Origins and Arrival of Khat in the UK

Khat, a psychoactive substance, has been used for centuries in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. However, in recent years, it has emerged as a growing issue globally and in the UK. In this blog post, we explore the origin and background of Khat and its arrival in the UK.

What is Khat?

Khat, also known as Catha edulis, is a green, leafy shrub primarily grown in parts of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Its leaves contain cathinone, a potent stimulant that induces feelings of heightened energy, increased focus, and elevated mood.

History and Cultural Significance

Khat has been historically used in certain communities for social and cultural purposes. In East African and Middle Eastern cultures. While it has been considered a relatively harmless substance among these communities, it is now illegal in GCC states and Khat’s use has recently become a cause for concern in the UK.

Legal Status and Implications

Khat was previously not classified as an illegal substance in the UK. However, due to the potential health risks and associated social harms, the UK government reclassified Khat as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2014, prohibiting its possession and sale. The misuse of Khat carries various risks, including increased blood pressure, heart problems, and mental health issues such as anxiety or paranoia. Excessive use of Khat may lead to dependency, negatively affecting familial relationships and overall well-being.

Addressing the Issue

To tackle the challenges posed by the emerging trend of Khat misuse, collaborative efforts are necessary between law enforcement agencies, healthcare professionals, community organizations, and policymakers. Strategies that include intelligence sharing, border control, public awareness campaigns, and support services can help prevent and address the misuse of Khat.

Support and Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with Khat misuse, it is essential to seek help from healthcare professionals, addiction specialists, or support organisations. These professionals can offer guidance, resources, and treatments tailored to address the specific needs of individuals affected by Khat misuse.


In conclusion, the arrival of Khat in the UK has raised concerns about its social and health implications. While Khat has been historically consumed in certain cultural settings, its misuse carries potential health risks and social harms. By raising public awareness and collaboration between Screen4 and professionals, we can work towards preventing and addressing the challenges posed by Khat misuse.

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