TODAY | February 04, 2014
>>> death is highlighting a growing problem in this country, heroin addiction .
>> reporter: as a makeshift memorial grew, a tearful cate blanchett paid their respects to the family. in the apartment where he died, sources say police found 23 empty bags of heroin, syringes, four bags of what appeared to be cocaine and six bottles of prescription drugs , including one used for treating drug addiction . hoffman was open about his past struggles. in 2006 , he told "60 minutes" about going to rehab after college.
>> i was 22 and got panicked for my life.
>> reporter: for 23 years, hoffman remained sober until last year when he reportedly relapsed. but while his is a high-profile death, heroin addiction is a dark secret for many. in vermont, the governor devoted his entire state of the state to what he called a full-blown heroin crisis. availability has more than doubled in the past five years. and 4 out of 5 people who try heroin for the first time are prescription drug users.
>> it's a cheaper form of the high you're talking about getting a pill on the street for $60 to $80 of a pharmaceutical drug versus a $10 bag of heroin.
>> known for being an every man actor, it seems philip seymour hoffman may have had what is becoming an alarmingly common addiction. for today, kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york.
>> it's so sad. all the warning signs that were there ahead of time and it's just a terrible loss.
>> it's devastating. i hope it does draw attention to this problem because it's so widespread.