According to recent reporting from Reuters, Syria has become “a major amphetamines exporter and consumer” amid the ongoing civil war there.
Drugs experts, traders and local activists say Syrian production of the most popular of the stimulants, known by its former brand name Captagon, accelerated in 2013, outpacing production in other countries in the region such as Lebanon.
Reports of seizures and interviews with people connected to the trade suggest it 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.
Most other economic activity in Syria has ground to a halt in the past two years due to the violence, shortages and international sanctions.
Reuters goes on to explain that prior to the beginning of the Syrian civil war Syria was a “transit point” for drugs being trafficked from Europe, Turkey, and Lebanon into the Gulf, Jordan, and Iraq, but has developed into the site of major amphetamine production.
Although the conflict in Syria is prompting an increase in the production of Captagon in Syria, Time reported last October that a “revival” of Captagon was seen in another part of the Middle East before the Syrian civil war began:
Captagon has seen something of a revival over the past decade in the Gulf, where a counterfeit version made of cheaper, easier to procure and more potent amphetamines is by far and away the most popular drug on the illegal market. Saudi authorities confiscated nearly 70 million tablets last year, according to Abdulelah al-Shareef, from the Drug Addiction, Prevention and Control Department at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior. Officials estimate that the seized tablets only represent about 10% of the total amount of Captagon entering the country.