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Reconsidering “Overdose”

Rare is the time that I read something that makes me re-think what I’ve always known (or what I thought I knew). But it happened as I read this week’s Time magazine.

In it, writer Aaron Sorkin praises actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman and suggests that Hoffman didn’t die from a heroin overdose but instead died from heroin.

Overdose means “too great a dose” or “a lethal or toxic amount (as of a drug).” When I read Sorkin’s words, I realized that I don’t know what the proper dosage of heroin is (Wikipedia says that the term heroin is usually used when referring to the illegal narcotic; medically, it’s called diamorphine).

I know that morphine is the real drug here. But I don’t know what the proper dosage of morphine is, either. lists it as between 5 and 30 mg, although extended-release capsules can be as high as 100-200 mg but no more than 1,600 mg in a day.

I also don’t know how much of the drug Hoffman took that killed him. The New York Medical Examiner officially ruled the death an accident caused by “acute mixed drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine.”

It wasn’t revealed if he had taken all of these drugs at once, so for now, I’m seriously considering Sorkin’s point.

Until next time! Use the right words!


February 15, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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