When Devin Reaves walked in the door one of the first things he said was “I got in this business to help people.” He started off this discussion with his life story and how he became a product of the crack epidemic in the 1980’s. He told us that he father was addicted to crack cocaine and he too fell victim to addiction. Reaves went on to talk about the historical significance about the war on drugs and crack cocaine epidemic within urban areas. He also talked about how the policies and procedures that where put in place in the 80’s are effecting us today.
Reaves stood up in the front of the class and drew a fence on the whiteboard, with three people behind the fence. One person could see over the fence, one could see only to the top of the fence and the last one couldn’t see over the fence at all. The analogy Reaves used was this, if you gave every person along the fence the same sized stool to see over that would be equality but what we should really do is the person that can only see the top of the fence should get a short stool so they can see over and we should give the person with no visibility over the fence a bigger stool so they can see over as well. There is no need to give the person how can already see over the fence because the already have the access or funds to get the treatment and services they need. This idea would allow all people to see over the fence equally. However, Reaves believes that we should just tear down the fence.
Reaves got in this business to save lives and has already taken big steps towards taking the fence down. He has a long laundry list of organizations that he works for. He has battle with the city to open his very own recovery house while working with the Opioid Task Force here in Philadelphia. Reaves shared his story with us as a way to spread this movement and to bring light to the recovery community.