A Wealthy Family’s Battle With Drugs Laid Bare, but to What End?

After her brother and sister-in-law descended into their drug-addled existence, Ms. Rausing took the couple’s four children in 2007 following a court hearing. Eva was not happy.

In an angry response to the book, Mr. Kemeny blamed Ms. Rausing’s family for hastening his daughter’s death and chided her for airing the family’s secrets in public. The book is “a cold, hollow and unsympathetic depiction of our beloved daughter, Eva,” he wrote in a statement, adding that Eva was a good mother, with or without her addiction. According to The Guardian, Mr. Kemeny, who has worked as a senior executive for Pepsi and once bought an island off the coast of South Carolina, tried in vain for months to prevent the book’s publication but will not take legal action to prevent its release. He believes that his daughter would be alive today if the Rausing family had not separated her from her children.

But while Ms. Rausing expressed sympathy for Mr. Kemeny’s desire to protect his daughter’s memory, she countered that he was in denial about the collateral damage of drug addiction to Eva’s children, whose safety and well-being were her priority. Mr. Kemeny “denies that a drug relapse makes people bad parents, which he must know is an astonishing denial of the reality of drug addiction,” she wrote in a statement.

Moreover, she said that writing about her brother and dead sister-in-law’s addiction for her memoir was motivated by a desire to help others. “Addiction is a family disease,” Ms. Rausing said. And while she admired the fellowship of the 12-step model, she believes the public debate about addiction needed to include the impact on families. “How are we to have that uncomfortable and difficult conversation if family members are told that it’s wrong to speak about their experiences?” she asked in an email, adding that silence and denial were part of the addict’s arsenal.


“Mayhem: A Memoir,” by Sigrid Rausing.

Alfred A. Knopf

Perhaps fittingly, the romance between Hans and Eva began in a drug rehabilitation center, where they met in their mid-20s. Soon after, they married. “They had a house in London, a house in Barbados, many cars and paintings,” and “invitations to this and that and philanthropy,” Ms. Rausing wrote.

Eva, a waifish daughter of a well-off peripatetic family, came to London as a child, and turned…

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