Why Michael Douglas’ Son Cameron Went to Jail

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Cameron and his famous father, Michael Douglas, who has also suffered from addiction and went to rehab for alcoholism in the 90s. (Getty)

Cameron Douglas became involved with drugs at an early age. Coming from a famous family, he already had the pressures of living with a well-known father and grandfather when alcohol, as well as marijuana, acted as gateways to stronger substances. In his book, Long Way Home, the actor recounts the details that led to his drug use and subsequent arrests.

Addressing his family’s role in possible addictions, Cameron wrote about one of the incidents that stood out during his childhood. “Even as a really young kid, I remember running joints back and forth,” Douglas wrote of his father’s parties.  It’s just an introduction to the world of cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth the younger member of the Douglas family would encounter. Before his major arrests, he admits in the book to other acts of crime such as robberies with an air gun.

His Biggest Arrest Led to a 10 Year Sentence

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While Cameron would be arrested for a smaller drug bust in 1999, he went through a much bigger problem in 2009. Stories vary on the months leading up the actual arrest, but the details of the actual arrest have been clearly laid out. Agents from the DEA knew of Douglas’ drug dealing and worked to set up a fraudulent deal at New York’s Gansevoort Hotel.  Afterward, he would be charged with possession of methamphetamines with the intent to distribute.

Douglas would enter a plea of “guilty to heroin possession and conspiracy to distribute drugs” before starting a five-year sentence. He was dealt another blow to his chance of early release when the actor was found with more drug-related items. The added sentence was not without its own controversy as advocates for treating addiction were vocal about their disdain for the judge’s decision.  Drug Policy Alliance was at the forefront of taking up Douglas’ cause, even filing a brief addressing what they perceived as serious roadblocks in the system.

During his time in jail, Cameron would also spend time in solitary confinement. Not only was this a problem for drug abuse advocates; it also posed a problem for this father. Michael Douglas would speak about his son’s time in solitary at the 2013 Emmys. “Right now, I’m being told I can’t see him for two years. It’s been over a year now, and I’m questioning the system,” he told reporters after his win.

Douglas’ Release From Prison Included Time in a Halfway House

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In 2016, Cameron Douglas would be released into a halfway house that helped him transition into everyday life and finish up any remaining time on the sentence. At the time, Douglas was eager to get on with his life, but far from ready to do any interviews as the New York Post found out. Instead, they talked to some of the men who shared the home with him. “He’s a cool dude. Respectful, you know? You don’t talk about jail. You try to put it in the back of your mind so you don’t go back there . . . I think he’s on the road to recovery. He’s trying to take a different path,” one of the other occupants said.

After time spent in the house, Douglas is now looking forward to a life focused on career and family. He has mended the broken relationship with his father and has found a champion in his step-mother, Catherine Zeta-Jones. In the book, he wrote, “One day, we’re hanging out and [my dad] says, ‘I don’t know how you did it. How you went through the things you did.’ It’s the first time he’s ever acknowledged it quite like that.”