Khat: A review of its potential harms to the individual and communities in the UK

Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)
January 2013

On the basis of the available evidence, the overwhelming majority of Council members consider that khat should not be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In summary the reason for this is that, save for the issue of liver toxicity, although there may be a correlation or association between the use of khat and various negative social indicators, it is not possible to conclude that there is any causal link.

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The ACMD considers that the evidence of harms associated with the use of khat is insufficient to justify control and it would be inappropriate and disproportionate to classify khat under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In summary the ACMD considers that the harms of khat does not reach the level required for classification. Therefore, the ACMD recommend that the status of khat is not changed.

We hope there will be close attention paid to the ACMD‘s further recommendations, which all have our unanimous support. It is essential that communities be supported and given the appropriate resource and environment within which they can manage issues e.g. to support integration and address inequalities of health. A multi agency approach, requiring cross departmental consideration, will be essential to address the wider community issues that are well referenced in this report.

Our recommendations are based on a rigorous and systematic process of evidence gathering and subsequent analysis of what was submitted and presented to the ACMD. We would welcome discussing our findings with you.