Jamie Lee Curtis was addicted to opiates: ‘I too, took too many at once’

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We’re still waiting for the final toxicology results on Prince. He was known to have been using Percocet to treat his hip pain, and it’s been reported that he succumbed to an accidental overdose. We also just learned that he was sadly scheduled to see an addiction specialist the day after he died. Prince’s death is a tragic reminder of the cost of addiction, which affects so many people from all walks of life. Now Jamie Lee Curtis, 57, has opened up about her own addiction, in the late 90s, to opiates. She wrote a brief, compelling essay for The Huffington Post revealing what she went through.

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.

I too, took too many at once. I too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with pain killers. Kill it. Make it stop.

Too many of our fellow humans, famous, infamous, and not famous at all, have sought the same relief. The symbolism of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” an anthem of addiction, seems more poignant as now it is a purple rain, another loss to drug addiction.

I am one of the lucky ones as I have been in recovery from opiate addiction for over 17 years.

It seems now that the governmental body, the AMA, the FDA and the media are starting to address the rampant epidemic of opiate addiction. There have been reclassifications and attempts at reigning in the overprescription of opiates.

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.

I, like all of you, mourn the passing of a great artist but I also mourn the passing of potential artists past and present, caught in this deadly vise.

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.

This is what it sounds like when we all cry.

[From The Huffington Post]

That was powerful. Kudos to Jamie Lee for speaking out, that must not have been easy. I’ve seen friends become addicted to prescription opiates. They’re given out for pain and for post operative care and and they can be difficult to quit, especially if the pain is ongoing and chronic. People need higher dosages over time to achieve the same level of relief and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Communities, families and so many people have been devastated by the opiate epidemic. There’s got to be a way to ensure that opiates are available to people who need them while limiting the possibility of abuse. There’s also the issue of addicts turning to heroin when prescription drugs get too expensive. There are no easy answers, but there are some stop gap measures like distributing “save shots” to local first responders and within communities. When we see legends like Price die we’re reminded that the longer it takes to implement solutions, the more people we’re going to lose to addiction.

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76 Responses to “Jamie Lee Curtis was addicted to opiates: ‘I too, took too many at once’”

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  1. Kristen820 says:

    “Most people who become addicted, like me, do so after a prescription for a painkiller following a medical procedure.”

    Gotta take issue with that. Multiple studies have shown that in people prescribed an opioid for a legitimate reason, and who take it as instructed, addiction is fairly uncommon. It ABSOLUTELY happens, but it’s nowhere near the norm.

    • Esmom says:

      I don’t think she was saying that it was the norm for people to become addicted. I think she was saying that the people who do become addicted start out with a prescription from a doc and it escalates from there.

      I applaud her decision to go public. I also read a piece on the HuffPost yesterday that said something like “Prince didn’t die from addiction, he died from chronic pain.” It gave me pause and made me feel thankful that I have not had to face terrible, ongoing pain. I can’t imagine.

    • jamie says:

      I think a lot of people are confusing “addiction” with “dependence”, which are not the same things. That difference should be made more clear when thr matter is discussed.

      • SilkyMalice says:

        ^This.

      • Elyna says:

        Thank you, jamie! Let’s also throw in “tolerance” when speaking of med levels for chronic pain patients…you know, the people US doctors do not want as patients and who are painted as “whiners” because, even taking pain medication per instructions for an extended time period creates physical tolerance (and usually dependence). US Physicians & insurance companies RARELY follow the best practices of combining medication, physical therapy and psychological therapy for chronic pain…but, heck yeah for acute pain episodes.

        IMO, Physicians take a pledge to heal; and, are frustrated and do not desire to work with patients for whom healing will never be a full outcome.

        It is important to note that per US medical standards any person taking a prescribed medication as directed and under a physician’s care is NOT considered “addicted”. There is no reason to feel guilty for correctly treating pain.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Um … can you guys define how YOU mean the words? The word dependence is used in so many different ways, that I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying. Heck, even “addiction” is not used any more. The new phrase is “substance use disorder”. (Welcome to the euphemism treadmill!)

        If you just mean there’s a huge difference between physical dependence and addiction, then I’d totally agree.

        But if you’re talking about the old DSM-IV difference between dependence and abuse, that separation has been discarded: the new DSM doesn’t use the word dependence at all. So I’d argue that you’re using an outdated model. The new model basically just says tolerance and withdrawal don’t count as symptoms of substance abuse IF you’re taking drugs as prescribed by your doctor.

