ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Medical professionals, parents, and legislators met at the Georgia State Capitol on Friday to discuss a nationwide epidemic they say has gone on too long. Tears filled the room as parents struggled to tell the stories of their children–who’d fallen victim to the rampant opioid crisis.
State legislators say with the help of families they’re ‘putting a face with the epidemic’. Parents brought pictures of their now deceased children to a news conference at the state capitol on Friday.
“They are not your homeless, your low income, your low life uneducated people,” said Lisa Manning.
They were faces that most people wouldn’t expect to see when the topic concerns addiction.
“You heard several similar stories there are children who went to rehab they came they got clean then they went back and OD’d and died,” said Navicent Health’s Dr. Chris Hendry
Navicent Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris Hendry says there are several contributing factors to where the opioid epidemic is now.
“What happens is when patients who suffer from substance abuse go to rehab, their dependence and tolerance for the drug drops because they’re clean. When they get back out into the community, they go and take the same dose that they had before the rehab and they overdose,” he continued.
That was the tragic story of Kathi and David Abraham–and their son Joseph whom they found dead just 5 weeks ago.
“You know about 4 years ago we found that he had been experimenting with marijuana and drinking and we didn’t know as a parent if this was normal teenage experimentation or if there was something more,” said Kathi Abraham.
It was the same case for neighbors of the Abrahams, Greg and Lisa Manning’s and their son Dustin. Despite both of their losses, they want help other parents facing the same issue.
“You could pick any picture out there and its not immune to anyone it will grab anyone that’s got that built into their DNA and it will turn that switch on and that is a battle that they will fight for the rest of their life,” said Greg Manning.
“He has a name, he’s not just a statistic, he needed help and I think it’s my vision is to begin educating our kids at an earlier age,” said Kathi Abraham.
Dustin Manning and Joseph Abraham both overdosed on the same day–in separate incidents. Navicent’s Dr. Chris Hendry says as more information on this rising problem continues to surface, be mindful and be careful. Don’t take any drugs that haven’t been prescribed to you by a licensed physician.
State Senator Renee Unterman says her goal is to help families like the Abrahams and Mannings–struggling with a loved one battling addiction. We can look forward to more laws that will help them get the resources they need going into the next legislative session.