February 3, 2014

Accidental overdose or suicide?

A "breaking news" email from CNN says: "Authorities investigating the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman found more than 50 glassine-type bags containing what is believed to be heroin in his apartment, two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said today. Investigators also found several bottles of prescription drugs and more than 20 used syringes in a plastic cup, the sources said."

ADDED: "I’m a fucking idiot."

44 comments:

Pogo is Dead said...

It was a mixture of heroin laced with fentanyl.

It's killed dozens of people recently.

R. Chatt said...

I was thinking the same thing this AM -- was it actually a suicide made to look like an accidental overdose? Really sad for the guy that he didn't find other options. But especially sad for his children. Hope he had insurance for them, but doubt it. Even so, would the company pay on the claim?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I think Ethan Hunt wanted it to look like either an overdose or suicide.

The Crack Emcee said...

Really sad for the guy that he didn't find other options.


There are no "other options".

People who think there are don't understand the problem.

And part of the problem is having to live with people who don't understand there IS a problem.

rhhardin said...

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Broomhandle said...

The difference between addiction and the suicidal impulse is vanishing thin.

mrs. e said...

Sounds like, at least, he was on a binge. Whether it was a conscious suicide or not, I'm not convinced either way.

rhhardin said...

You don't see people who work here offing themselves.

Nothing's more fun that a sign Nazi with spelling issues.

Thorley Winston said...

Hope he had insurance for them, but doubt it. Even so, would the company pay on the claim?

My understanding is that most life insurance policies have a clause eliminating coverage in the event that the decent commits suicide like intentionally overdosing on illegal drugs. It would be a question of fact whether his overdose was intentional or accidental. If the company can show that his death was most likely intentional (not sure how they would do that) they probably won’t be paying a claim.

However if his overdose were accidental, it could still be covered depending on whether (a) the policy had a clause excluding coverage for activities broad enough to cover illegal drug use (e.g. died while committing felonious activity) or (b) Hoffman disclosed in his application that he used illegal drugs. In the case of (b) it may also matter (depending on State law) how long ago the policy was issued for the company to contest it (usually within one or two years) and even then they may have to refund his premiums to his estate if they don’t pay out the claim.

David said...

"My understanding is that most life insurance policies have a clause eliminating coverage in the event that the decent commits suicide like intentionally overdosing on illegal drugs."

Depends on how long the policy has been in force. Most "suicide" clauses lapse after a year or two.

Scott said...

Life insurance policies usually have a "suicide clause" which is a period of exclusion after the first premium for death by suicide. Some states mandate it. The period is usually one or two years.

Anonymous said...

A cliched death for an actor who acted against cliches.

gadfly said...

Consider the infamous rhetorical question posed by Hillary Rodham Clinton:

"What difference at this point does it make?”

Death by suicide, death by drug overdose, suicide by drug overose - Dead is dead.

Scott said...

Jinx.

I agree with @broomhandle. Kurt Vonnegut, writing about his Pall Mall habit, wrote that "Cigarettes are a classy way to commit suicide." Perhaps heroin is less classy.

rcocean said...

"Cigarettes are a classy way to commit suicide"

But unreliable. Try ice cream.

David said...

As to suicide, how will you ever know? Did he even know? Could he have known the difference? For the addict, the addiction is the universe. Other options vanish when the addiction is awake. Addicts in recovery only put the addiction to sleep for a time. It is always there to be reawakened and fill up your world.

David said...

Cigarettes are classy?

Vonnegut is so yesterday. And Pall Malls? Yech.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wouldn't all of that paraphernalia be just as indicative of a regular user as a suicide?

Lydia said...

Hoffman talking about his mother: "She brought up four kids alone and she deserves a congratulations for that". How very sad that his own three children will now have no father around.

jr565 said...

It's sad. His talent will be replaced by him being yet another drug casualty.
And really, he was old enough to know better. C'mon. He's on heroin when he's middle aged? After going through rehab?

jr565 said...

He was supposedly clean and sober for 22 years or so. And then he gets involved with heroin again?
Then again, maybe he was lying about being clean and sober for 22 years.

Scott said...

Straight ciggies are so nasty cool. Chesterfields, Camels, Lucky Strike, Gauloises, and my favorites, Macdonald Export Plain.

traditionalguy said...

Hi Crack. I missed you.

sydney said...

I've had addicts tell me they would rather take the drug than live. Even if they knew with certainty that the next dose would kill them, they would do it. The pleasure is worth dying for. Not sure if that's the same as suicide, though. At least, not how we traditionally think of suicide.

prairie wind said...

He was supposedly clean and sober for 22 years or so. And then he gets involved with heroin again?
Then again, maybe he was lying about being clean and sober for 22 years.


Yes, again. Even after 22 years. That's why it's called an addiction, not a dalliance.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wouldn't all of that paraphernalia be just as indicative of a regular user as a suicide?"

50 doses. I'm not part of the junkie community, but I don't believe regular users put up a supply like that. They're not really the planning ahead type, are they?

I could be wrong.

I read Keith Richards's autobiography and I've been casually reading magazine and newspaper articles about drug use, so what do I know?

Seems to me that the combination of 50 packets of heroin AND prescription drugs evinces an idea of killing oneself.

Broomhandle said...

"The pleasure is worth dying for. Not sure if that's the same as suicide, though"

The pleasure is to blot out the pain. Just like a bullet to the head would.

paul a'barge said...

I'm not part of the junkie community, but I don't believe regular users put up a supply like that.

