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Chewing the narcotic khat leaf: should Americans think of it as like coffee or cocaine?

Khat is chewed legally as a social tonic and stimulant in the Horn of Africa and parts of the Middle East, but it is illegal in the USA.  In America khat users are members of the Ethiopian, Somalian, and Yemen immigrant communities.  Although it is unlikely that other Americans are likely to chew khat, it is possible that they may eventually use it in other forms.  For instance, young Israelis who frequent clubs have begun to experiment with a pill known as "hagiagat," a Hebrew word that may be translated as "party khat." A Somali immigrant, Starlin Mohamud, is writing a dissertation on khat at San Diego State University. Apparently it focuses on social problems associated with khat use among immigrant groups in the USA. For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on January 3, 2009 at 09:38 AM in Ethiopia, Khat, Somalia, United States, Yemen | Permalink