Jamie Lee Curtis: ‘Getting Sober Remains my Single Greatest Accomplishment.’

Print icon
PHOTO CREDIT: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

It was a prescription for painkillers after eye surgery that served as the entry into a battle against opioid abuse for “Halloween” actress and children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis.

“Getting sober remains my single greatest accomplishment,” she told People. “Bigger than my husband, bigger than both of my children and bigger than any work, success, failure. Anything.”

Curtis, who revealed a decade-long addiction in the national publication, is the most recent celebrity to admit having a struggle with opioids. She managed to keep the addiction a secret, she says, even as she stole pills from family and friends to feed her cravings.

“This just underscores the fact that opioid addiction can happen to anyone. It knows no financial, social, gender or racial boundaries,” says John Santopietro, MD, physician-in-chief of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.

Opioid addiction still carried a stigma, but he says addicts come from every neighborhood and walk of life.The illicit street drug, he adds, is just one form of opioid. Another and, perhaps more insidious, is prescribed legally for pain relief, as was the case for Curtis.

“These are very powerful drugs and while they certainly have their role in helping battle pain after surgery or major illness, they must be prescribed and used on a limited basis because they are physically and mentally addicting for many people,” Dr. Santopietro explains.

Connecticut has one of the highest rates of emergency department visits and overdoses from opioid use in the nation, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Yet, help is available, including medication assisted treatment, which is considered the first-line treatment for opioid use disorder.

Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network’s MATCH (Medication assisted Treatment Close to Home) Program operates clinics offering buprenorphine-based agonist medications (such as Suboxone) or opioid receptor antagonist medications like naltrexone extended release (Vivitrol) paired with psychotherapy to treat patients with an opioid use disorder.

“Patients who are engaged in medication-assisted treatment half their risk of overdose, have decreased drug-related medical problems and increased social function and quality of life,” notes Dr. J. Craig Allen, medical director of Rushford.

For more information on the Behavioral Health Network’s MATCH Program, click here


What's New


What is Inpatient Rehabilitation?

A new inpatient rehabilitation unit opened at Hartford Hospital recently. It’s a 26-bed unit that specializes in physical, occupational and speech therapy for patients who have suffered a major illness or injury. Dr. Maria Tsarouhas of the Hartford Hospital In-Patient Rehabilitation Unit has details on what that means.  Q: This unit opened...


Innovations in Hand Pain Treatment

Hand pain is a common condition that affects many people. Dr. Nicholas Bontempo is an orthopedic surgeon at the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital with information on the latest advances in technology to treat the conditions that cause hand pain.  Q: What are some of the...


Steps for Safer Autumn Training Runs

As autumn approaches, many people look forward to getting out for a run in the cooler weather. While some consider fall the best time of year for training to run in organized races, Ken Bruno, MSPT, CSCS, of the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, says that it’s important to remember some...


What to Expect When You’re Expecting Joint Replacement Surgery

The wait is up – and you’re ready to leave the debilitating joint pain you’ve been managing for years behind you. It’s the day of your joint replacement procedure. The thought of surgery may seem stressful, but as a patient of the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute at MidState Medical Center, you...

Female Soccer Players

Head Balls: Study Reveals More Brain Damage in Female Soccer Players

As female soccer players across the country lace up their cleats for another fall season, news that heading the ball is more dangerous for them than for males might have them changing their game plan. A research team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently revealed that brain scans showed...


Readers: What Would You Like to See in Your Next Newsletter?

We hope you’re enjoying your email newsletter. Our goal each month is to give you a rich blend of topical health information, tips and commentary from our medical professionals and updates on some of the latest Hartford HealthCare medical news and services that might interest you. Let us know if...