Amy Winehouse's father urges MPs to help young addicts


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Indy Politics

Mitch Winehouse, father of the singer Amy who died last month, has urged politicians to do more to help young people with drug and alcohol problems, at a Westminster meeting.

Mr Winehouse, 60, met Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and Home Office minister James Brokenshire. The former cab driver said: "This isn't about Amy because we were in a fortunate position of being able to fund Amy to go into private rehab – this is about people that can't afford it."

Britain's only NHS rehabilitation centre for young people, Middlegate, in Lincolnshire, closed last year, leaving young addicts facing either waits of up to two years for NHS treatment or large bills at private clinics. Mr Winehouse said: "Rather than money being wasted through the criminal justice system, there could be a reallocation of funds."

Sarah Graham,an addiction expert, who went to the meeting with Mr Winehouse, said: "We are looking at how we can fund a rehab in Amy's name but we don't think the foundation should pay for it. If we build something, we need the Government to commit to pay for the beds long-term."