‘‘While still a young teenager, he drank heavily and began selling drugs after his father sharply limited snorting cocaine,’’ he said. ‘‘He used illegal drugs to self-medicate — to ward off depression and panic attacks.’’
He began using intravenous cocaine at age 20 and then started using heroin so that by age 25, ‘‘his life revolved around heroin,’’ Shechtman said.
His friends were fellow users, who gravitated to him because of his access to family money, which supported their habits, the lawyer said. His drug habit led him to be fired from a movie in which he had a minor role in 2006.
‘‘Exasperated, his father gave him an ultimatum: enter a drug rehabilitation program or have his access to family money sharply limited. Cameron declined to enter treatment; his father carried out his threat; and Cameron turned to drug dealing to support his habit,’’ Shechtman wrote.
Shechtman argued that the judge had gone too far with Cameron Douglas, punishing an addict for something beyond his control.
‘‘While we recognize that many of the words that the district court used to describe Cameron’s conduct — ‘reckless,’ ‘manipulative,’ ‘destructive,’ — were apt, the simple truth is that Cameron Douglas is a heroin addict who has yet to shake his habit,’’ he said.