USE OF KHAT AND ASSOCIATED SUBSTANCES DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC: POTENTIAL ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The epidemic of COVID-19 has become a major public health challenge globally. There are concerns that an increased number of individuals who abuse substances could encounter greater risks of experiencing the effects of COVID-19. The present paper reviews the potential health risks that can be associated with using the commonly abused stimulant plant, khat and associated substances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The literature indicates that khat chewing, as practiced by most chewers, can facilitate SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission and spread. Chewers with compromised health due to khat could be at greater risks of being affected by COVID-19, and these effects may include worsening of respiratory, cardiovascular, CNS, renal, gastrointestinal, hepatic, hemostatic and immune dysfunctions. Furthermore, tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking in association with khat use has the potential to intensify most of these disorders. The review suggests that healthcare providers and khat chewers should take appropriate precautionary measures when khat and/or the associated substances are used during COVID-19 epidemic. The research community should also conduct further studies to provide additional and more specific information on the topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalAfrican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • drug abuse
  • khat
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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