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Official: Heroin in packets in Hoffman's apartment

NEW YORK (AP) - Tests have confirmed there was heroin in at least some of the scores of plastic packets in the New York City apartment where Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead, a law enforcement official said Monday, and authorities are working to determine whether the drug was mixed or tainted with anything else.

Medical examiners have not yet made an official determination of the cause of the 46-year-old actor's death, but police have been investigating it as a suspected overdose. Hoffman was found in a bathroom with a syringe in his arm, law enforcement officials have said.

A few details have begun to sketch a picture of his final day and the circumstances in which he was found in his apartment in Manhattan's Greenwich Village on Sunday. And questions have swirled about whether Hoffman's death could be linked to a potent blend of heroin and synthetic morphine that has been tied to deaths elsewhere, though as yet there are no official findings pointing to that scenario.

"The direction of the investigation is going to depend, in large part, on the findings of the medical examiner and the findings of the lab tests," chief police spokesman Stephen Davis said.

An autopsy began Monday, but results weren't expected until at least Tuesday, the city medical examiners' office said.

A friend had spoken to him by phone around 9 p.m. Saturday, in the last contact investigators are aware of anyone having with him, a law enforcement official said. The official said the actor's door was double-locked when his body was found around 11:30 a.m. the next day by the same friend and Hoffman's assistant.

In the apartment were at least four dozen small packets variously stamped with the ace of hearts and others with the ace of spades, two law enforcement officials said Monday. Tests of samples showed heroin in each type, one of the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk about the evidence gathered.

Authorities also found unused syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a blood-pressure drug and a muscle relaxant, one of the officials said.

Stamps are common as a form of drug-world branding, and authorities make note of the ones they encounter, though they're hardly trademarks - different producers might use the same symbol. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ace of hearts and ace of spades stamps could lead investigators to any clues about the source of the items found in Hoffman's apartment.

Concern has risen around the region in recent months about fentanyl, a synthetic morphine substitute roughly 100 times more powerful than morphine, being mixed with or substituted for heroin. In western Pennsylvania, 22 people died within a week last month from suspected overdoses of heroin and fentanyl, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said last week; at least a half-dozen suspected dealers have been charged there.

On New York's Long Island, the Nassau County medical examiner's office said Friday it was investigating several deaths initially assumed to be heroin overdoses but later found to have involved fentanyl being sold in packets stamped "24K."

In New York City, a fentanyl-heroin blend cropped up recently in a case against a man charged last month with running a sizeable heroin and cocaine ring. In one of various alleged deals, he sold a 200-gram package of powder that later tested positive for both heroin and fentanyl, a prosecutor's office spokeswoman said Monday.

___

Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.

50 Heroin Bags Found In Hoffman's Home

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subseaoffshoress February 04 2014 at 12:41 AM

A great actor who will be missed. Too bad his personel life was controlled by his addiction.

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Bodacious Beauty February 03 2014 at 4:16 PM

I was completely taken by surprise regarding the death of this fantastic actor. I especially enjoyed his role in the Talented Mr. Ripley movie. May he rest in peace.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
gasmanrobe February 04 2014 at 10:10 AM

now we see why he played his roles so good.sorry but his pain or demon knew it was a matter of time before this drug caught up to him.i mean how high do they need to get just to function?be glad he didnt use that krockodil crap thats floating out there.im waiting for someone to blame marijuana for this.we know whats really the gateway drug for all addictions and that with great fanfare is alcohol. yes alcohol is always around before any drug is used.there are a lot of functional addicts out there using but all drugs are bad and when someone famous gets caught in its snare are when we demonize it.the state of mind when people use drugs is depression.which when its out of control enables us to ride that white pony cause we are to embarassed to seek help.

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penstate79 February 04 2014 at 10:11 AM

And the first thing out of the reports is what Phil looked like: "dumpy, fat, average, homely" etc...not your average Tom Cruise. Not your average talent either. He was WAY UP THERE. No, hollywood, it isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do.

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jck8834 February 03 2014 at 8:44 PM

Hey Mr and Mrs and you too Ms talking legal political legislature law makers ....... Hows that war on drugs coming ever dawn on you that when you out law drugs only criminal will have drugs ... HELL you can't keep drugs out of prisons how do you plan to stop them in the free market place Hint how did China curb their massive opium problem ....... So sad another .............

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tapm2 February 03 2014 at 4:14 PM

People die of heroin overdoses everyday. Many of them had as much or more potential that PSH. Not sure this story deserves all this press. Although, I guess it goes to show that drug addiction is no respecter of persons. Doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, famous or live in obscurity all your life. When you get that monkey on your back it's hard to get it off.

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Beautiful February 04 2014 at 8:32 AM

I was using tramadol for pain, I didn't know I was addicted until I ran out.
I vowed never to be controlled by any substance, the withdrawal was hell for ten days and it took about 100 days to get over the last bit of effects.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
mwoosley3 February 03 2014 at 4:13 PM

For those of you who have never heard the Neil Young song: "The needle, and the damage done." I suggest you search it out, and give it a listen, or five..
Addiction, in particular heroin. Does not discriminate, and does not care about your "status" in society..
I feel saddened for his family, in particular his children. Who will miss out on having a father, from here on out.

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3 replies
Christine February 03 2014 at 8:48 PM

He was a great actor but unfortunately this happens daily to some one and some family. Apparently the nasty comments are by people who are fortunate enough not to have addiction in their addiction in their family or loved ones or friends. We have lost the war on drugs and now need to have a serious discussion on what should be next.

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Carol February 03 2014 at 4:12 PM

I heard on NPR there is a new heroine that is causing a lot more deaths these days - more easy to overdose or is more toxic.

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