Philip Seymour Hoffman, a life could have been saved

Addiction, treatment, and saving lives --

"Proper addiction treatment works in many cases, but the most tragic fact of Hoffman’s and others’ addictions is that they could have been prevented in the first place. Addiction is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. For now, genes aren’t fixable, but it’s possible to protect people from becoming addicted by improving their environments and addressing their psychological stresses. Risk factors such as mental illness; learning disabilities; ADHD; trauma; poverty; and growing up in dysfunctional families, where there’s violence and abuse and in neighborhoods defined by drugs and violence, can be mitigated and replaced by protective factors including counseling, social programs, therapy, education and a range of other interventions. If they are, drug use can often be averted or nipped in the bud ... These days, most heroin addictions are preceded by addictions to prescription opiates like Oxycontin and Vicodin. These drugs can be hard to get and expensive compared with a cheaper opiate: heroin. If we can prevent prescription-medicine misuse, we can prevent many instances of heroin addiction. If pain-medication abuse is effectively curtailed, so will the sharp rise in heroin addiction. If the treatment system adopts evidence-based practices, heroin addicts like Hoffman can be saved." Read more: David Sheff: How Philip Seymour Hoffman Could Have Been Saved |

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