Kids And Heroin: The Adolescent Epidemic

“The gathering tragedy is that Ralphie is not special. Heroin, long considered the affliction of the criminal, the derelict, the debauched, is increasingly attacking America’s children. Part of the dread and the danger of the problem is that it spreads all too invisibly. No one knows how many heroin addicts of any age there are in the U.S. But in New York City alone, where most experts think roughly half the heroin users in the U.S. live, 224 teenagers died from overdoses or heroin-related infections last year, about a quarter of the city’s 900 deaths from heroin use. So far this year, over 40 teenagers have died because of heroin. There may be as many as 25,000 young addicts in New York City, and one expert fears the number may mushroom fantastically to 100,000 this summer.”

Would it surprise you to learn that the above quote is from a TIME Magazine article “Nation: Kids and Heroin: The Adolescent Epidemic” published March 16, 1970? Yes, that is correct, 1970!

Scan today’s headlines regarding heroin addiction…

If you have a few minutes you can scan your local newspaper’s headlines or you can Google the word “heroin” and find many headlines about the “heroin epidemic”…all these 44 years later. Let’s look at just a few…and there are more in our Related Articles section.

English: Philip Seymour Hoffman at the Paris p...
English: Philip Seymour Hoffman at the Paris premiere of “The Ides of March” Français : Philip Seymour Hoffman à l’avant-première parisienne des “Marches du pouvoir” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman presumably died from a heroin overdose on February 2, 2014; the autopsy was inconclusive and more detailed tests are being conducted. We do know that he was found with a needle in his arm and many (50+) bags of heroin in his apartment. We also understand that Mr. Hoffman was in recovery for about 23 years, and suffered a relapse in the spring of 2013. He was an award winning actor in film, stage and television. But he was also a son, brother, father, and friend. He touched many of us with his uncanny ability to become the character that he was portraying: Lancaster Dodd in The Master, Art Howe in Moneyball, Paul Zara in The Ides of March, Father Brendan Flynn in Doubt, Gust Avrakotos in Charlie Wilson’s War, Truman Capote in Capote…the list goes on.

There has been a lot written about Mr. Hoffman over the past two to three weeks, many of the articles addressed addiction, recovery, sobriety, relapse, and the continuing epidemic of heroin abuse. In researching to write this post, we came across a couple of insightful and thought provoking facts about Mr. Hoffman.

~ When he began his acting career in 1991 he was known simply as Philip Hoffman. For a while he used a shorter version Phil Hoffman. Over time he went back and forth between Philip S. Hoffman and Philip Hoffman. By 1996 he settled on Philip Seymour Hoffman.

~ Two weeks before his death Mr. Hoffman attended the Sundance Film Festival where two of his latest films were being released. It is reported John Arundel the co-publisher of Washington Life magazine ran into Mr. Hoffman at the festival, but did not recognize him. Mr. Arundel asked the stranger what he did, to which Mr. Hoffman replied: “I’m a heroin addict.”

Again…going forward 

Heroin use and abuse takes lives every day in the United States and these people come from every walk of life, every community, every socioeconomic demographic…the heroin addict might be your co-worker, your neighbor, your child; however, it is also important to remember that recovery is possible.

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