Mike Trace: Eva Rausing helped other addicts to live

The result of her work is that thousands are now living drug-free

Share
Related Topics

The coverage of Eva Rausing's death has focused on the tragic end to a wealthy woman's struggle with drug dependence. It is important to remember however, that, to those working in addiction, Eva was first and foremost a uniquely committed and insightful supporter.

Eva was involved with our work at RAPt for many years, and quickly grasped our vision – of offering treatment to prisoners with drug and alcohol problems, of the same quality that was available in private treatment centres for those who could afford to pay. Certainly she and her husband Hans offered extremely generous financial support – but there was much more to the relationship than just handing over money. Eva made a huge practical contribution to the development of the charity, with the result that thousands of previously addicted prisoners are now living positive and drug-free lives in the community.

She understood the complex challenges faced by people trying to recover from addiction. When she visited our prison programmes, she made a great impact. She was totally honest about her own struggle, putting prisoners at ease and talking very naturally about her experiences. People in rehab – especially those in prison, who've reached rock bottom – react positively to someone taking an interest. The fact that she was one of the richest women in the UK, who was willing and able to empathise with their stories, was an incredibly powerful message.

Her insight into the particular issues faced by women led to a special interest in this area. It was a grant from Eva and her husband Hans that enabled RAPt to open the first treatment programme for women at HMP Send over 10 years ago. Many hundreds of women have benefited over the years since it opened.

Eva was keen for us to take risks and explore new ideas – enthusiastically supporting an initiative to train programme graduates (ex-prisoners who had remained drug and crime free) as counsellors and join the staff. One person helping another to make the journey, someone with direct empathy and understanding, is key to the ethos of the charity. Giving that person the opportunity to develop an interesting, meaningful career is even better. RAPt personnel who are also graduates of the programme can now be found working across the organisation – including among our trustees. Eva and Hans Rausing recently broadened this support by funding a project guiding ex-prisoners into a range of education, training and employment opportunities.

Eva was an intelligent woman who used her wealth and experience to try to prevent people becoming addicts or to find a way out of addiction once it had a hold. Her death is a tragedy that illustrates the terrible force of this illness.

Mike Trace is CEO of the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust, www.rapt.org.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior DBA (SQL Server, T-SQL, SSIS, SSAS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior DBA (SQ...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Senior Project Manager

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Global leading Energy Tra...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the country's Independence Day in New Delhi, India  

With Modi talking tough and Sharif weak, the India-Pakistan love-in could never last

Andrew Buncombe
At the time of the investigation Patrick Foster published a statement on Twitter, denouncing the “unnecessarily heavy-handed police investigation”  

Long-term bail allows lazy police and prosecutors to leave cases to gather dust

Oliver Wright
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment