There is a certain stigma attached to drug addiction and to those who are affected by it. Many people do not realise that this is an illness that can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, race, background and wealth. Shame and embarrassment often prevent drug addicts from getting the help they need, but stereotyping of addicts is another reason. Many addicts have an idea in their head of what a stereotypical drug addict looks like. However, they do not fit with this image, and they find it difficult to accept that addiction is a very real problem in their own lives.

The Stereotypical Drug Addict

It may be the fault of television programmes and filmmakers, but most have this image that springs to mind when they hear the term ‘drug addict’. The way in which drug addiction is portrayed on television and movie screens often influences how individuals perceive drug addicts, especially those with no experience of the illness.

Most people will see a drug addict as:

  • someone who has ties to the criminal underworld or who has been involved in crime themselves
  • someone who injects illegal drugs down dark alleyways
  • someone who steals from friends and loved ones in order to fund their addiction
  • someone who cannot work due to being high all of the time
  • someone with little or no sex drive who cannot maintain a healthy, intimate relationship
  • someone who is younger than forty years’ old
  • someone who does not wash or have any interest in personal grooming
  • someone who is homeless and estranged from their family
  • someone who comes from a disadvantaged background
  • someone who has dropped out of school early with no qualifications.

While some drug addicts do fit a few or more of the above descriptions, most do not fit this profile at all. Take actor Michael Douglas’ son Cameron, for example. He is about to be released from prison after serving seven years behind bars for dealing methamphetamine.

Cameron’s struggle with drug addiction led him to dealing, eventually resulting in a huge chunk of prison time. Despite coming from an obviously wealthy background and with a famous father and grandfather, Cameron succumbed to drug addiction and his life spiralled out of control.

Bad Life Choices

Now that he has been released from prison, there are reports that he will write a book about his time behind bars and the drug addiction that led him there. A source said, “Cameron will talk about his struggle being the son and grandson of Hollywood icons, and then his bad decisions which led him to jail, and then solitary confinement.”

Cameron’s issues with drugs are said to have begun when he was just thirteen years of age. By the time he was twenty, he had started to abuse heroin and was dependent on opioids by the age of twenty-five. When he was arrested in 2009, he was under the influence of heroin and was said to be using it up to five or six times a day.

Crippling Addiction

Despite being sentenced to five years for drug possession with intent to supply in 2009, Cameron could not quit his addiction and had his sentence extended by another four and a half years in 2011 after smuggling drugs into prison. His lawyer, Jennifer Ridha, brought prescription medication into the prison after developing a physical relationship with her client.

Cameron is now out of prison after serving seven years and is staying in a halfway house. A source has said he is hoping to start afresh and wants to spend time with his family.


  1. Michael Douglas’s Son Comeron Released from Prison since 2009 Arrest for Selling Meth (Daily Mail)