Khat is now an illegal Class C drug

27 June 2014 in Community safety and Health
Newham Council and NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are reminding residents that new Government legislation means the herbal stimulant khat became an illegal drug from 24 June.
Khat, produced from the Catha edulis plant, is now a controlled Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Police can now issue warnings and penalty notices for disorder (PND) for £60 to adults who use the substance.

Cllr Clive Furness, mayoral adviser for adults and health, said: “Although khat has been used for many years by a small number of people in Newham, we are keen to ensure that everyone is aware of the change in the law.

“If you use khat or are concerned about someone who does, help is available. There are treatment services offering advice and support about giving up khat or other illegal substances.”

While regulatory control of the drug rests with police, Newham Council’s enforcement officers will continue to work with them and other agencies to address any anti-social behaviour, health or social harms associated with the misuse of drugs including khat and other illegal substances.

GP Dr Zuhair Zarifa, chair of NHS Newham CCG, said: “Chewing khat can affect your health, causing insomnia, a loss of appetite, high blood pressure and mood swings. It can also make pre-existing mental health problems worse and cause paranoid or psychotic reactions. If you use khat or are concerned about someone who does, it is important to access local services for support.”

The council commissions services from social care and health charity CRI to support people who wish to quit khat and other substances. Call 0800 652 3879 for more information.