"I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic," she told People. "I had a 10-year run, stealing, conniving. No one knew. No one." In 1998, Curtis' sister found out about her addiction, and by 1999, she attended her first recovery meeting. Curtis has said in the past that addiction is a "family disease," as her half-brother died from a heroin overdose, and her father also dealt with substance abuse. She told People that her sobriety is "breaking the cycle that has basically destroyed the lives of generations in my family."
This is not the first time Curtis has spoken publicly about her past opioid addiction. In the wake of Prince's death in 2016, which was later declared an accidental overdose, she wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post about her struggle. "I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to," she wrote. "I too, took too many at once. I too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with pain killers. Kill it. Make it stop."
Curtis told People that she has been sober for more than 20 years, which is her "single greatest accomplishment," and she still attends meetings in hopes that she can help other people addicted to opioids. "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 told People.
Opioid addiction is a very serious issue in the United States, and last year, the Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. According to the latest survey on opioids, in 2016, 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids and 2.1 million people had an opioid addiction.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.