Minnesota health officials are seeing an increase in the use of khat, a stimulant drug used by some Somali refugees living in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Institute of Public Health will hold a forum on Tuesday in St. Louis Park to discuss khat use in the Somali community, as well as Somali culture and values. The forum begins at noon.
Khat has been illegal in the U.S. since 1993 because of its active ingredient, cathinone, an amphetamine.
Khat, a flowering shrub that grows in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, can be smoked, sprinkled on food, or chewed like tobacco and is usually used during social settings. Khat is also used recreationally, for medicinal purposes and as an aphrodisiac.
However, chronic khat abuse may result in violence and suicidal depression and has been linked to domestic abuse and other family problems.
Two Somali refugees, including community health worker Mohamed Duale, will speak at the forum.