Contact me for a compelling presentation of Manda’s Story that adolescents consistently tell me “opened their eyes”  about how drug addiction starts and the potentially catastrophic  consequences of drugs used recreationally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How are you able to talk about your daughter's death?

A: How could I not speak out? Manda’s death should have some purpose and meaning. I believe the positive reactions to her story give it that purpose and meaning and inspire me to continue speaking.

Q: Was I in denial about Manda's drug use?

A: No, I was never in denial. Manda smoked at age thirteen and I had found cigarettes hidden under her mattress, a clear indication that she was using nicotine. She was arrested twice for underage drinking so alcohol had become part of her drug history. Undeniably, her involvement in the drug culture was evolving.

Q: What would I have done differently to save Manda from self-destruction?

A: I would have trusted my daughter a lot less than I did to make safe, sound decisions for herself. I would have randomly drug tested her starting at age thirteen and monitored her closely in other ways.

Q: How did you and your wife get through this?

A: My wife, Phyllis, and I grieved together as one. We cried together often, reminisced about Manda, remembering the fun times we had together as a family. Our community was most gracious, kind and empathetic to us. We joined the Community Action Drug Coalition of Porter County and became active in it.

I started narrating Manda’s Story in schools, churches and civic groups to illustrate how addiction works. Friends and most of our family were strongly supportive of us. Lastly, the passage of time slowly dulled the sharp, jagged edges of grief. You never completely “get though it”. You learn how to bear it.

Q: What happened to Manda's last boyfriend, the one who facilitated her addiction to heroin ?

A: Manda’s “boyfriend” disappeared after her death. 3967 days after Manda died, he phoned me. To express his remorse? NO. To apologize for his facilitation of Manda’s drug use and his manipulation of Manda? NO. His first comment was “I hear you have been talking about me.” (during my presentations of Manda’s Story)

His only concern is his own wants and needs; no one else matters to him. He has a criminal record including drug dealing. I understand he is living in Florida

Q: I have a friend hooked on drugs. What should I do? [This question is asked exclusively by students]

A: TELL SOMEONE! The Beast of Drug Addiction derives its strength and endurance from secrecy. The first step in weakening the Beast is to shatter that secrecy. Inform a parent, a church leader or some other trusted person and have them assist in getting professional help for that friend. Don’t worry about the friend disowning you. Eventually he or she will realize you did the right thing for them.

Q: Were there signs of addiction with Manda and when did they occur?

A: Early in Manda’s addiction, she concealed her use well and seemed normal. A few weeks before her death on March 31, 2002, she began exhibiting bizarre behaviors that could only be attributed to drug use. She dismissed these behaviors with lies such as “With my schedule I get extremely tired and sometimes spontaneously fall asleep”.

Q: When did Manda start using drugs?

A: When she started smoking at age thirteen. Tobacco was her initiation into the drug culture.

Q: Do you think Manda committed suicide?

A: No. Every indication was that Manda injected herself with a misjudged dose of heroin that proved lethal.

Q: Are you going to write a book about Manda's Story?

A: I have plans to do so.