Cameron Douglas’ prison essay: ‘Our prisons are filled with drug offenders’

Cameron Douglas, Michael Douglas’ 34 year-old son, is currently in prison serving a nine and a half year sentence for narcotics trafficking. He was busted in a DEA sting a few years ago trying to sell a pound and a half of crystal meth to an undercover agent and he’s since blown several chances to get a lighter sentence. His girlfriend tried to sneak heroin to him while he was on house arrest and his subsequent sentence was doubled when he was caught with drugs in prison twice. In my mind, he’s not the best example of an addict victim of the system as he was running a mid-level drug operation and he comes from immense wealth and privilege. He’s was a dealer and if he didn’t keep using after he got busted he may have had a chance to redeem himself with rehab.

In a new essay in The Huffington Post, Douglas writes about the fact that addicts are incarcerated at an alarming rate without the treatment they so desperately need. He also covers his own case and the harsh sentencing he thinks he’s received:

Well, let me start by saying that I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and feelings with you. I hope maybe in some way, this gives you a little window into my reality and more importantly, into my heart.

So, here I sit at my little table in the belly of the beast, writing to you. I have spent close to two of my four years of incarceration in solitary confinement. If this seems like a long time, it is magnified in light of the fact that my time spent in the box is largely due to two dirty urines — one of which was false, which is a story for another time. For the other, I was also given an additional 4.5 years on top of my initial five-year sentence, as if 11 straight months in segregation, locked down 23 hours a day, was not enough.

The bigger picture is much more disturbing, however. There are half a million other people in the U.S. who, like me, will go to sleep behind bars tonight because of nothing more than a drug law violation. Our prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders who are losing much of what is relevant in life. This outdated system pays little, if any, concern to the disease of addiction, and instead punishes it more harshly than many violent crimes. And even more exasperating is that many of the people responsible for this tragedy disregard documented medical research and the reality of our country’s unsustainable prison overpopulation.

Why… ? I’m sure I’ll be terrified by the answer. However, I humbly propose we start seeking the truth.

I’m not saying that I didn’t deserve to be punished, or that I’m worthy of special treatment. I made mistakes and I’ll gladly and openly admit my faults. However, I seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of relapse and repeat, as most addicts are. Unfortunately, whereas the effective remedy for relapse should be treatment, the penal system’s “answer” is to lock the door and throw away the key. Somehow, with the astronomical rate of recidivism, largely due to drug violations, no one seems to comprehend that tossing individuals desperate for skills to cope with addiction behind bars, no matter for how long a period of time, does absolutely nothing but temporarily deter them from succumbing to their weakness. Instead of focusing on how many individuals this county can keep imprisoned, why can we not focus on how many individuals we can keep from coming back?

As for now, I can only hope that the educated, just, and decent men and women who hold positions of influence will find the courage to fight for change because they understand what is inherently right. In doing so, they will start gaining the support necessary to begin breaking these malignant molds that are such a detriment to our society and culture as a whole.

I guess that’s enough about that from me for now. Thank you for bearing with me, and I apologize if I come across as ranting. I’ve had more than my fair share of time to ponder the issue, and only mean to stimulate some thought on the topic.

Nevertheless, I feel thoroughly blessed. I have a beautiful and loving family who has faithfully supported me every step of the way, believing in me and refusing to give up in the face of one bleak adversity after the next.

However, through these obstacles and carrying with me this love, I have managed to build a strong faith, and I feel in the deepest recesses of my heart that there is a beautiful purpose hidden along this painful journey. And no matter what my surroundings or conditions, I am determined to find within myself the design for which I was born, and by doing so, fulfill my humble part in this extraordinary existence. Maybe one day, my family, my future children, and whomever I have the privilege of coming to know, will be able to regard me as a man who endeavored to leave this planet just a little better than the way I found it.

[From Huffington Post]

That was very measured, and he’s trying to speak in generalities while mentioning what he considers the injustice of his own case. His point is similar to something his dad Michael said in a recent interview, that “because of his last name, [Cameron has] been made an example.” In an addendum to that Huffpo essay, they note that the sentence Cameron received for using drugs in jail was “the longest-ever sentence imposed for obtaining a small amount of drugs in prison for personal use.” So maybe that’s what Michael meant about his son being made an example, but again that was after he obtained drugs while on house arrest and after he tested positive for drugs twice in jail.

In terms of the larger issue, it reminds me of a story I recently covered about Matthew Perry advocating for drug courts in order to better address addicts’ needs after they get in the system. Cameron wasn’t just a user in possession of meth though, he was selling it in large quantities and shipping it. He had every opportunity in life and multiple chances to turn his incarceration around and he blew it. He may have a point about addicts ending up in prison but it’s hard to feel sorry for him at all. This guy really made his own bed.

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103 Responses to “Cameron Douglas’ prison essay: ‘Our prisons are filled with drug offenders’”

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  1. Nanz says:

    Addiction is the great equalizer. It doesn’t care about where you come from or who you are.

  2. Maria says:

    I agree with him in terms of antiquated drug laws needing to be reduced, especially for non violent offenders.

    I was on a jury panel once where they asked us if anyone had issue with finding a person guilty for possession (I raised my hand). The DA asked me why and I simply explained that possession with no intent to distribute was the least of my concerns regarding criminals, when asked if I would find the defendant guilty, I said no—he briefly went on to explain it was illegal, I quickly told him I didn’t care about legalities regarding personal choices that don’t affect me (I was clearly not chosen).

    Non violent drug users need rehab BUT that’s not going to happen because the war on drugs makes too much money. I won’t even touch the slave labor currently spreading like wild fire in prisons in which inmates work fourteen hour days for less than a dollar an hour while companies make HUGE profit….

