Hoffman Overdose Highlights New York City as Hub of Surging U.S. Heroin Trade

Wednesday, February 05, 2014
(photo: Julien Behal, PA Wire, AP)

The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has elevated the issue of heroin addiction and its fatal consequences in the United States, where use of the narcotic has increased significantly in recent years.


In New York City, where Hoffman was found dead of an apparent overdose, the drug has become quite popular. The same is true for the state, which has experienced a 67% bump in heroin busts over the past four years, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).


The state also accounted for 20% of all heroin seizures in the U.S. in 2013.


Nationally, almost 670,000 Americans over the age of 12 used heroin in 2012—an increase of nearly 300,000 people, compared to the number of users in 2007.


“It’s reached epidemic proportions here in the United States,” Rusty Payne, a DEA spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times. The drug was responsible for 3,000 fatal overdoses in 2010, the latest year such data is available. That total represented a 45% increase since 2006.


New York City has experienced an even more dramatic rise in heroin-related overdose deaths: 84% from 2010 to 2012 (the actual death toll was 382).

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death Calls Attention to Rise in Heroin Use (by Matt Pearce and Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times)

Hoffman’s Heroin Points to Surge in Grim Trade (by J. David Goodman, New York Times)

Hoffman and the Terrible Heroin Deaths in the Shadows (by Jeff Deeney, The Atlantic)

U.S.-Funded Bridge Helps Heroin Smugglers (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment