The Douglas family is opening up about what led to the crippling and nearly deadly drug addiction that ultimately landed Michael Douglas’ son, Cameron, in federal prison for seven years. Cameron has a new memoir out called Long Way Home, and he and his father discussed private aspects of their lives on an ABC special Tuesday night. The two got very candid with Diane Sawyer, and Douglas even blamed himself for some of his son’s issues.
“My career was first. My career came before my family. My marriage was not great and so you do hide yourself in your work,” Douglas said, fighting back tears. “I should have focused more on my family, but that’s hard to say when you’re in a career where you’re stepping out of your father’s shadow trying to have a life of your own.”
When he was 9 years old, his father won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Wall Street and was on top of the film world. Cameron says he recalls wild parties at his family’s Hollywood home during that time. "Even as a really young kid, I remember running joints back and forth; dad would say, 'Hey, bring this over to your uncle,' and I would, not realizing until years later what it had been,” Cameron said.
He first started experimenting with drugs when he was 13 years-old, using marijuana initially. By 15, he was trying cocaine, and by 17 it was meth. Two years later, he started doing liquid cocaine, and in his late 20s he transitioned to heroin. He was in rebab 11 times before his mid-20s, and his dad called him “King of the S—heads” when he was kicked out of boarding school.
He began hanging out with other kids who did drugs and called themselves “The Sewer Rats.” Cameron got to the point where he was shooting liquid cocaine every three hours. When his veins in his arms and legs collapsed, he shot up in his rib cage or his neck. He suffered extreme paranoia because of the drugs and says he would sometimes hide in a closet for days on end.
Eventually, he was busted for meth and heroin possession and sentenced to five years in prison. He had more time tacked on when he was caught smuggling drugs into jail. In 2016, he was released and says he has been sober since and working on rebuilding a relationship with his family.