IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th June, 2023 International Relations

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  • The reinstatement of Syria as a member of the Arab League, which marks the end of global isolation for President Bashar al-Assad.


  • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad faced global isolation but was recently reinstated as a member of the Arab League.
  • Captagon, a highly addictive amphetamine-type drug, is produced mainly in Syria and smuggled across West Asia.
  • Sales of Captagon pills have been alleged to profit al-Assad, his associates, and his family, providing a financial lifeline amidst Syria's economic crisis.
  • Reports suggest cooperation between Syria, Jordan, and Iraq to curtail smuggling and identify production spots.
  • Recent airstrikes targeted a high-profile Syrian drug smuggler, believed to be conducted by Jordan.

History and Background of Captagon:

  • Captagon was originally produced in the 1960s by the German company Degussa Pharma Gruppe.
  • The original Captagon contained fenethylline, a synthetic drug of the phenethylamine family, but was banned due to its highly addictive nature.
  • Illicit tablets labeled as Captagon, mainly containing amphetamine, surfaced in Bulgaria and were smuggled to the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Production crackdowns in the following decades led to a decline in supply until the drug resurfaced in war-torn Syria in 2011.

Effects and Uses of Amphetamine-Based Drugs:

  • Captagon pills stimulate the central nervous system, providing a boost of energy, enhancing focus, prolonging wakefulness, and producing euphoria.
  • They do not grant superhuman abilities, but may create a placebo effect leading to erratic behaviors.
  • The effects of amphetamines last for approximately 7 to 12 hours, with a peak effect occurring 1 to 3 hours after consumption.

Side Effects of Amphetamine Consumption:

  • Amphetamines can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, heart problems (fast heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, heart attack), high body temperature, skin flushing, memory loss, impaired cognitive function, and stroke.
  • Addiction and tolerance can occur with misuse, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects.
  • Proper medical use of prescription amphetamines rarely leads to addiction.

Military Use of Amphetamines:

  • During World War II, both Nazi Germany and the Allied forces provided their troops with amphetamines.
  • Nazi Germany supplied Pervitin (methamphetamine) to soldiers, aiding their Blitzkrieg strategy.
  • Allied forces provided Benzedrine (amphetamine sulfate) to troops, regulated by base medical officers.
  • Side effects and addiction concerns led to a decline in methamphetamine usage by the end of 1940.
  • The US Air Force continues to use amphetamines, known as "go pills," to keep pilots awake and alert during long flights, which has sparked controversy.


Q) Captagon is a combination of amphetamine and phenethylamine. Which of the following statements is/are true?

1. Amphetamine increases alertness, energy, and focus.

2. Captagon is a prescription medication for treating anxiety disorders.

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

(a)Only 1

(b)Only 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d)Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: D