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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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urbanacres February 03 2014 at 5:44 PM

Very sad. Addiction is a disease that affects all socioeconomic classes. I always thought I would never have to deal with it and boy was I surprised. Now I pray that my loved one will seek help before it is too late for him.

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wussup timmy c February 03 2014 at 7:12 PM

it's always sad when anyone overdoses.if the drugs don't get you,the lifestyle will.

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1 reply
geodockery wussup timmy c February 03 2014 at 7:25 PM

Not sad...just plain stupid.

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darkfree February 03 2014 at 7:05 PM

Once you take Heroin you have been bitten by the Devil , and even if you do not take it anymore you have been irreversably changed in some ways.

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2 replies
drlhenkel darkfree February 03 2014 at 7:19 PM

I agree with your statement. Can't understand why so many even go there.

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Fearless Leader darkfree February 03 2014 at 7:28 PM

does that "assessment" include all opiate-based compounds? it's a drug, not black magic.

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dreamforest1 February 04 2014 at 8:01 AM

There are people that use drugs, and/or drink and stop anytime they want. Then there are others that become addicts. Addiction is a real problem, and very hard to stop and control, but thankfully there are peole getting help every day. It's unfortunate that for some it is too late. On the other hand, drug dealers are mindfully selling this poison daily for a living, knowing very well it kills and destroys lives. Only an evil, inhumane, lowlife creature would take advantage of someone's weakness. Sure, addicts buy the product, but they are sick and need help. Drug dealers are aware of this, but still prey and profits off their weakness, that is why you never will see a drug dealer with a happy ending. They are either caught and put in prison, and if they are lucky enough not to get caught, Karma gets to act its revenge on them and their families. What Karma does to drug dealers, and their families that have been living off of the misery of others, is far worse then what their poison does to addicts. When an addict gets help, then their lives and those of their families are rewarded a thousand times over. As a counselor I have seen and witnessed this.

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2 replies
geminipeter dreamforest1 February 04 2014 at 8:19 AM

well put.......

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hbeeees dreamforest1 February 04 2014 at 8:52 AM

And have you seen and witnessed this in your own home. Because it's a living nightmare, repeated over and over again. The relapses tear a parents heart out, the things these people do to get money for their addiction is nearly ALL illegal, and there is a revolving door of arrests for petty crimes so an addict can feed their addiction. Opiate addiction is not as casual as your statement lead someone to believe, an addict can get help but with opiates it's an evryday fight, it chemically alters the brain the first time they use and it's a daily struggle to stay clean, it's much more than counseling. Families of an opiate addict are in the fight or their lives and it's an everyday fight, for many years, each day is a reward and each day after is a reward, but it is also being diligent, being constantly one step ahead of the recovering opiate addict, you say you have witnessed this reward. But have you lived the addiction? Because it's effects are like a ripple, you never truely know,no matter how hard you try no matter how much counseling, no matter the trust you try to rebuild. One relapse and it just tears your heart in two, opiates are evil, what they do to a family, to the addict, to the brain, are not reversible. But we all hope, support, and try to live a "normal" life, but it never really leaves, because we as the family of an opiate addict have seen and heard it all before, but we hope. And it's A DAILY HOPE, truely living one day at a time. And what it does to the addict, is like the walking dead, the remorse, the reality, what have I done issues, the guilt, the constant need. IT'S DAILY! An OPIATE ADDICT HAS A CONSTANT NEED TO USE, IT DOESN'T JUST GO AWAY WITH COUNSELING, COUNSELING JUST GIVES THE TOOLS NEEDED TO GET THRU ONE MORE DAY. As for the dealers, we need to look at our Government, why are they allowing this influx of so much heroin, it's not news to them they just choose to ignore it, there is no way that our government can be ignorant of HEROIN use spreading around our NATION like wild fire, These are are future leaders. God help us all.

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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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vstlvlvaccaro February 04 2014 at 9:54 AM

Addiction is a b!tch ...

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zazurdia February 03 2014 at 5:55 PM

I could not believe it when I heard the news. What a magnificent actor! Phil, rest in peace.

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leslie February 04 2014 at 9:58 AM

I will miss the creative accomplishments of this obviously troubled actor.....where were his friends and family? Why didn't anyone notice his struggle-perhaps this is testimony to the quality of his acting ability-he was too accomplished at playing roles...I plan to pay attention to those close to me

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1 reply
coljr leslie February 04 2014 at 10:06 AM

it's society's fault.
mankind is the destroyer of souls.

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wynnwill2 February 03 2014 at 4:23 PM

Most people really do understand how bad drugs can be. But there are those who think. "it'll never happen to me". It ALWAYS does.

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melsbully February 04 2014 at 10:02 AM

It angers me some of the comments here. Is there no value on a human life, famous or not? Addiction is a disease that you don't choose anymore than you choose MS or cancer. Yes, it's hard to understand why someone with so much going for them would turn to heroin. I'm saddened by this loss to his family and to the world

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1 reply
Goodmornin'She* melsbully February 04 2014 at 10:08 AM

Ah BUT the addict makes that FIRST CHOICE - so I'm afraid your comment holds little weight. In order to become an addict in the first place one must put forth the effort. JUST SAY NO!! comes to mind. The "value of human life" comes in the fact that he has left several children WITHOUT A FATHER and a horrible burden to carry with them the rest of their lives - the good part is that perhaps just perhaps his semi-orphaned children will NEVER DO DRUGS!!!

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1 reply
joan Goodmornin'She* February 04 2014 at 10:31 AM

Nancy Reagan's "Just say no!" campaign was a disaster. It showed a total lack of understanding of drug addiction. In the mean time, good old Ronnie was busy being "tough on crime" and locking up addicts instead of promoting the rehabilitation addicts need. Getting addicts clean and sober is cheaper and overall better for society, but we must do something to make money for industrial prison complex.

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