Philip Seymour Hoffman's Manhattan apartment was littered with empty bags of a deadly type of heroin, it has been claimed.
Investigators found eight bags - branded 'Ace of Spades' and 'Ace of Hearts' - inside the fourth-floor apartment, according to officials.
They usually contain a lethal mixture of heroin laced with fentanyl - an opiate used to soothe the pain of cancer patients.
The unusual brand names are among hundreds of stamps used by drug distribution crews to mark products, according to CNN.
The discovery has sparked speculation that the Oscar award-winning actor may have died after injecting the lethal concoction, according to a police source.
The heroin - variously labelled as 'Bud ice', 'Income tax' and 'Theraflu' - has been linked to more than 100 deaths from coast to coast.
The hardest hit states in the epidemic are Maryland, with more than three dozen deaths since September, and Pennsylvania, with almost two dozen this month alone, according to reports.
And a further 22 people died of heroin-fentanyl overdoses in Rhode Island during the first two weeks of this year, officials told the Providence Journal.
Deadly: Investigators found eight empty bags stamped with 'Ace of Spades' and 'Ace of Hearts' inside the actor's Manhattan apartment, according to officials. They usually contain a lethal mix of heroin and fentanyl - also known as 'Bud Ice' (above)
Hoffman, 46, who won the Academy Award for best actor for the 2005 film, Capote, was found dead in his apartment on Sunday morning following an apparent drug overdose.
Officials said the American actor and father of three was found on the bathroom floor of the $11,000 a month West Village apartment.
He was wearing only shorts and a t-shirt - and had a hypodermic needle sticking out of his left arm, according to officials.
Heroin overdose deaths across the country are spiking as the deadly new variant of the drug mixed with fenatanyl is spreading from New Hampshire to Washington State.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is so concerned about the deaths she announced a task force comprised of state, county and local police departments dedicated solely to eradicating it from Western Pennsylvania.
Though Pennsylvania’s cases have so far been the highest profile, Maryland’s medical examiner says 37 people in the state have died in the last five months from injecting the poisonous potion, CBS DC reported.
The deaths were spread throughout the whole state, with 10 occurring in drug-ravaged Baltimore.
'People believe that they’re shooting heroin but the substance does not look like heroin and they’re shooting it and they’re dying,' a rehabilitation expert told the Providence Journal.
Police in Portsmouth, NH, responded to three overdoses in a single 24-hour period one day last week alone, one of those people died, an official told Portsmouth Patch.
Meanwhile, authorities in Nassau County, a Long Island suburb of New York, say the deadly dope has recently killed at least five people, Newsday reported.
Other deaths linked to fentanyl-laced heroin have also been reported in Louisiana and Washington State.
People are overdosing because the combination of fentanyl and heroin is recent trend, and results in a much more powerful high than users have seen before.
Fentanyl is an opiate up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, Dr Karl Williams, the Allegheny County (PA) Medical Examiner told CBS News.
The people who died from overdose were all discovered to have taken the lethal combination.
‘They found almost exactly the same substance in those stamped bags, a fifty – fifty mixture of heroin with Fentanyl,’ he said, adding the opiate provides a higher high than heroin by itself.
His dealer told him to ‘be careful,’ which he said is the first time he’d ever been warned.
‘I go home, lock myself in my bathroom and I do [the drugs], and within 20 seconds I was out,’ he recalled, saying his mother broke down the door to revive him.
Maryland’s chief medical examiner told CBS Baltimore the heroin variant kills people by shutting down their respiratory system.
‘Both substances slow down your breathing and can eventually slow it down to the point of death.'
Officials in Louisiana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington State have also blamed the drug for overdoses in their regions, according to CBS.
Fentanyl-heroin combinations have reared their ugly heads in the past, most notably during the spring of 2006 in Chicago and Detroit – almost 300 people died from February to June while using the drug between the two cities, according to the Washington Post.
Authorities say that the easiest way to spot the more lethal heroin cocktail is because it is white. Heroin usually has a yellow tint to it.
Even more scary, one expert told CBS News, is that dope slingers appear willing to let the drug kill some addicts because it will attract more business from junkies chasing a more potent high.
‘They're willing to lose four or five people to a drug overdose death to maybe attract 30 or 40 new customers and that's just the cost of doing business,’ said Dr. Neil Capretto of Gateway Rehab.
Pennsylvania authorities may have finally started making progress in their fight against the deadly blend. A slate of arrests has been announced over the past 24 hours of people charged with distribution.
Tywon Newby, 39, of Clairton, was found with 2,000 bags of heroin, 48 more bricks of heroin, and more than $8,500 in cash, authorities said.
Other arrests resulted in the seizure of thousands more bags of the lethal mixture, the Pittsburgh Tribune reported.