Imported drug may increase the risk of addiction

By Staff Writer

Using the drug khat can have a major impact on an individual’s ability to control impulsive behavior, according to a new study from Dutch researchers. The findings indicate that users may be at risk for a range of complications, including addiction that may force them to seek substance abuse help.

Khat is a lesser-known drug, but it is growing in popularity throughout the world. Abuse of the stimulating leaves began centuries ago in East Africa, but in recent years it has spread through Europe and into the U.S.

Researchers from the Universities of Leiden in Amsterdam subjected khat users to a range of reaction tests. Participants were unable to control their reactions when they were under the influence of the drug.

The researchers said that this decreased ability to control behavior may lead to more instances of reckless driving and criminal activity. They also believe that it may make users more susceptible to addiction.

Given the fact that laws restricting use of the drug are lenient in many areas of the world, the researchers worry that use of khat will continue to grow. This could have a negative impact on the number of people who need drug rehab treatment.