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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Khat concerns debated at meeting
A handful of khat leaves
Excessive use of khat has been linked to mental illness
The health and social effects of a plant called khat, which is chewed as a stimulant by many Somali men, have been discussed in Bristol.

Sale of the plant is legal in the UK, but some health experts believe it is a factor in cases of domestic violence.

And despite fears that excessive use could lead to mental illness, a Home Office review ruled against a ban.

Tuesday's conference in the city, which has a high population of Somalis, focused on the problems linked to khat.

Somali community worker Latif Ismail said: "People from the Somali community are able to import or buy khat in Bristol.

"The effects are amphetamine-like and can have an impact on health and social life."

The conference, organised by a resident-led group called Community at Heart, was being held at the Rose Green centre in Whitehall.


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