    That being said, he was caught with a POUND AND A HALF OF METH–that isn’t personal–that’s some distribution level type nonsense. He’s past the point of addiction and perpetuating others addictions as well though I get it’s a cycle, Given the life of privilege and education he’s received, he knew better. Also, he WAS given several chances to clean up his act.

    I don’t agree with the sentencing though.

    • Amelia says:

      “That being said, he was caught with a POUND AND A HALF OF METH–that isn’t personal – that’s some distribution level type nonsense. He’s past the point of addiction and perpetuating others addictions…”
      I know very little about US drug laws so I don’t really know what is considered a long or short sentence, but this ^^ is what got me.
      He was a dealer. He enabled addicts and was involved in the destruction of people’s lives.
      The main hall of the museum I work in hosted a presentation for Secondary school students a few weeks ago about drug use; during our attempt to skive a couple of hours of work, we caught a film about meth – that is a hugely destructive drug. If someone can knowingly provide that chemical to people, there is something massively wrong there.

    • Kristine says:

      This. This. This.

      But it’s a war!!! On drugs… /eyeroll.

      It’s a war on the poor people of this country and how we can get away with legalizing slave labor.

      • Tapioca says:

        Well, there is currently a war FUNDED by drugs. Put all the small amounts of cannabis for personal use in the world together and that’s over a BILLION dollars into the pockets of the warlords and insurgents in Afghanistan (the world’s largest producer).

        Light up a doobie and you’re indirectly helping the guys who’ve turned the country into an inhabitable s**thole and killed over 2000 US soldiers.

        That said, pay your taxes and you’re still funding the war…

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Tapioca, correction: nearly all of the marijuana in the Americas is grown here. My doobie is hurting nobody when I know the grower myself.

        The war on drugs is mostly funded by incarcerating small-level cannabis users in private prisons. It’s a farce.

        THIS GUY, however, was dealing meth and using heroin. That’s a whole different ballgame.

      • Lady D says:

        @Tapioca, Rumor has it that BC’s pot industry is worth well over a billion/year.

      • Nina W says:

        Yeah news flash Prohibition helps criminal organizations.

  3. Jenny says:

    The thing about addicts is that generally they don’t have the tools or wherewithal to control themselves or to stay out of jail. Putting them in jail without treating their underlying issues practically guarantees recidivism.
    An interesting sidebar is the lengthy time he has spent in solitary. I think that is pretty common and is considered by many to be cruel and unusual punishment; it can easily make a person go mad.

    • DreamyK says:

      Yes, I agree. Many addicts have impulse control issues as well as untreated mental illness and, sadly, many are the victims of abuse. The thing is basically to detox you…treatment is what happens after rehab.

      The treatment part is tricky. There’s a strong correlation between addiction and abuse survivors. So you have the addiction, the mental illness (quite a few are untreated bipolar) and then the abuse issues. The addicts get sober, get on the right meds for their illness and then when it comes to the sit down part and talking with a therapist, the talking about their abuse is a huge trigger..and they return to their crutch.

      At least that’s what I saw during the 7 rehabs the former Mr. Dreamyk attended and countless 12 step meetings.

      I like the idea of drug courts. I’m not sure it would work, but I like the idea. Addicts are charming and can work a con like no one else. I’m not sure the court systems are prepared to deal with those shenanigans on a large scale.

  4. Faye says:

    Oh, cry me a river. Poor little rich boy was locked up for his crimes. I suspect if he was black or poor, it would have been for much longer.

    He was a DEALER. He can’t just play the addiction card and leave that out of the equation. He was involved in feeding other people’s addictions, and that’s a crime both legally and, in my opinions, morally.

    I agree that getting addicts help in rehab is important. But sadly, many (I believe the majority) of addicts relapse again and again after rehab. Often, that does lead to violent and self-destructive behavior. At some point, these people have to be locked up to protect the public from them.

    • Mana says:

      Yeah, the point was that he is not violent himself nor has he committed any non-drug related “crimes.” You can’t say that he will be a danger to society simply because he is a drug user and sold drugs (at very low level). Incarcerating him will not stop drugs from being sold — you have to incarcerate the bosses in charge, not the people who are immediately replaced at the bottom.

      • marie says:

        a lb and a half of meth is not a low level drug dealer.

      • eliza says:

        He refused to testify against his bosses, citing fear for himself and family. Sorry but I disagree with you. There was nothing low level about the amounts he was dealing with and he is not some poor addict that had no opportunities in life other than a life of crime to get by. He was a privileged brat who wanted to do drugs and live the high life his parents had always afforded him, so he sold drugs to sustain that life style and also be the big shot, partying with his friends.

        If he is so worried and concerned for the drug addicts of America then maybe he should have testified against the big guys who are in charge and worked to get the junk off the streets instead of turning tail and hiding out of fear.

      • Faye says:

        He was selling CRYSTAL METH. Do just 10 minutes’ research and see what that does to people. I certainly can say that he’s posing harm to the public.

        Also, regarding his not being the drug cartel boss or whatever — just because he’s not the highest-level criminal doesn’t whitewash his behavior. Think back to the old mafia days, where there was a don and a low-level enforcer. If that enforcer went around breaking people’s kneecaps, are they less criminally liable because they were working for someone else while doing so?

      • Naddie says:


        Thats not true. He originally got only 5 years instead of the recommended 10 because he cooperated with the feds.

        Some fool leaked that to the media and some gang put a hit on him while in prison. He was beaten so badly they broke his leg and arm.

        This story was widely reported on mainstream outlets. I dont know why you would state otherwise?

