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The truth about what miraa does to your body

Pharis Kinyua Mwangi
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Miraa/khat. There are renewed calls by Nacada and some politicians to ban the stimulant. [Source/]

A Kiambu-based politician has renewed the push to ban khat popularly known as miraa or muguka noting that the stimulant has messed up the lives of many youths.

Gladys Chania, a child and adult psychologist and anti-drugs crusader observes that there are increased cases of youths in rehabilitation centres who are now being treated for miraa addiction.

Her call comes barely a week after the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) chief executive Victor Okioma said they are contemplating banning the stimulant.

“We have rehabilitation cases solely on miraa effects,” she said during an interview on Tuesday.

She added that many of these youths in rehab are toothless because chewing of miraa has damaged their teeth.

“In rehabilitation centres, we have toothless youth due to oral teeth decay from the miraa chlorophyll. We have some who have gotten mental breakdown and psychosis due to lack of sleep or brain confusions from cathinone," added Chania.

Cathinone is a chemical element present in both muguka and miraa which is “psychoactive” – a stimulant.

Among the key dangers posed by chewing of khat includes low sperm count and in extreme cases, miraa and muguka addicts suffer from spontaneous premature ejaculations.

Other effects of muguka include insomnia, loss of energy (malaise), increased alertness, excessive talkativeness, hyperactivity, excitement, aggressiveness, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, manic behaviour, paranoia, and psychoses.

Chania said that it is time Kenya takes a step and ban the chewing of miraa and muguka. 

“All said and done, miraa and muguka are drugs. I wish we can stop its drop off points in other counties. Those planting it as their cash crop should harvest and take it directly to Wilson Airport and not bring it to our youth," she said

Khat is a banned substance in Canada, Germany, UK and US.

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