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February 6, 2014

Hoffman’s Relapse & Death Is A Tragic, Common Outcome


AP Entertainment Writer

Los Angeles (AP) Philip Seymour Hoffman suffered from a chronic medical condition that required ongoing treatment. An admitted drug addict who first sought professional help more than two decades ago, Hoffman apparently succumbed to his illness with an overdose despite a return to rehab last March.

A father of three with a thriving career, the Oscar winner died Sunday with a needle in his arm and baggies of what appeared to be heroin nearby. New York City medical examiners were conducting an autopsy on Hoffman’s body Monday as investigators scrutinize evidence found in his apartment, including at least four dozen plastic packets, some confirmed to have contained heroin.

His death, which came after a long period of sobriety that ended last year, ``epitomizes the tragedy of drug addiction in our society,’’ said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Hoffman as Truman Capote in Capote

``Here you have an extraordinarily talented actor who had the resources, who had been in treatment, who obviously realized the problem of drugs and had been able to stay clean,’’ she said, adding that Hoffman’s case shows how devastating addiction can be.

Success has no more bearing on drug addiction than it does on heart failure, doctors say: Both can be fatal without consistent care. And while rehab may be part of treatment, it’s no antidote. Amy Winehouse and Cory Monteith had both been to rehab before eventually dying from overdoses.

``Addiction is a chronic, progressive illness. No one can be cured,’’ said Dr. Akikur Reza Mohammad, a psychiatrist and addiction-medicine specialist who works as a professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and is founding chief of Inspire Malibu Treatment Center. ``If someone is suffering from addiction, they cannot relax at any time. The brain neurochemistry changes... so these people are prone to relapse.’’

The younger a person begins using drugs, the more likely he is to develop an addiction, Volkow said. Hoffman wasn’t specific about his poisons when he told CBS’ ``60 Minutes’’ in 2006 that he used ``anything I could get my hands on’’ before cleaning up with rehab at age 22.

He said in interviews last year that he sought treatment for heroin addiction after 23 years of sobriety.

Addiction causes chemical changes in the brain that remain long after a person stops using the substance, said Volkow, who described the condition as ``a chronic disease with a very long duration.’’ Abstinence or substitute medication is often required to prevent the addict from losing control around his desired substance.

And just as someone who hasn’t ridden a bike for 20 years will still know what to do with a bicycle, an addicted brain exposed to its drug—even after a long break—will relapse to its old levels.

Studies have replicated this in animals, Volkow said: ``Give them a tiny amount and they immediately escalate to same levels of drug taking as before’’ —which is why addiction is considered a chronic disease and overdose is common.

Hoffman, & Mimi O’Donnell with daughters

Hoffman’s ``is a story that unfortunately is not infrequent—to have an individual who takes drugs in (his) 20s and stops for 20 years relapse in (his) 40s and overdose,’’ she said.

It’s not clear what motivated the actor’s return to drugs and what, if any, ongoing treatment he received after his rehab stint in 2013.

Director Anton Corbijn, who was with Hoffman at the Sundance Film Festival last month to promote the film ``A Most Wanted Man,’’ said Hoffman’s death ``came as much as a shock to me as to anyone else I’d imagine.’’ He said that when he spent time with the actor two weeks ago, he ``seemed in a good place despite some issues he had to deal with,’’ but Corbijn did not elaborate.

Hoffman spoke to The Associated Press about the film at the festival, where he was dogged by paparazzi but otherwise calm. The actor, who could transform so convincingly into such varied characters on stage and screen, was generally a private person—something he said went with the job.

``If they start watching me (in roles) and thinking about the fact that I got a divorce or something in my real life, or these things, I don’t think I’m doing my job,’’ he said in the ``60 Minutes’’ interview. ``You don’t want people to know everything about your personal life, or they’re gonna project that also on the work you do.’’

Because addiction has a genetic predisposition, celebrities are as likely as anyone else to suffer, though working in a field that may be more tolerant of drug use can increase a person’s chances.

``Addiction does not discriminate, the same way high blood pressure and diabetes do not discriminate,’’ Mohammad said, adding that 100 people die in the U.S. each day from drug overdoses. Those numbers are increasingly fueled by prescription painkillers, which tend to be opiates, like heroin.