    • Mana says:

      He was busted during a hand-to-hand deal with a cop. He’s by definition the lowest level you can be in a drug/gang/what have you organization. I’m not saying what he did was smart or moral (meth is a horrible drug). But I have no doubt that arresting him and putting him in prison made no dent in meth trafficking. People with power in drug/gang/what have you organizations don’t put themselves at risk like that.

      • Faye says:

        Again, missing the point. He wasn’t being tried as member of some cartel. He was being tried as an individual citizen, and, regardless of the impact his arrest has or doesn’t have on drug sales overall, he still comitted a crime that he deserves to be punished for.

    • QQ says:

      Yes Faye, totally agree The Noise you hear is The World’s Smallest Violin playing the saddest song for Cameron

    • Meredith says:

      Re : Matthew Perry’s comment about drug courts being needed.
      I am a criminal lawyer and you can’t underestimate the impact of an accused like Douglas having access to the best lawyers money can buy. I’m guessing that rehab was the 1st thing suggested by these lawyers as well as other means (addiction counseling, charitable donations to addiction treatment groups, house arrest, etc.) that would have given him a lighter sentence. And I doubt his being caught trying to sell meth was his 1st brush with the law. People who learn from their mistakes do not get long sentences like his. Sentencing is PROGRESSIVE and Douglas blew it after people tried to help him. His high priced lawyers would have busted their asses (and billed accordingly) before it reached this point (long prison term, solitary confinement). Yes, addiction destroys people long before it actually kills them.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      This kid. I don’t know. Part of me is saying, this is complicated and that’s why the cycle continues, and the effects of rehab versus lockup have to be considers since prison doesn’t seem to be helping at all. Another part says don’t come to me braying about the scourge of addiction when you’re the one actively getting people addicted to said scourge through your own dealing. I know that junkies turn into dealers frequently because they’ve got debts and habits of their own to feed, but that’s not really a distinction of sympathy that can be made for the people he helped bring into the hell of addiction.

      If I may sound like the most pretentious twit on the internet for a second, it reminds me a bit of Magna Carta. The barons had no problem with the brutal oppression under which the rabble lived–heck, they helped oppress them, it was like a medieval rich kid coke party but with blinding and castration and an abundance of venison instead–but when bad things started happening to them it was suddenly, ‘We’ve got to get the law on this tyranny!’

      He didn’t *just* learn about the nature of the drug incarceration system for non-violent offenders in that state, right? I’m (reasonably) aware of the fact that the punishments are harsh to draconian (depending on who you are) and I’ve never set foot in America, so it can’t be a huge secret. Happy spending, taxpayers.

      I don’t see him landing a windfall to the tune of, ‘the judge has succumbed to dysentery and all of the prosecution is nine years old, so lucky me’, so what is going to happen as he feels the boots slowly lifting off of his neck and he’s repatriated into his erstwhile playboy nesting place? Will he be out stumping for the little ones who are brought to book for crimes far, far, far less serious than the ones he has committed?

      I’ll be watching, if I can be bothered. But damn, it’s true, corny or not: just don’t use.

  5. Barrett says:

    I agree he needs treatment in jail. Drug users need treatment, but he deserves punishment too. I especially think so because like you said he was supplying to other addicts. He wanted to profit and keep a certain standard of living and it was a vicious cycle of greed and addiction.

  6. Lina says:

    Just want to point out that he started dealing to feed the habit having been cut off by his dad. Its a common story for many dealers, that they are defaulting customers who are then recruited with the promise of unlimited product. Honestly, until the system recognises and finds ways to address this plainly obvious fact then nothing will be solved.

  7. Mana says:

    Well, you may not feel sorry for him. But you should feel sorry for us because we incarcerate drug addicts, at great expense to the taxpayer, at great profit to the Warden’s or private prisons involved, but only provide minimal rehab services to drug addicts so they don’t get better by going to prison.

    And most people with drug charges in prison, unlike Cameron Douglas, are poor and will not be able to find work or support themselves when they leave prison, probably still with their drug addiction, and now with a felony that allows employers to discriminate against them in hiring processes. You really should feel sorry about this horrible system we have. I don’t hold it against Cameron that he’s using a platform to try to inform people how truly f’ed up the system is right now.

    • Tessa says:

      What Cameron forgets to mention is that he was also a pretty prolific drug dealer. The drug dealers, the ones that are moving large quantites for high profits, are criminals. They’re gangsters. They’re the bad guys. Cameron is just claiming to be an addict here, which is not why he’s even incarcerated. He’s in prison for dealing.

    • Faye says:

      It is a fact that addicts, even the ones with access to the best private rehabs, tend to relapse again and again – for example, Douglas’s son. At what point is the public supposed to stop funding rehab and say “enough?” Or are we supposed to do that indefinitely? So if you want to reduce this to dollars and cents, as a taxpayer it’s probably cheaper for me to fund jail than repeated rehab.

      Addicts may have a predeliction for addiction, but at a certain point, they have to make the choice to get clean or they won’t. Most recovering addicts themselves will tell you that. If you want to make the point that they’re literally unable to get clean because of illness, if they have that little control over their actions, then they need to be locked up for their and everyone else’s protection. Because no matter how you try to whitewash it, addicts have committed actual “crimes” such as robbery, assault, and murder.

      • Mana says:

        That’s a logical fallacy. Just because some addicts have committed murder does not mean we should lock up all addicts. Often addicts are self medicating for untreated mental illnesses. People with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators.

        Regardless, our system of law does not allow some one to be locked prior to committing a crime. Of course we label drug possession and dealing a crime. But you cannot justify that “crime” by saying that we’re preventing locked up addicts from murdering people. I mean, come on. That’s simply goes against our democratic values and is also not backed up by facts.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        So you are fine with spending infinite amounts on prison, but not rehab?

