Home' Special Publications : Wasted Contents 8 Wasted 2011
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on the effects of drug & alcohol abuse
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Leonie Raven was raised in Wellington and grew
up around alcohol.
` ` My parents smoked and drank it was normal
for us to have people over having a few with my
When Leonie turned 11 years old she was
smoking cigarettes, as time would progress this
young girl would become an addict of some of
the most horrific drugs on the streets.
` ` I was drinking heavily, I would steal it and try
any way possible to get alcohol.’’
At the age of 14 Leonie ran away from home.
` ` I was introduced to pot then, but I was still
using alcohol. I couldn’t afford the drugs I was a
runaway, so I would fund it by committing crime
By 15-years of age Leonie had graduated to a
higher class of drug.
` ` I found my choice of drug, in the form of opi-
ates. I was taking heroine, pot, LSD, alcohol and
barbiturates; a heavy form of sleeping pills. And
later in the piece switched to meth.’’
Leonie was also dabbling in the gang scene.
` ` When you live that sort of lifestyle you attract
like minded people. We were all children search-
ing for love and this was the only way we knew
how to fill that void at the time.’’
Leonie spent some time in juvenile centres after
being caught for car conversion.
` ` I ended up doing a stint in kiddie jail, but by
that time I was already in too deep. I was always
formulating ways to access the drugs I wanted
and nothing was going to stop me.’’
A year later at 16, Leonie fell pregnant with her
first of four children.
` ` I used alcohol heavily through out my preg-
nancy with my first son. My second, third and
fourth pregnancies I was using Methadone and
Heroin. Three of my four children would end up
with addiction problems.’’
Leonie continued to live her life in the fast lane;
her children would be taken from her and placed
into care, through out their lives.
Her youngest son, Drew however would suc-
cumb and die from a solvent and Leonie’s 35 year
addiction problem would be tested.
` `My son was diagnosed with drug induced
schizophrenia caused by Marijuana and heavy
solvent abuse. My son began abusing drugs at 10
On January 1 2002 a visit from police would set
the wheels in motion for Leonie to clean up her
` ` My son Drew was found by Police at 10am he
had died from sniffing lighter fluid. When the po-
lice found him they found lighter fluid all around
him and Fly Spray cans.’’
``I went on a binge after he died I didn’t care if I
died. I smoked, I injected, I drank, I did everything
to numb the pain. The reality was I was a using
parent, I was selfish and I missed all the signs
that my children were using. My first son was
taken away by his dad and lived a relatively good
life. The three that I did bring up I honestly didn’t
know them because my addiction came first.’’
Leonie began thinking seriously about getting
clean, and in 2004 the big turn around came.
` ` Someone said to me this is the last chance your
going to have, in truth I didn’t have another year
of use in me.’’
THE CLEAN UP
Leonie began her first steps into a new life.
` ` I went in for rehab at the then Salvation Army
drug and rehabilitation centre on Rotoroa Island.
I tell you it was hard and hurts like hell. It took 40
days to get it completely out of my system, the
pain never compared to losing Drew, I knew if I
could get through that I could do this.’’
Leonie began to face her demons head on.
` ` Along the way of my addiction I destroyed lives,
I wrecked homes, I had single headedly left a trail
of destruction. The first thing I wanted to do was
give my children the parent they deserved. I felt
like I had a new lease on life.
During her treatment Leonie would meet her
future husband Rob Raven.
Rob was a recovering methamphetamine and
narcotics user and had been using for 17 years.
However Rob’s upbringing differs from his wife’s,
My addiction killed my son
GONE TOO SOON: Leonie’s son Drew died from
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