MP opens up about her drug addiction
Labour MP Darien Fenton says she hopes her decision to talk about her addiction will give others courage to confront their struggles.
In an opinion piece in today's Herald on Sunday, the Auckland-based list MP wrote it was "a miracle I survived" an addiction in the 1970s. Billed as the first time she had spoken of her heroin use, Fenton said it was still an issue which was not easy to talk about.
"I was very young and susceptible to the influences of the day, where taking drugs seemed cool. No doubt it's the same for many young people today," Fenton said in an article which she wrote.
Her "abiding regret" was the agony her parents were put through, however after returning home from travels overseas she sought the help of a methadone programme.
"This New Zealand health-funded programme saved my life and I pay tribute to the nurses, doctors and counsellors who were part of it."
Today Fenton declined to give further details of her drug use, and admitted her decision to discuss the issue was traumatic because it involved her family.
"It's been intensely personal; this is something that happened a long time ago, and I just hope that by it being out there, that people can find some courage if they're struggling with drugs."
The death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman from a heroin overdose was the main reason for the timing of her article.
Hoffman reportedly began using heroin after a long period being clean of the drug, but Fenton said had no residual struggles from her addiction.
"I never wake up in the morning thinking 'I've got a day of struggle today'. I never think about it. It's so long ago, it never even occurs to me. So I'm well and truly passed it. It was decades ago, so I'm one of the lucky ones I guess."