A variation 100 time more potent than heroin - laced with the painkiller Fentanyl - is causing a spike in deaths on the US East Coast.
Philip Seymour Hoffman joins a sad list of Hollywood stars whose lives were seemingly cut short by drugs, here is a look at other losses.
A look at the life and career of Philip Seymour Hoffman who has died from an "apparent drug overdose" aged 46.
An advert referring to the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been banned after the advertising watchdog decided it was "likely to cause serious offence".
The advert, which appeared in the Evening Standard the day after Hoffman's death, was for a book by Alain de Botton entitled 'The News: A User's Manual'.
The headline featured was "Philip Seymour Hoffman's drug overdose eclipses interest in sculpture trail", with text underneath asking readers why they were more interested in the actor's fate than with a cultural project that would affect their own city.
The Advertising Standards Authority criticised the advert for referring to Hoffman's death "in such a manner and in such detail" in order to sell a product was likely to offend some people.
Film star and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead in his New York apartment on February 2 with a needle in his arm, died of an accidental overdose of drugs, a New York City Chief Medical Examiner said.
The cause of death was acute drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, according to Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office.
Four people arrested in New York have been charged with drugs offences possibly connected to narcotics found at the home of film star Philip Seymour Hoffman following his death of an apparent heroin overdose, police officials said.
The four were arrested during a raid on a building in the Chinatown district of Manhattan yesterday after police traced what they believe to have been the source of the heroin suspected of killing the Oscar-winning actor.
New York police Sergeant Thomas Antonetti, without linking the arrests to Hoffman's death, named the four as Robert Vineberg, 57, Thomas Cushman, 48, Max Rosenblum and Juliana Luchkiw, both 22.
The older two were charged with felony drug possession and the younger two were charged with misdemeanor drug possession, he said.
One law enforcement source confirmed to NBC that Philip Seymour Hoffman's phone number was found on the cell phone of one the men arrested during the raid.
Four people are being questioned in connection with drugs found at actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment, CNN reports.
The marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in memory of Philip Seymour Hoffman who died on Sunday at the age of 46.
Stars from around the world have paid tribute to the actor who was found dead in his New York City apartment as a result of a suspected drug overdose.
The Broadway League announced that it will be dim its lights on Wednesday at 7:45pm in memory of the celebrated actor.
"Philip Seymour Hoffman, a three-time Tony Award nominee, was a true artist who loved the theatre," Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League.
"His prolific body of work encompassed various mediums including theatre, film, and television, and we'll always be grateful for his boundless and profound talent that he shared with us on the Broadway stage. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans."
Law enforcement sources told America's NBC News that items found in Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment include:
- About 50 bags of heroin - some used, some unused
- Six bottles of prescription drugs used to treat high blood pressure, ADHD, anxiety and addiction
One source told NBC that overdose was the leading theory and toxicology results will determine the cause of death in the coming days.
A post-mortem examination will be carried out on the body of Philip Seymour Hoffman today, CNN reported, citing a New York City spokeswoman.
Police were combing his New York apartment for evidence yesterday, the report said, working on the assumption that the actor died of a heroin overdose.
Gwyneth Paltrow has paid tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who she starred alongside in The Talented Mr Ripley.
The Hollywood star posted a picture of herself with Jude Law and Hoffman who she called "a true genius".
Profile: Philip Seymour Hoffman dies aged 46
Read more: Tributes to Philip Seymour Hoffman