The most recent updates about Philip Seymore Hoffman's death indicate not that he overdosed but that his junk was bad -- some of the fentanyl-laced heroin currently on the market.
Where is the quality control? You'll never find a more reliable consumer than a heroin addict, so it's stupid to kill them from a business standpoint. Is the contamination intentional? I hope not -- that would be a terrorist act; even if the targets are "drug-addled losers," they're still U.S. civilians.
The corrections industry, the rehab racket, and entrenched bureaucracies fight us every step of the way on harm reduction, testing, safe injection sites, needle exchanges, et cetera. On the one side, you have the prohibitionists who know goddamn good and well that their agenda is inhumane and a force that undermines civilization. On the other, you have the compassionate and the contrite fighting an uphill battle for social justice, public health, and the enfranchisement of those whom society marginalizes lest lynch mobs run out of strange fruit. One side is in it for lucre and temporal power; the other, fairness for all. The former has money and hopes to continue raking it in; the latter operates on a hope and a prayer. Prison guard unions, the DEA, axe-grinders, Carrie Nations -- these fight Quakers, ethical medical professionals and social workers. Meanwhile, "organized crime" tries to run its business on our backs as it makes Faustian bargains with governments (the mob always tries to go legit, but let's face it: governments need a foil in the war on drugs and are known to leverage dirty work out of made men.) It's a kiss-up, kick-down, double-dealing world populated by scumbags and hypocrites, many of whom wear badges and suckle at our teat with too-sharp teeth.
The pawns in this twisted fracas: drug users. People, we are only as free as those among us who are the most crushed. When the vast majority of Americans who don't think about narcotics and the war on drugs finally get off their collective dead ass and realize that they, therefore, by extension are just as oppressed as the most maligned and persecuted, we might stop hearing the pigs accuse the powerless of being pigs. We might see pigs fly.
Hoffman's death is an unsubtle reminder that drug users count among their number our best and brightest people. Genius is a touched and wild thing. It often finds itself hitting a pipe or shooting up.
End prohibition and save lives. Who knows? Some of them might turn out to be worth saving.