I was a teenage drug dealer

By the time he was 12, Lee was involved in the world of crime and Class A drugs. Now 17, he’s serving a sentence in Feltham Young Offenders' Institution for possession with intent to supply drugs. Although this seems grim, Lee’s left his life of drugs and addiction behind him and doesn’t plan on going back. Here’s his story.

True Stories

Man posing as a teenage drug dealer looking off in the distance. He is wearing a long-sleeve green shirt. This is a close-up of his face.

My life went upside-down when my dad died. I was five and my brother was eight at the time. We had to move into my Mum and Step Dad’s one-bedroom flat in Stretton; eventually we found a council house in Hounslow. That’s when our problems really began and I was a teenage drug dealer.

Starting a life in crime 

When we first moved to Hounslow, my brother and I got close. We were the only white kids at school. People bullied us pretty badly, so we had to fight back. Then we moved schools and started to make friends. At the end of each school day we would shoplift from Woolworths; usually we’d steal Parker pens to sell to other kids at school.

As for life at home, there was a twist with my step dad. He was a vicious, wild man who didn’t want us. He started to ‘discipline’ us, which is what most people would call beating. When I was about seven or eight he’d beaten me so badly I ended up in hospital. I’m not proud of it, but my brother and I ended up being pretty violent because of it. Thankfully, mum left our step dad. We moved to Aylesbury, where I really went off the rails at the age of 10.

The crimes got worse 

The first mark on my record was for criminal damage to a car – the police gave me a caution for that. Then I started to misuse drugs. It started off with a little spliff but gradually got heavier until I was using drugs every chance I had. By the age of 11 or 12, I was drinking alcohol and taking pills, mushrooms and coke.

Then I got caught for theft and received another caution. I ended up getting caught for carrying out thefts, four burglaries, threats to kill and arson with intent to harm someone else’s life. I was arrested for attempted murder because of the last one, which really scared me.

I’d skive school and spend more time doing my favourite things: shoplifting and doing lots of drugs. Around this time, things were really breaking down at home so I started to run away – I ran away from home about 25 to 30 times in the space of three months.

Drug dealer stories

Things really unravelled for me. I got kicked out of home, lost my placement at college, quit my job, crashed my moped and started selling skunk, a.k.a selling weed. I finally managed to get another job – in fact, I got three: two cleaning jobs and one in a juice bar. But once I got accommodation at a hostel, I had to give up the jobs because I was only 16, so I was relying on selling skunk and robbing to get cash. 

One of my so-called friends introduced me to crack and heroin, which he was selling for somebody else. The problem was, he’d smoked off the entire crack supply he had and got himself fired. I got offered the job instead, which gave me a nice bit of cash-in-hand. I’d help sell about £10,000 worth of drugs per week, of which me and my mate got a 10% cut – so between us we got roughly £500 each.

When I got more customers I earned around £1,000 a day. I got hooked on heroin and my life went even more downhill. In one day, I could spend around £100 or more on heroin and even more on crack, as well as drink a litre of vodka and smoke about an eighth of skunk. Safe to say, times were tough.

Getting caught when I was a teenage drug dealer 

I was 16 when I was nicked for four counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs: one actual supply of diamorphine (heroin), four possessions of cannabis and possession of an offensive weapon. Three other offences were taken into consideration, including common assault. When I went to court I was told I had carried out a grave crime. If I was 18 I could’ve received two life sentences for what I did.

So now I’m in a cell in a young offenders’ prison. I’m off all the drugs and also trying to stop smoking tobacco (I’ve been smoking since I was seven). The other good news is that I’m going home soon, under an Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP). I’ll live in a different area, and stay with either my mum or older brother.

I’m also going to settle down with a job. I’ll come back to jail, except this time I won’t be an offender but a drugs worker. My drugs worker was amazing to me in prison, and I want to help other people get through what I went through. I’m also going to write my own book, inspired by my Catholic faith.

Next Steps

  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Addaction helps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.
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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 16-Aug-2021