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Philip Seymour Hoffman – another tragic and preventable heroin death
The untimely and tragic death of one of Hollywood’s most important actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman, underscores the terrible need for better heroin addiction treatment in this country. Hoffman is only the latest in a long list of popular actors, musicians and artists who have lost their lives to heroin addiction.
Heroin-related deaths have been on a steep and steady increase for years in America, along with a steady rise in heroin abuse, especially in the last few years. Over 4 million Americans of 11 years old and older try heroin at least once every year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990. Although prescription painkillers kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined, heroin is still the No. 1 killer among illegal drug users especially long-term addicts.
In our next blog, we’ll explain the real causes of overdose deaths, and why long-term addicts are even more likely to die than new users.
Hoffman was struggling with his heroin addiction demonsAs you’ve already seen on the news, Hoffman was found lying dead in his underwear on the bathroom floor of his $9,800-a-month West Village, New York City apartment with a syringe still stuck in his arm. His assistant, with one of the actor’s friends, had come to investigate why the actor had failed to show up at a nearby park to play with his kids.
Attempts to revive him proved hopeless. He was pronounced dead by emergency responders. Police later found more than 50 bags of heroin and large quantities of prescription drugs in the apartment. At first it was thought Hoffman had died from an overdose of a dangerous heroin-fentanyl mix, already responsible for dozens if not hundreds of overdose deaths in the northeastern states. But tests showed that none of the actor’s heroin contained fentanyl.
Hoffman had an early history of drug and alcohol abuse. But he’d been clean for 23 years when he fell off the wagon last year. His longtime partner and the mother of their three children, Mimi O’Donnell, insisted Hoffman move out of their $4.4 million Manhattan apartment they shared with their kids — Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7 and Willa, 5 — and get into rehab. Friends said O’Donnell told him he needed some ‘time away from the kids and to get straight again’.
The actor reluctantly entered rehab in May, it was reported, but unfortunately he opted for only a brief 10-day treatment – certainly inadequate to deal with any serious addiction, and barely enough time to simply detox. Soon after leaving rehab, Hoffman was back on the streets copping heroin from local dealers. He was still attending AA meetings, and was there just a week before he died. But he was also seen around the Village, scruffy and unkempt, drinking in bars alone at night, obviously high and in pretty bad shape.
Most heroin addiction begins with prescription painkillers
The recent explosion in heroin abuse seen in cities all across the country is directly related to simple economics. We don’t know how Hoffman came to heroin, but it usually starts with prescription painkillers which lead to prescription drug addiction – and not just for Hollywood stars but for tens of thousands of ordinary Americans every year. They soon discover that street heroin is less than a tenth as expensive as prescription painkillers, and does the same job. Narcotic painkillers like OxyContin and oxycodone are essentially just legal heroin.
Hoffman, who won an Oscar for his role in the 2005 film Capote, had a week of filming still left to shoot for the sequel to The Hunger Games, leaving the producers, writers, cast and director with the problem of reshooting crucial scenes and editing the film to makes sense.
For Mimi O’Donnell and three young children, there is no reshoot, no editing, no fixing things up. There’s just tragic, pointless loss – pointless because it was preventable. Addiction does not have to be the crippling, lifelong affliction that so many so-called experts say it is. The entire tragedy could have been prevented if Hoffman had gotten a truly effective heroin detoxification, followed by an effective, long-term heroin addiction treatment program.
Novus Medical Detox successfully handles OxyContin detox and heroin detox, even when other detox methods have failed. That’s because Novus medical detox protocols ease the side effects while shortening the time it takes to safely and thoroughly complete the detox program.
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