All the money in the world could not cure his drug addiction, says Hans Rausing’s sister
A member of one of Britain s richest families, Sigrid Rausing has spoken of her sadness at watching her brother relapse into heroin abuse.
Talking today on BBC Radio 4 s Desert Island Discs, she said despite seeking advice from professionals all over the world, the family could do little to help Hans.
We had the best people in the world, said 53-year-old Sigrid.
We went through all the addiction experts, people specialising in wealthy families. I know that landscape so well. All I can say is it doesn t help very much.
Having watched her younger sibling struggle with drug abuse for years, she said it was a huge shock when he was arrested in July 2012.
You get into this co-dependant thing. I still have trouble with that term but what it means is that your life, your fate becomes entangled in somebody else s life and I think that was very true for me and my brother.I was very entangled in his addiction.”
It transpired Eva had lain dead for two months behind a locked door, covered in layers of clothes, blankets and plastic sealed with industrial tape.
Hans later pleaded guilty to delaying the burial of a body, receiving a suspended prison sentence and treatment for drug addiction and a mental breakdown.
In the Radio 4 interview, Sigrid describes herself being very much entangled in her brother s addiction and said this has caused her episodes of deep depression.
You get into this co-dependant thing, she said. I still have trouble with that term but what it means is that your life, your fate becomes entangled in somebody else s life and I think that was very true for me and my brother.
I was very entangled in his addiction. I ended up going myself as a family member to the same rehab he was in. I cut my arms.
She also describes a period in her twenties when one of her brother s relapses affected her deeply.
Living in Islington at the time, Sigrid said Hans had come out of one of his many relapses and came to stay with her.
He immediately relapsed again, she said, and the thing is I had no idea, I did not realise.
He became increasingly difficult to live with and eventually, after a couple of months, I asked him to leave. He couldn t leave but he just started staying in his own bedroom.
And after a summer of this he was suddenly gone and I had no idea where he was.
She said this caused her mild depression and it wasn t until the following year that Hans turned up out of the blue. on the substitute drug treatment Methadone.
Sigrid said: He then went to a better rehab but when that happened I went into a deeper depression. I think it s quite common. Once you know someone is safe you can let go a bit. So that spring I was in a very dark place.
One of the heirs to a £4.3billion fortune derived from the Swedish food packaging empire, Sigrid is now the founder of one of the UK s largest philanthropic foundations, which has given away around £230 million to human rights causes since it began.
She said being a member of one of the richest families in the country is a great responsibility but that being wealthy can lead to great opportunities .
She said: We live in a profoundly unfair society. Wealth is increasing for the wealthy and debt is increasing for those in debt. Once you know that, it seems to me you should try to do something for the common good with that money.
Her interest in human rights, she says, comes from hearing stories about the Holocaust as a child.
She said: My grandfather, Ruben Rausing, and his brother had been very involved in the welcome committee for the Danish Jews coming to Sweden. It meant my interest in human rights was part of what we were talking about as a family.
In addition to being the owner of the Granta publishing house, Sigrid said she is now focusing on writing a memoir of what it means to be a family member of an addict.
What happens to you when you end up holding so much of the discipline? she asks.
You become the voice of morality. And there is something important to be said about the pain of being that voice.