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Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of People Who Use Captagon and Therapists in Jordan

Background: Captagon (Fenethylline) is an amphetamine type stimulant (ATS) and one of the most popular substances of use in the Middle East. This study aims to describe and analyze the trajectory of captagon use, severity of addiction and withdrawal symptoms and its effect on quality of life from the perspectives of people who use captagon, who receive treatment as well as therapists. 

Methods: This study took a qualitative approach, using semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews, which were transcribed verbatim, translated to English and coded using Nvivo software for thematic analysis. 

Results: Data saturation was achieved after interviewing a total of 27 participants (7 therapists and 20 patients using captagon either alone or among other illicit drugs), most of which were male (n = 22). Their ages ranged between 18-48 years (median= 27). Four main themes were identified during the interviews: (1) Definition and sought effects of captagon; (2) the downside of captagon use and withdrawal symptoms associated with captagon use; (3) motivations for captagon use and to treatment; and (4) the impact of Covid-19 on captagon’s use and on treatment.

Conclusion: This qualitative study has illustrated for the first time the several challenges and complicating factors that people who use captagon and therapists face in Jordan. Findings call attention to implementing effective interventions to raise public’s awareness of the negative impact of such use, with focus on high-risk groups, address the needs of different users and encourage the use of international treatment guidelines.

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