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Introduction

There
are growing drug abuse and addiction problems spreading wide across Saudi
Arabia. Saudi Arabia has conveyed the highest number of amphetamine seizures in
the world. Alcohol is frowned upon just as much as drug use and
even banned entirely in countries such as Saudi Arabia. The most consistently misused
drugs in the Middle East are opium, stimulants and marijuana. There
are remarkably firm penalties involved if you get caught smuggling or selling alcohol
or drugs in Saudi Arabia. However, fenethylline remains prevalent mainly in
Saudi Arabia, where more Captagon is used than in any other country in the
world. “In November, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced authorities had
seized 22.4 million amphetamine tablets within the last year, in addition to
28.8 tons of cannabis and over 57 pounds of heroin.”(Breitbart, 2017).

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Captagen

The
major used drug in Saudi Aarbia, Captagen, is the brand name for the synthetic
stimulant, fenethylline. “In 2011, the last year for which figures were
available, the Saudi kingdom seized a whopping 11 tons of amphetamines,
predominantly Captagon, up from nine tons in 2010.”(Hilleary, C. 2015). This
drug is specially consumed for its euphoric effect as well as the effect it has
on increasing libido. There is an extensive history of drug use when it comes to
war times. The ancient Greeks, Vikings, U.S. Civil War soldiers and the Nazis
all depended on drugs such as mushrooms, morphine and methamphetamines, which was
used to help them get through the terrors of war. The holy grail that they all go
after is a drug that gives you bravery and Captagon comes quite close to providing
this. It doesn’t give you grander courage, but rather it impairs your judgment
with a
drive to keep going so you don’t think about the fears you may have.

Drug
dealing and smuggling is a capital crime in Saudi Arabia. Despite this fact, Saudi
Arabia is considered the leading market for smuggling Captagon. “The
price for a box of 200,000 Captagon pills ranges between $550,000 to $600,000
in Saudi Arabia.” (Hilleary, C. 2015). This gives the market significant revenue
because the production cost is rather small. Established in Germany, Captagen came
to the market to treat sleep and attention disorders. This drug became highly
addictive and was banned throughout most of the world. Truck drivers with lengthy
trips use it to stay awake. Students will use the drug when late night cramming
for exams. Captagen is easier to hide. It is not as easily recognized and not
everyone knows how to distinguish it. Something as easy as a syringe or cocaine
powder is much easier to detect. Pills can all run together and look the same. Similar
to any of the other drugs such as heroin and cocaine, possessing and trading it
could lead to the death penalty. Drug use turns into an addiction problem and
leads to organ failure with damage to the nervous system, and can lead to death.
People
in need of help for an addiction are cautious to ask for help in fear of showing
their sins because drug use is banned.  This is one reason why the government is looking
to embark on a nationwide education campaign pointed at the youth of the
country. It is also why they are strengthening security efforts to break the movement.
If it continues, we could be looking at a damaged generation full of addicts.

Alcohol

Saudi
Arabia has an absolute prohibition on alcohol. It is illegal to produce,
import, and/or consume it. The huge majority of alcohol
available is of the homebrewed collection. There are no legal bars
in Saudi Arabia where alcohol can be purchased. There are also no real opportunities
for treatment for alcoholics in Saudi Arabia. Any individual who wishes to treat
their addiction will have to deal with it on their own or travel outside for
treatment. There is little known about the extent of alcoholism among people in
Saudi Arabia. The most often consumed alcohol in Saudi Arabia is called
siddiqi or “sid.”  This differs in
strength and is unquestionably heavier than what we have here in the United
States. One can associate it to the power of moonshine in alcohol content. “Sid”
can have strength of 90% alcohol and contain impurities. With drinking these
strong spirits, this is why alcohol poisoning is common among the people.

Punishment

“In
October 2015, Lebanese authorities arrested a Saudi prince at the Beirut
airport after two tons of cocaine and Captagon pills, which sell for roughly
$20 per pill in Saudi Arabia, were found on a private plane.” (Gidda, M. 2017).
Violators of trafficking and abusing drugs in this country hold a harsh
punishment. Offenders can be put in jail, beaten, or even publicly executed.
Rape,
murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all capital offenses which can
hold the death penalty under Saudi Arabia’s version of Sharia law. Saudi Arabia
is one of the rare countries with no black and white on criminal disciplinary
codes. Rules are so imprecise that it is often unclear what exact acts institute
crimes. Treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicted people is difficult
because of stigmatization. Treatment is rare and the common
drug abusers do not talk about their addiction.  Border security is an area of concern and
officials are addressing the concern through further training and physical
barriers. There are large drug seizures frequently reported by the media. There
were at least 63 people executed in 2015 for drug trafficking.  Punishment for the smuggling, production,
possession, and consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs are severe. The
offenders can look at jail time, fines, public lashing, deportation, or execution.
Border inspections at entry points are comprehensive and active in finding any
violators.

Drug Smuggling

News
media in Saudi Arabia often tell short stories about seizures of contraband. Even
with the severe penalties it carries, drug traffickers persistently pursue to sneak
past the authorities, hiding illegal drugs in fresh fruit, furniture, children’s
things, vehicles, as well as bodily cavities. This year Saudi Arabia executed
three Pakistani people for smuggling heroin. The three had been found smuggling
heroin in their stomachs into the country. In other news, teams seized over
600,000 methamphetamine pills in two separate operations. Five people, three Saudi
nationals and two Syrians were among the arrested for drug smuggling. Some
of the drugs attempting to be smuggled were concealed in capsules that were removed
from the stomach of one of the people, other drugs were found in a nook in one
their shoes and others were packed in a food box in one of the smuggler’s bags.
There have also been attempts to smuggle Captagen in on many occasions. One
attempt in particular, being more than 24,000 pills that a passenger on an
airplane attempted to conceal in their belt. The awful side
of the drug smuggling problem in Saudi Arabia is that the poorest people are trapped
by the powerful drug lords and forced to consume small bags holding the drugs.
In some cases, some of them are kidnapped and directly obligated to become drug
mules. Even with heightened security efforts and reinforced border patrols,
smugglers still attempt hiding from the law in order to sneak past with the
goods.

 

 

Conclusion

With
an increased supply of drugs into Saudi Arabia, there is a consistent demand
that the growing supply can fulfill. The size of drugs coming into the country is
seen increasing year to year. The demand for these illegal drugs and alcohol
are seen contributing to the rising problem of addiction throughout the Arab
region. Saudi
Arabia prides itself on its harsh punishment and stance on drug use and its
religious face to the world, but underneath the surface everything is obtainable
at the right price and most people turn the other way when the acts take place.
Even
with the strict law and the hefty penalties for violating it, alcohol and many
other illegal drugs are available in Saudi Arabia. The question is, where do
you find it?

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