Bulgaria and, to a lesser extent, Turkey are believed to be significant producers of ‘captagon’, according to the first comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the European Union.

“Between 2001 and 2007 Bulgaria seized 18, many large-scale, amphetamine production facilities associated with the manufacture of captagon tablets,” the EU drug markets report, issued on Thursday, said.

In 2008, it was reported that some amphetamine production had been moved out of Bulgaria, although exports from Bulgaria to the Middle East continued. A further eight amphetamine manufacturing sites were dismantled in Bulgaria between 2009 and 2011.

The role of Bulgarian criminal groups in large-scale amphetamine production and trafficking for the Middle East market has increased, the report says.

“Several large-scale production facilities managed by Bulgarians have been uncovered in recent years, and significant quantities of amphetamine, various equipment and chemicals were found.”

Most of the heroin leaving the ‘Golden Crescent’ area for Europe still seems to be transported by land along two loosely defined trafficking routes, the main one being the ‘Balkan route’, running west through Turkey, into Balkan countries such as Bulgaria, Romania or Albania and on to Central, Southern and Western Europe, the report says.