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.