May 3, 2010 / 7:57 PM / in 8 years

Michael Douglas calls son's jail time "adequate"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Michael Douglas on Monday called his son’s five-year prison sentence for selling drugs “adequate” and said if he hadn’t gone to jail he most likely would have died from drug use or even been killed.

In April, Cameron Douglas, 31, pleaded guilty in New York to dealing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine and possessing heroin. He apologized to his family, including his grandfather, actor Kirk Douglas, and admitted to a long addiction to heroin.

Appearing on morning U.S. talk show “Today,” Michael Douglas, who has starred in movies ranging from “Wall Street” to “Traffic” and “The American President,” said his son was in “good spirits,” and Douglas hoped Cameron could start life anew when he is eventually released from prison.

“I think the court recognized his drug addiction as well as the crime he committed, and it’s an adequate, I think, amount of time for anybody to spend in jail,” Douglas said on the NBC network’s morning show.

Douglas took some blame for his son’s problems because he was often an absentee father, and he noted the hereditary nature of substance abuse, saying several of his family members had problems in the past.

He also said some of his son’s troubles stem from befriending the wrong people.

“You finally end up with who you choose to hang out with,” Douglas said. “In Cameron’s position, he took in a lot of low lifes. He was a very attractive target to hang out with, and I don’t think that helped, either.”

He also noted his son’s long-time drug abuse, saying Cameron had not been sober since he was 13 years-old and adding that had Cameron not been jailed, he likely would have died.

“He was going to be dead or someone was going to kill him, Douglas said. “I think he has a chance to start a new life, and he knows that.”

Douglas had this advice for other parents: If you think your child may be having problems, try to correct them before they reach 18 years-old and legally are on their own.

“Your options, once your children turn 18, are limited,” he said, adding that family is his priority in his new marriage to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, with whom he has two kids.

Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis

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