "has been used for centuries as part of an established cultural tradition" in the Arabian Peninsula (southwestern part) and in East Africa.
Individuals that have used khat for a long time can experience many different adverse effects which include decayed teeth, periodontal disease, constipation, ulcers, and stomach inflammation. Long term use of khat also poses an increased risk of gastrointestinal tumors, irregular heartbeat, a decrease in blood flow, and heart attack due to blocked blood flow to the heart.
When khat leaves are chewed the user experiences feelings of euphoria and may feel mentally alert and aroused. These feelings may last as little as 90 minutes but could last for as long as twenty four hours. After the state of euphoria has passed, khat users may have problems with sleep, feel irritable and depressed and experience a loss of appetite.
Because khat is illegal in the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are diligent in intercepting all illicit drugs before they can be transported, sold and used in the U.S. Recently on December 21st, 214 pounds of khat was seized at Dulles International Airport that was shipped from Doha, Qatar according to CBP.gov.
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