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Khat use in Europe: implications for European policy

EMCDDA, Lisbon, July 2011

Publication type:

Drugs in focus


Khat leaves are cultivated in the highlands of the Horn of Africa, Southern Arabia and along the East African coast. In many countries, chewing khat is an age-old tradition. More recently, the mass migration of people from the Horn of Africa has been associated with the spread of khat usage to neighbouring countries, Europe and the rest of the world. Exact numbers of regular khat users on a worldwide scale do not exist, however estimates range up to 20 million. This paper presents the challenges associated with the spread of khat consumption.

Table of contents

  • Definitions
  • Key issues at a glance
  • Pharmacology of khat
  • Legal situation and khat trade in Europe
  • Khat use in Europe
  • Health consequences of khat use
  • The khat debate in Europe
  • Economic boom and development in the khat belt
  • Conclusions and policy considerations
  • Key sources
  • Web information






Catalogue number:


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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Monday, 04 July 2011