During a recent traffic stop in Wyandot County, Ohio State Troopers confiscated 240 pounds of khat. This drug has a street value of $48,987.00. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that Columbus, Ohio is one of the largest markets for distribution of khat in the United States. Khat is a schedule IV drug. Let's take a closer look. If you need affordable drug treatment in Columbus OH, be sure to call Legacy.
Khat is native to East Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula. It is a flowering shrub with the scientific name Catha edulis. The name khat comes from the young shoots and leaves of the plant. This plant has been in use since the thirteenth century. It has been a recreational drug used by indigenous people in East Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula. The leaves of khat are chewed and this produces a stimulant with euphoric effects. This is said to be similar to the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine although the effect is less intense.
The leaves of a khat plant are crimson brown in color and glossy if the plant is fresh. When it has been harvested the leaves begin to deteriorate within 48 hours. They will then be a yellow green color and become leathery. When the leaves are fresh they are chewed and left in one's cheek where they can be chewed periodically til the juice is totally extracted. If the khat leaves are dried they can be made into a tea or a paste that can also be chewed. Not as common are smoking the khat or putting it on food, although those are both ways of administering it as well.
Khat produces an immediate reaction that will include an increase in heart and breathing rates. The body temperature of users will elevate as will their blood pressure. Alertness, energy, excitement, and talkativeness will increase. Users will experience the effects for up to 3 hours. When the effects wear off there can be a lack of concentration, insomnia, and numbness.
There are many risks associated with khat abuse. This drug is known to cause behavioral changes and mental health impairment. It also causes psychological dependence. The most common clinical symptoms of khat abuse will be suicidal depression, paranoid delusions, manic behavior with grandiose delusions, violence, and schizophreniform psychosis with paranoid delusions.
Street names khat is known by include:
- African Salad
- Bushman's Tea
- Abyssinian Tea
- Somali Tea
The use of khat is seen as acceptable in the Yemeni, Ethiopian, and Somali cultures. Here in the United States the use is most prevalent among immigrants from these countries. The largest abuse levels come from large cities such as Dallas, New York, Kansas City, Nashville, Los Angeles, Boston, Columbus, Detroit, and Washington D.C.
Khat has been gaining in popularity in the United Sates since 1995. It has a limited shelf life so it must be transported quickly to market. It is usually transported and shipped in bundles wrapped in plastic or banana leaves to keep it moist and fresh for as log as possible.
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