Erbil, Baghdad maintain cooperation to tackle narcotics

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has granted the Kurdish directorate an appreciation award for its efforts in tackling narcotics, Bibani added.
Confiscated narcotics, US and Iraqi currency are on display. (Photo: Kurdistan Region anti-narcotics authority)
Confiscated narcotics, US and Iraqi currency are on display. (Photo: Kurdistan Region anti-narcotics authority)

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – The anti-narcotic authorities at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq’s federal government maintain their cooperation to tackle narcotics amid rising threats from illicit drugs, according to a Kurdish official.

The cooperation focuses on prevention measures as well as the arrest of drug dealers, Arkan Bibani, an officer at the Directorate General of Combatting Narcotics, told Kurdsitan24 on Monday.

The head of the Kurdish directorate and another officer are members of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command and are in regular touch with the relevant authorities, he said.

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has granted the Kurdish directorate an appreciation award for its efforts in tackling narcotics, Bibani added.

The Region’s security forces in Erbil and Baghdad arrested over 2,480 suspects on drug-related charges in 2023 alone, according to the official.

In late December, the Directorate announced that it had confiscated over 10 million Captagon pills in a year.

Drug trafficking and use have seen a surge in Iraq, particularly in recent decades.

The Iraqi Ministry of Interior on Thursday announced that seven thousand people were tried on drug-related charges in 2023 only.

Captagon pills, a brand name for an amphetamine-like stimulant, are one of the most widely trafficked drugs in Iraq. It is believed that most of the low-cost drugs are produced in war-torn Syria and widely trafficked to the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, among others.

Users feel mild euphoria after taking Captagon pills. The use of the drug leads to various health problems, including high blood pressure, hallucinations, and blurred vision. Irritability and fatigue are also the two most common withdrawal symptoms of Captagon.

In July this year, the Iraqi security forces found a Captagon lab in Muthana province "for the first time," an Iraqi interior ministry spokesperson said at the time.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in mid-October held a Conference on Combating Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the presence of several faith community leaders, security officials, and regional and Western diplomats to discuss the issue.