What people are saying about the actor’s death and the drug war in America.
Nick Gillespie, Time: "The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has given rise to a massive outpouring of grief and sadness by his fans and admirers. It has also given rise to an equally massive outpouring of patently false and exaggerated stories about the increase in heroin use and the need to do something — anything! — about it. This is not just misguided but dangerous: High-profile drug deaths in the past have led to major public policy mistakes — think mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines — that can take decades to correct."
Robert S.Hoffman, The New York Times: "Overdoses often take place over one to three hours. People just slowly stop breathing. ... The most frustrating part is that each of these deaths is preventable, because there is an antidote to heroin overdose that is nearly universally effective. ... Some people might argue that the widespread distribution of a safe, effective and inexpensive antidote might actually encourage drug use. But that's like suggesting that air bags and seatbelts encourage unsafe driving."
Paul M.Barrett, Businessweek: "There's more than one way to view Hoffman's end. Sadness seems required, but let's pay some respect as well. Hoffman had an illness. He fought it for more than two decades. While fighting it, he did a lot of outstanding work. He improved the culture. ... Then he fell off the wagon. ... Let's remember, though, that he tried."
New York Post, editorial: "The ongoing interest in the 46-year-old Hoffman's death has ... focused public attention on the growing phenomenon of heroin. ... Which raises the most disturbing part of these stories: the portrayal of the wealthy and successful Hoffman as suffering from the 'illness' of drug addiction, while the issue of personal responsibility is ignored. ... Hoffman, like so many celebrities before him, felt he needed drugs as part of his daily existence. But ... he made the conscious choice to use them."
Jonathan Zimmerman, San Francisco Chronicle: "I hope we'll use Hoffman's tragic death from a heroin overdose ... to remind ourselves that drug addiction is pretty ordinary. ... I've got several addicts in my extended family. So do millions of other Americans. ... If you think that any of us are immune from drug addiction, you're wrong."
Mike Males, Reuters: "Decades of misdirected debate and inept policy have fostered a larger, disturbing reality: Americans of all ages ingest mood-altering drugs regardless of status — whether legal (alcohol), semi-legal (pharmaceuticals), or illegal (street drugs). ... The Obama administration should launch a realistic investigation of 21st century drug abuse realities — a project long overdue and befitting a president who promised to employ science and reason in the interests of change."