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A group of well-known addiction doctors is urging that the son of Michael Douglas receive treatment, instead of additional jail time, for his latest drug offense.

Cameron Douglas, who is already serving a five-year federal sentence for drug distribution and possession of heroin, received a sentence of an additional four-and-a-half years for being caught with heroin and the opioid addiction medication Suboxone, The New York Times reports.

His latest sentence is believed to be one of the harshest ever handed down by a federal judge for drug possession for a prisoner who was already incarcerated, the article notes. The sentence led about two dozen addiction specialists to file a brief on his behalf.  The case is under review by a panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, according to the newspaper.

The experts say Douglas, who began using heroin daily while he was in his mid-20s, is a classic example of someone who suffers from untreated opioid dependence. They argue more prison time will not solve his underlying problems.

“My outrage is as a physician for someone who has a medical condition which has been ignored,” said Dr. Robert Newman, Director of the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, one of the experts who signed the brief. “What the judge has imposed has zero benefits for the community and has staggering consequences for society.”

Heroin and Suboxone were found in Douglas’ cell while he was testifying against a former drug dealer. He pleaded guilty to one count of drug possession by a federal prisoner. Most prisoners who are caught with drugs while they are incarcerated are punished with loss of prison privileges, according to Daniel N. Abrahamson, Director of Legal Affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance, the drug reform group that drafted the brief.

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