Recovery from drug addiction is possible with treatment, lifestyle changes and awareness, doctors say. They may recommend inpatient rehabilitation for up to six months, followed by ongoing therapy and self-help meetings, such as those offered by 12-step programs. While intensity and type of treatment vary according to individual needs, Volkow said continuous treatment over five years has yielded the best results in studies so far.

``Continuity of care improves outcomes for individuals who are addicted to drugs,’’ she said, adding that it can be a ``graded approach’’ that changes with time. ``But you need continued awareness of the possibility of relapse. No matter how long you’ve been clean, if you take the drug, you’re at high, high risk of relapse.’’

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at

This Week In The Civil War: Fighting At Morton’s Ford, VA

This Week in the Civil War - This series marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War draws primarily from wartime dispatches credited to The Associated Press or other accounts distributed through the AP and other historical sources.

By The Associated Press

This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Feb. 9: Skirmishes in Virginia.

Union forces kept up harassing tactics against Confederate forces in Virginia this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. On Feb. 6, 1864, Federal cavalry made several swift crossings of Virginia’s Rapidan River north of Richmond, seat of the Confederacy. The crossings at the time, near Morton’s Ford, Va., and elsewhere, were intended as feints as Union forces mulled unleashing a large-scale raid elsewhere up Virginia’s peninsula region toward that city.

Neither side gained an advantage in the skirmishes that accompanied the crossings. But the worst fighting broke out at Morton’s Ford before Union cavalry withdrew the following day, Feb. 7, 1864. Large-scale fighting in Virginia was still months ahead in the Shenandoah and when Union’s ``Overland Campaign’’ would ramp up in the late spring of 1864.

‘Jar Nut’s’ Collection Of Bottles Is On Display In Spencer, NC


Salisbury Post

Spencer, NC (AP) Saying this out loud will jinx him, of course, but in his two decades of collecting old milk bottles from across North Carolina, John Patterson Jr. has yet to drop one.

Despite his good hands, Patterson still experienced some uneasiness late last year moving close to 350 bottles from his Spencer residence across town to the N.C. Transportation Museum.

His bottles, showcased at the entrance to the Bumper-to-Bumper (old flue shop) exhibit, tie into the museum’s recent addition of a 1959 Divco Co. milk truck from the former Melville Dairy in Burlington.

``I had a lot of fun doing it,’’ Patterson says of setting up his temporary display, ``and I’ve had a lot of comments about it.’’

One side of the building’s entrance is devoted mostly to milk bottles from old dairies in Rowan and Cabarrus counties — it’s hard to believe how many there were.

Patterson also has included a good smattering of pint milk bottles from other N.C. communities, plus a corner devoted to the Biltmore Dairy Farms brand.

There are plenty of dairy-related ``go-withs’’ on display, too. Patterson has collected calendars, advertising signs, pot-holders, milk crates, toy trucks, banks, trays, photographs, even a handheld capper used by the smaller dairies to seal off bottles one by one.

``I thought it would be neat to have,’’ Patterson says.

Patterson devoted the shelves on the other side of the entrance to mostly Melville Dairy and its onetime competitors in the Burlington area.

Again, it’s a good connection to the Melville milk truck on display just around the corner, and Patterson also wanted the Scott family, which donated the truck, to have a sentimental journey back to days of its dairy.

In fact, if you’re of a certain age, say 50 or older, you can’t help but become a little nostalgic when you see what Patterson has put together.

It harkens back to the home deliveries by the milkman, the days in school when milk came in pint or half-pint bottles and a time when dairy farms were big enough to bottle and sell their milk in local stores.

From Rockwell to Mount Ulla and Landis to Spencer, dairy farms in Rowan County marketed their milk, and Patterson has the bottles and other memorabilia to prove it.

As a kid on Saturday mornings, Patterson used to wait on the steps to his house for the Cabarrus Creamery’s milkman. They might have a short conversation before the milkman left his bottles on the porch with Patterson.

Not long after the milkman was out of sight, Patterson would peel off a cap, lick the pure cream off the top and return the cap to the bottle.

