Synthetic drugs are here and surging

Synthetic drugs are here and the future of drug taking and trafficking.

I’m quoted in this UK Telegraph story today about a massive shipment of amphetamine drug Captagon that was discovered in Italy: Watch_ Italian police seize 14 tonnes of ‘jihad drug’ pills worth €1 billion after they were shipped from Syria

Here’s my full quote:

This huge seizure of Captagon is just the latest example of synthetic drugs fuelling conflict from Syria to Myanmar. Opioid drugs like tramadol are now frequently used as both legitimate pain relief for millions and a weapon of war by Boko Haram in Nigeria, forced onto kidnapped, under-age recruits. Captagon has long been accused of allowing jihadi fighters the mental and physical ability to feel euphoric before and during conflict and not feel fear. What’s concerning about the rise in synthetic drugs is how easy they are to produce and distribute by militant groups and non-state actors. Equally worrying in my research is the use of more traditional drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamines, which are routinely consumed by armies and military contractors across the globe. It’s unsurprising that increasingly hard drugs are needed by fighters as urban conflict intensifies from Mosul to Marawi.