Dopesick

Dopesick

by

Beth Macy

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Spencer Mumpower Character Analysis

Spencer Mumpower, son of Ginger Mumpower, is a young man from Roanoke, Virginia, who goes to prison in 2012 for selling his former classmate Scott Roth the heroin that leads to his fatal overdose. Spencer and Scott have not seen each other for three years—since high school—when Scott shows up to buy heroin from Spencer. By then, Scott is a full-blown junkie, barely weighing 135 pounds. After Scott fatally overdoses, Spencer is arrested and sentenced to federal prison. Though he struggles at first, eventually Spencer hits rock bottom and begins to turn his life around. In prison, he discovers martial arts and funnels his energy into that, creating a new, healthier addiction. He eventually attempts to apologize to Robin Roth (Scott’s mother). Although it will be a long time until Robin is ready to hear from Spencer, eventually she will take a softer stance toward him, realizing that, in some ways, he’s a victim too. Despite the prison sentence, in many ways Spencer is lucky. His mother is able to be very supportive, both emotionally and financially, and this helps get him on track to turn his life around. While it’s clear that no amount of privilege is enough to fully protect someone from the opioid crisis, the story of Spencer Mumpower shows that the right support and treatment can help some people turn their lives around, even when they’ve done things they regret.
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Spencer Mumpower Character Timeline in Dopesick

The timeline below shows where the character Spencer Mumpower appears in Dopesick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...place where heroin arrived by the mid-2000s). The epidemic first got attention in Roanoke when Spencer Mumpower (son of local civic leader Ginger Mumpower) went to federal prison for the overdose... (full context)
Chapter 5
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Scott Roth is a young man in Roanoke who dies of a heroin overdose. Spencer Mumpower goes to prison in 2012 for selling Scott Roth the heroin that killed him. (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
At court in 2012, Spencer is convicted of selling Scott Roth the heroin he overdosed on. The judge suggests that... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
In summer 2012, Macy follows Robin and Spencer as Spencer prepares for prison. Spencer opens up to Macy about his past, giving tips... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Spencer recalls the night he sold Scott the heroin that led to Scott’s death and Spencer’s... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
In jail, after Spencer decides to turn his life around, he writes an apology letter to Robin Roth (which... (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Robin begins to soften toward Spencer, and she learns from other newspaper stories that she is not alone. A drug-use survey... (full context)
Chapter 6
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
Race, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice Theme Icon
...poor junkie who is desperate to avoid being dopesick. His circumstances are very different from Spencer Mumpower, who went to private school and several rehabs, but their desperation is the same. (full context)
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
The Value of Science Theme Icon
Brian is another member of the same Hidden Valley opioid-using group as Spencer. He becomes dependent on pills by the time he’s 17 years old. In six months,... (full context)
Chapter 9
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...in a federal women’s prison in Kentucky when she begins emailing Macy. She knows about Spencer Mumpower and Colton Banks, and she was even there at Scott Roth’s funeral mass. Two... (full context)
Epilogue
Poverty as an Obstacle to Recovery  Theme Icon
Cycles of History Theme Icon
...that she followed in Roanoke seem to age in fast motion. After visiting her son, Spencer, almost every weekend since 2012, Ginger is there when he gets out in February 2017.... (full context)