        To expand on what Elyna said: there are 11 symptoms of abuse in the new diagnosis. 2 of them – withdrawal and tolerance – don’t count if you’re taking drugs as prescribed. But you can still be considered to have a substance use disorder if you have 2-3 of the other symptoms. Which makes sense. If you’re craving the drug, or using it is interfering with your work/social life, then it’s a problem, even if you’re taking it as directed. If stopping the drug would leave you in agony, then stopping is obviously NOT the right solution, but there might be harm minimisation strategies that would help (social support, psychological services). You can’t get access to those services without a diagnosis.

    • Calcifer says:

      @kristen820 But who are the authors of these studies which you refer to? Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard that in the US it is often the pharmaceutical companies themselves who do the studies and the tests, because they are among the few who are able to fund them and, more importantly, because they are the ones who are motivated to fund them.

      • I hesitate to quote any research until I’ve located the funding behind the study. It’s really criminal because stats can be so easily manipulated by the simple addition/subtraction of one tiny, yet vital, element.

      • michelleb says:

        I don’t know about the studies to which @kristen820 refers. I am Canadian; however, I work in scholarly publishing with international research teams that include researchers mainly from the US, Canada, Australia, the U.K., Finland, and Sweden. I don’t always work within medical research dissemination – which can be somewhat different because you are also dealing with a practitioner audience as well as a scholarly audience.

        However, that said, from my experience in research dissemination – which, if you are publishing scholarly articles, you have to disclose your funding. It is usually in the acknowledgements or limitations sections of an article. Funding can come from a variety of sources. In the US, research can certainly be funded by pharmaceutical companies and it often is. But, the industry is not the only source or even main source of funding. The National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and various independent organizational and research bodies fund a lot of studies. The peer review process in publication itself would take issue with an inherent bias in research funded by pharma companies, so that legitimate researchers are going to try to mitigate that influence as much as possible. Many times if a project based at a university (for instance) and funded by a pharma company, it is a hands-off approach.

        The project cannot commence with an agenda in play at the start – especially with Institutional Review Boards at universities that have strict rules for Human Subject Research – this is true in Canada as well. If there is an obvious agenda, it is not going to pass the IRB review. This is before you even get to peer review at an actual publication – so many articles never make it past peer review for flawed methodology, suspect agendas, or many other reasons. So, researchers are likely to have a measure of freedom in their research projects – I.e., they’d say, our research was funded by XXX company, followed by an explanation and reiteration of independence within the project.

        Research funded by and produced within a pharma company itself is a different animal, so to speak. I’m not sure about the FDA approval process in the US, as I am not a medical researcher, but I am assuming based on my experience as a scholarly communication and publication researcher and coordinator, that the FDA would require some non-pharma company based research before approval of any drugs to go on the market. Now, the influence of the pharma companies in the health industry itself is a different matter. Scholarly publishing and research dissemination are separate – if we are talking about legitimate, peer-reviewed journals.

        ETA: there are more and more legitimate and peer reviewed open access journals (available free to read by anyone) now. PubMed indexes some of these. PLoS is also a highly regarded legitmate OA journal. You have to be careful to stay away from the predatory OA journals, but a lot of libraries (university and public) are beginning to compile lists of legitmate OA journals. You’d find good, peer reviewed articles of medical studies here.

      • SilkyMalice says:

        This is why you read the peer reviewed published research. It doesn’t guarantee that there was no fudging, but many many studies never reach publication because they can’t pass peer review. Also, considering the journal is important as well.

      • Calcifer says:

        @ michelleb Thank you for taking the time to write an answer, it is much appreciated.

        I do wonder though about the FDA requiring some non-pharma company based research before approval of any drugs. I seem to recall to have read or heard somewhere that this is not the case and I remember being perplexed.

      • michelleb says:

        @Calcifer, you are very welcome. I hoped that I helped. Probably much more detail than you wanted or needed, but I am a little passionate about scholarly communication and open access, lol

        I am going to have to ask my colleagues in the US what they know about the FDA approval process now, as I am curious as well.

      • @Michelleb
        That was fascinating thank you!

