A transcultural pattern of drug use: Qat (khat) in the UK

National Addiction Centre, Maudsley Hospital, London.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.34). 04/1997; 170:281-4. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.170.3.281
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study investigates patterns of qat use among 207 Somalis living in London.
Subjects were recruited using privileged access interviewing. Somalian interviewers were recruited who shared the same culture as the subjects. Data were collected by means of a structured interview.
One hundred and sixty-two subjects (78%) had used qat. The majority (76%) used more qat than in Somalia. Some users reported moderate dependence; a minority reported severe problems. Adverse psychological effects included sleep problems, anxiety and depression. Medical problems associated with qat use were rare.
Qat users who continue to use this drug when it is transplanted from a traditional context may experience difficulties. Qat use can also be seen as playing a positive role in supporting the cultural identity of the Somalian community. Severe problems were rarely reported. Qat consumption should be considered when addressing health-related topics with patients from those communities in which qat use is common.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The escalating use of khat (Catha edulis) in East Africa and Arabia is a major concern for public health. Yet little is known about the impact of khat on behaviour. To that end, there has been no study in the region to assess the extent to which dependence syndrome is associated with khat use in this population. We examined in this study was psychometric properties of the Severity of Dependence Scale-Khat (SDS-khat), gender differences in patterns of khat use and dependence, and the extent to which age moderated the link between gender and khat dependence. Two-hundred and ninety-two khat chewers recruited in two Yemeni cities completed face-to-face interviews asking about demographics and patterns of khat use. Validity of SDS-khat was examined by the principle component analysis and reliability of the scale was tested by the Cronbach's alpha. A series of chi-square tests and analysis of variances (ANOVAs) were conducted to examine gender differences in khat use variables. The results indicated that the mean age of khat chewers was 30.52 years (95% CI: 29.34, 31.70) years, and 52% of them were males. The SDS-khat was found to have two factors with moderate reliability. This pattern was consistent when the analysis was conducted in the entire sample and in each gender. Male khat chewers reported more symptoms related to khat dependence than female chewers. A significant gender by age interaction in SDS-khat levels (p =0.013) revealed a positive association between age and khat dependence in women only. These results provide initial support for the use of SDS-khat in the assessment of khat dependence in Yemen. Gender differences in khat use patterns and dependence observed in this study call the need for more studies carefully examining the role of gender in khat research.
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology 09/2014; 155(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2014.07.030 · 2.94 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In East-African and Arab countries, khat leaves are traditionally chewed in social settings. They contain the amphetamine-like alkaloid cathinone. Especially among Somali refugees, khat use has been associated with psychiatric symptoms. We assessed khat-use pat-terns and psychiatric symptoms among male Somali refugees living in a disadvantaged urban settlement area in Kenya, a large group that has not yet received scientific atten-tion. We wanted to explore consume patterns and study the associations between khat use, traumatic experiences, and psychotic symptoms. Using privileged access sampling, we recruited 33 healthy male khat chewers and 15 comparable non-chewers. Based on extensive preparatory work, we assessed khat use, khat dependence according to DSM-IV, traumatic experiences, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and psychotic symptoms using standardized diagnostic instruments that had been adapted to the Somali language and culture. Hazardous use patterns like chewing for more than 24 h without interruption were frequently reported. All khat users fulfilled the DSM-IV-criteria for dependence and 85% reported functional khat use, i.e., that khat helps them to forget painful experiences. We found that the studied group was heavily burdened by traumatic events and post-traumatic symptoms. Khat users had experienced more traumatic events and had more often PTSD than non-users. Most khat users experience khat-related psychotic symptoms and in a quarter of them we found true psychotic symptoms. In contrast, among control group members no psychotic symptoms could be detected. We found first evidence for the existence and high prevalence of severely hazardous use patterns, comorbid psychiatric symptoms, and khat use as a self-medication of trauma-consequences among male Somali refugees in urban Kenyan refugee settlements. There is a high burden by psychopathology and adequate community-based interventions urgently need to be developed.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Khat (Catha edulis) is commonly chewed for its psychostimulant and euphorigenic effects in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Students use it to help them study for long hours especially during the period of examination. However, how regularly khat is chewed among university students and its associated factors are not well documented. In this article we report on the prevalence of and factors associated with regular khat chewing among university students in Ethiopia. We did a cross-sectional study from May 20, 2014 to June 23, 2014 on a sample of 1,255 regular students recruited from all campuses of Hawassa University, southern Ethiopia. The data were collected using self-administered questionnaires. We analyzed the data to identify factors associated with current regular khat chewing using complex sample adjusted logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of current regular khat chewing was 10.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.1%-14.9%). After controlling for sex, religion, year of study, having a father who chews khat, cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking in the adjusted logistic regression model, living off-campus in rented houses as compared to living in the university dormitory (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI] =8.09 [1.56-42.01]), and having friends who chew khat (adjusted odds ratio [95% CI] =4.62 [1.98-10.74]) were found to significantly increase the odds of current regular khat use. Students living outside the university campus in rented houses compared to those living in dormitory and those with khat chewing peers are more likely to use khat. A multipronged prevention approach involving students, the university officials, the surrounding community, and regulatory bodies is required.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 5, 2014