A Customs officer displays confiscated Captagon pills. REUTERS/Nikolay Doychinov
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Captagon, the amphetamine dubbed the "jihadi drug" for its use by combatants in regional conflicts, has gained prominence in Lebanon since the start of the civil war in neighboring Syria.Captagon has been trafficked through Lebanon for years, and production has seen an uptick, not only in the Bekaa Valley – a longtime stronghold of drug production – but also in the suburbs of Beirut.The fact that Captagon is a synthetic drug represents something of departure from traditional drug production in Lebanon. Despite the ease with which one could produce the now-familiar round pills with the double Cs stamped on top – the precursor chemicals for amphetamine are fairly readily available and difficult to track due to their many licit uses, something Arbid's report delves into – usage within Lebanon does not seem to have spiked along with production.However, it also tallies with Lebanon's role as a primarily production and transit hub for the drug rather than a major consumer.Arbid's report estimates that Lebanon's Captagon industry is worth potentially billions annually.
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