An MP has called for action to be taken to stop a highly-addictive amphetamine-type stimulant already popular in the Middle East from ‘infecting the UK’.
Alicia Kearns, chairwoman of Britain’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, told MailOnline today that ‘we should be very concerned’ that captagon could travel through ‘significant trafficking networks’ to the UK unless stopped in its tracks.
The Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton said the drug was being used as ‘a form of blackmail’ by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime to ‘leverage and secure their interests’, with devastating consequences for local populations.
As authorities in Europe also report record hauls of the drug, Ms Kearns warned that the illicit economy was ‘allowing these terrorist actors to finance themselves and secure their interests’.Experts believe the trade could be worth as much as $57 billion – the combined trade of the Mexican cartels.
Ms Kearns called for ‘the UK to sanction the members of the Assad family explicitly involved in this illicit family-trade, including one member of the family who regularly travels to the UK’ and said ‘we need to ensure that our Border Force and other agencies are aware of captagon and working to prevent it reaching our shores’.
Selling for $3 to $25 per tablet, the pill is mainly produced and trafficked by groups tied to Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.Dubbed the ‘poor man’s cocaine’, captagon bursts of energy, wakefulness and euphoria, and is also associated with delusions, depression, convulsions and breathing difficulties.
‘It is a relatively cheap drug, and easy to hide and transport, and we do not want more drugs infecting the UK,’ MP Alicia Kearns told MailOnline
Captagon’s mainstream production ceased in the late 20th century but experts warn Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria is profiting from allowing the trade to thrive once again
Speaking to MailOnline, Ms Kearns urged that more be done to counter the drug’s supply overseas.
She said: ‘The US has recently launched the Global Coalition on Synthetic Drugs, which the UK has joined.