5 Jul 2016

Kava catching on in the US

12:16 pm on 5 July 2016

The popularity of the Pacific region's favourite narcotic, kava, appears to be growing in other parts of the world such as the United States.

An estimated 20-25,000 people drink kava throughout New Zealand on a Friday or Saturday night. Taken at Waikato University in Hamilton

An estimated 20-25,000 people drink kava throughout New Zealand on a Friday or Saturday night. Photo: RNZ Daniela Maoate-Cox

Recently kava production and supply had struggled to meet demand in some of the Pacific region's kava-producing hubs.

However despite lingering reputational damage from a German ban on kava products implemented in 2002, but subsequently overturned, demand for kava is steadily reaching new frontiers.

One of the founders of the Auckland University Kava Society, Zbigniew Dumieński, said there was increased demand for kava from pharmaceutical companies due to its medicinal qualities.

"We also see a huge kind of revolution in terms of Kava consumption in the west. In the United States they already have more than 100 Kava Bars. Many different people have been opening such bars around the United States. Lots of just ordinary users have started switching to using Kava as a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol."

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs