Dustin Manning and Joseph Abraham were childhood friends. They lost touch over the years, but their lives followed a similar path of dabbling in drugs.
Both were found dead of an opioid overdose less than an hour apart.
Abraham’s parents believed their son’s first exposure to opioids was after he had his wisdom teeth removed. He was prescribed another round of the powerful painkillers when he broke his ankle and, later, after he broke his hand.
“When you’re given a prescription from a doctor, we often just trust that,” Kathi Abraham said. It became evident in recent years that Abraham had a problem. His parents put him into treatment centers but he just couldn’t kick his overpowering addition to opioids.
“Once they take (opioids), there’s a switch in the brain that gets flipped on,” Abraham’s father Dave told CNN.
The toxicology report for Dustin Manning showed that he had taken a toxic cocktail of heroin and fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid generally used for breakthrough pain in cancer patients. “The amount of fentanyl in his body was the equivalent to three grains of salt,” said his father, Greg. “That’s all it took to kill a 180-pound guy.”
Authorities believe that the fentanyl that killed Manning and Abraham were from the same dealer. Some of the pill wrappings were nearly identical.
Manning and Abraham’s deaths are another wrenching example of the powerful hold opioids have on users, and why the opioid epidemic in the U.S. continues to kill. Last year, approximately 64,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. The number of people killed by fentanyl has skyrocketed from 3,000 cases to more than 20,000 in just three years – a 540 percent increase.