khat ethiopia harar market

Harar, Ethiopia, 2017-2018

Khat or qat is a plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula containing the alkaloid cathinone, a stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria. The effects of the use of cathinone occur more rapidly than the effects of amphetamine pills with similar effects of manic behaviours and hyperactivity. In the long term it might causes depression and psychosis in extreme cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified it in 1980 as a drug of abuse that can produce psychological dependence, although the WHO does not consider khat addiction to be seriously problematic.

Nevertheless, it is a legal drug in countries such as Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.

Thousand of years ago, the khat consumption was related to religious or social parties. Nowdays, it has became part of the daily life of the countries around the Horn of Africa, being used as well by farmers and labourers for reducing physical fatigue or hunger, by the workers of the khat market to resist long hours of hectic work or the truck drivers from the khat market to Djibouti markets.