My first narration of the death of Manda, daughter of my wife, Phyllis, and myself, was in December of 2002.
Manda had self-administered a lethal dose of heroin nine months earlier on March 30, 2002. She had referred to drug addiction as a ‘BEAST” in a poem she had written and I felt compelled to fight back against this chronic, relapsing brain disease by illustrating how this “BEAST” works; how it initially invades someone’s life with its “first bite” (the “drug of first use”) that initially seems innocuous but cunningly creates a network of ever increasingly dangerous drugs that potentially leads to and ends with a deadly drug.
The details of how any person’s brain becomes enslaved by this Beast differ, of course, but the major themes of addiction are always the same and are highlighted in Manda’s Story. Parents that hear Manda’s Story develop a depth of understanding that their children live surrounded by the drug culture and that they cannot merely suspect their child may be experimenting with drugs; they must assume that their child has, is, or will experiment with them. For parents, I offer practical, actionable and sustainable prevention techniques for them to shield their children from the BEAST.
Lastly, what makes Manda’s Story “real” to adolescents is the 911 call I play towards the end of my presentation. It lasts three minutes and thirty-six seconds. I made the call immediately after finding Manda submerged and unresponsive in the bathtub of our home. Its impact is lasting and immeasurably effective in moving many of our young from a path of danger to a path of safety. Some of their common remarks about Manda’s Story are included on the Testimonial section of this site.
Contact me to arrange for this compelling presentation. I speak mainly to middle school and high school students but also to any group with a desire to protect their young as well as those incarcerated or in treatment/recovery.
Life CAN BE Good…. Live with meaning…. Live with purpose.
Mann Spitler III., DPM Drug Addiction Preventionist