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There is anger in Sheffield after confirmation that the Home Secretary will go ahead with a ban on the herbal stimulant 'khat'.
Khat has been taken for social reasons in the Yemeni and Somalian communities in our region for many years and campaigners have accused Theresa May of setting out to destroy a culture.
But the government fears the UK is becoming a centre for a worldwide illegal trade in khat and today stood by its decision to make the amphetamine-like substance a Class C drug. David Hirst reports.
There has been an angry reaction in parts of Sheffield today to a decision by the Home Secretary to go ahead with a ban on the herbal stimulant khat.
The amphetamine-like substance comes from a plant imported from Africa. It's been used by parts of the Yemeni and Somalian culture for many years. Khat user, Amir Yafa explains.
A drugs expert today warned that there could be future tensions between community groups and police in South Yorkshire over controversial plans by the Home Secretary to ban the herbal stimulant Khat.
He was speaking in Sheffield - at a meeting called to hear concerns from members of the Yemeni and Somalian communities who use Khat socially.
The amphetamine-like substance is about to become a Class C drug - bringing with it a jail term for those caught using it or supplying it. From Sheffield, David Hirst reports:
Sheffield's Yemeni community leader, Gamal Hadideh, says the people of Sheffield have not been consulted over the decision to ban the stimulant, khat:
Sheffield based Somali community leader, Abdi Saeed, says khat forms an important social part of the lives of older generations:
- Khat is a stimulant drug derived from a shrub (Catha edulis) that is native to East Africa and southern Arabia
- Chewing khat leaves is reported to induce a state of euphoria and elation as well as feelings of increased alertness and arousal
- Leaves of the khat shrub are typically chewed and held in the cheek, like chewing tobacco, to release their stimulant chemicals
- It is estimated that as many as 10 million people worldwide chew khat
A row has erupted in Sheffield over the Government's decision to ban the herbal stimulant, Khat, which is widely used by the Yemeni and Somali communities in the city.
Tempers flared at a meeting in Burngreave today as community leaders, police and representatives of Sheffield Council listened to the concerns of local residents who oppose the ban on the amphetamine-like substance.
In future, those found in possession of it could be jailed for up to two years.