Say what you want to about heroin, it is a drug that doesn't discriminate.
It addicts the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich. It kills everybody from the lowest street junkie to the biggest star of stage and screen.
The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman on Sunday from an apparent overdose is evidence of the roaring comeback of the drug. The actor who played Truman Capote in "Capote" and the priest suspected of child abuse in the film "Doubt" was found on the floor of his bathroom with a needle sticking in his arm.
News reports say heroin is again becoming a drug of choice because it is cheaper than prescription painkillers and it is readily available.
Years ago, heroin addicts were the losers in paperback mysteries detectives would turn to for information to solve crimes. These so-called "junkies" would sell out their brother for the couple of bucks it took to buy a bag of heroin.
Unfortunately, these fictionalized stories of addicts only focused on poor street people and, therefore, didn't reveal the true reach of the drug.
According to Project KnowUnderstanding Addiction, other famous heroin addicts included actor River Phoenix; singers Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Billie Holiday; comedians Lenny Bruce and Chris Farley; and musicians Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis.
Eric Clapton was successfully rehabilitated from the drug and then created a rehab center in Antigua called Crossroads.
Hoffman's death robbed the world of a great actor; it robbed his three children of a father.
So, this is a cautionary note to folks who think a little experimentation can't hurt you. None of the distinguished people listed above set out to be a junkie, and yet . . .
Heroin is not a recreational drug. It is a killer.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.