        The relapse rate and the recidivism rate are pretty close, but I think rehab has a greater chance of creating a more productive citizen.

      • Faye says:

        @Tiffany – As someone with more professional experience in these matters than me mentioned above thread, this is a progressive system. So it’s not as if someone is just tossed in solitary confinement for years after a first, or even second offense.

        Second, rehab relapse rates are much higher than recidivism. But, putting that fact aside, let’s assume they’re close, as you say. If a person is going to keep relapsing, especially on drugs like crystal meth, there’s a very good chance they’ll be committing violent crimes. So yes, I would feel safer paying indefinitely for someone like that to be behind bars rather than in and out of rehab, where they can cause a lot of damage when they’re out and about in between rehab stints. It’s not that I don’t feel sorry for addicts, to an extent, but after someone has gone through multiple stints at rehab, as Cameron did, there comes a point where you just have to say enough.

      • Faye says:

        @Mana – You said “People with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators.”

        Really? Ask Adam Lanza’s victims if they’d agree with that statement. Read the article in last week’s weekend Wall Street Journal describing parents of adult children with mental illness who committed violent crimes, and the parents aren’t allowed to intervene in their kids’ treatment because of HIPAA.

        Of course, mental illness alone does not equal violent tendencies. But mental illness plus drugs strongly increases the chances of violence. So if you’re going to argue that addicts are mentally ill, and they can’t stop taking drugs, they should be locked up.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Faye wrote, “If a person is going to keep relapsing, especially on drugs like crystal meth, there’s a very good chance they’ll be committing violent crimes. So yes, I would feel safer paying indefinitely for someone like that to be behind bars rather than in and out of rehab”

        But sooooo many of the people imprisoned for drugs aren’t there because of drugs like Meth. It is for drugs like Pot. And while the law can be “progressive”…states like California have a 3 strikes law. Some studies* have shown that pot is the reason that so many people have been imprisoned for incredible sentences for their 3rd strike. I find that to be both unreasonable and unsustainable.

        *1996 Dept. of Corrections report showed that 85% (!!!) of those sentanced under 3-Strike laws were convicted of non-violent crimes, including drugs, petty theft, and burglary. Twice as many pot smokers were imprisoned under 3 strikes as the combined total of murderers, rapists, and kidnappers.

    • Angie says:

      Many drug dealers become dealers to support their drug habit. The drug addiction literally takes control of the frontal lobes in the brain. The frontal lobes are where decision making takes place. The drug of choice takes over. Addicts need rehab and then they need about two years in a good sober living facility. That is the key. Don’t ever think drug addicts will go away to rehab and come back “cured”. Two years in a good sober living facility where they are taught the 12 step program and how to truly implement it in their daily living is crucial. In a good sober living facility they will have to attend at least 5 AA or NA meeting a week. They learn how to go back to school or work and how to live their life without drugs. My son attended many rehabs and like other addicts he kept relapsing. It was not until we sent him to live in a good sober living facility right after rehab did he have a chance at staying sober. He is coming up on his 4 year sobriety anniversary, works part time in a rehab as a sober coach and attend college full time in the pursuit of his degree. People like Linsey Lohan go from rehab right back to their old lives and they relapse. 90 days in a rehab is just not enough. They are in a controlled environment where they can’t use. They need that intermediate step of a sober living facility that teaches them to become a functioning person who lives by AA or NA to stay sober.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree, Mana. The privatized prison system has resulted in a huge expansion of the prison population. It has grown over 300% since the 1980s, all the while violent crime has fallen. I think it is something like 1 in 10 americans have been imprisioned. That should be horrifying to every American.

      Cameron isn’t perfect, but that wasn’t his point. His point was that we have a FAILED system for dealing with drugs in our country, and he is correct in that point.

  8. don't kill me i'm french says:

    actually i’m okay if Lindsay Lohan goes to jail for drug possession

  9. eliza says:

    While I agree about many in prison serving ridiculous sentences for pot violations, I have no sympathy for this idiot. Unlike many of the people in prison, he had the means to conquer his addiction whereas others, less privileged do not and never will. Furthermore, he was not caught with a joint. He was caught with a huge amount of meth which I highly doubt was to fuel just his addiction.

    He can whine about solitary, outdated drug laws and addiction all he wants, but unlike the majority of offenders in there, he is still a spoiled brat who deep down feels he did nothing wrong and is somehow a victim. If he didn’t want to do the time, he shouldn’t have done the crime.

    • Happyhat says:

      I agree with you generally, though I’m increasingly starting to wonder weather it takes more than money and the availability of help to conquer addictions.

      Like, famous people may have the financial resources (or not, in the case of Lohan) but may find any emotional help or access to help quite out of their reach due to the fucked-up nature of fame and hangers on etc…

      I was reading a little of John Belushi’s story and yeah, he was someone who was completely surrounded by enablers and hangers on. Off the top of my head, Dan Ackroid and others attempted an intervention but it was too late.

      • eliza says:

        I am not saying money is the solution. My point was miseed but that’s o.k.

      • Lina says:


        I was thinking the same thing. Being from a wealthy background has its challenges too. I think the typical knee jerk reaction is to dismiss people like him as “poor little rich kid” stem from an inability to relate with their circumstances.

        When I look at him I see a privilleged guy. But then I also see someone with a mum, dad and grand dad who were major users. I see someone who only connected with his absent parents in adulthood. I see someone who has been using heavily since he was 13. I see someone who knows one lifestyle and has no skills with which to independently sustain it. I see someone whos name might open doors but also sets him ridiculous pressure to live up to that name. I see someone whos friends are in the same boat.

