Netherlands: Somalis want ban on qat

Netherlands: Somalis want ban on qat

The Somali community in the Schalkwijk neighborhood of Haarlem wants a ban on qat. A concerned Somali says that more than 75% of Somalis in the Netherlands are addicted to qat.

Somali Hamza Dirije raised the topic with the PvdA party and the Haarlems Dagblad. An average qat user uses around 200 euro every month for the psychedelic drug, reports the paper. Dirije says that a user can't eat, drink or sleep through the night. He gets angry when his wife wakes him and doesn't get out of bed for work.

The Netherlands and the UK are the only European countries where qat is legal. Dirije says that the drug will be banned in the UK this year. It disrupts families, but is especially bad for your health. He says he visited his Somali neighbor three times last month, who was suffering from gastric hemorrhages due to chewing qat.

Uithoorn is the Dutch qat-capital. Somalis from all over Europe come to a distribution center in the city in order to buy the drug. Two Dutch run the distribution and control the European qat market. One of the distributors says that a truck comes with the merchandise five times a week.

The qat comes from Kenya and Ethiopia and is flown to the Netherlands on KLM. Some goes directly abroad, according to the distributor. That's illegal, says PvdA councilor Moussa Aynan. A crate of qat can give 900 euro profit, says a Somali trader. It's good business, but dangerous.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)