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Ruled Accidental: Hoffman Died From Toxic Overdose of Drugs, Medical Examiner Reports

hoffman-hatched-screenActor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a toxic mix of drugs including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, the medical examiner’s office has determined.

The medical examiner also ruled Hoffman’s death an accident.

[Alan Dershowitz: No, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Dealer Isn’t a Murderer]

The 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor died Feb. 2 at his West Village home of an apparent heroin overdose.

[See also: Hoffman’s Deadly Brand of Heroin: ‘Ace of Spades’]

Hoffman was found with a syringe in his arm and dozens of packets of heroin in his apartment.

[See also: Glamour JunkiesThe Culture of Heroin Addiction by Kevin D. Williamson]

Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction. After 23 years sober, the versatile actor reportedly checked himself into rehab for 10 days last year after relapsing in 2012.

Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman-color

NBC New York

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A Closer Look at Legalizing Heroin

hoffman-heroin-scene-2007.png?w=590

Addicts need medical support like heroin maintenance, which is illegal in the U.S. thanks to the war on drugs.

Valerie Vande Panne  writes;  A great entertainer overdosed on heroin two weeks ago. He was found dead, a needle hanging from his arm. Dozens of empty drug baggies were found strewn around his apartment.He was considered a fantastic actor. Influential. Powerful. Insightful. Potent. Everyone, by this time, knows this man’s name. It’s been plastered across the media landscape not just in the United States, but worldwide: Philip Seymour Hoffman.In the days since, there’s been all kinds of chatter about the evils of heroin or the need for better drug education. But there hasn’t been much talk about the painful, obvious, cold, hard truth: Heroin should be regulated—and not only because science says so, but because, (and again, let’s be honest) look around.

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Every Moment Was True

Over at City JournalMatthew Hennessey has a thoughtful essay

Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P.

Philip Seymour Hoffmann as Robert Gelbart in A Late Quartet.

Philip Seymour Hoffmann as Robert Gelbart in A Late Quartet.

Matthew Hennessey  writes: Why is that when a talented and beloved actor dies, the tributes that pour forth always seem to make qualifying references to his or her “generation”? When news raced around the Internet yesterday that Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman had died of an apparent heroin-overdose at the age of 46, there it was again: He was one of the best actors . . . of his generation. It’s hardly fair to the artist—and nearly everyone seems to agree that Hoffman was an artist of rare ability—to imply that he was only one of the better ones to pop up in the last ten or 15 years. Hoffman was much better than that.

[See more of punditfromanotherplanet’s Philip Seymour Hoffman coverage here]

Philip Seymour Hoffman was orders of magnitude more talented than the other actors of his generation, who, like the well-known actors of most generations, tend to opt for the obvious over the obscure and a big paycheck over a big challenge. Most actors desire more than anything the respect that comes from making brave choices. But few have the horse sense to distinguish between a brave choice and a boring one. Fewer still have the commitment necessary to deliver on those choices. And almost none have the chops to pull off what Hoffman did in his too-short career. It’s no exaggeration to say that he was one of the greatest film actors of the last 50 years or more.

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Alan Dershowitz: No, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Dealer Isn’t a Murderer

1306017445490.cachedThose who sold heroin to Philip Seymour Hoffman are morally culpable for his death. But they shouldn’t be legally culpable

ace-of-spadesAlan M. Dershowitz  writes:  Whenever a celebrity dies of a self-administered drug, particularly heroin, efforts are made to locate and prosecute those who provided the drug.  As I wrote back in the 1980’s, following the overdose death of comedian John Belushi and the prosecution of Cathy Smith, the woman who provided him the drugs, “That issue [holding the supplier criminally responsible for the death] seems to capture public attention primarily when famous people overdose.  The tragic deaths of basketball player Len Bias and the late Robert Kennedy’s son David generated demands for prosecution of the suppliers.  The daily street deaths of dozens of faceless addicts rarely even provoke an investigation.”

 [Professor Dershowitz’s latest book: Taking the Stand:  My Life in the Law at Amazon]

Now the stakes have gotten higher as some states have applied the “felony-murder” law to such deaths, while others have enacted specific statues turning the criminal act of providing drugs into a homicide if death results.

