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: Amazingly, I wasn't even at denial. Early on with her experimentation, then addiction, I never thought that my sweet girl would EVER be involved with heroin or other drugs.
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: Our family and friends were strongly supportive. Phyllis [my wife] and I leaned on each other a great deal. Committing to fight the Beast of Drug Addiction has been therapeutic in providing us an outlet for our grief.
Q: What happened to Manda's last boyfriend, the one who facilitated her addiction to heroin ?
A: As of this writing, he is alive, free and well. I could spend time focusing on him, but I would rather devote my energy to speaking about drug addiction.
Q: I have a friend hooked on drugs. What should I do? [This question is asked exclusively by students]
A: TELL SOMEONE! The Beast ofDrug 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: Earlyon, no. But, as Manda sank into the depths of addiction, some bizarre behavior began that could only be attributed to drugs. These started only a few weeks before she died.
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: Why didn't you "run off" Manda's last drug-dealing, drug addict boyfriend?
A: While this boyfriend looked wrong on many levels, Phyllis and I were unaware of his heroin addiction and drug dealing. When I ask the girls at the schools where I speak if "running off' a boyfriend would work, they all say "no " .They can and will find a way to be with their boyfriend despite a father's intervention.
Q: Is it possible to become addicted to a drug after just one dose?
A: The drug treatment experts tell me that this can happen. If not in the first dose, then many times addiction occurs after as little as a week's use of the drug.
Q: Are you going to write a book about Manda's Story?
A: I have plans to do so.