Customs officers seize 200kg of illegal chewing herbs at Hanoi airport

By Ngan Ha   March 2, 2017 | 01:15 am PT
The taste for amphetamine-type stimulants is expanding and diversifying in Vietnam. 

Customs officials in Hanoi seized nearly 200 kilograms of dried leaves they suspect to be the narcotic plant khat earlier this week.

Anti-smuggling and drug control investigators stopped the suspicious shipments as they arrived at Noi Bai International Airport from Kenya.

The narcotic leaf gets its kick from a chemical called cathinone, a stimulant that has similar effects to amphetamine. Users tend to pack the leaves into their mouths and chew them slowly, allowing the leaves to break down and the cathinone to enter the bloodstream. Side effects include rotten teeth and mouth disease.

Khat leaves produce an euphoric effect that can become addictive.

While heroin remains the most widely used illicit drug in Vietnam, the market for amphetamine-type stimulants continues to expand and diversify, prompting recent crackdowns.

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