“I know a lot of people working in various professions doing the exact same thing,” he says. “Judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, engineers, day traders, stock brokers, computer information specialists, government contractors.”
All these types of people, according to Professor "Tom Walker," regularly inject heroin into their veins on a daily basis. Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest actors in Hollywood, could function with the drug. The effects of heroin differ by body type and composition.
According to a Daily Beast article, Professor Walker was most agitated at the fact that Hoffman was alone when he died: “We can’t do the one thing that would save our lives: tell others that we are using.”
Amidst all the policy prescriptions for how we could have saved Hoffman, we face the fundamental problem of drug use: every person has a vice. Whether it's overeating, smoking tobacco, heavy drinking, or injecting heroin, every person needs a way to "escape." Some of our most intelligent professionals do it—every day, apparently.
When someone dies, we all claim to know the exact policy that could have saved that individual. In all likelihood, even if a cop had found Hoffman in time to apply naloxone and prevent the overdose, it would have only delayed the inevitable.
What's the solution? We could decriminalize usage. I'm sympathetic to this, but I definitely don't support legalization. Just let them die? With over 700,000 people doing heroin per year, that doesn't appear to be a viable solution for the protection of the common good.
Yet, neither society nor the state can eliminate vice. Stigma leads to isolation, which probably contributed to the death of a great artist. The war on drugs has led to rights violations, financial waste, and bureaucractic fecklessness.
Maybe, just maybe, there is no solution.