Hoffman would never have been one of the regular users at this point in his career. He was rich, successful and able to buy as much of what ever he wanted when ever he wanted it. He was immune from the rigor of mainstream, junkie life, the lack of funds to buy as much as you want and the desperate need to cop.

50 doses? I would bet Keith had that many, all the time.

Accident. Straight up.

paul a'barge said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fentanyl

This was not crude, rough street junk. This was the deluxe, top-of-the-food-chain stuff.

mrs. e said...

"They're not really the planning ahead type, are they?"

Actually, they are. They are consumed and obsess about the next hit, fix, drink or what have you. Maybe his initial plans were for this amount to last quite a while. But that never works - one is too many, ten isn't enough.

I thought I heard yesterday, that he was found in an apartment blocks from the one he shared with his family. Perhaps I heard wrong or this was incorrect information. Anyway, it might explain the stash. The excessive amounts explain a binge and by itself, nothing more. The well laid plans of addicts - how quickly they can spiral out of control.

David said...

"Seems to me that the combination of 50 packets of heroin AND prescription drugs evinces an idea of killing oneself."

Again, I doubt he could tell the difference between suicide and drug use. Probably was not much of one for him.

I think it evidences an obsession combined with a guy who had enough money to stock up.

In lucid moments, if he was having any, it would have been total despair. That can lead to suicide. Or just to recklessness.

Will we view him any differently based on whether he committed suicide or overdosed? I won't. Either way the addiction got him.

FullMoon said...

50 doses. I'm not part of the junkie community, but I don't believe regular users put up a supply like that. They're not really the planning ahead type, are they?
Definitely plan ahead.Buy all you can/,you never want to be without. I am surprised it was in 50 separate envelopes. I would expect that quantity to be bought in a bulk package, at a discount.

The Crack Emcee said...

traditionalguy said...
Hi Crack. I missed you.


Hey, Tg - ditto.

I'm not staying:

Just can't stand pastel interpretations of Hell.

JoyD said...

Today I heard and interview with him on NPR recorded just after "Doubt" premiered. He sounded so tired and barely smothered his impatience, beneath his articulate civility, with the interviewer and some of her inane or questions. He sidestepped her most intrusive question brilliantly, and with a dangerous
undertone that I admired.
He tried to describe how emotional it feels to get into a character who is disturbed or angry, how sometimes during a 10 hour shooting day, you have to wait in more or less one place ready to be called for shooting, how you have to maintain the emotional state all day, and how it wears on you. He said much more, and I realized that it could be a burden to anyone but especially to him, working on several major projects every year. Never a break. I can begin to imagine. The solace of the drug will always, always call to you.

R. Chatt said...

@Crack
Who is to say what made Hoffman do what he did? Human beings are rarely as simple as we think they are. Some people endure unbelievable pain and hardships while others crack and crumble under much less stress. I've known more than a few who have crumbled and I really don't know why. It's not like people are unaware that there is a problem, it's that no one can fix the problem for someone else. Hoffman ultimately made a conscious choice to go down that road so what happened wasn't an accident that happened to him. After a person gets addicted alternative options are much harder to reach but they are still there.

Lydia said...

He tried to describe how emotional it feels to get into a character who is disturbed or angry, how sometimes during a 10 hour shooting day, you have to wait in more or less one place ready to be called for shooting, how you have to maintain the emotional state all day, and how it wears on you.

"When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."--Friedrich Nietzsche

Freeman Hunt said...

"50 doses. I'm not part of the junkie community, but I don't believe regular users put up a supply like that."

Because it would be prohibitively expensive. He was rich. He probably thought he was putting back a nice, big supply, but then the temptation for a slightly bigger high became an O.D.

iowan2 said...

An addict is focused every waking moment thinking about the next hit.
The planning is arranging the availability of product. And the availability of time to use the product. For most, the means to attain the first two, Money, or trading something of value for the product.

Suicide? I doubt that. Hoping death relieves you of the chains of your addiction? More likely.

All addictions, are but a symptom of the real problem, the real demon. If addicts can find that demon and address it, the addiction can be held at bay for the rest of your life.

Unknown said...

Here's the thing for me. His death is tragic, in a sense...but...predictable. Sorry, but once you go for heroin, you're pretty much toast. Sooner or later...toast.

What gets me...he had three young children who will never know their father. That's the gut wrenching aspect of this. He couldn't find life bearable enough to live for or get sober for his kids.

That's just throw-yourself-on-the-floor horrifying...

Unknown said...

Here's the thing for me. His death is tragic, in a sense...but...predictable. Sorry, but once you go for heroin, you're pretty much toast. Sooner or later...toast.

What gets me...he had three young children who will never know their father. That's the gut wrenching aspect of this. He couldn't find life bearable enough to live for or get sober for his kids.

That's just throw-yourself-on-the-floor horrifying...

jr565 said...

That scene from boogie nights was so good. Great job by Phillip

Valentine Smith said...

Not suicide. Chasing the dragon. Junky's alchemy, a little bit of this a little bit of that, pinch of whatsit and ya got the perfect high—for about 2 minutes.

If you survive.

Titus said...

That scene from Boogie Nights really got me.

He was amazing in Ripley, Magnolia and Charlie Wilson's War.

And of course Capote.

sad.

Paul said...

WGAF?

I've never been impressed with Hollywood.

90 percent of the actors and actresses are addicts. And most of them are liberal addicts to boot.