Isis fighters in Syria have been using an amphetamine called ‘Captagon’ to stay alert in battle – a drug unknown outside the Middle East. (Video included on Page2)
Made out of easily available legal substances, this drug was first created in the sixties to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression but was banned in eighties for being too addictive.
While cheap to make, it has a street value of $20 (£12.90) and revenues from its sale reaches into the millions of dollars – part of which is believed to be used by the Islamic State and other militia groups in Syria to buy weapons.
Lebanese psychiatrist, Ramzi Haddad, told the Guardian that Captagon has ‘the typical effects of a stimulant’ and produces ‘a kind of euphoria – you’re talkative, you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you’re energetic.’
According to some reports, it is not only Anit Assad and Isis fighters who have been taking the drug to stay awake during long battles and night missions – but that an increasing number of demoralised Syrian civilians have been resorting to the drug.
Captagon – The Smart Drug Fuelling Syria’s Civil War
There’s been a lot of news coming out of Syria and the Middle East about a “new amphetamine” that is coming to dominate the war economy. Since most of Syria’s infrastructure and economy has been destroyed by civil war, the major moneymaker has become arms deals and drug sales, but specifically sales of a drug called “Captagon”.
There’s a lot of talk in the news about this “scary new drug,” but what concerns us is, what is Captagon really? What was it intended for? And why is a Nootropics blog covering Captagon?
Captagon’s other name is Fenethylline. Looking at the structure of the molecule, one can see that it’s a combination of d-amphetamine and theophylline. It doesn’t appear to be active in its own right, but it’s a prodrug that the liver separates into both of these compounds. When Captagon is taken, it becomes in vivo d-amphetamine and theophylline, and these two new compounds are absorbed into the blood stream, and can now cross the blood brain barrier and become centrally active. PAGE2