Cameron Douglas speaks out on drug addiction, family

Cameron Douglas and his father Michael Douglas speak with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer about fame, failure and the family that helped Cameron find his way.
8:20 | 10/22/19

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Transcript for Cameron Douglas speaks out on drug addiction, family
An ABC news exclusive with Cameron Douglas, the son of Michael, grandson of Kirk born into Hollywood royalty but battling with drug addiction took him from the lap of luxury to federal prison. He and his father are opening up about his fame and the family that helped him find his way and it's a revealing new primetime special with our dear friend It is so great to see you. You're so right. I want to roll some tape to remind everyone of the golden power and glamour of the Douglas family in Hollywood. And we look at them and their lives and how they lived and we think it insulates you from the anguish of a child you feel you are losing to drugs. And Michael Douglas is coming forward with his son this morning, I think it's very brave because just in case there are other families out there living their terror too. Cameron Douglas is now 40. He spent seven years behind bars including in maximum security and nearly two years in solitary confinement do I have this right when you were 13 you were smoking pot. When you were 15 you were snorting cocaine. When you were 17, you had sampled crystal meth. 19, liquid cocaine. 26, heroin. How close were you to dying? Probably pretty close. You said I was playing a game of chicken with myself. The kind of miracle you're okay? I like the sound of that word. It sounds good. We'll see if I can turn it into that. I think that remains to be seen. Reporter: As Cameron Douglas talks, it's hard not to be distracted. Look at the faces of the three generations. That dynasty of Douglas men. My father. My father. My father. Reporter: The family's signature, a kind of tough glamour. Greed for lack of a better word is good. Reporter: His father a powerhouse producer, hit-making actor. His little boy watching him at awards shows from home and hoping to live up to the family name. Michael Douglas. You said I wanted to impress him. I wanted him to be my friend. I revered him. Good night, Cameron. I love you. Reporter: Michael Douglas was 34 when his first child was born. Cute tushie. Same tush. Even better. Cam. Cam. So how did it happen? A little boy changed so much becoming the teenager caught up in a rough and druggi crowd? Do you look back and say, the one thing I think maybe I could have tried was? You know, I'm just laughing because you rack your brain. You know, you take it personally and in the beginning you start blaming yourself then you look at your genetic makeup. My career was first. That's your choice. Reporter: My career came before my family. What's on your mind? My marriage was not great and so you do hide yourself in your work. I should have, you know, focused more on my family, but that's hard to say when you're in the midst of a career when you are in your own mind stepping out of your father's shadow trying to create a life for your own. Reporter: In a family rescue mission, grandfather and father invite Cameron who has a gift for acting to co-star in a movie with them as long as he goes to rehab first. The movie is called "It runs in the family." Look at that thing. A big one. You knew you were good in it. Yes. Yeah. Reporter: In his book he writes that sometimes there's just a crack deep inside you. The one you try to fill with drugs and then the drugs take over as you recede from the safety of any shore. I thought that I was fundamentally not put together properly and that since that was the case, I was just going to take it as far as I could take it and come what may. It was almost like, you know, the one thing that I could count on, you know. And I guess, you know, I didn't have the courage to try to move forward without it. So look again at his double life, smiling with this family and retreating into his own apartment where he is playing dice with death. A friend has shown him a new way to use cocaine, injected as a liquid into his veins. Your blood brings it up into your tongue and you can taste it. People call it a bell ringer because you literally hear bells ringing in your head. Reporter: He's using two to three times an hour, the needles scar his veins. Their collapsing, first in his arms then in his legs. At one point you do your rib cage. My rib cage, my neck. You shot cocaine into your neck? Yes. Michael. Reporter: His famous father we watch and think must be living a trouble-free life but in reality, Michael Douglas is despairing and searching for his child just like so many other parents across the country. Trying to figure out what to do. What to do, what to do. It's like having jekyll and Hyde -- I've never seen him as bad -- I don't know what else to do. He is missing in action right Reporter: At one point a frantic Michael Douglas hires two men to kidnap him and take him to rehab. Cameron gets so aggressive, the mission is called off. I think everything made me angry because I was so angry at myself. He was desperate. Desperate. Beside himself. Do you stop talking to him? I think we stopped talking for quite a while after that. Reporter: So Michael Douglas makes a decision, he manages to reach his son on the phone to say, I love you. You're my son. I can't do this anymore because I think you're going to die. You're going to kill somebody or you were going to get killed. Had reached a point where I thought I was going to lose him based on everything I had seen, and was not willing to emotionally commit anymore. And you said don't you love me anymore, dad? Those words were heartbreaking to me. At what point do you protect yourself or your other loved ones around you before you get dragged into this and it falls apart? It destroys you. It just destroys you. And you're going to hear about prison, seven years in prison and the proof that you never know when your prayers are going to be answered. And how they're going to be answered. In an unusual way. That's right. You'll hear about it. I think of this -- I said to them is this a love story but where you hole on for dear life in the middle? And it really is a family love story. It is so powerful. Hopefully it's going to help some other families too. That's why they're doing it because of all the families around the country going through this too. That's right. "Douglas dynasty: Fame, addiction, finding home" airs tonight. "Long way home" out today, Cameron's book.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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