Philip Seymour Hoffman began struggling with addiction at a young age. He achieved sobriety at 22 and didn’t drink or use drugs for the next 23 years of his life. During those two decades, he won an Academy Award and was nominated for three more Academy Awards. He also fathered three children. In 2012, he began abusing prescription pain medication. Just two years later, he was found dead on his bathroom floor.
The police unearthed almost 50 envelopes labeled “Ace of Spades” in Hoffman’s apartment. They believe that they contained heroin. The police also found prescription drugs, used syringes, and empty bags. Hoffman was expected to pick up his children that day but didn’t show up. Several hours later, two friends found him dead in his New York apartment.
When Hoffman was discovered, he had a syringe in his left arm. His death is due to a severe mixed drug intoxication that included amphetamine, benzodiazepines, cocaine, and heroin. Many addicts make it a habit to mix drugs. When the behavior is common, a person may not feel the full effect of the narcotics, even though they’re still suppressing the respiratory system.
The practice of mixing drugs is known as stacking. Addicts run into trouble when they stack a mix of drugs, one or top of the other, or stack doses of the same drug too close together. While the drugs don’t affect the addict, they still compromise breathing, which becomes dangerous very quickly.
It’s impossible to know what drove Hoffman to start using drugs and alcohol even after treatment for so many years. However, it is now clear that once he started using, he wasn’t going to be able to get himself out from under the addiction a second time.