Amy Winehouse's father in drug help units plea

The father of Amy Winehouse today pleaded with the Government to reform drug rehabilitation centres for youngsters in memory of his daughter.





The singer's battles with drink and drugs before her death last month led Mitch Winehouse to make a heartfelt plea to politicians for better services for addicts.



"This isn't only important to me, this is important to our whole country," he said.



With the last specialist NHS rehabilitation centre for youngsters closing last year, Mr Winehouse urged Crime Minister James Brokenshire and Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, to consider a "reallocation of resources".



Mr Winehouse said: "There's hundreds of thousands of young people in situations today that could be avoided, and these are our future policemen, doctors and lawyers and solicitors that we could help.



"We need to be able to help our children."



After his meeting with Mr Winehouse, Mr Vaz said it seemed the "level of support is not there" after the closure of Middlegate rehabilitation centre in Nettleton, Lincolnshire, last year.



Mr Vaz said he was "grateful" for the meeting with Mr Winehouse, saying he "spoke from his heart".



The MP said his committee would "look again" at recommendations it made to the Government after hearing evidence from Mr Winehouse in October 2009.



Following this and other hearings, the committee published a report in 2010 saying it was "perturbed by reports that access to residential rehabilitation was not as readily available as to community programmes" and that "addicts in a chaotic environment could benefit from periods of stable, residential treatment".



Following his private meeting with Mr Brokenshire, a Home Office spokeswoman said "points that are raised will be considered".



Mr Vaz said he offered deep condolences on behalf of himself and the committee for the "terrible, tragic" death of Winehouse, "who was a great British musician".



After meeting Mr Vaz in the Houses of Parliament, Mr Winehouse said he sensed "a willingness to perhaps change the way things are being done".



He said that he wanted to "keep busy" following his daughter's death, adding: "I want to involve myself in things that would be important to Amy.



"That is why we are going to be setting up the Amy Winehouse Foundation."



The foundation will help "the things she (Amy) loved" including children and horses but will also aid those struggling with substance abuse, according to Mr Winehouse.



Winehouse, 27, was found dead at her flat in north London on July 23.



Her multiple Grammy award-winning album Back To Black topped the UK album charts last night and five of her singles are in the top 40, including the single Back To Black at number eight.



The singer's family is awaiting the results of toxicology tests to establish the cause of her death.



Sarah Graham, a former cocaine abuser and addiction expert, went to the meeting with Mr Winehouse and said any rehabilitation centre in Amy's name should not be paid for by the foundation and that the Government should "commit to pay for the beds long-term".



"We don't want to build another Middlegate which falls by the wayside," she said.



A spokesman for the family said Mr Winehouse is also trying to address the issue that addicts face two-year waiting lists for NHS treatment.



Because of Winehouse's battles with drink and drugs, news of her death was quickly followed by suggestions that it could be related to one or the other.



Mr Winehouse said he believed his daughter's decision to stop drinking may have contributed to her death.



In his eulogy at her funeral service at Edgwarebury Cemetery in north London last week, Mr Winehouse said he thought she may have struggled to deal with the sudden withdrawal.



He said she had "just completed three weeks of abstinence", adding that she told him: "Dad, I've had enough of drinking, I can't stand the look on your and the family's faces any more."



A post-mortem examination proved inconclusive and an inquest was opened and adjourned with no cause of death given.



Simon Antrobus, chief executive of Addaction, one of the UK's major treatment providers, said some areas had seen Government funding cuts of up to 50%.



These cuts are not specifically to funding for specialist rehabilitation centres for young people, as there are none, but to community-based services, he said.



"The result is a significant reduction in the support we can offer," said Mr Antrobus.



"We need to ensure that specialist support remains available for everyone who encounters problems, whether it is the person themselves or the family around them."



Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, the independent centre of expertise on drugs, said: "Mitch Winehouse's ambitions for better access to drug treatment for all following the tragic death of his daughter Amy is to be welcomed.



"However, it is also important to emphasise that preventative and community-based services ought to be, for most people, the first port of call," he said.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones