True Story© - D.A.R.E. Made Me This Way
Backstory: I was born in 1979, which lined up my attendance of elementary school directly with the second half of the 80s.
For those of us who attended gradeschool in the 80s, we were faced with a program called D.A.R.E. from 4th-8th grades, aimed at preventing kids from placing themselves in compromising situations as it related to narcotics. Dead ass in the middle of the War On Drugs at the time, they spent more time where I lived on street drugs that people who looked like us might develop an appetite for: heroin and crack.
One fatal flaw of the program – at least where I lived – is that the cops they sent to our schools were somewhere between being poorly trained and being insultingly dishonest.
One of my favorite lies they told us is that drug dealers were terrible people and that they actually SOUGHT kids out to give – yes, GIVE – drugs to in order to get them to try them and get them hooked on drugs.
Before I continue my story, let me explain how deeply flawed this lie was… Kids. Don’t. Have. Money. Yes, I know that the fib they tried to feed us indicated that they GAVE kids the drugs to get them hooked and make a customer of them. Shit, I had a single mother who had to sacrifice a lot, I didn’t even get an ALLOWANCE, how the fuck was I gonna afford drugs?
Anyway… 4th grade passes, then 5th. At ages 9 and 10, you’re still a little bit dumb to the world, but as puberty hits in middle school you begin to rationalize things. I might not have rationalized that little tidbit above in elementary school but in middle school it was ON, and I had me a damned plan to help line my pockets a little bit.
One summer day, I left the house with the lawn mower as a “reason” to be out of the house for an extended period of time. I stashed that shit at a neighbor’s house around the corner, came back and got my bike and rode to the projects, and I waited… “waited for what?” you ask. I waited for a drug dealer.
“Aye little man!” the call finally came after a about 30-35 minutes.
“Yeah, you. Come here for a minute”
Just as I had planned, I was offered drugs. I explained that I didn’t have any money, to which I was assured that it would be okay, “first one is on me” he told me. Cool, I now had my first score. He snidely told me he would see me around and I hopped back on my bike and I was on my way to the next. Another housing project, more waiting, new dope man, same results. I rode to 5 different neighborhoods that day and got scores from 6 different pushers.
On the way back home, I cut that neighbor’s yard so as to not spend all that time outside with no money to show for it and to be sufficiently dirty to avoid being asked any questions.
The next day, I reversed the order of spots I went to and waited in a different spot at each. This time not to get any more free drugs, I had plenty at this point. I also had a plan. I watched. I watched the drug dealers make legitimate sales and who they were selling to. I did this at each spot before cutting a yard and heading back home with a new plan. Now it is Wednesday of the same week… I go back to the same spots with the free dope I got still on me and waited. This time not for the dope dealers, but for their customers. I asked what they had paid the previous day and sold them the drugs I had been GIVEN at a discount.
Now I got money to not have to use my bike to get around, I get on the bus and go to different neighborhoods and get MORE free drugs, come back to the old hoods and sell it. Now I have enough to BUY drugs at a large enough quantity to be able to talk price down, then turn and sell it at full price. At the end of the summer of 1992, I had made $1700 and couldn’t tell my mama where I got it from, so I sandbagged most of it and acted like the money I made “cutting grass” was more than it actually was on one side and did little unnoticeable things around the house with the rest.
With school back in, I came to find out that one of my classmates’ fathers was the drug dealer I was BUYING from and he inadvertently suggested to his daughter that one of her classmates was a BIG crackhead, I guess to make sure she was sure to steer clear of me and keep her eyes on her stuff so I don’t steal and sell it. Little girls talk too damn much, so the rumor spread around Lincoln like wildfire. Bam, I am called to my counselor’s office one day. My mom, both grandmothers and sister are all in there, sobbing their eyes out.
I had a choice…
1) come clean about how D.A.R.E. had taught me how to score free drugs and that I had parlayed that into good money over the summer then have my money confiscated.
2) continue the ruse, let them send me to rehab for a month and come home to that money I still had stashed away in a pair of dress shoes, stored in a box that no one would open except for me.
So if anyone asks y’all how I wound up in rehab back in October of 1992, now you know how it happened. What I DID do, though, was tell them how I learned from D.A.R.E. that drug dealers would give me free drugs to get me started and how I used different dealers to get myself going without any money.
After a couple of hours of badgering, they asked me who the dealers were and I was not ABOUT to get in trouble over this shit, so I snitched on that girl’s daddy and he is still in prison to this day due to Reagan’s mandatory minimums and she will LITERALLY not accept my FB friend request now almost 25 years later after having to be raised by her mama in their grandmother’s house.