The conversation about how best to handle the current epidemic of heroin addiction continues after the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Many feel that this type of addiction should be treated as an illness and not a crime.
Hoffman’s close friend, David Bar Katz, who discovered the actor’s body last Sunday, wrote a remembrance that appeared in the funeral bulletin. “Like a collapsed star, a teaspoon of you weighed a thousand tons,” it read.
“I won’t ever memorialize you, you beautiful beautiful beast, because even in your absence you’re so much more here than I am ... for the rest of my life I’m going to be looking towards the door waiting for you to walk in.”
Police allege that Philip Seymour Hoffman, an Oscar-winning actor, had packets of the heroin in his New York apartment where he died, and had a needle sticking in his arm. As part of the escalating war on drugs, first responders like police, and EMTs treat overdose incidents as crime scenes, questioning suspects, interviewing witnesses, and collecting evidence, like pill bottles, needles and cell phones. The DEA claims that heroin addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. A Putnam County judge sentenced a street level heroin dealer, Stefano DeMicheli, to 40 years in prison. His mother cried as she said, “He’ll be 66 years old when he comes out. I’ll never see my son again outside of jail. I’ll be dead.”