Childhood Friends from Georgia Die from Opioid Overdose on Same Day, Half a Mile Apart

On May 26 in Lawrenceville, Georgia, 19-year-old Dustin Manning was found dead in his home after an opioid overdose. According to the toxicology report, Dustin had died from a toxic mixture of fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than morphine, and heroin. Less than an hour later, 18-year-old Joseph Abraham was also found dead following an overdose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects drug overdose deaths to top 64,000 in 2016—many of which will be opioid overdoses. The number of people killed by fentanyl have increased by 540 percent in just three years, from 3,000 to more than 20,000.
Dustin and Joseph had been childhood friends, playing on the same Little League team. It was during middle school when they both started to experiment with drugs.

It is believed that Joseph was first exposed to opioids when he had his wisdom teeth removed, and again when he broke his ankle and hand playing sports. Joseph had also had a difficult time coping with the death of two good friends in eighth grade, which likely contributed to his drug use.

By age 12, Dustin had told his parents that he thought he was suffering from depression, and started drinking beer and taking drugs shortly afterward. According to his mother, Lisa, drugs gave him an “out” and made him feel good.

Both parents had sought treatment for their sons, multiple times. Lisa Manning even started working at one of the treatment centers in order to better understand addiction.

“Once they take (opioids), there’s a switch in their brain that gets flipped on,” said Dave Abraham, Joseph’s father. “To get that switch flipped back could take up to five years, and most treatment are 35 days and they’re back out.”

Dustin and Joseph hadn’t been in touch for years, but likely bought the drugs that killed them from the same dealer.

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