by Tanya Thomas on  June 14, 2010 at 11:09 AM Lifestyle News
 As Goals Are Scored, Yemen's Euphoria Drug Shoots Up in Popularity and Price
Yemen's national passion, the euphoria-inducing drug qat, shot up in price on the first day of football's World Cup, the defence ministry said on its website on Saturday.

"World Cup fever has hiked the price of qat," read the headline on the site, with a photo of dozens of people sitting around on the floor of a cafe, chewing the leaves of the qat plant.

Quoting qat merchants, it said that a bunch of ordinary-quality leaves, which normally sells for 2.50 dollars (two euros) had doubled or even tripled.

The price of higher quality leaves, usually around 10 dollars, had gone up by 70 percent. said the prices had soared because the matches were played during the afternoon, the time when football-mad Yemenis normally retire to while away the hours with their other passion.

Consumption of the drug, which contains an amphetamine-like substance, is legal in Yemen, but the government often denounces it, to no avail.

Money spent on qat weighs heavily on family budgets, growing the plant takes large amounts of water from the already parched desert country and workers lose much of their productive days.

Source: AFP

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