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healthcareNovember 2, 2022

Lebanon seizes captagon pills inside construction material

Lebanese security forces seized over five million captagon pills hidden inside construction material, caretaker Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi said Tuesday, in the latest bust of the amphetamine-type stimulant.

Officers seized 'a large quantity of captagon' during a raid on a warehouse in the southern town of Ghazieh, Mawlawi said in a statement.

The illegal shipment of pills was labelled as heading to Sudan via Ivory Coast, but it is unclear if that was the true destination.

In January, authorities seized a large quantity of captagon hidden inside a tea shipment, bound for Saudi Arabia via Togo.

Lebanese authorities have ramped up efforts to counter captagon production and trafficking after backlash from conservative Gulf nations, where most shipments are headed.

Most of global captagon production originates in Syria, spurring a multi-billion-dollar industry that has made the drug the country's largest export by far.

Captagon was long labelled 'the jihadist drug' and closely associated with the Islamic State group and its atrocities.

Saudi Arabia is the largest market for captagon, a versatile drug popular among the partying elite but also used for weight loss and by students working several jobs.

Captagon traffickers have in recent years found ever more imaginative places in which to conceal their drug, from fake oranges, to real hollowed-out pomegranates and pitted olives.