Patterson also looked forward to Wednesday afternoons at his elementary school. A crate of milk bottles would be delivered to each class, and if the students were lucky, they might be treated to chocolate milk.

``I can still taste that chocolate milk,’’ Patterson says, making your mouth water. ``There just isn’t any comparison to milk today.’’

Patterson actually is a self-proclaimed ``jar nut’’ — it says so on the personalized license plate of his Toyota Land Cruiser.
He’s a world-class collector of fruit jars, a passion that started in 1974 when he dug up a blue jar in a creek bed close to Woodleaf.

``There was something about that color,’’ Patterson says, recalling how the glass caught the sunlight and sort of changed his life, as far as hobbies go.

Today he has 1,300 to 1,400 Ball jars. Patterson also has a keen interest in whiskey bottles from old Salisbury and Spencer distilleries, pharmacy bottles and soda bottles, anything in glass from Rowan and Cabarrus counties, he says.

His milk bottle collection started with a bang in 1994, when he bought more than 900 bottles from a single seller in Raleigh. It took him three separate trips to transport all the bottles back to Spencer and four years of building shelves to accommodate the collection.

From the start, the purchase gave Patterson some rare bottles from across the state that he would have had a difficult time in ever finding himself.

His interest in milk bottles grew from there, while correspondingly the display space at his house dwindled.

``I have had over 2,000 bottles in my collection,’’ Patterson says.

If Patterson isn’t the top milk bottle collector in the state, he’s mighty close. The overall number of bottles in his collection has been going down, he claims, because he has found others who wanted the bottles ``a whole lot more than I did.’’

For strong sentimental reasons, family members connected to old dairies often have the most interest in buying some of his milk bottles, Patterson adds.

And once he established a reputation in the state as maybe the top milk bottle collector, others made it their No. 1 goal to have things Patterson did not have.

Patterson says he now finds as much happiness in parting with bottles cherished by others as he does in obtaining them in the first place.

Patterson always hears the question: ``What’s your most valuable bottle?’’

He never likes to answer that question, but he does have bottles he is most fond of, such as two bottles—a quart and a pint—that came from the Enochville Dairy. He knows of only one other bottle from the Enochville Dairy in existence.

Patterson also cherishes an embossed bottle from the Rockwell Park Dairy, founded in 1890, and his hard-to-find Lomax Dairy bottles from Spencer.

``That’s a very good local bottle,’’ he says.

Spencer once had three dairies: Lomax, Mendenhall and Hilltop. But Rowan County had many others.

This list is probably not inclusive, but the others included Rowan Creamery, which became Rowan Dairy, Westview, Hickory Grove, Frank Corriher, Linn’s, Coble, Deal’s, Rockwell Park, Hall’s, Mack Harrison, Enochville and Morningside dairies.

Cabarrus County also had a significant number of dairies, including Cabarrus Creamery, Sunrise, H.B. Troutman, Pure Milk Products, Dixie, Russell, J.C. Misenheimer, Crest Ridge, Boxwood Manor, Rose Hill Guernsey, Cold Water Farm, Cedar Grove and Clear Springs Farm.

There also was York’s Goat Milk Dairy in Concord.

Patterson says Stonewall Jackson Training School in Cabarrus County once had its own dairy.

``That’s an awesome bottle,’’ he says.

In addition, Patterson has made a point to collect cardboard milk cartons from the past, though cartons are much rarer items, because they usually were tossed out with the next day’s trash.

Included in Patterson’s display at the N.C. Transportation History Museum are a couple of artifacts from the Haynes Dairy in Lincolnton. Founded in 1914, Haynes Dairy remains in operation and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Patterson’s bottles, cartons and go-withs also reflect the war bonds campaign and cowboy promoters for dairies such as Hopalong Cassidy and Wild Bill Hickok.

Patterson is retired from Philip Morris in Concord. He naturally has absorbed a lot of knowledge about dairies in North Carolina and would like to author a book some day and illustrate it partly with photographs of his bottles.

But first things first. Later this winter or in the early spring, Patterson will have to dismantle his milk bottle exhibit and take everything back home.

Just think of him as the milkman, making another delivery.







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