        Now its true that he can turn it around. But lets not pretend that his problems are less significant because of who his dad and grand dad are.

      • T.Fanty says:

        I agree with this. Money gives him rehab options, but what an addict truly needs for recovery is a loving and close-knit support network to ensure that he can manage his issues without feeling isolated, and that he has support when wavering. I grew up surrounded by affluent suburbanites and drug use was rampant there, because the parents gave their kids everything they wanted and often it was a substitute for the meaningful relationships that the children craved because the parents were working. It’s more complicated than “poor little rich kid.”

  10. Hautie says:

    This is my bias opinion about the Cameron situation. And not speaking of others with drug issues. Just Cameron and his rich daddy issues.

    Unfortunately, Cameron seems to still refuse to take responsibility, for his poor choices in life.

    He had been to rehab numerous times. His parents spent all kinds of cash, trying to rehabilitate Cameron.

    And when it got to the point his parents knew, they had to cut him off financially. Just to see if that would be a wake up call.

    Cameron just decided to be a dealer, of large bags of meth.

    He was not some child of few means. He grew up having vast opportunities, for a bright future. But decided to be a loser. No one made him a meth head but himself.

    And even after being busted with all that meth in the hotel. Having the best lawyer money could buy… who had worked out a sweetheart deal for him.

    Cameron still used.

    Convinced a girl with the lawyers office, to smuggle drugs to him in lockup.

    As I see it. From this little essay. Cameron is still blaming everyone but him self. He is whining. And had not learned a thing. Nor has his Father.

    • marie says:

      I agree with every bit of this, until he takes responsibility, he will never get clean.

    • Faye says:

      Very well stated. Everyone’s at fault but him. It was the system that did it! If he sees himself as the victim, he’ll never get better.

      If he was just a drug addict, I might feel a little sorrier for him. But not only was he a dealer of some pretty awful stuff, he had no trouble turning his girlfriend into a drug mule as well. This is not a guy we should be listening to on public policy.

    • V4Real says:

      @Hautie spot on comment. Cameron thinks that the prisons are filled with non-violent drug offenders as if prison should only be reserved for violent crimes. Bottom line the sales and distribution of drugs are illegal and if you get caught especially with the amount he had you are going to do some seriuos time regardless of if you are violent or not.

      A man who serves time for manslaughter because he killed someone with his car while under the influence of alcohol may not be a violent man but he broke the law by getting behind the wheel of a car.

      Cameron needs to stop placing blame and accept responsibility for his own actions. I say this as I call up my weed man. :)

    • Original Me says:

      this guy needs to take responsibility. everyone today blames everything on their parents and their upbringing. rich kids with too much time and money who do drugs-well apparently it’s the fault of their parents who replace quality time with money. or if you are a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, well, the odds were just stacked against you to begin with. basically parents, it’s always your fault!

      • Faye says:

        @OriginalMe – Yeah, I have to laugh at some of these comments. Based on what I’ve seen here over the course of various discussions, if you’re from a poor, deprived background, you get a pass for criminal/illegal behavior. If your parents were wealthy and indulgent, that excuses you as well. If you have a family member with addiction, you have a genetic predisposition for that and you’re off the hook too.

        Basically, it seems that only children from middle-class backgrounds with the correct genetic patterning and parents who lavished just the right amount of time and resources on you –not too much, not too little – should be held accountable for their actions and made to follow the law. If only I’d known! All the years wasted on a self-control filled, productive, responsible life when I could have been justifiably out raising hell, apparently :) .

        Seriously, though, I wish people would realize that believing people should be held accountable for their actions isn’t just some sort of harsh tough on crime stance. If you believe people should be held accountable, it means people have the power to change themselves and improve. But if you buy into the philosophy that everything is someone else’s fault, that it’s always some sort of unfair system or law or parental upbringing or genetic predisposition that’s the source of everything wrong in your life, you really believe you can’t change and improve. I think that’s sad.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Faye, I think you are misinterpreting people’s comments.

        I have yet to see a comment saying that he is not accountable for his actions. A person can believe both that he is responsible for his crimes AND that the way our legal system handles drug crimes is seriously flawed.

  11. Tessa says:

    How many teenagers in LA did Cameron contribute to hooking on drugs? How many deaths is he inadvertantly responisble for? Overdoses? He was a drug dealer, drug pusher, and drug user. He used in prison, and he is being punished for it. I’m sorry, but you get what you get. He had the opportunity to seek help when he was on the outside, and instead he sold. Selling, to me, is a crime. Hooking others on drugs is a crime.

  12. Samigirl says:

    Yes, and you’re one of them. Cry me a river, dude.

  13. anneesezz says:

    Nice try. Sounds like a bit of revisionist history to me. He was not just doing drugs. He was a drug trafficker of meth, cocaine and heroin. It’s not like he was just selling weed which is pretty harmless and now legal in some states. He was selling hard core drugs. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for him. He’s right where he belongs.

  14. Thora says:

    What about all the people who take drugs and don’t steal or resort to violence to support their use? Why should they be treated like criminals?

    • Mrs. Peacock says:

      …because illegal drug use/abuse is a crime?

    • jc126 says:

      How many of those do you think there are? seriously, if there are stats, I’d love to see them – and not just stories from offenders, is all I’d ask.
      I have (unfortunately) known a fair amount of drug abusers. I have never met ONE who didn’t steal to get drugs, and most of them wrecked the lives – and at least the credit – of one or more relatives. I suppose there’s some rich rock-star type addicts who aren’t stealing to support their habit.
      WRT Cameron Douglas – how many chances did he have to go to rehab?

