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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    SOMALIA- Not enough support is being provided to users of a banned substance called khat, members of Cardiff's Somali community have said. The plant, popular in Somali and Yemeni communities, has a stimulant effect when chewed, but it can lead to mental health issues. It was criminalised as a class C drug by the UK government in June.

    Cardiff and Vale health board said it was still in the process of rolling out support for users.

    The UK government classified it as a drug to prevent Britain becoming a hub for khat smuggling to countries where it is banned. Before the ban, around 2,560 tonnes of khat was imported to the UK every year, with a benefit to the Treasury of £2.5m in taxes. The ban had been supported by many Somali and Yemeni women who said the habit was detrimental to family life and relationsWihips.

    There was also concern about the impact on the mental health of users as the effects of the leaf included psychosis and hallucinations. Some users had been admitted to hospital as a result. But there has been criticism from within one of the oldest Somali communities in the UK of a lack of support for users following the ban.

    Mustafa Ahmed, 26, from Cardiff, said: "Unfortunately, there's been almost nil to zero in terms of support by local government or government as a whole for users. If you look at any other drug, whether alcohol, cigarettes, crack cocaine, heroin, there are programmes in place to help rehabilitate those individuals and put them on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, the khat ban… yes it's a good idea but it's been brought in with no planning whatsoever with regards to how do we then support these people who we've taken a drug out of their system, and that's something that really needs to be addressed and it's a big concern for the community as a whole."

    But the Cardiff and Vale health board said support for users of the drug was being rolled out. Conrad Eydmann, head of substance misuse strategy and development for Cardiff and Vale area planning board, said the service was being redesigned to make it more accessible to the community but he admitted there had been a delay. "We're looking for an approach that takes services to the person with need as opposed to expecting them to navigate the system," he said.

    "I think there is a time lag in the turn around for something like a change in legislation to make itself operationally felt in the way that we deliver services."

    By Jenny Johnson - The BBC/Oct. 26, 2014
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. TheBigBadWolf
    First a question:

    why does this post wear an AFRICA prefix when originally it's about the UK khat ban and the effects it has on inhabitants of UK?

    Everywhere people from the original khat using countries live today there is khat. Even in my hometown in the southwest of Germany there is a (small) community of users mainly from Somalia.
    Khat in my country is banned for decades now - and i is not a problem that some people do use it, I guess even most infamous drug users aren't aware that it is here at all.

    Now obviously UK has had a problem with becoming a hub of khat trade all over the world.

    I am not aware of whether this is fact or just a blown up nothing, I'm just not in the position to judge because all of the discussion -if there was one- has not made it into general news.

    For my eyes, nonetheless, the khat ban is another way of forcing parts of a population in line, the line of the hypocritical sobriety pretence.

    2.5 millions quid of taxes less for the British Wallet will probably cost some millions more for 'rehabilitation' programs users of this substance will be stuck into against their own wills.

    Of course where there is drug use there is drug misuse - there's always the few who can't handle psychoactive substances so Im not overly astonished people have been hospitalised after khat binges.
    To simply ban a substance never was a solution to problems individuals have with their self-control.

    I mean, since the late 1990s in my country masses of young people using cannabis and having been 'caught' have been put into therapeutical systems that were meant to treat opiate addicts - to no avail other than to keep up the supressive system of prohibition. I know of not one single person who ceased consumption - and I know quite a few people who were forced through this all - robbing months of their lifetime, imposing the assumption of being a flawed person on them.

    Other ways of coping with peoples' drug consumption have to be created by our oh so modern science.
    But seemingly science is asked too much for when it comes to more than finding a drug to substitute the drug of choice.

    Really a sad picture to watch.

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