DESCRIPTION OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ADULTS WHO CHEW KHAT IN JAZAN REGION
Khalid Alkadi*, MCs Public Health, KSUMC, Rufaidah Dabbagh1, MBBS, MPH, Dr. PH, Dr. Ibrahim Gosadi2, MBBS, MPH, PhD, Nasir A. Ali3, Dr. PH, Rana Hasanato4, Rania Ghaleb5
Background: Khat (Catha edulis) is a leaf cultivated in Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia, and the southern region of Saudi Arabia. Khat contains the alkaloids cathine and cathinone, which have amphetamine-like properties and have been used for centuries in many African countries for their euphoric effects and as a sanctioned cultural practice. Objective: The main aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of khat chewers among adults in the Jazan region. Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in the Jazan region, where 347 khat users were selected. For this study, three hospitals were selected, and all khat chewers who visited these centers during the study period were included. A standardized, well-developed questionnaire was used to collect the data. Collected data was analyzed using the IBM SPSS Statistics Version 24 software program, where descriptive and analytical statistical tests were conducted. Results: The study indicated that 83% of participants were males, while 17% were females. The age of participants ranged from 23 to 41 years old, with a mean of 32 years and a standard deviation of 9 years. About 74% used khat for more than five years, and more than 60% of participants chewed khat more than twice per week. Most khat users spend more than two hours per session, and 94% say a single khat consumption costs more than 50 SRs. About 88% of participants consumed different types of drinks during khat chewing sessions. The preferred drinks during the chewing session were tobacco, mainly cigarettes or shisha, soft drinks, coffee, or a combination. The common reasons for chewing khat, as mentioned by participants, were summarized as increasing concentration, relieving different problems, passing the time, or getting personal pleasure. About three-quarters of participants (76%) were suffering from some sort of psychological problem as a result of using khat. Finally, there was a statistically significant relationship between gender and suffering from psychological problems due to Khat use. Conclusion: This study found that the majority of khat users started khat chewing at an early age, easily obtained it from different sources, and a considerable magnitude of adverse health effects are possible, so available regulations should be activated to minimize the accessibility to khat, and different health education interventions should be conducted in a continuous way to reduce the prevalence of the habit and its unfavorable social and health consequences and to help khat users quit it.
Keywords: Khat chewing, Health problems, Jazan region, Saudi Arabia.
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