Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death: What We Can Learn

With the recent passing of beloved actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, people are starting to open their eyes to the rapidly increasing amount of heroin-related deaths. Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine. On February 2nd, Philip Seymour Hoffman, 46, was found dead in his Greenwich Village pad in his underwear on the bathroom floor. He was declared dead at the scene, with a hypodermic needle in his left forearm. The actor reportedly struggled with substance abuse dating years back, spending ten days in rehab last year for heroin and prescription pill abuse after 23 years of being sober. Seventy baggies of the drug were found inside the apartment.

Some may say that the one purpose of the passing of Hoffman is to shed light on the increasing number of narcotic-related deaths in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported deaths from drug overdoses have increased by 102 percent from 1999 to 2010. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that has become readily available and cheap. According to the Brooklyn News Corp, heroin-related overdose deaths increased 84 percent between 2010 and 2012 in New York City, after four years on the decline. The Los Angeles Times reported that over 660,000 Americans used heroin in 2012, almost double the number from five years prior. The users tend to be more affluent than before, living in the suburbs and rural areas rather than the inner city. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that about 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it. Heroin is a way for pain-pill addicts to find a less-expensive high. The consequences of this movement have become increasingly lethal. Hoffman's death came a week after Pennsylvania officials announced that a batch of heroin spiked with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often given to cancer patients to cope with pain, had killed at least 22 people in January.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was not the first warning sign. In July of 2013 Glee star, Cory Monteith was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room, the autopsy later revealed that Monteith died from a “mixed drug toxicity” consisting of heroin and alcohol. Recent celebrity overdoses have successfully opened our eyes to the increased availability and danger of heroin and other narcotics. For more information or drug and alcohol related help please take the time to visit