More Somali migrants say Britain should ban khat
Britain's large Somali community chews at least seven tons a week of a drug banned in most Western countries.
Except for a few Mars Bars, they preside over a shop conspicuous for its lack of confectionary.
Customers instead make a beeline for two large fridges packed with tightly wrapped green bundles of – the Horn of Africa's favorite drug.
"It arrived this morning, but you must chew it in two or three days or it will go bad," one of the shopkeepers says as he passes a £4 ($6) bundle of the narcotic leaf to an eager-looking customer.
But community campaigners, backed by psychiatrists and a warning from the World Health Organization, have long believed that one of the active ingredients, cathonine, can lead to mental problems among regular users and have called for Britain to join much of the developed world by banning the drug.
Some of the most vocal critics of the drug have emerged recently from within the Somali community here. , they say, is not only bringing harm to individuals, but it's also stymieing wider integration efforts.
"My people are in trouble because of this drug and I tell you ... London hasn't seen the worst of it," says Abdi Hussein, a young Somali migrant and former addict.
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