By: Kyle James | 05-05-2018 | News
Photo credit: Hamada Elrasam

Egypt - Tramadol Epidemic Is Devastating Cairo

||| Hamada Elrasam |||

While the opioid epidemic is sweeping Western nations, Egypt is silently suffering an epidemic of its own as Tramadol strengthens its grasp on the country. Mohamed El-Fayoumy and his father Kerim are daily Tramadol users until Kerim spent two months in jail on drug dealing charges. Mohamed, 41, and Kerim, 67, are horse and donkey barbers in the El Malek El Salah district of Cairo. In 2017, the two men were working on the outskirts of the district, which is also a hotbed of drug activity, when undercover police officers searched their pockets and found a "few pills".

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"They started to fight with us and asked us where a certain dealer was but we told them we didn't know," Mohamed said. "So then they accused my father of being a dealer, saying he had 40 pills in his pocket ready to sell and that's what they wrote on the report. They put him in jail for two months and we had to pay 3000 Egyptian pounds to get him out," he explained. Tramadol has become a mainstay for manual labors in Egypt. "I take Tramadol to minimize the pain of animal bites and to be able to work long hours at a time," Mohamed said.

<img src="" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">

<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Hamada Elrasam</span>

He lives with his extended family a tiny one-room apartment and he has to work long hours to provide for them since his mother died from breast cancer recently and he has three young children to care for. The cost of living in Egypt has risen drastically in the last few years due to the fluctuation of the Egyptian pound and the government cutting welfare for the poor. Drugs like Tramadol have become a common form of relief for people who must perform grueling manual labor.

Since the 2011 Arab Spring, addiction rates have increased since Tramadol became easier to get. The end of dictator Hosni Mubarak's rule after three decades brought mass street protests and the collapse of the police force. This made it almost impossible for Egyptian security forces to patrol seaports and the border with Libya. This in turn allowed drug distributors to flourish as the playing field opened up.

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Mohamed says he is not addicted and will continue to use Tramadol despite the risk of going to jail. "I take one in the morning and another two later in the day — I'm not addicted but because it now costs 20 Egyptian pounds I need to reconsider taking it. 30-year-old bank teller Mahmoud also takes Tramadol for recreational purposes. "I take a few pills a week and mostly on the weekends, it's something that makes me feel relaxed but also powerful," Mahmoud said. "Life is hard and stressful in Cairo and Tramadol makes me feel like I can deal with it."

<img src="" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">

<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Hamada Elrasam</span>

The Egyptian government has attempted to crack down on illegal opioid pills which has driven the price of the drugs up. Some drug-dealing suspects have faced harsher penalties of late, one British woman was jailed for three years after she was caught with nearly 300 Tramadol pills when she arrived at a Red Sea resort. Laura Plummer claimed the pills were for her Egyptian husband's back pain and did not know they were illegal. Options for the drug addicted are limited when it comes to recovery. Dr. El Amrousy, an addiction and recovery specialist in Cairo said, "There is not enough money provided to the public sector and in the private sector doctors aren't given the authority to carry out what experts suggest."

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Thoughts on the above story? Comment below!
4 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 25093 2018-05-05 : 02:54

>horse and donkey barbers

Is that real?

Anonymous No. 25094 2018-05-05 : 03:05

@25093 apparently it is, they groom dogs as well lol

AvidReader No. 25098 2018-05-05 : 04:42

"This in turn allowed drug disturbers(sic) to flourish as the playing field opened up."


(I still love the stories guys,)

la casa de papel saison 3 tournage No. 25125 2018-05-05 : 14:15

Netflix propose donc 13 épisodes de 40 à 50 minutes.

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