When you are fighting terrorism and mass shootings, too many world leaders refuse to go deeper and ask the question - what drugs are these monsters on because no one sane commits gruesome acts.
The dirty little secret in the Arab World is Captagon.
It is widely used from ordinary citizens to truck drivers and students attending concerts and working the overnight shifts. It is not just used in war zones.
With the stigma of using drugs in the Arab World, there is little help to get off Captagon. There is also an intentional vacuum to not tell the Arab world how dangerous it is because first, you have to admit how many use it.
Captagon can make someone crazy, violent, raging, and psychotic.
Now, Israelis have found Captagon in the pockets of many Hamas terrorists who lost their lives during the Oct. 7 attack in Israel.
Captagon is a drug of choice for many terrorist groups and has been widely used in war zones for decades.
It is a synthetic amphetamine stimulant that has been produced in southern Europe and trafficked through Turkey and onto the Arabian Peninsula for years.
On the street, it is known as the "cocaine for the poor.” When used in war zones, it can ignite heinous acts of violence inducing a level of invincibility and indifference, turning victims into commodities.
ISIS terrorists were well-known to have used Captagon.
Lebanon and Syria Captagon traffickers are producing and distributing the drug on a large scale, and it has been found even on the streets in Gaza, Israel and Libya.
Captagon is the brand name for the fenethylline hydrochloride compound. It was originally manufactured by the German company Degussa Pharma Gruppe in West Germany in the 1960s to address attention deficit disorders, narcolepsy, and depression. It was found to be highly addictive and known to induce psychosis.
In 1986, fenetylline was included in Schedule II of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Most countries discontinued the use of Captagon. The International Narcotics Control Board said in 2011 that no country had produced fenetylline since 2009.
That was not just massively misleading, but a blatant lie.
After the ban, it began to appear in various Middle East and across Northern Africa.
In the West, it can sell for 20 dollars a pill, but in poorer countries, it is far cheaper. For one pill, it can be purchased for a dollar or two.
Its primary effects include arousing feelings of euphoria, reducing the need for sleep, suppressing appetite, and providing sustained energy.
Those characterizations could be called the good effects perhaps, for some.
But, the adverse effects are far worse.
Captagon can cause violent psychosis on a grand scale, cause memory loss and damage organs.
ISIS was known for trafficking the drug to create revenue for its organization just like they trafficked weapons, antiquities, organ, and sex slaves on the black market.
Today, Captagon is known to be a major source of revenue for Syria.
Individuals associated with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, including some family members, have thrived financially from producing Captagon.
Their particular trade includes Hezbollah with the oversight of Assad's younger brother, Maher.
It is estimated that Syrian’s Captagon production was at a minimum of $3.5 billion in 2020, exceeding the combined value of Syria's estimated legal export trade of approximately $700 million the same year.
In Saudi Arabia, it is estimated that the consumption of Captagon surpasses 600 million pills annually. There are approximately 36 million living in that country.
There have been large seizures of Captagon in Italy, Greece, Malaysia, and Egypt.
In December 2021, Kuwaiti authorities seized nine million Captagon pills inside a shipment of oranges. A week earlier, Dubai authorities intercepted 1.5 tons of Captagon pills, worth approximately $380 million, which were hidden in a lemon cargo. Captagon has also been found shipped in pomegranate crates heading to Libya.
Law enforcement teams worldwide have intercepted large amounts of Captagon in recent years, but the black market for Captagon far surpasses that seized.
Captagon is not an excuse for heinous acts but it certainly needs to be addressed in light of the fact Captagon pills were found in the pockets of dead terrorists' bodies in Israel.
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