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Unlike Mr. Brand, who focused on the addict, Dr. Ablow could only see the children.

“When children of addicts lose a parent to overdose, they can also lose any certainty that their mom or dad loved them more than anything in this world. Most little humans, in that predicament, deny that fact. They search for other reasons for their loss and wonder whether they themselves were inadequate.

“They often wonder,” the doctor said, “whether anything in life can be trusted, whether they can ever be safe from catastrophe. And that makes them vulnerable to depression and drug addiction and personality disorders, just like their dad was. Round and round and round. That’s the real way psychiatric suffering is passed through generations.”

That’s the real legacy Philip Seymour Hoffman left. And that’s what’s really sad.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at and on Twitter @josephcurl.