NEW YORK – Heroin recovered at Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s apartment after he was found dead there with a syringe in his arm has tested negative for the powerful additive fentanyl, a police official said Tuesday.
Samples taken from Hoffman’s Manhattan apartment didn’t contain the potent synthetic morphine, which is added to intensify the high and has been linked to 22 suspected overdose deaths in western Pennsylvania, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to talk about the evidence and insisted on anonymity.
Investigators also have determined that the highly acclaimed star of screen and stage made six ATM transactions for a total of $1,200 inside a supermarket near his home on the day before his death, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. They have been piecing together his final hours using video surveillance to determine his whereabouts.
The actor, 46, was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment Sunday. His door was double-locked when his body was found at about 11:30 a.m. by his assistant and a friend, law enforcement officials have said.
Besides the bank records, investigators discovered buprenorphine, a drug used to treat heroin addiction, at Hoffman’s apartment and are examining a computer and two iPads found at the scene for clues, two law enforcement officials said.
A spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that there has been no official determination made on what killed Hoffman. Police have said the medical examiner’s ruling on his cause of death will determine whether there is any criminality but they suspect it was an overdose.
More than 50 small plastic envelopes of heroin were recovered in Hoffman’s apartment along with syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a blood pressure drug and a muscle relaxant, law enforcement officials have said.
Some of the packets were variously stamped with the ace of hearts and others with the ace of spades, they said.
The New York Police Department’s intensive effort to determine the source of the drugs in an apparent accidental overdose is unusual. Courts have found in past rulings that under state law, drug dealers cannot be held liable for a customer’s death.
Addiction specialist Dr. Louis E. Baxter, a former president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said Tuesday that addicts, especially those who have built up high tolerances, can use as much as two bundles of heroin, or about two dozen packets, per day.
“Addicts with financial means will actually stockpile their drug,” he said. “Someone who has developed tolerance, who is seeking to develop a high, may need to inject every two hours or so.”
The Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, which has handled funerals for celebrities including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and James Cagney, is arranging Hoffman’s service, its president, George Amato, said, adding that the family wants a private funeral Friday.