Philip Seymour Hoffman’s astonishing talent made him the voice of a generation, and his opioid overdose in 2014 drew attention to a previously overlooked struggle faced by many. In a touching personal essay for Vogue magazine, the late actor’s partner Mimi O’Donnell talked about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death and shared her reflections on their life together.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death
Although Hoffman and O’Donnell had a happy and successful life together, the effects of his addiction left a permanent imprint on their relationship. O’Donnell describes her partner’s lifelong struggle with addiction, recounting how he had experimented with heroin in his early twenties and entered his first rehabilitation program at the age of twenty-two. “He was aware that just because he was clean didn’t mean the addiction had gone away,” she writes. She describes the sometimes trying process of dating, living with, and raising children alongside a man who always struggled with addiction but who was obviously dedicated to staying sober for the love of his family.
“Lots of people go through difficult life events,” O’Donnell writes. “Only addicts start taking drugs to blunt the pain of them. And Phil was an addict, though at the time I didn’t fully understand that addiction is always lurking just below the surface, looking for a moment of weakness to come roaring back to life.” After the death of his therapist and the stresses of acting fame, Hoffman began drinking and using prescription opioids despite years of sobriety. Soon afterward, he returned to using heroin and was admitted back into rehab.
Like many who struggle with addiction, Hoffman turned back to substance abuse because he was going through a particularly difficult period in his personal and professional life. On February 2, 2014, he was found dead in his apartment from a drug overdose that a coroner later determined was the result of a combination of heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepines.
A Healthcare Epidemic
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death began a national conversation on the issue of opioid abuse, which President Trump recently declared a national emergency. Although death rates due to overdose have risen steadily and significantly over the past twenty years, they reached an all-time high in the last quarter of 2016. Out of every 100,000 fatalities in the United States, nearly twenty were caused by a drug overdose. While the causes behind this increase are complicated, public health experts have blamed the overprescription of opioids by doctors and restricted access to mental health facilities and drug rehabilitation programs.
Opioid abuse can affect anyone, even those who do not have a history of substance abuse issues. During the past year, opioid abuse and overdose has continued to make headlines in the entertainment world. Popular rapper Lil Peep passed away in November due to a heroin overdose, and Nikki Sixx of the band Motley Crue also recently spoke about his struggles with opioid addiction.
The entire nation was affected by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, but many American families still face the same challenging situation. If you know someone who is also struggling with an opioid or other substance addiction, there is help available. The staff at CARUS Recovery is committed to helping families and individuals who have been affected by the opioid crisis. Our drug rehab center in Los Angeles has helped many people leave their addictions in the past and look forward to a healthy, happy future.