MP Mark speaks out over drug problem

Mark and khat plant
Mark and khat plant

MP Mark Lancaster has raised an important issue on drug classification in a House of Commons debate.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, the MP for Milton Keynes North spoke about the problems surrounding khat, and how it is impacting vulnerable communities.

Khat is a plant grown in Africa and the Middle East and its leaves are chewed among Somali, Ethiopian and Yemeni communities.

It is highly addictive and similar to amphetamines in its euphoric effects.

Mr Lancaster said: “I was delighted that the minister took this issue so seriously after I raised it on Tuesday.

“The point I made was clear, we have been monitoring khat for long enough.

“Now is the time to take action.

“Because the longer we wait, the more of a grip khat will have on our vulnerable communities in Milton Keynes.”

Cathinone, which is found in khat, is a Class C drug in the UK and is banned in the USA, Canada and 16 European countries, but khat itself remains legal.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs argued back in 2005 that khat use in the UK was relatively low.

The 2010 British Crime Survey said 0.2 per cent of adults were reported as using the drug last year.

However Mark is arguing against this, saying UK wide use may be low but it is prevalent in certain areas such as Fishermead and Conniburrow, both of which are in his constituency.

Back in 2005 five people from Milton Keynes were arrested for attempting to smuggle the drug into America and Canada.

The Home Secretary has now written to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs asking them to make khat their priority.

Parliament has been tracking khat use since 1996 and there have been calls to make it Class A.

Mark now believes this is the moment to review the use of the drug once and for all.