After spending all their childhood together, two friends died on May 26 due to a strong-drug cocktail of heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which often leads people to die immediately. Both boys lived just a few blocks from each other, and both boys passed through tough times that made them fall into drug addiction.
Dustin Manning and Joseph Abraham were friends practically since the moment they were born. They lived in the same community, studied at the same school, and played together on the Little League team — where Dustin’s father, Greg Manning, was the coach for two years.
The day they died was Friday, a typical school day for both teens. Unfortunately, when Mr. Manning went to check on his son, he found him in a position similar to when someone’s “tying his shoes.” At the moment when he approximated to him, he noted that the 19-year-old Manning was “cold” and unconscious.
“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.
Both teenagers were found dead on Friday morning
At 6:09, a desperate Greg Manning called the paramedics to notify that his son was unresponsive and that he needed help as soon as possible. However, it was too late: Dustin was already dead.
According to Greg and Lisa Manning, Dustin died in Lawrenceville, a suburb on the outskirts of Atlanta, just 20 seconds after he took the small dose of the powerful drug-mix. That sum of fentanyl in Dustin’s body was “the equivalent of three grains of salt.” Just the enough-toxic-amount of dope “to kill a 180-pound guy.”
After calling the paramedics, the following person Greg called was Lisa Manning. At the gym, she answered the call and heard her husband’s words: “Oh my God, oh my God, call 911.” According to her, she didn’t ask him anything. She “knew” right away what had happened to her son.
At 6:53, records show another phone call from the Manning family to 911.
That same day, half a mile down the road, something similar was happening in Joseph Abraham’s home.
Joseph’s parents, Dave and Kathi Abraham, found the 18-year-old teenager slumped on the floor. When they approached him to see what was going on with their son, they realized he had no pulse. He was also dead.
The mother, Kathi, said in tears that she “ran” and hold his son after she saw him laying on the floor. When she touched the boy, she noted that “he was cold,” too.
Mr. Abraham, on the other hand, said that he started screaming several times: “’Joe, Joe — wake up, man!” But at that moment, he realized that “there was something really wrong.”
He then proceeded to call 911. But on the phone, he said to his wife: “It’s too late. We can’t fix this.”
Drug-addicted since early ages
Both teenagers suffered from depression at early ages because of different circumstances. They found on drugs a way to feel better and liberate themselves. At least, that’s what they believed before they died.
Joseph Abrahams, according to their parents, started consuming opioids when he had his wisdom teeth removed. He was then prescribed with opioid painkillers again when he broke his ankle and hand while playing sports. After this, referring to the opiate, Ms. Abrahams said that they “just trust” when they’re “given a prescription from a doctor.”
Kathi Abrahams explained that her son “lost two of his really good friends in eighth grade” — one after suffering from cancer, and the other after drowning. According to her, Joseph “struggled with that” until he died.
Dustin, on the other hand, started drinking alcohol and taking drugs when he was 12, the age at which he told his parents he was suffering from depression. When his parents asked him about his drug use, he said to them that they were giving him “the out” and that “made him feel good.”
Both families asked for help at treatment centers on several occasions. Lisa Manning even started working at one of them to put an eye on her son and see if Dustin was progressing. Dave Abrahams, on the other side, said that he thinks the treatments didn’t help his son.
“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,” Dave said.
When the Manning and Abraham parents were asked about the relation Dustin and Joseph had, they said both teens hadn’t been in touch for a long time. Still, it seems that both teenagers bought the drug from the same dealer. The police recorded that some of the pill wrappings were almost identical.
This event evocated fear within the community and made the neighbors wonder if any other person reached to buy the drug from this same dealer.