      • michelleb says:

        @ Decorative Item
        Thanks. I think scholarly publishing is a fascinating industry and rapidly changing. Also, in the past few years, it has become an increasingly rigorous research and publication process – precisely to counter these predatory “pay to publish” journals masquerading as open access journals. That, and an industry-wide effort to counter research fraud after some well-publicized scandals (one being the vaccine-linked to autism “study”). It’s not perfect, but the pharma industry does not have as much influence as they’d like in medical research, I believe – from the publishing standpoint anyway.

      • Jib says:

        The makers of Oxy claimed it wasn’t addictive since its creation in the 80s. They just paid a huge fine for lying for 30 years. It criminal what they got away with for so many years.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Very nice post michelleb.

        Re: FDA and non-pharma research: Depends what you mean by independent or “non-pharma”.

        Usually, the pharmaceutical companies sponsor the clinical trials for new drugs for the simple fact they are the ones who know the drug exists and have the money to conduct the trial. You’re never going to get truly independent study for a new drug. How would our independent person even know it existed? And who’d pay them to study it?

        However, the research isn’t normally conducted totally in-house. A large chunk of the research nowadays is outsourced to contract research organisations (CRO) who specialise in running clinical trials. It’s just more efficient to outsource than to keep a roster of internal employees when you may have 15 drugs in trial one year and only 2 the next.

        On the other hand, out-sourcing doesn’t mean you’re safe from fraud. Several CROs have been caught falsifying data. When that happens, it casts doubt on not just 1 or 2 drugs (from one pharma company), but 100 or more drugs, from multiple companies.

    • Betsy says:

      I think she was saying that the average homemaker or office drone with an addiction doesn’t start out by shooting heroin; they do get a prescription after their c-section or knee repair and get addicted that way.

    • tealily says:

      She wasn’t saying that most people who are prescribed the pills become addicted, she was saying that most people who become addicted were originally prescribed the pills for legitimate, medical reasons. Very different.

      • Keaton says:

        Thank you. I was about to write the exact same comment but you said it very succinctly. Jaime Lee Curtis is saying something COMPLETELY different from the original poster.

    • Jib says:

      This is patently untrue. Most people do become addicted from prescribed use and to suggest otherwise is incredibly irresponsibly.Opiates are incredibly addictive. I’m studying to be a substand abuse counselor and we see the stats every week in class.

      • Elyna says:

        Jib, I’m going to tinker just a bit with your 2nd sentence. Most people become addicted from non-compliance with their prescribed medication and failure to keep open a line of communication with their physician. There needs to be discussions about proper timing for titration off the opiate/narco med, IF that is an option (maybe not for chronic pain patients). A patient does not fall under the description of “abusing” or “addicted” to pain medications if they are under Physician care and following dispensary directions.

        All the best with your studies & passing the licensure test!

  2. Pinky says:

    Why is it that these prescribed opiates seem more addictive now than they were, say, fifty years ago? Were people just getting their fixes from something else, or are the prescribed opiates now stronger or combined with something that makes them more addictive?

    –TheRealPinky

    • lilacflowers says:

      The prescribed opiates in use now are stronger.

    • doofus says:

      what lilac said.

      and yet another reason that marijuana should be medicinally legal nationwide.

      for a lot of people, it kills the pain just as well and you don’t need increasingly higher doses to relieve the same amount of pain.

      • Shambles says:

        Preach this all day, Doofus. The healing power of cannabis and its potential to completely change the game can’t be overstated.

      • Nicole says:

        A person addicted to opiates does NOT get the same effect from pot. The pain is helped, but opiates provide the walking on air, everything is great, feeling.

      • doofus says:

        Nicole, that is not what I said. I said that it kills the pain just as well and you don’t need increasingly higher doses to relieve the same amount of pain. and that is true. this is what I’ve learned from docs who specialize in Pain Management as well as from a couple of psychotherapists who treat addiction.

        it’s not going to give an Oxy addict the same “high”, but that’s not what I claimed.

        if doctors had the option of prescribing marijuana via legal prescription nationwide, you’d likely see fewer opiate addicts.

    • Jib says:

      Oxy is very strong and very addictive and the company that makes it lied about this since the 80s when it was first created. They just paid a 600 million $$ fine, but no jail time for the liars.

    • Elyna says:

      The latter, Pinky. Great question, btw! My great-grandparents & grandparents worked cotton fields for a living. They lived with chronic pain & aspirin (and occasionally, alcohol.) People today are taught to be health conscious; and, can afford medical care at a much higher rate than previous generations. Kind of a “you got the money, honey?” mentality on physician and patient ends. “Workman’s Compensation” has increased pain management services.

