Captagon®: The Secret Weapon of ISIS

Andrew Arnett
Oct 18, 2014 · 3 min read

by Andrew Arnett

There are reports coming out from Kobani, Syria, of dead ISIS rebels being found with pills in their possession.

Ekram Ahmet, a Kurd who fled Kobani with his family, told Mirror: “They are filthy, with straggly beards and long black nails.”

“They have lots of pills with them that they all keep taking. It seems to make them more crazy if anything.”

“They become agitated and excited, desperate to punish even children for the smallest thing.”

The Kurds believe these pills are amphetamines, and this would go a long way to explaining why ISIS members are so maniacal and fight with suicidal abandon.

The International Business Times has reported on how voice analysis’ show that ISIS killer ‘Jihadi John’s’ “distinctive speech pattern” may indicate he was high on amphetamines when beheading captive David Haines.

Most likely, the amphetamines in question fall under the brand name Captagon.

In January of this year, Reuters reported on how Syria has become a major consumer and exporter of amphetamines, the most popular being captagon.

According to Reuters, captagon “generates hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues in Syria, potentially providing funding for weapons, while the drug itself helps combatants dig in for long, grueling battles.”

In 2013, the Lebanese government seized 12.3 million captagon pills near the border of Lebanon and Syria, while the Turkish police captured 7 million pills en route from Syria to Saudi Arabia.

In addition, Dubai authorities reported making a seizure of 4.6 million captagon pills in December of last year.

Captagon is a brand name for the drug Fenethylline, invented in 1961 by Degussa AG for the treatment of “hyperkinetic children,” or children diagnosed with ADHD.

Fenethylline: RS)-1,3-dimethyl- 7-[2-(1-phenylpropan-2-ylamino)ethyl]purine- 2,6-dione

Fenethylline is metabolized by the body to form the compounds amphetamine and theophylline. Theophylline is a chemical from the Xanthine class, which also includes caffeine.

Smarter Nootropics states that “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.”

A study however, conducted in 2005 by Alabdalla MA for Forensic Science International of 124 batches of seized captagon, revealed they contained no fenethylline at all.

Rather, these counterfeit captagon tablets contained amphetamine, methamphetamine, ephedrine, metronidazole, caffeine, theophylline, chlorphenamine, procaine, trimethoprim, chloroquine, and quinine. In short, a drug cocktail far more potent than the original name brand version.

Indeed, reports suggest that Syrian insurgent groups ingest a far ranging and prodigious amount of potent drugs including “Baltcon”, “Afoun”,”Zolm”, Opium, Heroin, Cocaine, and Hashish.

According to Frank Lamb in CounterPunch: “Jihadists high on drugs apparently feel invincible and hostile and do not fear death. Many are indeed ferocious and fearless fighters during the day, as many media sources have reported. But by nightfall, when the drug wears off the fighters become exhausted and sometimes they are found asleep on the spot they were fighting from.”

To read more about drugs and ISIS by Andrew Arnett click here.

You can follow Andrew Arnett on Twitter at @AndrewArnett.

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