Police Arrest Hoffman's Possible Dealers


Philip Seymour Hoffman

I'm very sad that Philip Seymour Hoffman is no longer with us. I think it's awful and the way he apparently went, via drug overdose is purely tragic. He must have been suffering great inner turmoil to turn to heroin to start with. But this tragedy was of his own making. Sad, but true.

Now comes my controversial take on this. First the facts, then the comment that's sure to rile a number of you.

Via HuffPo:

Police have made multiple arrests in connection with the investigation into the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Although information stemming from the investigation into Hoffman’s death led the police to the building where Rosenblum, Luchkiw, Vineberg and Cushman were, none of them have been charged with the sale of drugs and a firm connection to Hoffman has not been established, officials explained.

The paper [NY Times] says a tip led police to the building. TMZ reports that the tip came from a heroin user who claims to have shared a dealer with the actor.

Now here's my problem. Is this a murder investigation? No one that I've heard about forced Hoffman to abuse himself with drugs. He did this himself. I have heard of a lot of his friends who after the fact shared their concern about the actor just prior to his passing. Where were they before this tragedy? Why didn't some of them, even one of them, act before this? Those are the people who I'm shocked about. I'm not as concerned with his alleged dealers, though I am a bit surprised that it took a shared heroin user to come forward to shed some real light on this whole matter.


The NYPD made some rather quick busts. Though they've only only arrested these individuals for possession so far, the amount of the heroin they found in their apartments cast little doubt they'll shortly accuse them of "intent to sell." But are they also going to charge them with conspiracy to commit murder over the actor's death? Did they contribute more than the "friends" who knew Hoffman was back on the junk and did nothing about it? That's what I'm afraid of.

I'm not supporting these users who were arrested. Possession of this controlled substance is a crime. But there are tragic heroin deaths every day. If a random tip came in from a confessed heroin user would the police have moved so quickly to make arrests, or are they just playing on the celebrity of the late Academy Award Winner?

Pardon me for proffering such curiosity, but I stand by what I said. I'm glad to see these heroin dealers (if they get charged with that) off the street, but I'm not sure this police action wasn't for the wrong reason. Are they trying to take advantage of a tragedy to take the light off the fact that they should have been working harder to get the "sh*t" out of addicts' hands to start with?  Maybe now with 'stop and frisk' off the books, they'll have time.

But really, who's ultimately to blame for this and other drug-related losses?

I'm stuck asking, would these four arrests have happened if this was not a celebrity tragedy? Would the NYPD have followed up so quickly if this was Bill or Janet Hoffman, not Philip Seymour?

  • Bose

    One missing link here, as far as I'm concerned, is a feature, not a bug, of the dominant professional treatment industry: Disavowal of harm reduction.

    I'll make it personal: I lost my best friend and ex-partner to his alcoholism in 2012, after he had been in and out of various treatment milieus for 15 years or better. His pattern was remarkably consistent over that span: Weeks to a few months of sobriety and treatment interrupted by a 48-hour or longer binge.

    In sobriety, he was bright, well respected by his caregivers and often a facilitator of peer support groups. The second he took a drink, 100% of that support vanished while waiting for him to return to the fold. Across all of those years, he brought home his first day's supply before driving to replenish the next day. And yet, nobody had ever broached the simplest first step in HR: He should have had a drop-slot safe, with the combo held by sponsors only, and a commitment to drop the car key there before the first drink.

    Instead, in order to be compliant with his caregivers, he was convinced that any concrete work toward future binge reduction would be admission of defeat and denial of the severity of his problem. A convoluted understanding of powerlessness was applied in which he was absolved of any ability or responsibility for keeping a 24-hour binge from extending to 72 hours, or later, a full week.

    When he died (massive head injury during a binge) he was still having terrific sober interludes, with an employer calling posthumously with a job offer. But in 15 years of doing what had always been done, getting what they always got, his caregivers never thought about alternatives that might decrease the severity & frequency of binges as a path to longer-term sobriety.

    Without knowing whether this kind of thing played into PSM's friends' responses to seeing him in distress, it still makes me crazy that treatment pros will wash their hands of him with a "whoops, the heartbreak happened again, but move along, there's nothing to be learned or changed as a result."

    A minority of liquor store customers are alcoholic; for heroin, only 30% of users are addicted. The big picture is so multi-faceted and complex that pinning a death on the seller of a drug strikes me as short-sighted and misdirected.

  • David G

    My suspicion is that those close to him knew, but chose not to intervene. That's where I find the sadness. Nobody cared to say "hey, stop it," or "I'll get you some help, but you're killing yourself."

  • fabucat

    Maybe the people who saw Hoffman in a disheveled state should have intervened. Everyone who saw him during his last days said he looked pretty unhealthy.

  • fabucat

    Maybe the people who saw Hoffman in a disheveled state should have intervened. Everyone who saw him during his last days said he looked pretty unhealthy.