2006_07_khat.jpgThe Drug Enforcement Administration announced a $10 million drug ring bust that involved the African plant, khat. Khat has a "very short shelf life" and requires very speedy drug trafficking - one of the ways it was smuggled was through the United Nations mailroom, via diplomatic pouches! (Luggage and boxes were also used to distribute the khat from JFK Airport to Manhattan and the Bronx, and then to other cities.) A story like this can mean only one thing: "Khat Nip" headlines in the Daily News and Post.

Users chew the plants' leaves and DEA lists its effects as "euphoria and stimulation," with a side helping of "anorexia, heart disease, hypertension, cancer of the mouth, disorientation, gastric disorders, hallucination, hyperactivity, hypertension, impotence, insomnia, outbursts of irrational violence, and, in exceptional cases, toxic psychosis." And, yes, those are banana leaves wrapped around the khat (to keep the moisture in, duh).