Friday, July 04, 2008

Drug Use Taking Hold in Saudi Arabia

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has named Saudi Arabia as having the middle east's largest number of users of illegal amphetamines.

Seizures of the stimulant Captagon (or counterfeit versions) in the Kingdom rose from 291 kgs in 2000 to over 12 tons in 2006, a development which the UNODC has described as a "dramatic and unprecedented increase."

Use of amphetamines is most common among those in their early 20s. Some use it as a stimulant to help with mental alertness during university exams; others acquire a deeper dependence on the drug, which in its inhaled or injected forms can create symptoms similar to cocaine.

It is believed that most of the drugs currently available in Saudi Arabia - which has the death penalty for drug trafficking - originate in Turkey or Bulgaria and are transported overland via Syria and Jordan.

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