Jamie Lee Curtis Pens Essay On Her Former Opiate Addiction

By McCarton Ackerman 05/09/16

In an essay titled "Kill the Pain," Curtis addressed the loss of Prince, the opiate epidemic, and her own addiction and recovery. 

Jamie Lee Curtis Pens Essay On Her Former Opiate Addiction
Photo Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

On the heels of Prince’s death and his alleged prescription drug addiction, actress Jamie Lee Curtis was reminded of her own battle with opiates.

In a short essay she penned for the Huffington Post, the 57-year-old mourned the loss of Prince, saying she is "one of the lucky ones" who was able to come out of opioid dependence alive. Since becoming hooked after a routine cosmetic surgical procedure at 35 years old, which she wrote about in 2009 following the death of Michael Jackson, Curtis illustrates the powerful lure of opioids. "Most people who become addicted, like me, do so after a prescription for a painkiller following a medical procedure. Once the phenomenon of craving sets in, it is often too late," she wrote.

"I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to. I too, took too many at once. I too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with pain killers. Kill it. Make it stop." She revealed in 2008 that it had gotten so bad that she was stealing pills from her sister.

Now 17 years in recovery from opiate addiction, Curtis says she can relate to Prince's struggle with opiates that many speculate was the cause of his death. "I can relate. I was toxic too."

“I, like all of you, mourn the passing of a great artist but I also mourn the passing of potential artists past and present, caught in this deadly vise,” she wrote. “Let’s work harder, look closer and do everything we can not to enable and in doing so, disable, our loved ones who are ill. This is what it sounds like when we all cry.”

Since committing to sobriety, Curtis has made it a priority to spread awareness and share her story of addiction, serving as a volunteer counselor and public speaker for anti-drug campaigns. It's an issue that hits home in more ways than one. In 2014, the actress called 911 after witnessing her friend overdose from a combination of alcohol and prescription medication. The woman made a full recovery and released from the hospital just hours later.

Curtis calls her sobriety the “single greatest accomplishment of my life because it broke the cycle of addiction in my family.” She said in 2012 that she's maintained her recovery by being open about her issues. “Being courageous enough to acknowledge it privately with my family and friends. Working really hard at solidifying it, getting support around it and being healthy. And then talking about it publicly. That is the single greatest accomplishment of my life.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.