Hoffman Had Heroin, Cocaine, Other Drugs in System

Coroner rules his death an accidental toxic mix

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 28, 2014 3:12 PM CST

(Newser) – New York's medical examiner has confirmed that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an accidental drug overdose. But it wasn't just heroin in the 46-year-old's system, as earlier reported. Toxicology results conducted after the first inconclusive autopsy also found cocaine, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine, reports the Daily News. The official verdict: "acute mixed drug intoxication" for the actor, who died with a syringe in his arm. The AP defines benzodiazepines as psychoactive drugs, including Librium.

This kind of drug mixing sometimes prevents addicts from realizing that they're heading for respiratory trouble, says Sanjay Gupta at CNN. "They're not feeling it, but it's still having an impact on their ability to breathe, and that's the real problem," he says. "It's called stacking. You can stack the same drug too close together, or you can start to stack other drugs, one on top of the other. That's how people get into trouble." Click to read about how a false story in the National Enquirer in the wake of Hoffman's death already has resulted in a settlement.

In this Jan. 19, 2014 photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait.
In this Jan. 19, 2014 photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait.   (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)
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