Friday, June 3, 2016

Somaliland should ban khat

(Medeshi)- Khat is the second mostly consumed item in Somaliland just next to the essential food intake for survival. Yet it is a drug and absolutely unnecessary.

Hundreds of of thousands of landers start their day with "Injabane" or eye opener  (in Ethiopian language ).

The morning Injabane is commonly shared unlike the real khat that is consumed in the afternoon sessions.
khat is a stimulant drug with effects similar to amphetamine. Chewing it makes people feel more alert, talkative and suppresses appetite. Users describe an ensuing calming effect when used over a few hours. Regular use may lead to insomnia, anorexia and anxiety , irritability , anger and possible violence . Users feel depressed and low  unless they keep taking it.
It is liked by some because it keeps a person awake for long times.  Those who drive heavy trucks and make long journeys use Khat as an entertainment and also to keep them awake.
In Somalia , Khat is a past time drug . It brings people together at Mafreshes or Khat session places. Most people chew Khat for an average of 6 hours a day but there are others that sit for Khat chewing for more than 12 hours.
This drug may cause mental health problems, sleeplessness and suppresses sexual desire . Some men who use Khat choose to chew it all night and sleep all day.This may leave the partners to do all the activities for the family including taking and bringing the children to school, shopping for the family, cooking and cleaning.
Khat is also expensive and in some cases has caused family breakdowns amongst users due to conflict mainly caused by husbands who  choose to use the family’s income for their Khat consumption

Users tend to increase their cigarette consumption to enhance Khat stimulation. Some users use alcohol to reduce the effects of Khat in order to be able to sleep. Incidents of sudden death at the Khat Mafresshes have been reported in Somaliland. This is due to people chewing Khat for longer periods, not sleeping and smoking excessively therefore causing fatigue and heart failure

Khat is also a major contributor to TB because it reduces the appetite therefore leading to malnutrition. Khat users chew the leaves in closed rooms with little ventilation over long periods of time, therefore increasing the risk of catching TB

Khat chewing degrades the strength of healthy teeth. Consecutive chewing and failure to brush off the teeth after chewing sessions stains the teeth , creates cavities and gradually causes the teeth to decay and fall Prolonged khat chewing also causes mouth cancer affecting the gums and the tongue.

Khat is a drug . It contains amphetamine which is classified as a drug in all over the world . It is Haram in Islam and subject to minimum of 5 years in prison in Saudi Arabia. And yet Somaliland religious leaders  turn a blind eye to banning this drug and preach to the masses that khat is not Haram.
That is not right . Khat is Haram because it changes and alters the mental status of the consumer. It causes many of the health effects stated above...
Millions of dollars of hard earned money and remittance is spent on khat consumption daily in Somaliland and yet the people complain of poverty and lack of jobs.  
Millions of man hours are lost daily due to able bodies just sitting and chewing khat like fodder in all afternoons till late nights. Khat  is a waster of money,  time and power and should be banned in Somaliland. Religious leaders should preach and encourage its ban .