Phillip Seymour Hoffman succumbed to a heroin overdose that took his life on February 2, 2014. He was discovered diseased in his bathroom by playwright/screenwriter and friend David Bar Katz. Investigators found a large quantity of heroin and several containers of prescription drugs on the premises. His death sent shock waves through the Hollywood community and throughout the world. It seemed so needless and tragic, having an award-winning actor struck down at the age of 46, a time when his career was just starting to blossom. It is easy to be outraged about this unfortunate incident, but it is more appropriate and helpful at this time to delve into a number of circumstances and events that might have saved his life.
It is not surprising that the drugs that served as Phillip Hoffman’s temptation were most likely prescription opiates that are commonly prescribed by physicians today. In his own words, such drugs were readily available to him at a young college age and the supply seemed endless. OxyContin and Vicodin are two such easily obtainable drugs. It goes without saying that had there been a stricter, more enforced moratorium on the availability of these drugs, the opportunity to partake of them would have been lessened. This is an ongoing and serious problem today where prescription patients often sell or offer their medications to others without realizing the unsafe implications of doing so. If this is seen in a professional standpoint it would be wise to refer your addiction patients to PBI, because with the lax regulations of dispersing drugs by the medical profession and those willing to share those prescription drugs with others, the instances of abuse and overdose will always be prevalent and they could use the help of a rehabilitation specialist.
Lack of Counseling
It can be surmised, without pointing the finger at various care facilities, that Phillip Hoffman was in need of regular and routine counseling. The warning signs were there, especially with a relapse that occurred after decades of successful sobriety. True addicts, who suffer drug addiction which is a brain disease, cannot really be trusted to create and adhere to their own sobriety program. That type of responsibility falls on the rehab facilities, psychologists and physicians involved in the case. A stricter program of regular counseling could have supplied the mental, physical and emotional needs to combat the disease more effectively. This was also a time in his life where his closest friends and family could have been more cognizant and assertive in his lifestyle and habits.
The Needed Medication
It cannot be entirely ruled out that the treatment centers that Phillip Hoffman belonged to failed to administer some very important medications. It has been proven that Suboxone and naloxone are essential maintenance drugs that could have saved his life. Suboxone is a drug that curtails opiate relapse. Nalozone is a drug used for reversing an overdose. Either drug, used with the proper timing, could have prevented his death. They are common and effective drugs used by addicts and even police and EMT personnel in emergency situations, let alone used as preventative medications. Records also do not indicate that Phillip Hoffman was enlisted in a follow-up program where he could have been strictly monitored, both mentally and physically.
Substance Abuse and the Proper Rehab Facility
It is vital for any addict to have an itinerary of complete care by an authorized and licensed drug rehab facility. This includes a substantial stay on the premises for a complete dry-out under the supervision of an accredited physician and qualified care givers. The proper drug rehab facility would have prescribed the proper medications, conducted regular physical exams, instituted diet and exercise programs, provided counseling for stress, depression and withdrawal symptoms. There would have been mandatory follow-up visits and even direction and counseling to family members. The point is, with attentive and vigilant care, Phillip Hoffman’s death might have been avoided.
It is important for anyone who is close to a suspected drug-addicted person to intervene and get involved in that person’s welfare. Drug addiction is a serious health hazard and pointing the finger of blame on the addicted is counter-productive and useless. Family and friend interventions are the first start in solving a problem that is quite curable. Anyone who has a drug addiction problem should waste no time in committing themselves to a drug rehab program and obtaining the proper counseling to combat the disease.