Khat is an emerging and serious problem in Ethiopia. However, studies on khat use are limited. This study was intended to determine the magnitude of khat use, and what social and behavioural factors emerge, among juvenile delinquents. The study was conducted in a Remand home in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, in April 1998 using questionnaires. A total of twenty five male juvenile delinquents were selected on the basis of stratified random sampling. The sample members were between the ages of nine to sixteen years. The majority, however, were
between the ages of thirteen and fourteen (48%) years. Sixty percent were from Addis Ababa and
the remaining 40% were from other administrative regions. Eighty four percent of the delinquents
have formal (Elementary school) education. The prevalence of khat chewing was found to be 44%, and the majority (73%) of the chewers stated that they learned the habit from friends. The
duration of khat use ranged from one to four years. About 54.5% of chewers however had
chewed khat for three to four years. The youngest recorded age to start chewing was at nine years old. The major category of offence identified was theft (68%). In conclusion, the initial premise was that khat use is the major factor in juvenile delinquency, but the research finding shows that it is in fact socio-economic factors that figure most prominently. A major finding is that the prevalence of khat use among the delinquents was much lower than among the general population, and much lower than has been recorded among non-delinquent juveniles in other khat-using countries.