*Dustin Manning (left) and Joseph Abraham (right)
The opioid epidemic is on the verge of reaching epic proportions if it hasn’t already. The horrific crisis has now claimed the lives of two childhood friends, less than a mile away from each other on the very same day.
The devastated parents of Dustin Manning, Greg and Lisa Manning, said the toxicology report found that their son had taken a toxic mix of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid so powerful it’s often fatal. “The amount of fentanyl in his body was the equivalent to three grains of salt. That’s all it took to kill a 180-pound guy,” said Greg Manning.
Dustin died on Friday, May 26, in Lawrenceville, a suburb on the outskirts of Atlanta. “I had told him I’d get him up early for work, and I came up around 5:45 [am] to wake him up, and when I opened the door, he looked like he was tying his shoes. Very quickly I realized, grabbed him and he was cold,” said Greg Manning. Lisa Manning was at the gym when she got the call from her husband. “He said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, call 911.’ I didn’t ask any questions. I knew.”
It only took 20 seconds for the fatal dosage to kill Dustin. But less than a mile away, and less than an hour later, Dustin’s friend also lost his life to an opioid addiction.
Half a mile down the road, 18-year-old Joseph Abraham was found slumped on the floor by his parents, Dave and Kathi Abraham. He had no pulse. “I started yelling and yelling and yelling, ‘Joe, Joe — wake up, man!’ And then I realized there was something really wrong,” said Dave Abraham. “As soon as I saw him, I knew and I just ran and I just started holding him and I could tell he was cold,” said Kathi Abraham. “Dave was on the phone to 911 and I said, ‘It’s too late. We can’t fix this,'” she added, as tears welled in her eyes.
Dustin Manning and Joseph Abraham were childhood friends. They played on the same Little League team and for two years, Joseph’s father coached them. In middle school, both began to dabble in drugs.
The Abrahams believe their son had his first dose of opioids when he had his wisdom teeth removed. He was prescribed the drugs again when he broke his ankle — and later, his hand — playing sports. “When you’re given a prescription from a doctor, we often just trust that,” Kathi Abraham said. She believes Joseph turned to drugs after dealing with two major tragedies at a young age. “He lost two of his really good friends in eighth grade — one to cancer and one to a drowning. He really had a hard time. He struggled with that,” she said. –CNN
Both sets of parents said that the treatments they offered to their sons were simply not good enough to combat the level of addiction that the young men suffered from. The parents sought help several times, only have the addiction continue to win. At the age of 12, Dustin told his parents he felt like he was suffering depression. He soon started drinking beer and taking drugs. “He told us the drugs are what gave him ‘the out’ and made him feel good,” Lisa Manning said.
According to both sets of parents, Dustin and Joe hadn’t been in touch in recent years, yet it appears they may have bought the drug that killed them from the same dealer. According to police records, some of the pill wrappings were almost identical.
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