      Also, researchers have increasingly manipulated the absorption and re-absorption rates increasing reception of the Opioids. While the use of Opioids is not new, the refinement and quick-fix mentality has placed a hard demand for these types of medications in hospitals. Chronic Pain patients are starting to shake the stigma and make themselves heard as legitimate persons of medical need – not “medication seekers”. Thus, more news about opiates.

      What hasn’t been given proper notice is the after-care needs for pain management using non-opioid medication along with physical and psychological therapy incorporated — best practice models average an 80% success rate with patient self-management.

      This is a good link to all going on with opioid-prescribed medication. Very sickening manipulation of public’s trust.

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-fda-head-doctor-david-kessler-opioid-epidemic-one-of-great-mistakes-of-modern-medicine/

      What I see happening in the medical field is doctor’s refusing to accept pain patients or prescribe any of the effective medications for chronic pain patients who comply with use instructions. Instead, there is a referral merry-go-round to pain clinics, refusal to accurately and humanely treat patients and an increase in illegal purchases of medications to self-maintain (medicate) pain levels.

  3. I love everything about Jamie Lee. She’s eloquent and honest in every interview I’ve ever read and is aging so gracefully. She doesn’t spend her time scratching and clawing for attention and when she comes out with something to say it’s always worth a listen.

  4. TheOtherMaria says:

    You’re right about that.

    Problem is that people who legitimately need them and take them accordingly are forced to jump through fire lit hoops while walking on broken glass because of addicts.

    It’s annoying and it’s frustrating.

    Getting drug tested like a criminal, having to sign contracts with my doctor, seeing him monthly, paying for said visit, then being questioned by my insurance every quarter 😳

    Meanwhile, drug abusers buy them with same continued fervor and I’m (along with the thousands of patients who follow the rules) have more restrictions placed upon us.

    There really is no happy medium, not in this country.

    • MAC says:

      Thank you for that! Great Summary. I would like to add that people in the 70′s and 80′s who never had pain medication that may need it for medical reasons that they and their families are put through this because many of them can not get to the appointments by themselves.

    • byland says:

      Co-sign.

      I have a long-term chronic disease with no cure. I take an insane amount of medication and receive brutal treatments to help keep it in check. In just the past year the difficulty in obtaining my medication has increased two-fold.

      I even had a new pharmacist at the pharmacy I’d been a client of for years decide to report me for drug abuse because I filled medication prescriptions while pregnant and had to undergo three months of drug testing to “prove” I wasn’t an addict, never mind the fact that my prescription was for less than a third of what it normally was since I was pregnant and cutting back on medication.

      Nope, big belly and red eyes – my father dying and hormones left me a sobbing mess – equals irredeemable addict. Fun times.

      • Nicole says:

        Same here, people look at me like I’m a dreg of society.

      • byland says:

        I liken it to any other kind of privilege. In this case, instead of “White Privilege,” it’s “Health Privilege.”

        People who live mostly healthy lives, with only “normal” ailments like the occasional cold virus or those who know pain from a broken bone or two in their lifetime have no idea how isolating it can be to suffer from chronic illness.

        I take medication for the reason it was designed and approved. I don’t get high, I don’t tinker with my dosages, I don’t doctor shop for extra prescriptions or higher quantities.

        I use my medication for the exact reason my doctors give it to me: to improve my quality of life so that I can have one worth living.

        To paint everyone on certain medications with the same brush is shortsighted and incredibly prejudicial. Just because someone can misuse a drug doesn’t mean they will.

    • Dani says:

      ITA. When the first whispers of Prince dying of a Percocet came out I thought ohh-noo it is already hard enough for people with legitimate pain needs to get the pain medication that they need. Prince’s death puts more an even more negative spotlight on painkillers. One day very soon the already impossible hoops one has to jump through to get pain medication will be even more impossible. The ones with legitimate pain issues will be the real losers here.

      • Nicole says:

        Exactly. I can barely leave the house, I’m always in so much pain, now this happens. I might as well be agoraphobic, but I’m completely not. Just in constant pain. I don’t even know if I’ll make it to my own wedding at this point.

    • Magnoliarose says:

      Very true. I had a major surgery several years ago and I was in agony. I metabolize medicines quickly so it takes a higher dosage than usual. I was treated like a potential addict instead of a legitimate candidate for pain management. I didn’t get any high except peace from the pain. It’s not fair to paint everyone the same.

