Pubdate: Thu, 12 Oct 2006
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Record
Author: Navid Iqbal


A 2006 Whippany Park High School graduate was found dead of an 
apparent heroin overdose in the basement apartment of a Tremont Drive home.

Eric K. Roppenecker, 18, had lived in Hanover previously and had 
moved to the basement of 3 Tremont Drive about three months ago, police said.

"The investigation to this point reveals a probable drug overdose," 
Detective Lt. Brian Monaghan said today.

A female friend of Roppenecker -- who worked with him at a title 
agency in the area, which police did not name -- was worried when 
Roppenecker did not show up for work yesterday. She called police and 
told them where he lived.

Evidence at the scene, syringes and other paraphernalia, indicated 
that had injected heroin. A toxicology report is pending from Morris 
County authorities.

Police do not yet know if the lethal combination of fetanyl and 
heroin was used in this instance.

An immediate worry for East Hanover police was that Roppenecker's 
friends or acquaintances also may have obtained the same type of 
heroin. Illicit drugs, including heroin, have claimed more than 30 
people in Morris County so far this year.

"We were concerned based on the recent heroin deaths in the area," 
Monaghan said, "We were frantically trying to find anyone who was 
with him, and of his friends, who may have had or used the same batch 
of narcotics. To save another life, we let them know he died."

If an autopsy shows Roppenecker's death was the related to heroin, he 
would be the third Whippany Park High School graduate to have died 
this year from a heroin overdose.

Police did not have information prior to yesterday about Roppenecker 
or alleged drug use. He was a new resident of East Hanover and police 
do not believe he was one of approximately 60 area teenagers, 
adolescents and other young people arrested during Operation Painkiller.
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