Jamie Lee Curtis is continuing to use her ever-growing platform to discuss controversial personal issues. Fresh off the success of her latest installment in the Halloween franchise, which made a record $77.5 million during its opening weekend at the box office, Curtis told People that she had an addiction to opiates in the 80s and 90s.
“I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic,” Curtis said. “I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one,” she revealed.
According to Curtis, the addiction began after she was prescribed opiates to recover from plastic surgery. The actor underwent a small procedure for her “hereditary puffy eyes” in 1989, and for ten years after the surgery, she revealed that she often stole pills in an attempt to obtain painkillers in any way she could. In 1998, her older sister Kelly, became the first person to discover Curtis’s addiction.
“I’m breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family,” the actress told People. The “lives of generations” of her family the actress mentioned in her interview include her father, the classic Hollywood star Tony Curtis, who was reportedly addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and heroin, as well as her brother Nicholas Curtis, who passed away in 1994 after overdosing on heroin. “Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment… bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything,” Curtis said.
Curtis also told People that she attended her first recovery meeting in 1999, and continues to attend meetings to this day, after remaining sober for almost 20 years. “In recovery meetings, anyone who brings up opiates, the entire room will turn and look at me, because I’ll be like, ‘Oh here, talk to me. I’m the opiate girl,’”she revealed.
The opioid crisis has popped up a lot in popular culture recently, not only in fictional narratives such as Julia Roberts’s upcoming movie, Ben Is Back, which chronicles the relationship between a mother and son who is addicted to opiates, and the activist work of artist Nan Goldin, who survived an opioid addiction and is now leading protests across the country to take direct action against the crisis with her activist group, PAIN, but also in the lives of celebrities we follow on a daily basis. Curtis’s recent openness about her struggles with opioid addiction and maintaining sobriety may offer solace or aid for many, after a year in which many celebrities and public figures have had close calls with overdoses, or have lost their lives due to addiction.