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Katy Roberts

Breaking the Bond of Heroin and Painkillers

Using the tragic death of a celebrity as a basis to discuss national drug problems is usually pointless. For one thing, the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died with a syringe in his arm and packets of drugs found nearby, had the wealth and access to insulate himself from some mundane forces -- price and availability -- that affect so many people struggling with addiction.

Yet his death is calling attention to the ways in which many individuals can be helped.