The results are in: Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from acute mixed drug intoxication. He had combined heroin with benzodiazepines. That combination did him in.
It wasn’t a “heroin overdose” as such.
Drug combinations like this are typical of deaths attributed to heroin or other narcotics. Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) indicate that “multi-drug deaths” accounted for most fatalities involving opiates or opioids in 2010: 72 percent in suburban New York, 83 percent in Los Angeles, and 56 percent in Chicago, for example. Back in the early 1990s, the share of heroin-related deaths reported by DAWN that involved other drugs was even higher, 90 percent or more.
We hear about “overdoses” of illegal drugs for the simple reason that this plays into the hands of those who run the War on Drugs. It’s an inconvenient truth, for them, that the most deadly problem with most narcotics (illegal or prescription-legal) is with what other drugs (illegal or prescription-legal or over-the-counter) they interact.
One might argue that drug warriors, by focusing on targeted illegal drugs, are killing Americans by distracting us from the biggest danger, mixing drugs.
This over-focus on a hated thing to the detriment of good diagnosis is not limited to pharmacology.
Consider economic policy. I know many people who blame the 2008 financial implosion (as well as its lingering effects, even) entirely on the 1990s (bipartisan) repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. They focus on one bit of deregulation. Other enforced regulations leading to the debacle, not to mention Federal Reserve inflationism, housing market subsidies, anti-discrimination programs, and a whole mortgage after-market created by government creatures, Fannie and Freddie?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.