Mitch Winehouse takes rehab case to UK parliament

Mon Aug 1, 2011 9:03am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - In the wake of singer Amy Winehouse's death, her father Mitch went to Westminster on Monday to press politicians to do more for young people needing help with drug and alcohol problems.

"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," he told reporters.

Amy Winehouse struggled with drinking and drug problems throughout much of her career before being found dead in her north London home last month.

The cause of her death at the age of 27 has not yet been determined and officials await results of toxicology tests.

Former taxi driver Winehouse, 60, was meeting Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and Home Office minister James Brokenshire.

Britain's only National Health Service (NHS) rehabilitation center for young people, Middlegate, in Lincolnshire, closed last year, leaving young addicts facing either waits of up to two years for NHS treatment or hefty bills at private clinics.

"Rather than money being wasted through the criminal justice system, there could be a reallocation of funds," Winehouse said.

"There was one rehab center for juveniles and that's just shut down through lack of funding so we need to look at that. We need to be able to help our children."

Newspaper reports said Winehouse, who gave evidence on drug abuse to Vaz's committee in 2009, plans to win backing for a rehab unit to be named after his daughter.

Her best-known album "Back to Black" shot back to the top of the British albums chart Sunday in the wake of her death.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison)

<p>Mitch Winehouse, the father of deceased British singer Amy Winehouse, arrives at Golders Green Crematorium in London July 26, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>