According to multiple reports, more than 50 bags of heroin were found inside actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s New York City apartment after he was discovered dead on February 2nd. Among them were several bearing the brand “Ace of Spades.” Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death shocked the nation.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death
As reported by the New York Times, branded heroin is not uncommon. Stamped bags, like those found in Hoffman’s apartment, are frequently found in large-scale operation busts. The week before the Super Bowl, for example, one raid in the Bronx turned up some 33 pounds of heroin, many bags stamped with the letters “N.F.L.,” a supposed timely tie-in to the big weekend’s big game.
The Ace of Spades brand in particular isn’t unique either. In fact, just two weeks before Hoffman’s death, a man was arrested in Stamford, Connecticut with 44 bags stamped with the Ace of Spade logo. Authorities also tie the brand to previous drug busts dating back to 2009.
This kind of heroin “branding” is used to signify variety, usually a nod to the drug’s potency. However, there is little no reliability in this kind of street marketing. In fact, Ms. Bridget Brennan, a narcotics prosecutor for New York City, says many of the operations will use multiple stamps for the same shipment. “At the big mills, we’ll seize 20 stamps. It’s all the same.”
The alarming rise of heroin use across the nation
Recent reports show that heroin use in the U.S. has risen by nearly 100% in the five-year span from 2007 to 2012, with an estimated 660,000 Americans using the drug in 2012. Worse still, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says that abuse is also starting at an earlier age.
The DEA suggests that the spike in heroin use is likely related to dependence on pills – namely, prescription pain relievers, which are opioids like heroin. With heroin costing as little as $8 per bag, the drug is considerably cheaper and more widely available than its prescription opioid counterparts. According to a Bloomberg report, OxyContin, for example, can run as much as $0.50 to $1 per milligram, with 10 milligrams being the lowest dose and 160 being the highest. Heroin is simply a cheaper high and an easier score for addicts.
The consequences of a deadly addiction
Sadly, the financial costs of addiction are not the only consequences the country is facing when it comes to heroin; in addition to increased availability, the U.S. is also seeing a jump in overdose deaths. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic story, it seems, is a loud echo of a growing problem in our country.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Deaths Raises Awareness
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death shows once again that addiction doesn’t care who you are. If you or someone you love is struggling with pills, heroin, alcohol or other substance abuse issues, please don’t wait to get help. Contact The Watershed today. Our hotline is always open: 1-800-861-1768.