    • Liz says:

      There is no such thing as a drug addict who does not lie or steal. It is the nature of their DISEASE. As Angie wrote above the DISEASE literally takes over the decision making lobes in the brain. If you ever attended an AA meeting you could ask the people in the group if any of them never stole to support their habit. You will not find one who hasn’t stole either drugs or money at some point to support their addiction which is a disease.

      Also, the addiction gene is hereditary. With both parents being alcoholics and or addicts the kid had an 80% chance of inheriting the addiction gene.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “There is no such thing as a drug addict who does not lie or steal”

        The original comment said that not all people that take drugs lie or steal. I agree with this. You changed the statement to include “addict” and that is something all together different.

        OVer 70% of Americans have tried pot. Pot is still considered a “drug”, and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin. I don’t think you can say that all pot users have stolen or lied.

        That is part of the problem with our current legal system. Treating pot like it is the equivalent of heroin results in far too many people being imprisoned for a recreational drug.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        @Tiffany :)

        I agree with everything you said. Almost everybody I know has smoked pot, and many continue to. By and large they are not dishonest, nor are they criminals. They are employed and upstanding members of society.

        Although, this is Colorado so the point is kind of moot now. Still, we all enjoyed pot long before the vote last November!

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Several people have referred to the fact that he was “nonviolent” as a mitigating factor in their judgment of this situation. He was a meth dealer. I watched my sweet, shy, pretty 22 year old niece turn into a dishonest, haggard scarecrow at 27 who has torn her own and her parents’ lives to shreds and ruined them financially because of her meth addiction. The person who convinced her to try it the first time and the people who sold it to her after that have destroyed her, with her permission, I accept, but whether or not they have ever physically injured anyone just doesn’t matter to me. She is lost, I think forever, because of them, and I have no problem with them going to jail.

  15. LAK says:

    Wow, he is certainly taking the path of his uncle Eric who had similar drug issues, blamed everyone for those issues and the fact that he was not as successful as his siblings or father before finally overdosing in 2004.

  16. An says:

    Michael Douglas is not doing his son any favours either. In his interview a few weeks ago Cameron was being “harshly” punished for being a famous person’s name and being made an example of. I understand that as a parent he wants to be supportive (I also think he feels a bit guilty about having been an absentee father) but this makes me think of one of these parents who allow their five year old to misbehave and blames it on the other child, or the teacher, or when that child falls from a chair, hits the chair to blame it or something ridiculous like that. I mean, a parent needs to be supportive but make it known to their child they are responsible for their own destiny and that they cannot blame others. Cameron deserves to be in prison.

    I like Michael Douglas but his position is not going to help Cameron take a deep hard look at himself and change. (Although I do acknowledge he is all grown up, not five years old, haha)

  17. Thiajoka says:

    I agree that the prisons are overpopulated with users and that’s a real problem–they need help and jailing them rarely brings in the distributors or manufacturers of hard drugs.

    However, for this guy to compare himself to them is just ridiculous. He was a dealer. Should all illegal substances become legal at some point, he can then set up an office with a store front and sell to his hearts content.

  18. TG says:

    Why do drug addicts get a free pass when rapists, serial killers and pedophiles do not? They all are sick and clearly have something wrong with their brain. It seems like our society is moving in a direction where no one is expected to be accountable for their actions. I mean that stupid Lohan gets to do rehab when she wasn’t even convicted of a drug related offense. shouldn’t anyone who commits a crime be allowed to use the “I am a drug addict” offense and get regab rather than jail and prison? Ask someone who is related to someone who was killed by another in a drug fueled rage if they think the offender should be pitied I do agree however that simple possession isn’t a big deal and sentencing guidelines need to change. My brother was an idiot and got caught twice pushing pot and then pot and cocaine from Texas to the east coast. I told him that he was contributing to the violence of drugs. He was an idiot and still is but I think he finally gave up his drug career since he clearly wasn’t very good at it.

    • Faye says:

      Sadly, there are many people who do feel rapists and pedophiles shouldn’t be jailed and should just “get help and be rehabilitated.”

    • Chordy says:

      Did you really just compare drug addicts to rapists, serial killers, and pedophiles? Yikes.

    • Gigi says:


      The subject of drug addicts serving long sentences in state prisons is something that I feel very strongly about. While I do believe that a person should be punished for any crime that they comment, or law they break, and drug offenders are no exception, but to compare them to a rapist, serial killer, or pedophile is grossly out of line.I guess I should emphasize that I am referring to non violent drug crimes, where they didn’t harm anyone but themselves.
      Like I said, this is an issue that I feel very strongly about. I am a Human Services major with a concentration in Sociology, and have always had an interest in how badly run country’s prison system is. It is true that our prisons are being overpopulated with non violent addict( drug and alcohol) offenders. In my state alone, 30% of the prison population is non violent offenders, 30%!These inmates would be, low level drug users, parole violators, and drunk drivers( again emphasizing no one was injured in these arrest).Our prisons are so overcrowded that we are now sending prisoners to other states at a large expense to taxpayers. Just the other night I saw on the news that the inner city school district, where I live, is laying off over a thousand school employees( principles, teachers, counselors), and trying to cut out extra programs like music and art programs, due to budget cuts. However, we have to keep that pot parole violator lock up for at least a year in that state prison just up the road.

      Getting back to the comparison to rapist and serial killers, yes there is something wrong with both of their brains, but with addicts, having the
      right treatment means whether or not they can get over their addiction, become functioning members of society, and not be a repeat offender. All inmates need good counseling/rehab in and out of jail so they do not become repeat offenders, but especially addicts. They are not evil, bad people, and the majority of them have not and would not ever hurt anyone. All addicts want to be rid of their addiction, they aren’t happy, but they have somehow lost their way.

