We lost our 18 yr. old son May 26, 2017 to a Fentanyl poisoning. He had been home from rehab since February and we actually had drug tested him on Thursday night which came out clean. The last conversation he had with anyone was his girlfriend until 1:30 a.m.. My husband found him dead in his bed at 5:50 the following morning and they said he had been dead for about 4-6 hours. The toxicology report found 40 mg of meth and .5 micrograms of Fentanyl (equivalent to 3 grains of salt)
My husband and I have 3 children. Our son, Dustin, who passed, was our middle child. From the beginning, I home schooled all 3 of my children until they were to reach high school and Dustin wasn’t any different. I had raised them in the church, started out in children’s ministries and moved into youth. Dustin was popular, good looking, smart, had everything going for him but I never knew he was depressed. At the age of 12, he had his first beer and then it went to marijuana and then just escalated. We never knew until the summer between his sophomore and junior year in high school. This was a kid who you would never suspect to be an addict. He didn’t come from a broken home or poor home (that’s the stigma of an addict). Literally our heads were in the sand so my mission is to educate parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, counselors…the community about addiction and how it can happen to anyone and it is happening in your backyard!
We live in Lawrenceville, GA. It is the outskirts of Atlanta, in a nice suburban area. My husband and I worked closely with our sporting community to open up Rabbit Hill Park in which our 2 boys played baseball there and now my youngest actually is an umpire at that park. Everybody knows everybody even though we aren’t a small little town, we are small in community and closeness. As soon as this happened, our community came together to support us and they were all in shock as no one knew the severity of Dustin’s issues and certainly didn’t know he would die from drugs. Being a close community, we are all in a bubble, thinking our kids are safe and they won’t be approached or tempted. Obviously, Dustin has proven that to be the wrong way of thinking and it is our job as a society to educate everyone on this.
Keep in mind, Dustin was raised in the church, home schooled (I chose this route so I would have a say as to how and what my children were learning and to protect them from things like bullies, drugs, etc.), popular, athlete, and by no means, would anyone think he was depressed and become an addict. His high school is allowing me to do a parent assembly at the school on 10-25. This has happened because of my younger son’s fight for his brother’s story to be told.
You may even be aware of our story as we have been on CNN, I have done a story for the teen edition of LIFE and I have done a talk radio show (recorded). Dustin died the same day as another boy that lived down the street from us died and he also died from the fentanyl in which we found out later they both bought it from the same person but at different times and were not together when they took the drug that it was laced in. His parents and us were interviewed on CNN last summer and it went viral and was shown all over the world as a friend of mine was working in Turkey at the time and saw it aired there.
Story by Lisa Manning