Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Khat: Out of the Bag in Iowa?

It was reported by the Register today that two people were arrested and 136 pounds of khat was seized recently in the Des Moines area. Khat is a middle eastern plant that is traditionally chewed by people from the Arabian peninsula and the horn of Africa and it produces a stimulant effect on the chewer. It is considered a social drug among the people of the region, and large quantities of the fresh product are consumed daily..

Fresh khat is known to contain cathinone, a Schedule I controlled substance. The leaves rapidly degrade and the cathinone deteriorates into cathine, a Schedule IV controlled substance. It is therefore recommended that if khat is seized that it be frozen until chemical analysis can be done, so as to preserve the relative levels of the active ingredients at the time the material was seized.

While doing the research for this subject I came across two resources that should be of interest to those in the law enforcement community. The US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center publishes drug intelligence bulletins periodically. The following link has a good description of catha edulis, its characteristics and its effects.

The following link is to The Microgram, a publication of the Drug Enforcement Administration that contains much useful and cutting edge information on the subject of illicit drug use and merchandising. The reader is directed to the March 2006 edition of The Microgram for a description and good photos of fresh khat seized by authorities in Ohio recently, and the January 2006 edition for a similar seizure in Oregon.


Post a Comment

<< Home