      Sorry about the rant, I just have so many feelings about this issue. I want to point out again that I am in no way condoning drug use or defending what they do, but just that we need to change our views on how we treat these offenders/addicts. Another thing is the treatment option should only be used for the truly non-violent offenders. As soon as another person is involved or injured in any way, then offender should still receive some kind of treatment, but also be held accountable and punished for the crime they commented.

      • TG says:

        It is my opinion that it is not grossly out of line. There are many pedophiles, rapists and serial killers who have done interviews where they talk about how they didn’t want to do it, etc. I believe them. I am not sympathizing with them and I think these people are evil but it isn’t their fault if their brain makes them do it. Same for a drug addict. They chose to pick up the drugs and self-medicate or use the drug for whatever purpose. It is not in your DNA to do drugs. They made the initial choice to choose drugs. This is a society where everyone wants to claim a disease to avoid responsibility for their actions. Well it might be a disease but you are still responsbile for making the decision to do drugs. Rant all you want. I still think I bring up a good point. I didn’t say we shouldn’t get drug abusers help, but many drug abusers hurt others and they should be held accountable for their actions.

      • Liz says:

        @TJ your comments are not entirely accurate. Almost all addicts carry the addiction gene. A person who is not predisposed to addiction can drink socially or even use a few drugs like many of us did in either high school or college and not become an addict. Someone with the addiction gene can literally become addicted the very first time they had the drink or tried a drug. It is fact. I am not excusing their behavior but once addicted they do need rehab then a transitional period like a sober living facility provides to teach them how to live a life drug/alcohol free. You can look at the lineage of almost any addict or alcoholic and you will find a parent or grandparent with the disease. FACT. One addict or alcoholic parent = 60% chance the child will inherit the gene. Two addicted parents= 80% chance the child will inherit the addiction gene.

      • Gigi says:


        You have every right to have your opinion, all I was trying to do was express another side to how we can treat addicts instead of putting them in jails. I still stand by my comment that it is not fair to compare a drug addict to a serial killer, etc. Can a drug addict mentally hurt people, absolutely. They can do so much to their families and friends who care about them, they can destroy relationships that they have. There are violent drug offenders also, and those should be in jail. As I said before, as soon as you physically hurt someone in any way, whatever reason, the person should be treated as the law says. No exceptions!! My point still is, non-violent offenders did not rape someone, kill one or more people. Are they hurting themselves, yes, and it is no one’s fault but their own, they are 100% accountable for themselves and should be take responsibility for what they do. I have not and will not ever make excuses for a drug addict, and suggest that we should give them a pass because they have a “disease”. If you comment a crime you should be punished for what you did, period. I also have issues with people who throw around the word disease , because I think there are a lot of people who hide behind it and use it as a way to get away with what they are doing and that is wrong. What I am saying is that not everything is black and white, and I think we should start looking at different ways how to stop the massive amount of drug crimes and addicts. I think if offenders get the help they need sooner, it will prevent them from commenting violent crimes later on, and stop them from the endless cycle of going back to jail.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Gigi, you made a lot of great points that I agree with.

  19. Nick says:

    I guess I am in the minority here because I feel sorry for him. Addiction is a terrible f’ng thing. The addiction will control your life. Make you do things that you know are wrong just to continue feeding it.

    9+ years in jail is just ridiculous. The amount of tax dollars wasted to keep him incarcerated is absurd. With many prisons becoming privately owned there is an incentive to keep them full. Thus, longer sentences for addicts. Addicts do not belong in prison – they belong in rehab. If the underlying issue(s) are not treated, guess what, more likely than not they will end up back in prison and cycle repeats itself.

    I am not condoning Cameron’s actions. He wasted chances that 99.9% of the world would kill to have but two wrongs do not make a right. Privatizing prisons is a terrible idea and the ramifications will continue to get worse as these prisons must be kept full.

    • Bridget says:

      The underlying point that people are making isthat Cameron isnt exactly the one to be making this point – he’s in prison because he was dealing, and blew every single chance at a lighter sentence (he started out in house arrest, after all). The prison system is effed up, but this isnt exactly the case to illustrate the point.

    • Sansa says:

      People have some empathy. Nine years cleaning garbage off the streets of LA would have been moe justice. Are you so naive you don’t known the DA has its own agenda and its all about their careers. That Jail is a top industry. Wake up. Legalize drugs tax them and pay for health care and education.

  20. JustJen says:

    I will sleep just fine knowing that Cameron Douglas is in prison. His opinion means nothing to me. He is a dealer. He spread crystal meth into the community, sold to my neighbors, the people who live and work in my community, children. He had every advantage in life and pissed it away because he was bored.

    Don’t cry poor addict to me. He had money and power and could have used that for good, to find meaning in his life. Instead, he CHOSE to spread poison in my community.

    He never HAD to work a day in his life. He could have dedicated himself to making the world a better place. If nothing else, he could have just stayed out of the way of those of us who work every day to try to make a difference. When I think of all the money….of what one of the many charities I volunteer for could have done with even a small bit of it….

    I just don’t get it. I just don’t understand him. I don’t know why he thinks he should speak up. I don’t know why he thinks he is a good advocate for this issue. All I can think when I read this is, “Shut up….spoiled little rich boy.”

  21. Audrey says:

    I hate the excuse of being a dtug addict. You still committed a crime. Why should we go easy on you because you chose to start doing drugs?

  22. Meredith says:

    I saw the headline “Our prisons are filled with drug offenders” : Cameron Douglas – and thought “Yes, darling, and you are one of them”. I will go and read the rest of the article now! But that was my 1st reaction.

