The Psychiatric Drug Fueling Islamic State Militants

by Bruce Boyers

According to a recent Washington Post article, a psychiatric drug originally developed in the 1960s for hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression is now fueling militant fighters in Syria.

The drug, known as Captagon, is a highly addictive narcotic which is now produced in Syria and available across the Middle East. Illegal sales of Captagon provide millions of dollars for Syria’s black-market economy every year, making it possible for militants to be continually empowered with arms and the ability to continue fighting, keeping fighters awake over long periods of time.

According to the article, Captagon (generic name: fenethylline) is a powerful amphetamine that quickly produces an intense euphoria in users, allowing them to stay up for days and kill with a numb, reckless abandon. According to a fighter quoted in the article, it provides soldiers with “superhuman energy and courage.”Captogon infused fighters

Captagon has drawn more attention in the past few years due to its apparent use among ISIS recruits and other Syrian fighters, many of whom reportedly pop the pill before running into battle as it enhances a person’s ability to do dangerous things.

The drug is also incredibly addictive–according to one anonymous user quoted in the article, “…whatever you take to stop it, nothing can stop it.” The drug was banned in most countries by the 1980s because of its addictive power. It is classified in the US as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1981. It also has dangerous side effects that include psychosis and brain damage.

In Syria, raw materials for Captagon can be obtained legally, and it is cheap and easy to produce. It can be purchased by users for less than $20 per tablet and has become popular among Syrian fighters who do not follow strict interpretations of Islamic law,

Captagon is another in a long line of drugs developed for psychiatric use that delivers many more harmful and dangerous side effects than benefits to patients. Such drugs have been researched in detail and reported by Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights, and have been found to be involved in countless senseless violent attacks, shootings, mayhem and murder.



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