“But there is no acceptable moral distinction between two dealers who sell the same product, in the same way, to the same people—and one of their customers, for reasons unrelated to anything the dealers did, happens to die”

It is easy to understand why the public demands homicide prosecutions against drug providers whose product caused the death of a beloved celebrity like Philip Seymour Hoffman.  A person lies dead; someone must bear responsibility for his death. It is easy to scapegoat the drug provider.  But is it fair to single out the provider whose heroin happened to have killed a celebrity (or anyone else)?

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[VIDEO] Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Creepy Drug Scene from Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007)

The film’s title is taken from an Irish blessing:

“…May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead…”

Short version, 2 ms 24s. This is the Philip Seymour Hoffman heroin scene from Sidney Lumet‘s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007) It featues Andy Hansen, an accountant, played by Hoffman, making a drug buy in clandestine apartment in a Manhattan high rise. Then being injected, by the dealer, in a quiet bedroom. It’s an erie depiction of a troubled, defeated character, retreating to an exclusive, private, white-collar drug den, high above the city, in the middle of the afternoon…

Hoffman-Heroin-scene-2007

Film story summary from Internet Movie Database:

When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents’ jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother’s wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.

The longer version — 6 ms 55 s —  is here.

Pundit Planet Media – YouTube

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50 Bags of Heroin: More Details Emerge on Drug Death of Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman

ace-of-spadesWashington Times‘ Jessica Chasmar  reports:  More details are surfacing about the apparent drug overdose of Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead inside his New York City apartment on Sunday, police said.

[See also: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Deadly Brand of Heroin: ‘Ace of Spades’]

Mr. Hoffman, a 46-year-old New York native, won an Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of American author Truman Capote in “Capote.” He starred in many other notable films, including “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “The Master,” and the “Hunger Games” franchise.

Investigators found more than 50 glassine-type bags containing what is believed to be heroin in his apartment, along with several bottles of prescription drugs and more than 20 used syringes in a plastic cup, sources told CNN.

Mr. Hoffman reportedly had suffered from drug addiction for years. After 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews that he relapsed and developed an addiction to heroin. He checked into a rehabilitation facility last year.

Law enforcement officials said the actor’s body was discovered in the bathroom of his Greenwich Village apartment by an assistant and a friend, who called 911. Mr. Hoffman’s family called his death “tragic and sudden.”

hofffman“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone,” his family said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Mr. Hoffman was not blessed with matinee-idol looks but his meticulous craft made him one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, able to straddle both the multiplex and the film festival audiences. He won raves for both franchise tentpoles such as the third “Mission: Impossible” film and a career-long collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson in such films as “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t just a great actor in great roles. He was a great actor in crap roles. He took dead material and gave it life. Probably the best example is his turn as the baddie in [Mission: Impossible III]. As written, it’s an utterly empty, generic villain character.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Deadly Brand of Heroin: ‘Ace of Spades’

hoffman-drudge

Photo: Graham MacIndoe

Was this the brand? Photo: Graham MacIndoe

Emphasis mine…from New York Post:

…Cops found five empty glassine envelopes in a garbage can, two more under the bed and one on a table in the apartment, where Hoffman — who has repeatedly struggled with substance abuse — was living recently, sources said.

[See also: [VIDEO] Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Heroin-inecting Scene from “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007)]

Cops also found a charred spoon in the kitchen sink, sources say.

“He was shooting up in the bathroom,” a law-enforcement source said.

The envelopes were marked “Ace of Spades,” which sources said is a brand of heroin that hasn’t been seen on the streets since around 2008 in Brooklyn.

 [See Glamour Junkies: The Culture of Heroin Addiction]

There was no note, and Hoffman’s death is believed to be accidental…

I’m pretty sure Ace of Spades HQ has no connection to the brand. But I had a mental image of an envelope with that logo on it (shown below) as the last thing the actor saw before he perished, of an overdose.

ace-banner

Speaking of Ace

Ace of Spades HQ has a discussion archived here.

Does the MacInoe photo, shown here represent the Brooklyn heroin baggie type similar to the one found in Hoffman’s Greenwich Village apartment? It’s unclear, but certainly possible. The photographer was also a consumer (addict) he has an interesting photo essay here:

“The images in this series are of heroin baggies collected years ago during a period of addiction. I became intrigued by the typography and design of the glassine envelopes used to package dope, stamped with references to popular culture like Twilight, Crooklyn and New Jack City. Dealers branded and marketed their product like entrepreneurs in any business, pairing names like Dead Medicine with a skull and crossbones to appeal to risk-takers, or an airplane labeled First Class to give the illusion of grandeur…

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