What is Captagon?
Captagon, also known as fenethylline, “poor man’s cocaine”, and “the drug of jihad”, is a synthetic stimulant drug that has been making headlines in recent years due to its use by terrorist groups in the Middle East to increase endurance. Despite being banned in many countries, Captagon remains a popular drug of abuse in many parts of the world – and its popularity is exploding.
What are the effects of Captagon?
Captagon is made up of a combination of amphetamine and theophylline, two powerful stimulants that increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This leads to feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and heightened alertness. However, the drug can also cause a range of negative side effects, including insomnia, anxiety, paranoia, and aggression.
Where did Captagon come from?
Captagon was first synthesized in Germany by Degussa AG in 1961. For a time, it was used as an alternative to amphetamines for the treatment of ADHD and depression. By 1981, Fenethylline was listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance and a few years later, became illegal in countries around the world.
Captagon is widely used in the Middle East, particularly in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Syria, where it is often used as a party drug. However, it has also been used by terrorist groups such as ISIS to increase their fighters’ endurance and combat capabilities. In fact, some reports suggest that ISIS makes up to $1 billion per year from the production and sale of Captagon.
Captagon production and export has become a big industry sponsored by the Syrian government, with revenue from its exports contributing to more than 90% of its foreign currency. Much of it is produced along the Syrian-Lebanese border and close to Syria’s frontier with Jordan. According to some leaks, militant groups also export the drug in exchange for weapons and cash.
The dangers of Captagon
The drug is highly addictive and can cause severe physical and psychological dependence. Chronic use of Captagon can lead to serious health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and psychosis. It is also known to cause damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys.
Captagon is spreading around the world
Despite its dangers, Captagon continues to be a popular drug of abuse. In recent years, there have been reports of Captagon use spreading beyond the Middle East, with seizures of the drug being reported in Europe and Asia. It is believed Captagon will soon be available in the United States – at a cost of less than $1 per pill.
In-Article Image CreditsBags of Captagon fenethylline via US Army with usage type - Public Domain. May 31, 2018
Featured Image CreditBags of Captagon fenethylline via US Army with usage type - Public Domain. May 31, 2018