Saudi and Qatari support of ISIS part IV

Drugs in War: What is Captagon, the ‘Jihad Pill’ Used by Islamic State Militants?

Though Islamic law forbids the consumption of alcohol and other drugs, many users there see Captagon as a medicinal substance. In October 2015, Lebanese authorities arrested a Saudi prince at the Beirut airport after two tons of cocaine and Captagon pills, which sell for roughly $20 per pill in Saudi Arabia, were found on a private plane.Once manufactured in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Lebanon, according to Columbia University’s Journal of International Affairs, Captagon is now predominantly made in Syria. The Syrian conflict has allowed for illicit activities to flourish, and many fighters there know the benefits of using the drug.The use of drugs in war has a long history. The ancient Greeks, the Vikings, U.S. Civil War soldiers and the Nazis all relied on drugs—wine, mushrooms, morphine and methamphetamines, respectively—to get them through the horror of battle. “The holy grail that armies around the world have been looking for is a drug that gives people courage,” says Persaud, and Captagon comes close. “It doesn’t give you distilled courage, but it gives you a tendency to want to keep going and impaired judgment, so you don’t consider whether you’re scared or not,” he says. “You feel euphoria. You don’t feel pain. You could say it’s courage without the judgment.” For a fighter in a war so brutally waged, the benefits of that are clear.


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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