Buprenorphine Found in Hoffman’s Apartment: Detectives

The addiction treatment medication buprenorphine was found in actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s apartment, along with 50 bags of heroin and a variety of prescription drugs, according to New York City detectives. Hoffman died Sunday in an apparent heroin overdose.

Addiction medications such as buprenorphine can be very useful for treating heroin addiction, Dr. Jason Jerry, a professor of medicine with the Cleveland Clinic’s Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center, told ABC News. “Only 10 to 20 percent of patients who are completely detoxed and off of everything manage to stay clean for an extended period of time,” he said. “But the research shows that about 60 to 70 percent of people who use medications like buprenorphine or methadone are still in treatment after one year.”

He noted buprenorphine can be abused. The medication can be habit-forming, and can cause severe breathing difficulties when used in the wrong combination with other drugs, Jerry said.

The New York Times reports four people were arrested with more than 350 bags of heroin as part of the investigation into Hoffman’s death. Police said preliminary tests of the heroin found in his apartment did not contain fentanyl, a synthetic opiate tied to 22 recent fatal overdoses in Pennsylvania.

6 Responses to Buprenorphine Found in Hoffman’s Apartment: Detectives

  1. Skip Sviokla MD ABAM | February 5, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Although the comments about buprenorphine are technically correct in this article, I think that it has as many differences from methadone as similarities. I believe it’s benefits in a well rounded therapeutic treatment plan should be recognized as distinct from methadone as used in most states. I have been a director of several methadone clinics in Rhode Island and find that buprenorphine, while not perfect, is a far superior drug. Skip Sviokla MD ABAM
    author “From Harvard to Hell and Back”

  2. bob wiley | February 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Rep Steve Cohen to ONDCP: “Ask Philip Seymour Hoffman if Pot is more dangerous than Heroin”
    Why is it impossible for our federal drug warriors to speak truthfully about the harms associated with drugs? The federal mantra is that all “illegal drugs are dangerous”, so they must all have the same relative danger of marijuana. Right??? Please watch as Rep Cohen rips deputy ONDCP officer for its failed messaging.

  3. Gail | February 6, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for Dr. Jerry for putting some truth out there about Suboxone/Subutex. It is an opiate and addicting. I see the evidence on a daily basis. I have worked in the treatment field for 22 years and continue to be appalled at the way particularly opiate addicts are being treated. Would we tell an alcoholic to “just drink a few beers” or tell a smoker to switch brands of cigarettes to get off cigarettes. MAT is CLEARLY not working and contributing to the addiction cycle as well as contributing to many of the overdose deaths. I also include methadone, liquid handcuffs.Of course it is all working for the Pharacuetical companies and doctors who are in the “pill mill, cash cow” mindset. Sad

  4. Brenda | February 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I am desperately trying to keep on a methadone program that I pay for out of my small fixed income. Why are they not trying to help with those programs? They do save lives and they do cut down on crime. I was a mess until I got on methadone and now I am a stable tax paying citizen. We need more exposure to these programs and also make it easier for an addict to get on and stay on them. From a grateful addict.

  5. Jeffrey Brown | February 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    If only 10-20% of people ever recoup from their addiction tendencies – who honestly believes abstenance and drugs like methadone are going to help them lead “normal” lives. I don’t have the answer. I have seen friend spiral out of control and die. I’ll offer a couple of band aids : Retail access to naloxonethat way if they do use-maybe they won’t die. No one deserves to die just because they have a drug problem. I would like to think opiate dependent people could be maintained through the local community. Give them pills so they don’t go to injections which tend to kill people. The sheer disgrace and humiliation of your peers knowing your an addict may lead some to get help getting off high doses. Regulated opiate pills might give some of the addicted a chance to live. Then again, what do I know. I don’t know much about herion. I do know that once you go down that path, you are flirting with the end.

  6. Carlos | February 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    The is no information whether he was on buprenorphine treatment. I am guessing privacy and confidentiality. But they still mention he had them in his apartment.

    I guess that when one has money one can have anything one wants.

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