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NYC official: Hoffman died of toxic mix of drugs

NEW YORK (AP) -- A toxic mix of heroin and other drugs killed Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, New York City officials said Friday.

Hoffman died from a mix of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and benzodiazepines, which are psychoactive drugs, said a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner. The death was ruled an accident.

Law enforcement officials have said Hoffman was found Feb. 2 with a needle in his arm, and tests found heroin in samples from at least 50 packets in his Manhattan apartment.

Police had been investigating his death as a suspected drug overdose. An autopsy in February was inconclusive and medical examiners said more tests were needed.

Authorities also found unused syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a drug used to treat heroin addiction, a blood-pressure medication and a muscle relaxant.

Hoffman, 46, who won an Oscar for "Capote" and starred in numerous other movies as well as New York stage productions, had been frank about struggling with substance abuse. He told CBS' "60 Minutes" in 2006 that had he used "anything I could get my hands on" before getting clean at age 22. But in interviews last year, he said he'd relapsed, had developed a heroin problem and had gone to rehab for a time.

Investigators have been probing how Hoffman may have obtained the heroin. Tests of the heroin in his apartment have found that it was not cut with a dangerous additive such as fentanyl, a synthetic form of morphine used to intensify the high that has been linked to deaths in other states.

A musician, veteran jazz player Robert Vineberg, has been charged with keeping a heroin stash in a lower Manhattan apartment amid the investigation into Hoffman's death. Vineberg, who has said he was a friend of the Tony Award-nominated Hoffman, hasn't been charged in Hoffman's death and has said he didn't sell him the heroin found in his apartment.

As police followed a tip after Hoffman's death, they said they found about 300 small bags of heroin, worth about $10 apiece on the street, and $1,300 in cash in Vineberg's apartment and music studio.

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gardinerda February 28 2014 at 7:21 PM

I am sorry for the Hoffman family, but I wish the police would put as much effort into finding drug dealers when ANY ONE dies. It seems that his fame brought him more "investigation" than is usual for others, even teens who have died of drug overdose. They, too were some mothers child and are sadly missed.

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1 reply
Susan gardinerda February 28 2014 at 7:43 PM

They do all the time. The prisons are full of drug dealers. You probably don't read those articles because you aren't interested in someone who isn't famous.

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Becky February 28 2014 at 4:59 PM

They ruled it as an accident? How the hell do you rule it an accident when that concoction was in his blood - he had to have mixed that all himself - injected it himself and still had bags upon bags of the drugs in his appartment! That was no "Accident" - that was a suiside. They just say that so his kid or whoever could get his insurance money.

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3 replies
fg February 28 2014 at 5:48 PM


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dfrosenzweig February 28 2014 at 5:48 PM

Vineberg might be suspicious about why he had the herion, but accusations about him having anything to do with Philip Seymour Hoffman's use of it is unfounded. There is no evidence of him playing a part in PSH's death. If Vineberg should be charged with anything it's having an illegal drud in his possession.

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cyberbiker007 February 28 2014 at 7:45 PM


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Kate February 28 2014 at 5:46 PM

Then it was probably 'an eight ball,' the same combination that killed John Belushi so many years ago.

Knowing what it was doesn't make it any easier to deal with, but maybe more people will pay attention to the fact that eight balls are just as dangerous as the drugs by themselves.

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1 reply
espana1157 Kate February 28 2014 at 5:55 PM

I think you mean speedball?

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Mary February 28 2014 at 5:46 PM

It was an overdose, not an accident. Is everyone blind?

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1 reply
sindfetish Mary February 28 2014 at 5:48 PM

You are right...it was an accidental overdose. You are getting there...keep thinking...it is OK.

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1 reply
madkono sindfetish February 28 2014 at 6:10 PM

how do you "accidentally", stick a needle in???

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jamestau1 March 01 2014 at 1:40 AM

You need to rethink that statement. The world has us all by the ass. And it can and in some cases gets the best of you. No matter who you are. I it’s very sad.


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melhcalrrt March 01 2014 at 1:03 AM

Isn't this the same cocktail that killed John Belushi? Or one very similar at least with coke and heroin?

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Susan March 01 2014 at 12:45 AM

Heroin is dangerous enough on its own. But mix it with a stimulant (or two) and you are really playing with fire. The different amounts of time that the various drugs affect the body and push it in different directions creates an incredible risk of od'ing. So many people have died that way, including John Belushi.

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