Within hours of finding Philip Seymour Hoffman on the floor of his bathroom with a needle in his arm, New York Police Department investigators were combing his apartment and the surrounding neighborhood for clues.
Investigators looked through video from ATM cameras and interviewed people who saw the actor, piecing together his final hours as they searched for anyone who might be linked to the drugs believed to have killed him over the weekend.
Three days later, authorities arrested four people in connection with the drugs found in Hoffman's apartment.
It was a lightning-paced investigation, raising the question that out of the thousands of heroin-related deaths in the United States each year, how many yield similar results?
"There are laws in most states now that say if you give drugs to somebody who kill themselves, you are responsible for their death," CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara said.
But are all such investigations created equal? The answer depends on whom you ask, and where you ask.
'A victim is a victim'
The large law-enforcement response to Hoffman's death wasn't surprising to Mordecai Dzikansky, a retired NYPD homicide detective and intelligence officer with more than 25 years on the job.
"...That's part of the beast," he said. "Something happens in Midtown versus something happens in a corner of Staten Island, I don't think the detectives on the case feel any differently. A victim is a victim."
But add the actor's stature and the media attention, and it requires a few more "hands on deck," he said.
Everyone in law enforcement agrees there has been a spike in heroin use in the United States, spurred by a crackdown on abuse of prescription pills and an increase in heroin production in Mexico.
As a result, heroin-related deaths are on the rise. And so, too, are the investigations into the drug that serves as a cheap substitute for prescription drug abuse.
Quantifying the number of heroin-related investigations is difficult at best, given the sheer number of jurisdictions across the nation.
But Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective with more than 20 years of experience as an investigator, believes the police response in the Hoffman case was undoubtedly influenced by media attention surrounding an apparent overdose death of a celebrity.
The Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment on the Hoffman case or discuss the number of heroin-related prosecutions it has carried out. The New York Police Department did not respond to repeated CNN requests to discuss the scope and pace of the Hoffman investigation compared to others in the city.
Spate of deaths
Giacalone said a spate of heroin-related deaths in the region also played a role in the police response.
In Allegheny County, a predominantly working class area of western Pennsylvania, the chief medical examiner says he typically sees three to four deaths a week from drug overdoses.
Rarely are they heroin deaths.
But in one week in late January, Dr. Karl Williams says he saw 15 -- all heroin users, all from an overdose of heroin laced with the powerful cancer painkiller fentanyl.
The drug did not discriminate. Among the dead: Men and women, young and old. None was a famous actor, though.
County and state law enforcement officials sounded the warning about the deadly drug, and Pittsburgh's mayor pleaded for people to come forward with information.
Within days, a 39-year-old Pittsburgh man was in custody charged with selling the heroin. Authorities seized more than 2,000 bags of the suspected heroin from the man's home, state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said at the time.
"It is my highest priority to find and hold accountable those involved in the distribution of this deadly drug mixture," she said.
Authorities in Maryland sounded a similar warning after 37 people died between September and January after using heroin laced with fentanyl.