Author(s): Reda AA, Moges A, Biadgilign S, Wondmagegn BY, Reda AA, Moges A, Biadgilign S, Wondmagegn BY
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Use of psychoactive drugs such as khat leaves (Catha edulis) alter moods and emotional state and lead to adverse effects on the health and social life of users. Ethiopia is a major producer and exporter of khat in east Africa and the majority of the khat comes from the eastern part of the country, however, no studies have been conducted to investigate the habit in this area. This study was conducted to assess the prevalence and predictors of khat chewing among high school students in Harar, eastern Ethiopia. METHODOLOGY: The study was conducted among 1,890 secondary school students in Harar town in April 2010. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were performed to examine the prevalence and predictors of khat chewing. RESULT: The overall prevalence of khat chewing among the sample was 24.2\% (95\% CI 22.2\%-26.2\%). About 28.5\% of females and 71.5\% of males had chewed khat. Older age (OR 1.31; 95\% CI 1.16-1.49), male gender (OR 2.10; 95\% CI 1.50-2.93), Muslim religion (OR 1.88; 95\% CI 1.17-3.04), having friends who chewed khat (OR 7.93; 95\% CI 5.40-11.64), and availability of someone with a similar habit in the family (OR 1.50; 95\% CI 1.07-2.11) were found to be independent predictors of chewing. CONCLUSION: A significant proportion of students chew khat. The use of khat is significantly associated with age, gender, Muslim religion, peer influence and habit of family and other relatives among students. Measures such as educational campaigns need to be instituted to create awareness among school adolescents and their parents in order to reduce the prevalence of the habit and its adverse social and health consequences.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry