Jamie Lee Curtis on Her Addiction to Painkillers

May 9, 2016

As it seems the great Prince’s death may have had something to do with opioid addiction, Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis has penned a heartbreaking Op-Ed in The Huffington Post entitled Kill the Pain about her own struggles with an addiction to painkillers, and her concern for folks out there harboring similar addictions. “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 painkillers. Kill it. Make it stop,” she writes candidly.

But this isn’t the first time the horror film icon has spoken so bluntly about her dangerous and potentially lethal addiction. In 2008, Jamie admitted in an interview with More magazine that, “I’d anesthetize myself on a daily basis.”

Jamie apparently became addicted to painkillers after she was prescribed medication following a surgical procedure, and during that period she also drank heavily. It appears the pressure to be beautiful and forever youthful in a competitive business got the better of her for a period of time, and she drank and used to ward off bouts of crippling “loneliness.”

In a similar fashion, Prince is reported to have used painkillers to deal with a hip injury possibly due to the wear and tear of years performing in high-heeled boots, and pushing the envelope of artistic expression on the grueling and unforgiving rock ’n’ roll stage. But as often happens, legitimate pain management can turn into full-blown addiction in a very short period of time.

Sadly, Prince appears to be the latest in a long line of actors, musicians, and celebrities who’ve been taken away far too soon due to an addiction to prescription medications. Whitney Houston died of drowning with multiple prescription drugs in her system including Xanax and Benadryl. Michael Jackson died of Propofol intoxication, but also had diazepam and lorazepam in his body at the time of his death. The incomparable Heath Ledger died of drug toxicity due to oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, diazepam, temazepam, and doxylamine. Anna Nicole Smith’s heart stopped due mainly to an overload of benzodiazepines, and the great beauty Marilyn Monroe died of a barbiturate overdose.

With the emergence of much more sophisticated and powerful pain medications, the peril of addiction is patently evident. For those of us in the entertainment business, the stakes are high and the pressure ever present as our goals, and indeed our most intimate dreams, are on the line. But dealing with the burdens and stress of a dog-eat-dog business should not cost anyone his or her very life. Experts say that if you are in the midst of an opioid addiction, it’s important to be honest with yourself, and to seek out help as addiction to pain medication is sadly very common, but also undoubtedly treatable.

Thankfully, Jamie Lee Curtis is nearly twenty years clean now, but the wounds of her addiction seem eerily close to the surface as she writes, “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.” This is the nature of such a debilitating and ravaging habit. But there is help out there, and there is hope as an awareness of opioid addiction is emerging slowly, but surely.


Being the Spokesperson for Embarrassing Products

May 6, 2013

Lisa Rinna in a Depends commercial

Do you experience occasional irregularity? Do your dentures give off an annoying odor, interfering with your confidence in social interactions? How about erectile dysfunction, excessive gas, or athlete’s feet…getting you down? Well, aren’t you glad there are products that address these awkward matters? I’m sure we all are, because no one is immune to the vicissitudes of this life no matter how well we take care of our health or personal hygiene. But where the rubber meets the road for you, as an actor, is when you’re cast in a commercial addressing these uncomfortable conditions. This is something you’ll want to think about before you’re afforded a promotional opportunity.

Jamie Lee Curtis brings humor and a down-to-earth openness to the topic of digestive irregularity in her role as the spokesperson for Activia yogurt. Florence Henderson, otherwise known as the beloved Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch is the spokesperson for Polident denture cleaner. And Days of Our Lives and Melrose Place star, Lisa Rinna is shown in a Depends commercial walking the red carpet wearing an adult diaper. Lisa stands behind her decision to tout what could be considered an unglamorous product saying, “I am a champion of positive self-image for women; the new Silhouette makes a woman feel confident.” So, it’s obviously not the career kiss of death to endorse one of these delicate products. But it should be noted these women have long and storied professional resumes behind them.

In this regard, you–as an up and coming prospect–might want to give some thought to the products you want your image attached to; or, more specifically, the products you’d rather not be associated with. It’s a good idea to talk with your agent and get clear on your professional image and how you’d like to be perceived by the public. If you don’t have an agent, talk with your friends and family to dial in your professional goals and the decisions you’ll make in getting where you want to go.

While there’s nothing wrong with experiencing ailments like bloating, male pattern baldness, acne, or serious medical conditions, it’s not something people generally care to discuss with large groups of people. Thankfully, some people come forward to put a face on such issues. But in your career you need to clear as a bell as to who you are and how you wish to be perceived. This is true of just about every profession, but acting is a particularly conspicuous endeavor. That being said, success can certainly be achieved after being featured in such commercials. After all, starring in a 1980’s Australian Tampax tampons commercial didn’t stop Naomi Watts from having an outstanding, multi award-winning career.