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Saudi Arabia is becoming the ‘capital’ of drugs in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia is becoming the ‘capital’ of drugs in the Middle East
Saudi Arabia is becoming the ‘capital’ of drugs in the Middle East

Four members of the family lost their lives due to a terrible result when their house was set on fire just before Iftar.

The Saudi media became aware of such an incident last April. Police told local newspapers that the man was under the influence of a drug called ‘shabu’ or ‘methamphetamine’.

Lately, the Saudi media has been reporting alarming news about the increase in drug use in the country.

“It amounts to an open war against us, more dangerous than any war,” one columnist said of drug traffic into the country.

Saudi authorities on Wednesday said it was the largest drug haul in the country’s history after seizing 47 million amphetamine pills from flour in a warehouse in the capital Riyadh.

Experts say about this record amount of drug seizures, Saudi Arabia has become the drug capital of the Middle East due to the increase in drug shipments.

As the demand for drugs increases, the country is becoming a primary destination for smugglers from Syria and Lebanon.

Experts say Saudi Arabia is becoming one of the biggest and regionally most profitable drug destinations and is growing day by day.

According to Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Narcotics Control, Wednesday’s shipment was the single largest in terms of the amount of drugs seized in the operation.

However, the authorities did not say anything about the name of the seized drug and where it came from.

Earlier, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said, “Amphetamine seizures from Middle Eastern countries are most likely to be related to pills with the Captagon logo.”

‘Captagon’ is basically a brand name of a pharmaceutical product containing the stimulant phenytoin.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction says that it is no longer in legal production, but counterfeit drugs with the name ‘Captagon’ are often seized in Middle Eastern countries.

According to CNN, the number of seizures of ‘Captagon’ pills in drug busts in Saudi Arabia and surrounding areas has increased over time.

Earlier this week, the US Coast Guard seized 320 kg of amphetamine tablets and nearly 3,000 kg of cannabis from a fishing boat in the Gulf of Oman. Which costs several million dollars.

Vanda Felbab-Brown, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, says the use of the drug, which became popular in Saudi Arabia about 15 years ago, has increased in the past five years.

“It’s probably become like marijuana,” he said, noting its widespread use.

Felbab-Brown explained the reason for the increase in Captagon use, “because the drug is coming in like a bunch of bananas, and mostly from Syria.

Stating that it is produced in the country, he said, “It is produced commercially in chemical factories obtained from the Bashar al-Assad administration.”

This fellow at the Brookings Institution also points out that his followers provide it.

CNN said that when asked to know the statement of Saudi Arabia’s Center for International Communication, no response was received.

According to the International Addiction Journal, each ‘Captagon’ pill sells for $10 to $25. If it is the same drug recently seized by Saudi authorities, its retail value would be $1.1 billion.

“Captagon has amphetamine-like properties,” said Carolyn Rose, a senior analyst at the New Lines Institute in Washington, DC, who monitors the captagon trade.

“It’s used as a stress-reducing technique, which users claim can help suppress appetite and create an ‘instant boost’ to relieve stress.

“It is said that Captagon is sought after by foreign workers from rich Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia to improve the quality of work.”

While marijuana and ‘khat’ (a type of leaf similar to tobacco) are common drugs in Saudi Arabia, amphetamines are more popular among Saudi youth, writes CNN.

The article is in Bengali

Tags: Saudi Arabia capital drugs Middle East

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