Teenagers Joseph Abraham, 19, and Dustin Manning, 18, died on May 26 after battling drug addiction. Incidentally, the pair were childhood friends who lived only a few blocks from one another and played on the same baseball team.
The two boys may have reportedly bought the synthetic opioid fentanyl that led to their deaths from the same dealer. Police records noted that the pill wrappings of the opioids were almost identical.
Opioids For Battling Depression
Manning had been struggling with depression since he was 12, according to his parents. He started to drink beer and take drugs to feel better. Mrs. Manning is reported to have taken a job at a treatment center to gain more knowledge about her son’s addiction, but all in vain.
Abraham too started to use drugs around the same age as Manning, though his parents are of the opinion that their son resorted to opioids after having his wisdom teeth extracted and other impressionable events.
"He lost two of his really good friends in eighth grade - one to cancer and one to a drowning,” Mrs Abraham said. “He really had a hard time. He struggled with that." Incidentally, Abraham also had started taking prescription drugs on first breaking an ankle and then his hand during sports-related activities.
Fentanyl, which is also known to be a recreational drug used since the 1970s, is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. The drug can treat chronic pain, however, even a tiny amount can be fatal. In fact, the amount of fentanyl found in Manning’s body was equal to three grains of salt, according to his father.
Since 1999, overdose deaths involving prescription drugs have gone up four times and so have the sales of these drugs, according to CDC. More than 183,000 people have died in the United States from 1999 to 2015 from prescription opioids related overdoses.
In addition, among the over 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the most marked increase took place among deaths linked to fentanyl and fentanyl synthetic opioids — with more than 20,000 overdose deaths.
Incidentally, CDC has stated that overdose is not the only risk linked to prescription opioids — addiction, abuse and misuse are also potential threats. The parents of the two teenagers have unitedly called for harsher punishment for drug dealers. Mr. Abraham said that dealers selling fentanyl should be given a life sentence.