(Lawrenceville, GA) On a single day in May, within one hour, on the same street in the same town, a mere half mile apart, paramedics were summoned to the homes of 19-year-old Dustin Manning and 18-year-old Joseph Abraham. Both teens had overdosed. And both were dead.
The cause: heroin laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than its host narcotic.
"The amount of fentanyl in his body was the equivalent to three grains of salt," Dustin’s father, Greg Manning, told CNN. “That's all it took to kill a 180-pound guy.”
Lawrenceville is not unlike many big city Georgia suburbs. Located approximately thirty miles outside of Atlanta, it’s as much a bedroom community as it is a small town with roots tracing back to the early 19th century. And, not unlike its neighbors to the south and west, Lawrenceville has fallen prey to America’s Opioid Crisis.
In fact, Lawrenceville has fallen prey to all hard drugs. On October 30th, town residents Daniel Garcia-Martinez and Isidoro Bucio Villasenor “were convicted on charges of trafficking more than 400 grams of methamphetamine, trafficking more than 28 grams of heroin, conspiracy to traffic meth and conspiracy to traffic heroin.”
As Patch.com reports, the drugs “were worth about a million dollars.”
Prosecutors say “Garcia-Martinez was the head of a Mexican-based drug cartel operating out of Gwinnett County.” Lawrenceville is Gwinnet County Seat.
But even a million dollar drug bust couldn’t prevent the two childhood friends from succumbing to the scourge of ever more lethal narcotics.
Like many of Americans, Joseph Abraham’s earliest encounters with opioids were by prescription, first for the removal of wisdom teeth and subsequently as a result of sports injuries.
"When you're given a prescription from a doctor, we often just trust that," Joseph’s mother Kathi Abraham told CNN.
Then, in eigth grade, came the loss of two friends -- “one to cancer and one to a drowning” -- and with it a turn toward drugs.
Dustin Manning’s story begins at nearly the same age, and starts right with the depression he told his parents he believed he was suffering.
"He told us the drugs are what gave him 'the out' and made him feel good," Dustin’s mother Lisa Manning told CNN.
Both parents sought help from treatment centers, not once, but time and time again” CNN’s Lynda Kinkade continues. “Lisa Manning even began working at one of the centers to keep an eye on her son and better understand addiction.”
Unfortunately, as Joseph’s father Dave Abraham told Kinkade, “most treatments are 35 days and they’re back out.”
And, as this doubly tragic tale of two childhood friends makes clear, a mere month and change is not nearly long enough to treat a malady as insidious -- and potentially lethal -- as addiction.
At Recovery Boot Camp 30 days is just the first stage of a 90-day 12 Step immersion program that runs the gamut from life skills to diagnostic therapy. Exclusive to men, RBC’s treatment model has proven to be effective, regardless of age, race, religion or place of origin, so long as they’re willing to do the work.
Is it easy? Of course not. Fighting disease is never easy. But it’s a fight that can be won, given the proper weapons, guidance and knowledge.
More importantly, it’s a fight that must be won, so there are no more stories like those of Dustin and Joseph, and no more grieving families like the Mannings and Abrahams.
Pictured: Gwinnett County Historic Courthouse, Lawrenceville