The death of Prince in April and the subsequent reports alleging his addiction to opioid painkillers has prompted actress Jamie Lee Curtis to write an essay in the Huffington Post detailing her own battle with opiate addiction.

Curtis is an award-winning film and TV actress who is known for movies such as Halloween (1978) and True Lies (1994) – which also starred former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite taking some breaks throughout her career, she returned to TV in 2015 in the series ‘Scream Queens’ where she plays the role of a University Dean.

Kill the Pain Essay by Jamie Lee Curtis

Her recent essay for the Huffington Post titled “Kill the Pain” is not the first time she has written about her past battle with opioid addiction. In 2009, following the death of pop legend Michael Jackson, she wrote an essay for the magazine detailing how a surgical procedure ignited her battle with prescription painkillers.

In her new post, Curtis talks about the alleged link between Prince and the opioid painkiller Percocet saying, “So, awaiting final toxicology, it has now been reported in the New York Times that Prince was toxic. I can relate. I was toxic too. I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to.”

She then explained how she used to take too many pills at once; trying to “kill” emotional and physical pain with the opiate medication. This is a place a lot of people have found themselves in, she said.

Yet, despite her struggle, she considers herself fortunate to have been an opioid addict who eventually achieved sobriety. As it stands, she has been sober for the past 17 years of her life.

In a high-pressure career such as acting – where you are prone to fierce criticism – it is easy to seek solace through prescription medication. But for those like Curtis whose lives started spiraling due to painkillers with potential for abuse, the physical and emotional connection to the drugs becomes difficult to break. As she describes it, “Once the craving sets in, it is often too late.”

Spotlight on Opiate Addiction 

Even as the world mourns the deaths of Michael Jackson, Prince and other stars, there is now a great spotlight on the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has for a long time been sparsely reported by mainstream media.

Curtis goes on to highlight this shift saying the government, the American Medical Association (AMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and media houses are beginning to talk about the epidemic. Having this discourse creates greater public awareness and helps to educate them on the dangers of opioid painkiller medication they were unaware of.

Unfortunately, it has taken too long before this issue was brought to the light and many people have had to suffer the loss of loved ones and the destruction of relationships. And as Curtis says, the whole world mourns for the passing of artists due to prescription pill abuse.

One thing we can do now is to end the stigma of addiction so that more people can open up about their secret battles and find some way to treatment. As Curtis concluded, “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.”