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Light of an Epidemic

At the young age of forty-six, academy award winner, Philip Seymour Hoffman, passed away this pass Sunday, February 2nd, 2014. The actor was found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment having died from an overdose of heroin. According to an article, posted in the New York Times, the actor was said to have been found by investigators with a syringe still connected to his arm and an envelope of heroin close to him.

Going on with the investigation on Hoffman’s drug overdose, the NYPD have arrested a small group of people who were thought to be Hoffman’s potential drug dealers. According to an article in CNN, the group of four- Juliana Luchkiw, Max Rosenblum, Robert Vineberg, Thomas Cushman-was discovered in an apartment in Manhattan with over three hundred and fifty bags of heroin lying around. The potential dealers of the actor pleaded not guilty to being the source for Hoffman, but were charged with possession of controlled substance and various misdemeanors.

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Heroin is a highly addictive, as well as highly dangerous, analgesic drug that is created from morphine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin has developed into the most abused and rapidly acting of the opiate drugs. The dangers that pertain to the drug is not just death by overdose, but by the factors in which heroin is prepared by dealer; “Most street heroin is “cut” with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Street heroin also can be cut with strychnine or other poisons.” In Forbes magazine, the quality of the drug has not just gone down, but the quantity of the users have shot up to unbelievable numbers; “ Across the U.S., heroin abuse among first-time users has increased by nearly 60 percent in the last decade, from about 90,000 to 156,000 new users a year, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

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Though Hoffman’s death was seen as a shock to the public, perhaps even his own friends and family, his cause of his death was, sadly, not as surprising. After his interview with the show, “60 Minutes” in 2006, the actor came out to the public about his problems dealing with addictions, such as drugs and alcohol, when he was in his early twenties.  Unfortunately, his battle with addiction wasn’t solved in his twenties, as he claimed in the interview; Hoffman checked himself into a rehabilitation center last year for an addiction to prescription medication. The actor was said to have turned back to heroin after leaving the center.

With the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman making headlines in the news, it’s a reminder of just how deadly this drug has the potential to be.  Heroin addictions, as well as deaths, are nothing new in the media. Having been in the spotlight for causing multiple celebrity-Corey Monteith, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix- heroin has created a name for itself as a celebrity drug.

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But, just because it is used by celebrities, people who are the pinnacle of “Monkey see, monkey do”, does not mean that using heroin is the right thing to do. If you, or anyone else that you may know, is suffering from heroin abuse then please seek help through support groups, rehabilitation, or by calling a free drug and alcohol addiction hotline (1-866-925-7411).

The death of Hoffman is a sad occurrence, but we must use this as a way to help those who are still here battling this deadly addiction.

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