Investigating the psychological and socio-economical ramifications of Khat on its users and the consequent repercussions on their communities. The study aimed to examine the prevalence of Khat usage in East African and Yemeni communities in the United Kingdom, explore the association between Khat use and psychotic symptoms, and survey the general views of communities in question, regarding the socio-economic, legal, and biological aspects of Khat.
The Author carried out this project as part of a Special Study Module in Substance Misuse and Mental illness during his second year of medical school. A thorough literature review was undertaken along with a questionnaire that was distributed amongst the Somali community in Streatham, London.
Participants were asked to answer specific questions from a range of Strongly Disagreeing to Strongly Agreeing with the statement. From the 62 individuals surveyed 79% of the total sample were born in Somalia, and 15% in the United Kingdom. Participants answered several questions regarding their attitudes to Khat, some addressed Cultural aspects of Khat, reasons for using it, and beliefs regarding Khat’s effects on their Health, Family and Job
It can be deduced that the harmful psychological, physiological, and social effects of Khat are limited to specific ethnic communities in the United Kingdom. Although Khat’s use is exclusive to specific people, it still poses a great burden on not just the users, but on their communities as a whole. Khat’s availability and legality has further exacerbated the problem and has consumed their lives and affected their families and will inevitably affect the society as a whole.