What Has Fentanyl, a Drug Used to Manage Chronic Cancer Pain, Got to Do with Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death?

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By Rachelle Corpuz | February 4, 2014 3:34 PM EST

Academy Award winner American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead at his apartment in Manhattan by his friend David Bar Katz on Thursday.

U.S. actor Philip Seymour Hoffman attends a news conference to present his film
U.S. actor Philip Seymour Hoffman attends a news conference to present his film "Capote", running out of competition, at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin in this February 17, 2006 file photo. Hoffman, one of the leading actors of his generation, who won an Academy Award for his title role in the film "Capote," was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on February 2, 2014 in what a New York police source described as an apparent drug overdose. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/

According to the sources of New York Daily News, there were 70 bags of heroin found in Hoffman's apartment. Approximately, 50 of those heroin bags were reportedly never been used. The news Web site also stated that there were markings of "Ace of Spades" and "Ace of Hearts" on the heroin bags, which means that those drugs contain Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a drug that is used to treat severe and ongoing pain that cannot be treated with other medicines. It is often used to control and manage the pain brought about by cancer.

RawStory.com reported that weeks before Hoffman died, the police authorities have tracking the shipments of fentanyl-laced heroin. A total of 22 individuals has allegedly died of overdoses in the past week. Slate.com reported that the use of fentanyl heroin began in the 1970s. These drugs can easily be obtained in streets, and its abuse has killed a lot of people on a yearly basis.

As for Hoffman's case, the police officers who autopsied that the late actor's body death was caused by overdose. "We still think it's going to be an overdose," the source said.

Aside from the fentanyl heroin, the detectives also found five prescription drugs including buprenorphine, which is a prescribed drug that a heroin addict uses to help get rid of the habit.

A long-time addict revealed to the New York Daily News that the heroin found in Hoffman's apartment were the same brands that were being sold to the local people. "From what I know, it's really good," said the source. "That's what people want, I think they're getting it for cheap, too," the source added.

Following Hoffman's death, celebrities and other notable people have expressed their sympathy and condolences to the award-winning actor.

Actor John Leguizamo recalled having had met Hoffman a week before his death at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles. Leguizamo said that he and Hoffman talked about the tough theatre life.

Incumbent New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his disappointment upon learning Hoffman's death and said during an interview with Brian Lehner that it was tragic. He regarded Hoffman as one who had extraordinary achievements and how the fiend of drug abuse had taken his precious life.

Cate Blanchett, Hoffman's co-star in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley, was reportedly tearful when she visited his three kids.

Hoffman has long battled drug and substance abuse. In 2013, he checked himself in a rehabilitation programme for 10 days. Hoffman was survived by his long-time partner of 15 years Mimi O'Donnell and three children.

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(Photo: / )
U.S. actor Philip Seymour Hoffman attends a news conference to present his film "Capote", running out of competition, at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin in this February 17, 2006 file photo. Hoffman, one of the leading actors of his generation, who won an Academy Award for his title role in the film "Capote," was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on February 2, 2014 in what a New York police source described as an apparent drug overdose. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/
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