  23. Nerd Alert says:

    Yeah, no. I don’t have to feel sorry for him to agree with him, do I? I think meth and heroin are far more dangerous drugs than marijuana, but 1 in 8 drug prisoners is there for pot.

    I know he did multiple things to increase his prison sentence, that does not dilute the point he makes. The point is that the prison system fails addicts, period. Almost all non-violent criminals are sentenced to FOR-PROFIT prisons. That means some rich dude is making money of small-time cannabis users, many of whom grew their own supply.

    I agree the sentence should be extended for dealing, but not to 11 years. That’s about the average prison sentence for rape in the US, although most rapists get out in 7. You don’t have to agree with his crimes or feel sorry for him to understand the system is broken.

    After most users get out of prison, they go right back to using and right back to prison for more rich prison-owners to make money off them. And it goes without saying that most people who are incarcerated for drugs are people of color and the poor, while the biggest demographic of actual drug abusers is white men over 40 who are addicted to prescription pills.

    So no, I don’t feel sorry for Cameron. He had many chances and did things he knew would make his punishment worse. Doesn’t change the fact that he is spot-on in his essay. He used his name to get it out there, so good for him.

    • Chordy says:

      I really want to applaud you for this well stated comment. You held him responsible for his actions without degrading him (rich boy! druggie!), and then didn’t dismiss him outright because of what he’s done. This is why you’re one of my favorite commenters here. That and your Sweet Dee avatar.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The privatization of our prisons is one of the WORST things to happen to our country. This is from 2012, but it shows how agreements can incentivize imprisoning people:

      “…to profit-hungry corporations such as Corrections Corp of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the leaders in the partnership corrections industry, it’s a $70 billion gold mine…. CCA has floated a proposal to prison officials in 48 states offering to buy and manage public prisons at a substantial cost savings to the states.

      In exchange, and here’s the kicker, the prisons would have to contain at least 1,000 beds and states would have agree to maintain a 90 percent occupancy rate in the privately run prisons for at least 20 years.”

      • Nerd Alert says:


        Could not agree more. The first thing this country needs as far as the justice system is concerned is a takeover of private prisons. Most people don’t even know they’re privately owned, though! Disgusting abuse of power, IMO.

        Thanks to everyone for the comment-support ;)

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Nerd Alert, the crazy thing is that I think this is an issue that the fiscally conservative, the libertarian, and the socially progressive left could all agree on.

        Contractually agreeing to have a certain number of citizens imprisoned, regardless of the amount or severity of crime being committed is so outrageously wrong! Glad to hear that there is a super intelligent person like yourself out there speaking the truth in such an eloquent way.

    • nicegirl says:

      I appreciate your comments, NerdAlert.

      • tracking says:

        Yes, Nerd Alert, very well put. It is still difficult to muster much sympathy for a kid given so many chances and opportunities, and who gave no thought to contributing to the destruction of others’ lives. Even if he did have terrifically crappy parents. But, yes, we should all agree the system is broken.

  24. lucy2 says:

    While I agree that treatment is better than jail, and the laws for pot are too strict, I don’t think he is being treated unfairly (though his sentence is long).
    He was dealing – addicts belong in rehab, dealers belong in jail, IMO.
    He also has been given the opportunity for treatment, multiple trips to rehab (I think).
    He also had the option of being under house arrest, and screwed that up too.
    He’s been given a lot of chances to avoid being where he is. Those didn’t work. What else can they do with him?

  25. e.non says:

    well, who else is going to populate those privatized prisons? you certainly can’t expect the financial terrorists who destroyed families across the country to serve time… so, there’s got to be a segment of society that is already marginalized that no one will give a crap about…

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Exactly. States are given prison population quotas set by the private companies that run them, companies that also lobby hard during campaign season.

      The state legislators then find populations to fill that quota, people who aren’t a part of groups that lobby and fundraise for their own campaigns.

  26. choppersann 13 says:

    it’s speaks to the power of addiction that so many try to stop and fail…

  27. Decloo says:

    Don’t they look like a pair of chickens?

  28. Bridget says:

    Here’s what bugs the crap out of me: Cameron could care less that our prisons are being privatized or that those other drug offenders in prison with him didnt get half the chances he did at a lighter sentence. His point is that he’s an addict and he shouldnt have to be punished for something that he doesnt want to control. Because for someone of Cameron’s means it IS a question of want, as he has access to the very best treatment and sober living options around. At no point does he take responsibility for the fact that he’s in prison because of his own bad choices. He chose to squander every opportunity for sobriety, he chose to sell meth, he chose to use while he was under house arrest, and use again while in prison. His point isnt that the prison system is unfair, his point is that its unfair that he’s being held accountable for his vad choices when he’d rather just blame them on his addiction.

  29. Moi says:

    Cameron is a 34 y/o f-up. So his dad thinks he was a target due to his last name…because of his last name, he managed to evade punishment for so long.

  30. MademoiselleRose says:

    I have absolutely no sympathy for him at all. He is a drug pusher, totally different to a drug user. He helped hook other people on drugs, helped ruin lives, for all we know helped people overdose and die.

    He had a choice the way his life could go, he had all the advantages life could offer, he chose illegal, he pays now. He knew it was illegal, he chose his path, he reoffends, no sympathy for him from me.

    He’s lucky he isn’t in another country where he could be on death row.

  31. Lilo says:

    The law is the law. Smuggling drugs into prison and getting caught twice? That’s either really, really dumb and the behaviour of a def. sick and addicted man or he was totally thinking that he could get away with it because of his name. The name-dropping works both ways. I am sure Cameron used it and felt invincible at times…the system used it to make an example.