    • Elyna says:

      I see “Chronic Pain” as the newest money-making trend with the LEAST amount of Physician/Clinic care.
      Look around at all the pain clinics popping-up. BUT, that does not mean a patient will receive considerate and humane care. More often than not, the Pain Clinic Physicians “cattle call” the patients in for 10-15 minute appointments…a.k.a. The Inquisition. Your Insurance and Physician decide if you cooperate well enough to attend therapy. Were you told the Clinics have to show weekly physical improvement along with reduction of medication on the forms sent back to Claims? Otherwise, the patient will be noted as “non-compliant” so the Clinic maintains Assurance levels. This is when the Chronic Pain patient begins to be noted as “resistant to therapy”; and, usually referred to another program.
      Most Physicians do not like patients who do not heal. It’s not what they are taught; and, it is frustrating if the mind is set for nothing less than idealism. They like Acute pain. They complain equal to or more than Chronic Pain patients’ issues. They direct their patients to “go to the ER if the pain gets too bad”. Of course, this puts a stigma on the patient, not the Physician. And, it is only going to get worse with the new DEA compliance rules.
      IMO, best advice is to keep a journal/diary of medical visits and treatments, along with a rating of “helpfulness” on a 1-10 scale to the side. Take it and refer to it as needed, along with an updated copy of medications, including those d/c’d & date of d/c. A person who is drugged-up cannot/will not stay active in their care. Notating and record keeping helps set apart those involved. The Physicians who dislike note-taking…avoid like the plague. They wouldn’t have been of any help to you in the first place & just saved you time and effort needed to keep your spirit up and the stress reduced.
      Sorry for the long post…Chronic Pain issues are dear to me, thus my soap-box.

  5. MrsBPitt says:

    Damn, Jamie Lee looks fantastic! And, she seems like such an intelligent woman. It just goes to show, that, no matter, what your place in life, rich, poor, famous, not famous, smart or not so smart…addiction can get anyone, anywhere, anyplace…it’s horrible…

    • Annetommy says:

      I’m trying to work out why we are both older women with short grey hair but she looks so much better than I do….and I’ve never been addicted!

      • Zuzus girl says:

        Genetics and well limited botox.

        Good for her for talking about this issue.

      • Linda says:

        I am 61. She was my inspiration a couple of years ago to cut my hair short and let it go grey. I get so many compliments. My hair was dark and now grey and dark blend together so uniquely that people ask me who does my hair. They think I highlight it. I say God is my colourist. Its all natural.

  6. Citresse says:

    I really like this woman. And the fact she’s opened up about these struggles makes me like her even more. It’s important for people to understand they’re not alone.

  7. Betsy says:

    I like Jamie Lee.

  8. Size Does Matter says:

    My brother is an addict. Stereotypical. He was the wild and crazy life of the party, always willing to push it a little farther than his friends. He was voted most likely to succeed in high school. Then in college he had a car accident and started on painkillers. He is 50 now and it has ruined his life, eaten away the last 25 years, hurt our mom and dad tremendously before they died, ruined his marriage, made him a deadbeat dad, college dropout, chronically unemployed. He survived his overdose because someone found him in time. I guess some people can manage those meds without getting addicted and some can’t. But you don’t know which kind you are till it is too late.

    • Snowflake says:

      I’m so sorry

    • Nicole says:

      Sometimes the bottom is death, not even sometimes, so many times. It ruins our lives. My father’s addictions have scared me so much that every time I take a medication for my chronic illness, I still feel the stigma.

  9. Tracy says:

    Brava

  10. JeanGenie says:

    She’s married to one of the funniest people on the planet… so many wasted laughs when she was addicted and in pain. I’m glad she’s healthy now.

  11. Jwoolman says:

    Pain management is a serious and difficult problem. Pain actually interferes with healing as well as with the rest of life. The thinking has been to use the painkillers and deal with the addiction later. This is obviously not a great approach for many people dealing with pain. Decades ago, I was afraid to even take a prescription for Valium with a bad case of shingles! I come from a long line of alcoholics, which isn’t a good sign that I would be one of the lucky ones.

    • Esmom says:

      “The thinking has been to use the painkillers and deal with the addiction later.”

