New Policy Brief: What is the Risk of “Captagon” and Other Pill-Pressed Stimulants in Tennessee?


  • The U.S. is the world’s largest market for amphetamine-type stimulants. While “ice” methamphetamine is the predominant type seized in Tennessee, amphetamine powder, cocaine, designer stimulants like MDMA, and diverted pharmaceuticals are also encountered. In fact, non-medical use of pharmaceutical amphetamines is the most predominant type of amphetamine use in the U.S.
  • The ongoing shortage of prescription stimulants like Adderall puts college-aged youth and other vulnerable populations at particular risk of encountering counterfeit prescription stimulants. Fentanyl-laced counterfeit Adderall has already been discovered on college campuses, for example.
  • One potential threat is “Captagon,” which was banned in the 1980s but has since become the most popular drug in the Middle East, where it is strongly tied to weapons and human trafficking. In the last few years, it has been increasingly seized in Western Europe and the trade may be spreading to other countries.
  • As “Captagon” was originally created to be a prescription stimulant, as well as its reputation as a “party drug,” it is not unreasonable to suspect that the “Captagon” trade could flourish here, particularly in a state like Tennessee, where stimulants remain a significant and growing share of the drug demand.
  • The purpose of this brief is not to claim that “Captagon” will come to Tennessee, but
    to identify the risk of that happening, as well as to highlight the broader risk of illicitly produced amphetamines masquerading as legitimate prescription stimulants or party drugs.

Read the full brief here.