Film and TV

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heroin and the Secret Club of Addiction

For weeks after Heath Ledger's body was found in an apartment in New York City in 2008, curious folks would come into the store in SoHo where I worked and ask, "Do you know where Heath's building is?" Of course I knew where it was; everyone who worked or lived between Houston and Canal streets knew exactly where 421 Broome St. was. But I pretended I didn't know. Their intrusiveness made my stomach hurt. Whose business was it to know where Heath died -- besides the people who actually knew and loved him?

When Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment this past Sunday, I felt like those nosy people. I wanted to know everything. Mostly because, like many deaths involving circumstances of which people were unaware, his death felt unreal. How could this happen? How can someone who is under such a bright spotlight do heroin? These questions are complex. People are complex. Addicts are complex people.

See also: Amy Winehouse's passing a reminder: addicts are people too