KHAT is a drug made from Meth-cathinone, which is naturally derived from the leaf of the shrub Catha Edulis, which contains Cathinone.
It is also called “khat, quat, kat, gat and that”. Khat has been used for centuries in Arabian countries in Central and East Africa. It is classified internationally as a NEW psycho-active drug; it is not controlled by any of the three international drug conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988. Efforts to regulate Khat could disrupt East Africa’s drug economy, according to MOHAMED DAGHAR.
“Psycho-active” means Khat “changes nervous system function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behaviour. “It has been listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a drug that causes dependence in users.
Shipments are illegally brought into South Africa as vegetables. It costs anything around R 160 per kilogram (2021). The leaves need to be fresh to keep their potency. Cathinone and cathine are the stimulants in Khat that make a person feel high.
According to MOHAMED DAGHA,” different laws and controls among countries in the region allow for a thriving smuggling market. In addition, the civilian and military use of Khat has been blamed for fueling civil war, draining the nation’s economy, and undermining international relief efforts.
The other type of CAT is synthetically made from a synthetic powder that contains Meth-cathinone.
CAT is a synthetic drug “cooked” up from various combinations of other toxic substances. It is sold in powder form, and the effects are much more condensed than the natural form. Many compare the impact to that of crystal meth as well as cocaine. Crystal Meth is made from the same base substances as CAT. CAT can be reduced to create meth, with the purity, intensity and prolonged effects of the “high”. It is the same substance in the same way that Cocaine and Crack are the same substance, just varying strengths. It can be snorted or inhaled and is highly addictive. CAT causes an intense psychological addiction.
The synthetic version is a dangerously addictive drug that is cheap and easy to manufacture in home kitchens. It appeared out of nowhere and created a potential drug crisis. The drug is concocted from a “witches brew” of acids, thinners, and over-the-counter asthma medication.
Dealers are cutting the cat with different drugs to get the user hooked and make more profit – so you don’t know what you are using. Cat is known as “the poor man’s coke” as it exhibits similar characteristics to speed.
How is CAT used?
CAT can be mixed in a drink or injected, but the most popular method is snorting.
After smoking or intravenous (IV) injection, the user immediately experiences an intense sensation. It is often called a “rush” and lasts only a few minutes. The rush is described as highly pleasurable. Oral or intranasal use produces euphoria or high, but not a rush. For example, snorting methamphetamine will affect 3 to 5 minutes, whereas oral ingestion takes 15 to 20 minutes.
The side effects are similar to those of cocaine:
It causes euphoria, increased alertness, anxiety, loss of appetite, slurred speech, dilated pupils, strange erratic behaviour, body aches, stomach pains, nausea and fatigue.
The effect lasts 4-6 hours.
Long term effects:
Abscesses at injection sites, dark black rings under eyes, rapid ageing, disorientation, indifference, hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, convulsions, respiratory failure, stroke, heart failure, death.
Withdrawal can include lethargy, depression, nightmares and tremors.