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Home > Khat: Social harms and legislation. A literature review.

Anderson, David M and Carrier, Neil CM (2011) Khat: Social harms and legislation. A literature review. London: Home Office. Occasional paper 95.

PDF (Khat: Social harms and legislation) - Published Version

This study provides a literature review of material pertaining to the reported ‘social harms’ of khat to consumers in the UK, with commentary upon the legislation brought in to control and prohibit khat in other countries.

Key findings
1. The review found a general lack of robust evidence on the link between khat use and social harms.
2. Reported social harms associated with khat remain a concern among the UK’s immigrant Somali community, yet beyond often contradictory anecdotal statements, this review found no evidence to show a causal relationship between khat and the various social harms for which its consumption is supposedly responsible.
3. Inferences about khat’s social harms have largely been drawn from the experience of the Somali population, as less research has been undertaken on other communities who are also consumers of khat.
4. As well as khat, many other variables might contribute to the social problems confronting the relevant communities, i.e. the effects of civil war, displacement, gender relations, and problems of integration. These need to be more fully considered in any further research.
5. Legislating against khat in Europe and North America has had little success in curbing demand and has taken place with little consideration of evidence. In those countries where the greatest evidence on khat use has been compiled (the UK, the Netherlands and Australia), import and consumption are still permitted, albeit under the control of a permit system in the case of Australia.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report, Review
Drug Type
CNS stimulants, New psychoactive substance
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Identification #
Occasional paper 95
Home Office
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
Related (external) link

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