Doctor speaks out about daughter’s heroin death

BY KEN KOSKY, Times Staff Writer
VALPARAISO — Valparaiso physician Mann Spitler III made an auditorium full of high school students turn eerily silent and somber as he spoke about the day he found his 20-year-old daughter dead of a heroin overdose in the bathroom of their home.

“I opened the door and I found her submerged in the bathtub, dead,” he told the students.

“There was a syringe floating in the water next to her.”

Spitler’s speech to 800 students at Hobart High School was his first in front of students since losing his daughter, Manda, nineteen months ago. After his powerful talk earlier this month, several students asked questions or stopped to thank him. Spitler said he’s willing to do talks wherever he’s wanted, wherever he has a chance to steer even one young person away from drugs.

“It makes me feel I’m actually doing something and making Manda’s death have some kind of purpose and meaning. There’s no way I couldn’t do things like this,” Spitler said.