JAFFA, Israel – The quantity of drugs seized by Saudi authorities amounts to about two-thirds of the amount confiscated worldwide, the head of the Saudi anti-drug police unit said on Tuesday.
Ahmad Alzahrani, who spoke at an event launching a national anti-drug program, said, “The authorities realized that drug smugglers aren’t motivated by financial gain, but by the desire to ruin Saudi society by affecting our young.”
Police investigations found that “the global drug industry diverts huge amounts to the Saudi market, especially pills of a certain kind,” he added.
Faysal bin Bandar, the Emir of Riyadh, said, “The media exposes everything that goes on in the field of drugs, so there’s little use in trying to hide things. I’d just say that it’s a global epidemic that affects Saudi Arabia. It’s a fierce enemy.”
Abdullah Sharif, chairman of the National Anti-Drug Committee, said the “drug mafia seeks to ruin Saudi society, and undermine our ethics and religion.” Over the last few years, he added, the authorities seized hundreds of tons of drugs, mainly marijuana and captagon, the phenethylline amphetamine stimulant that is also rampant in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, a new study has shown a sharp increase in drug use among Saudi teenagers, with one in three middle school boys and one in four girls of the same age group saying they have used drugs.
The figures, released by Saudi Arabia’s Young People Research Institute, show a clear rise in every region in the kingdom.
Headmasters told the Al-Madina newspaper that schools across the country have stepped up efforts to raise awareness and educate students, but, as one headmaster said, “The war on drugs, especially at this problematic age, requires the education system, schools, families, and the authorities to join in the effort.”
The chairman of the Saudi anti-drug authority estimated that the numbers mostly apply to captagon, which has gained popularity among students as a cognitive performance enhancer, allegedly helping them to do better in school.
The study and the media outlets that published it came under fire for the study’s supposedly “dubious methodology” that ends up “libeling” Saudi society.
Saudi officials said that the study is proof that Saudi Arabia is under attack, and drugs are yet another weapon with which the enemies of the state target young people’s capabilities.