CAPTAGON ISIS: Drugs In Warfare



Captagon (Fenethylline) is a psychostimulant, having been used for around 23 years, originally used to treat Hyperkinesis, which psychiatrists now call Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Captagon is a Central Nervous System Stimulator-a loosely defined group of drugs that tend to increase behavioral alertness, agitation, or excitation. They work by a variety of mechanisms, but usually not by direct excitation of neurons. Central Nervous System Stimulators (CNSS) include drugs such as Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Dextroamphetamine Sulfate (Dexedrine) and Adderall, among many others.  


Without getting too scientific, both Captagon and Adderall are CNSS. Captagon is a Prodrug, which means it isn’t active in its own right; the liver separates it into D-amphetamine and Theophylline. The two compounds derived from the originally ingested Captagon, cross the blood-brain barrier, where the effect begins. Theophylline is similar to caffeine, but also opens up a person’s airways.

The Amphetamine component of Captagon is much milder than Adderall, but depending on the dosage, Captagon produces effects such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, and alertness, more energy and aggressiveness, and the ability to work longer hours. Both Captagon and Adderall can be used to treat behavioral disorders such as ADD, and other disorders such as Narcolepsy. All Amphetamines have the ability to block the intensity of pain through hyper-stimulation and possible analgesia.


Drugs in warfare, like Captagon use, is hardly a new concept. Drugs were used by Vikings as early as 800 AD. It had been suggested that the ingestion of the plant, Bog Myrtle (one of the main spices in Scandinavian alcohol drinks) could create a kind of Berserker Rage

Wars have commonly been defined by drugs. For loose examples see below (Speed refers to Amphetamines such as Captagon):

The use of drugs similar to Captagon in wars throughout history are as virulent as the additions they create.

“Just before the invasion of the Low Countries and France, his factory was turning out 850,000 tablets of methamphetamine a day, practically all of it destined for the troops – from the most senior generals to the lowliest private. For the Ardennes offensive, the Wehrmacht had stockpiled a staggering 35 million tablets, all of which were consumed in that mad, headlong and breathtaking rush to the Channel. Popping Pervitin tablets, Gen. Heinz Guderian, who is credited with the concept of armoured Blitzkrieg, stayed awake for nearly three days, during which time his forces ranged behind the French defensive forces on the Maginot Line, sowing chaos and fear everywhere they went.”

Niall McLaren, MD: a review of Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler.


A huge problem with Captagon is that is can be manufactured very easily. In a research paper by the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Katselou et al. found this about Captagon:

“…Fenethylline was used as medicament for hyperactivity disorders in children, narcolepsy and depression, but it has also been used as a drug of abuse under the common name of ‘Captagon’. Unlike other drugs of abuse, the clandestine synthesis of fenethylline is simple, using inexpensive laboratory instrumentation and raw materials legal to obtain…the primary drug market for fenethylline (as Captagon) has traditionally been countries located on the Arabian Peninsula but also North Africa since 2013. In Arab countries, millions of captagon tablets are seized every year which represents one-third of global amphetamines seizures within a year. Furthermore, three of four patients treated for drug problems in Saudi Arabia are addicted to amphetamines, almost exclusively in the form of Captagon.”[Emphasis added]



Captagon is one of the most popular drugs of abuse among the young affluent communities of the Middle East, but has also fallen into the hands of ISIS and is now a drug of choice for war. There are reports that the drug is fueling the Syrian Civil War.

In 2013, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released a report stating that 64 percent of Amphetamine seizures worldwide occurred in the Middle East, and most of the confiscated drugs were in the form of Captagon pills.

“So we took it the first time. You feel physically fit. And if there were 10 people in front of you, you could catch them and kill them. You’re awake all the time. You don’t have any problems. You don’t even think about sleeping. You don’t think to leave the checkpoint. It gives you great courage and power. If the leader told you to go break into a military barracks, I will break in with a brave heart and without any feeling of fear at all — you’re not even tired.”

Syria’s War Drug, by BBC Arabic, September 2015.

But it turns out ISIS arn’t the only ones taking drugs like Captagon. Even the drug use in the Vietnam War was rampant. The U.S supplied its troops with ‘Pep Pills‘, Amphetamines like Captagon, but more powerful. The standard dosage for drug use in the Vietnam War was 20 milligrams of Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) for 48 hours of combat readiness.

Captagon might not be the most powerful amphetamine in existence, but its one of the cheapest and easiest to produce, making it the drug of choice for ISIS and other extremist groups throughout the Middle-East.



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