Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has opened up about her history with opioid addiction, and being sober for 18 years.
Curtis discussed her sobriety, as well as the new documentary she co-produced and meeting her husband, in an interview with ABC News contributor Chris Connelly. "If you had to pinpoint one thing that will be important at the end of my life, it would be my sobriety," Curtis said in the interview.
When Connelly pointed out that the public doesn't associate her with the stereotypical behaviors of drug addicts, the actress talked about Prince's death from an opioid overdose and remembered seeing a photo of him pacing outside of a pharmacy waiting for a prescription.
"I remember the feeling of wanting that prescription," Curtis said in the interview. "I was an opioid addict, hidden, only got more famous and more attention during it. And it was one of the most humiliating, shameful secrets, and you know, I’ve had a couple. It was horrible, and I’m very lucky. I’ve been in recovery for a long time, I work with a lot of people."
Although Curtis said that her fame may have made her addiction worse, it also afforded her privileges many other people don't have, and she recognizes that, too. She told Connelly that she knows opioid addiction is an epidemic that affects middle and lower-class America just as much as it does celebrities, if not more.
There were more than 32,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2015, and the number 0f drug overdose death increased by 19% between 2015 and 2016. Among women, the rate of heroin use alone has doubled between 2002 and 2013. The statistics are so alarming that addiction experts aren't just calling opioid addiction an epidemic, but also a crisis.
Curtis said that she doesn't pretend to have the answers (no one does), but she feels that as a person who has been in recovery for nearly two decades and has standing as a public figure, she can help those still struggling with addiction simply by being honest about her history.
The actress credits an article in Esquire magazine for the turning point to her recovery. It was called "Vicodin, My Vicodin" by Tom Chiarella, and details his drug addiction. "That got me sober," Curtis said. The article made her realize that she's not alone, so she knows that speaking out about her own addiction could do the same for others.
"The beauty of recovery is it’s about connecting," she said. "It’s one addict talking to another saying ‘I get it.'"
Watch the full interview below:
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.
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