      Is that really true? I’ve had only one experience with pain and painkillers and that was with a serious illness my dad had and the hospital had a team that was all over his pain management. His meds were micromanaged, adjusted and reduced to the point where they wouldn’t let him leave until he was weaned off. He was really only on the powerful stuff for a short time.

      • Elyna says:

        Jwoolman is offering an accurate statement on using opiates as emergency band-aids without consideration of how the patient will manage after the discharge summery is completed.
        Your father’s experience is the way these medications should be applied, monitored and adjusted. I’m heartened to hear of his experience; and, hope he is still doing well. :)

  12. thelazylioness says:

    I too suffered from this addiction after being prescribed Vicodin for over a year for an ear infection that was misdiagnosed as bacterial rather than fungal. By the time my doctor figured this out, it caused a ruptured eardrum and I needed surgery to reconstruct my ear canal. I suffered hearing loss and I still don’t know why I didn’t sue. Probably because when I ran out of meds, I turned to the streets and I was out of my mind. After many years, I finally weaned myself off of the stuff holed up in a hotel room. I even moved out of state to get away from my dealer. I know so many people who have gone through this and still do. I believe if this is what happened to Prince, he must’ve been on much stronger stuff than Vicodan. Probably Oxycontin which is like heroin to get off of. But I have different theories about his death that I won’t even get into here.

  13. here's Wilson says:

    In my area save shots – doses of narcan – are distributed to all medics, first responders, police, and are available to the public without a prescription. It’s truly saving lives. In my profession I see overdoses daily. On one day of work last week I had 8 overdoses in 3 hours, 3 fatal. Unfortunately days like are not that rare. Opiate abuse has become an epidemic. It’s now one of the leading causes of death in the US. I adamantly oppose prescribing opiate pain medication in all but the most serious cases. There are so many other ways to treat pain that won’t lead individuals into the cycle of addiction.

    • JeanGenie says:

      that’s very sad, but fascinating.
      do you mind if i ask about the demographics of those who overdose? such as the approximate age, sex and socio-economic group. that is, assuming there are patterns, which i realize might not be the case. are most of the OD’s from abuse of prescriptions, or from illegal purchases?
      also, are you in a major city? in what part of the country?

      • Jib says:

        It’s you, it’s me, it’s not those “evil” “unemployed” minorities in the cities dying from opiates. The only silver lining from all of these deaths of middle class, often white, people is that their families are starting to make noise about this and push legislators into more money for treatment.

    • here's Wilson says:

      There are no demographics. Of the the DOAs on the day I mentioned two were in their 20s, one 60s. All males, different races. Of the survivors was a 17 year high school student in the bathroom of her after school job. She needed rescue breathing and barely made it. Addiction is prevelant among all ages. It hits all communities, regardless of economical status.

      Regardless of the reason for the recent recognition to the problem, at least there finally is recognition. The path to recovery is a long and difficult process with a low success rate. Not enough help is currently available. Hopefully we are witnessing the beginning to the change in addiction prevention and treatment.

      • Elyna says:

        here’s Wilson, my heart goes out to you and your dedication to help people in the face of Death. Thank you for dealing with the life/vs/death occurrences so that some have the option of restarting life.
        You are spot-on about addiction lending itself to all races/ages/genders; and, that there is not enough help available to produce any lasting health. I would hope the lawsuit pay-out might create some effective programs; but, why would the drug companies start caring now?
        I’m glad you are helping; and, share the hope for more research and recognition.

  14. Ally8 says:

    Jamie Lee Curtis has also talked about being addicted to cocaine and alcohol. Tony Curtis has written about his alcohol and drug use. Seems like there was a history there that both she and her doctor should have considered more carefully before prescribing/accepting post-op opiates.

  15. Meija says:

    I think it has to do with personality and perhaps genetic. I suffered migraines for years that I treated with opiates just to function and never got addicted. In fact they always made me sick to my stomach. Went through menopause and they disappeared. Don’t desire to ever take any more. But my husband and his mother? Both have to be monitored over their opiate use with their chronic pain or they would just abuse it under the guise of pain control. So like alcoholism is drug addiction something certain types of people are more prone too than others? I think so.

    • Jib says:

      What the newest research is finding is that most addicts have a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety, depression, ADD, bipolar disorder. And many have brains that re more sensitive to any meds.

      They now call addiction substance use disorder in the DSM V.

