We lost a great actor with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Once again the danger of drug use has resulted in the loss of life. He sought treatment for his addiction but failed to avoid an untimely death.
Hoffman, 46, was found on the bathroom floor of his New York City apartment with a syringe in his left arm and glassine bags usually associated with heroin. Police say they are investigating substances found in the apartment to determine which drugs were present, but Hoffman has been open about his drug use, which included prescription pills and heroin, and his decades-long struggle to stay sober.
As authorities crack down on clinics that prescribe pain pills by the thousands and pharmaceutical companies change their formulas so the pills are more difficult to abuse, opiate addicts are turning to cheaper and more-plentiful heroin.
In recent years, the number of people abusing prescription pain pills has dropped steadily as heroin use increased. The number of people 12 and older who regularly abuse OxyContin dropped from 566,000 in 2010 to 358,000 in 2012, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in December. The number of regular heroin users soared from 239,000 in 2010 to 335,000 in 2012, the survey found.
The tragedy caused by the abuse of drugs damages millions every day. We have to do a better job of reducing the damage done to society due to the abuse of drugs. Celebrities shine a light on the problem but it is a widespread problem that has an immense impact throughout society.
Related: Russell brand’s testimony on dealing with drug addiction – Prescription painkillers kill more every year in usa than heroin and cocaine combined – Eminem’s ‘relapse’ explores his drug addition and rehabilitation