The grim life of North Jersey’s suburban heroin addicts
MONDAY, MAY 6, 2013 LAST UPDATED: MONDAY MAY 6, 2013, 2:34 AM
BY REBECCA D. O’BRIEN
At 21 years old, Graham Dooner has the same wit and easy charisma that kept him on the edge of trouble as a student at Ridgewood High School. He cracks jokes, he drops lines like “ipso facto” into conversation, he could talk for hours about the history of the labor movement in Paterson.
But nearly two years of intravenous heroin use have consumed the body of this 6-foot, 4-inch former varsity athlete. His pale arms are lined with track marks, slender yellow bruises from daily injections. Beneath his Knicks cap and a mop of reddish hair, Dooner’s handsome face is gaunt and clammy, haunted by a bluish pallor and spotted with sores. His yellowed teeth are worn along the edges.
“With shooting heroin, people say it is something they would never, never, ever do,” Dooner said. “But, I mean, things change in a flash, especially when you are addicted to opiates. Your levels — your ‘I won’t go past that line’ — they quickly diminish.