I Used What I Wanted

The dealer picked up a gun, cocked it and placed the barrel against Jay Tarver's temple. "If you don't do this," the dealer said, nodding toward four neat rows of cocaine gleaming on a round mirror, "I'll kill you." So Tarver, an undercover narcotics officer on the Houston police force, leaned over the old oak desk and snorted his first "rail" of coke. The high was a revelation, one Tarver still remembers with vivid longing.

"It was instant euphoria. My problems drained away." Before that night in June 1980, Tarver, 35, had often posed...

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