Opioid Catastrophe: Childhood Friends Die on Same Day, Half a Mile Apart

20 seconds is all it took to kill 19 year-old Dustin Manning.

His parents, Greg and Lisa Manning, said that the toxicology report found he had taken a toxic mix of heroin and fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid so powerful that is often fatal.

Greg Manning stated; “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.”

Dustin died on 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 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.”

Less than an hour later, at 6:53 a.m., there was another phone call to 911.

Half a mile down the road, 18 year-old Joseph Abraham was found collapsed on the floor with no pulse by his parents, Kathi and Dave Abraham.

“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 Joseph’s mother.

“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 and Joseph were childhood friends. They played on the same Little League team. But in middle school, both began to dabble in drugs.

The Abrahams believe that 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.

Kathi Abraham said; “When you’re given a prescription from a doctor, we often just trust that.”

She continued; “He lost two of his really good friends in eighth grade; one to cancer and one to a drowning. Then he really had a hard time. He struggled with that.”

Dave Abraham says the treatments weren’t enough to fight his son’s battle.

“Once they take (opioids), there’s a switch in their brain that gets flipped on — and to get that switched flipped back could take up to five years, and most treatments are 35 days and they’re back out,” he 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.

The parents now attend a support group for people who have lost children to opioids. And in a sign of the times, the support group grows in size each month.

Last year, about 64,000 Americans died from opioids, according to the first government account of nationwide drug deaths. That is more than the number of Americans killed in car accidents or by guns, combined.

President Trump has declared opioid addiction a public health emergency, which officials say will allow the federal government to give up some regulations and give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds. It does not provide any extra funding to deal with the crisis.

Like many critics, the Manning and Abraham families say it doesn’t go far enough.

“This is a just a step, a small step,” said Greg Manning.

These parents believe prevention is key and education needs to start as early as fifth grade.

They have started spreading awareness in their community in the hope it will save another family from suffering the loss of a child.

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Featured image and text source: www.edition.cnn.com/2017/10/29/health/opioid-fentanyl-childhood-friends/index.html