Ahmed*, 30, from the Nile Delta city of Mahalla, describes his painful addiction to Tramadol, a pharmaceutical painkiller which has, in recent years, become one of the most popular drugs among Egyptian addicts.
The head of the rehabilitation centre which treated Ahmed confirmed to Ahram Online that Tramadol is the most common drug used by his patients, while heroin, which is much more costly, comes in second.
"Until I die, I will love drugs," says Ahmed, who has now been clean for four years and three months. "I have come to the realisation that in most cases, the things you love with madness are the things that will lead to your destruction."
Like many young Egyptian addicts, Ahmed cites "curiosity" as the reason for starting.
His group of friends in Mahalla all used the popular painkiller, which he claims made it very hard to stop. He describes needing the feeling of "escape, elation and energy" Tramadol afforded him, which shifted his problem from a psychological addiction to a physical dependency.
Assistant professor of psychology at the American University in Cairo (AUC) Mona Amer says that a number of factors lead to drug abuse in Egypt.
These include a number of "macro" factors such as the availability of drugs, the cultural environment which promotes or condones its use, and mainstream culture, in addition to some "micro" factors such as peer pressure, and more individual factors like curiosity, boredom and seeking escape.
Post-revolution Egypt’s changing social structure, together with urbanisation and crippling unemployment rates, are other major factors contributing to addiction.