Two childhood friends from Gwinnett County, Georgia were found dead from overdoses on the same day, less than a mile apart. Dustin Manning, 19, and Joseph Abraham, 18, used to play Little League together. Now their lives have both been tragically taken by the opioid crisis.
“My husband was yelling 'this is bad, this is bad!' and I didn't know what I was going to find when I walked in the room and I checked for his pulse and he was gone. I miss him so much, I loved him so much,” Kathy Abraham told Fox 5 Atlanta about the day she lost her son.
Just down the street Manning’s parents were going through the same crisis.
"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’s father.
Both teens had taken a deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl, according to CNN. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is much more powerful than heroin.
“There's a strong possibility the same seller provided the substance to both victims,” Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Michele Pihera said. “It's very possible the seller doesn't even know that his substance is providing fatal consequences.”
Both teens began experimenting with drugs while in middle school. The Abrahams believe their son may have fallen in love with opioids after his wisdom teeth were removed. He was prescribed painkillers again twice after two sports injuries. They feel Joseph used the drugs to cope with tragedy.
"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," Kathy told CNN.
Dustin told his parents when he was 12 that he was depressed. He began self-medicating around the same time.
"He told us the drugs are what gave him 'the out' and made him feel good," Lisa Manning said.
Both teens attended treatment centers multiple times. Lisa even began working at one to better understand addiction. Kathy had just gone to a drug summit held the night before her son’s death to educate herself about the topic.