Khat (Catha edulis) Plant Abuse in Saudi Arabia: A Retrospective Study

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Forensic Science , King Fahd Security College, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


The khat plant is a natural stimulant cultivated in both the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa; the khat trade is considered a source of income within countries of these regions. Saudi Arabia represents the first destination for khat smugglers whereas its borders are very close to Yemen in which Khat has been part of their culture for a long time. Based on examinations, the negative culture associated with narcotic drugs is increasing among the Saudi teenage population. Therefore, seizures of smuggled drugs are causing alarm among both scientists and local authorities. This article focuses on the issue of khat smuggling to Saudi Arabia. Study of the problem was performed through the analysis of 7 years of data (2010 – 2016) obtained by Saudi Customs and other governmental entities responsible for monitoring the smuggling of drugs, which includes data reflecting the amount of khat seized and smuggled to Saudi Arabia. Results revealed that Khat smuggling has increased in Saudi Arabia over seven years (2010-2016). The analysis of data on both the promotion and smuggling of khat were considered, and placed khat in third place among other drugs since the year 1999. Statistically, Jazan is the most vulnerable to the smuggling of khat. The design of intervention programs is recommended to address the problem of khat smuggling in the Jazan region. Additionally, awareness should be increased among the youth through cooperation between public education and higher education.


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