Investigators found odd, little pills buried in the pockets of Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel on Oct. 7.They were later identified as the drug Captagon, a powerful, synthetic stimulant. Captagon gained international notoriety in 2015 when it was discovered to be used by ISIS fighters to suppress fear and fatigue prior to carrying out terrorist operations.Now, because it’s cheap, as well as easy to make and smuggle, Captagon and its counterfeits are likely to remain a favorite tool of extremist militant groups to enhance their soldiers’ violent tendencies. Some reports have even labeled Captagon as “the jihadists’ drug,” according to Reuters, and former Syrian fighters previously claimed it made them “fearless” and gave them “great courage and power” for battle.Sometimes simply known by the name fenethylline, it was originally manufactured in 1961 as a milder alternative to amphetamine and methamphetamine and was utilized then to treat narcolepsy, fatigue and a behavioral disorder called minimal brain dysfunction, according to Drugs.com. The drug — reportedly a mix of fenethylline, caffeine and other fillers — boasts primary effects that include feelings of euphoria, reducing the need for sleep, suppressing appetite and providing long-lasting energy. In the 1980s, however, the U.S. government declared Captagon a controlled substance with no accepted medical use, according to Drugs.com, so drugmakers stopped manufacturing the drug — legally, that is.Illegal drug producers picked up the slack, and Captagon — also known as the “poor man’s cocaine” — has been clandestinely produced in southern European countries like Bulgaria and trafficked through Turkey to the Arabian Peninsula, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.Captagon — or one of its counterfeits, which can contain a range of various stimulants, fillers and impurities — is now one of the most popular recreational drugs among young, affluent people in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Harsh crackdowns on fenethylline production by Turkish and Bulgarian authorities resulted in a sharp dropoff in Captagon trade from the Balkans, according to Al Jazeera.But Syria, which faced an economic crisis after a civil war began in 2011, emerged as an epicenter for Captagon production. Experts now claim that most global Captagon output currently occurs in Syria, with recreational users in wealthy Gulf states as the primary destination.Some estimates suggest that exports of Captagon from Syria reached a minimum of $3.5 billion in 2020 — five times more than the combined value of Syria’s legal exports, according to the Jerusalem Post.Trafficking in Captagon and other stimulants is now a major industry in places like Saudi Arabia, where in August 2022, authorities uncovered 46 million amphetamine pills that were being smuggled in a shipment of flour.In February, a man was arrested at Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates after he was caught smuggling 4.5 million Captagon tablets inside cans of green beans, Al Jazeera reported.
26 Ekim 2023 - 01:45
What is Captagon? ‘Poor man’s cocaine’ is a favorite of Mideast militants
Some experts estimate that exports of the illegal stimulant Captagon from Syria reached $3.5 billion in 2020.
26 Ekim 2023 - 01:45