      • Elyna says:

        Note the change in the DSM-V was because: Most people link dependence with
        “addiction” when in fact dependence can be a normal body response to a substance.
        Also, SUD is measured on a continuum from mild to severe, noting each substance separately. This may seem like more work for the person treating and creating a treatment plan; but, IMO, it allows a more thorough perspective for priority ranking.
        Dual-Diagnosis is not that new; but, addiction support programs ARE opening their doors slowly to accepting drug/medication use for the co-morbid symptoms if the person is under a Physician’s care and maintains sobriety from non-prescribed usage. That’s a huge step in the right direction for people needing support groups & for support programs to become enlightened.

    • Lucrezia says:

      I’m glad you’re not suffering from migraines any more :)

      Opiates + migraine = sick stomach in many people. The migraine slows your digestive system and so do opiates, which means nausea and constipation. It can also create a nasty feedback loop where the stomach pain increases the headache. If anyone else is suffering with this, please chat to your doctor about other types of painkillers. This is a specific case where the “stronger” pain relief can be worse for pain than the “weaker” painkillers.

  16. Magnoliarose says:

    Another celebrity using their fame to highlight a major problem. Good for her. She’s always been cool.

  17. what's inside says:

    I love how authentic she comes across and her article made a lot of sense. However that being said, we are all responsible for ourselves. We have the ability to think and make decisions, not just what someone tells you to do even if they did go to medical school.

    • Deeana says:

      Fortunately, I am not a chronic pain victim. But I am close friends with a person who is. This person was in a terrible accident that in years past would have killed her, but thanks to the wonders of modern surgery, ” Humpty Dumpty” was put back together. In many of these types of cases, while bones eventually heal, there is a certain level of lingering pain. Not too bad for some, disabling for others. Much depends on how much nerve damage was involved.

      In 20 years I have never seen this person “high”. Ever. I know that she has “better days” and “worse days”. I know that the amount of opioid medication she takes has not increased over the years. I know that she has her standard dose and then has something for “breakthrough pain” on a bad day.

      I also know this gal has access to enough medication that she could be over-medicating herself if she wanted to. But she does not do that. And THAT is the difference between those who become addicted and those who do not

      I feel really bad that Prince died from an overdose. But honestly, cracking down harder on doctors is not the answer here. There are millions and millions of patients who use opioids responsibly. No matter how sad the reason he was using them, Prince was NOT using medication responsibly. And that was really dumb, and it cost him his life.

      • Elyna says:

        What’s Inside…I agree with the larger part of your message. And, I think Deeana’s friend is a “best practice” example of a chronic pain patient management. :)
        Please consider that most people in pain are unable to make healthy decisions without support and assistance with accountability. They often have limited say in what medication and how much they will be expected to take by the Physician treating them. If they do not follow as told, then they WILL be marked as “non-compliant” and decrease their chances of physician services elsewhere. Most physicians will no longer accept a patient who is noted as having “chronic pain” and prescribed pain medications. DEA changes for Physicians have been like mandatory Healthcare, most Physicians find a way not to participate. So, this leaves a person in pain, some times shooting up to Acute (ER) pain, trying to find help but having to manage on their own with meager medical assistance.
        I think Deeana’s friend would say the best help is medication mixed with caring Medical and Personal support and a “won’t stop me” attitude. There are many more good apples in the Chronic Pain basket as those rotting. The good ones don’t die of overdoses & get news attention. Physicians and the Patients share equal responsibility.

  18. TotallyBiased says:

    The largest single category of drug “abusers”–sufferers of drug abuse disorder as someone already mentioned defined by the DSM 5–consists of persons who obtained their opiates illegitimately, most often (at least initially) via family members’ or friends’ prescriptions.
    Second largest category: prescribed users.
    A probable reason for the increase in diagnosed drug use disorders? The fact that doctors are far more likely to make that diagnosis, and less likely to just keep prescribing irresponsibly. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but awareness (and malpractice paranoia) is much higher than, say, 30 years ago.
    Peer reviewed studies in respected journals and a little Abnormal Psych research will confirm this.
    Which certainly doesn’t diminish the issue Jamie Lee is coming out about, or lessen her courage in speaking openly.
    But we shouldn’t assume that every person who is in a chronic pain management plan that includes opiates or similar is a drug addict waiting to happen.

    • TotallyBiased says:

      PS. Jamie Lee, thank you for your sweet tweet re Hiddleston as Bond. As misguided as I may think you (and me a card-carrying Dragonfly!) it was no doubt quite the thrill for him to see!