Amy Winehouse’s father in bid to set up rehab clinic for young addicts

�Amy Winehouse’s father met with MPs last Monday to discuss plans to set up a drug rehabilitation centre in memory of the talented and much-lamented singer.

Mitch Winehouse spoke with Crime Minister James Brokenshire and MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the cross-party Home Affairs Committee.

The meeting was to discuss whether the government would support the project and provide funding to treat young addicts.

Ms Winehouse, 27, died at her Camden Square home on July 23. The cause of her death has yet to be established and her family is awaiting toxicology tests.

During her lifetime, the singer fought a public battle against drink and drug addiction.

Her father announced after her funeral last week that the family planned to set up a charitable foundation in her name and use it to set up a rehabilitation centre.

Mr Winehouse has indicated that the family would like to help people who are struggling to overcome an addiction and are unable to pay for private treatment.

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At the funeral, he said: “If you cannot afford a private rehabilitation clinic, there is a two-year waiting list for help.”

The only NHS residential rehabilitation centre for young people at Middlegate in Nettleton, Lincolnshire, closed last year.

Simon Antrobus, the chief executive of Addaction, a drug and alcohol treatment charity which helps people in London and across the UK, welcomed Mr Winehouse’s action.

He said: “I think there is an absolutely huge opportunity here to change the way people view addiction in this country, particularly for young people.

“Over the past year, Addaction has seen a rise in young people who drink problematically and who use drugs like ketamine or mephedrone. As any parent whose child is having problems will tell you, instances of drug and alcohol misuse are still far too common.”

He said that, currently, addicts aged under 18 do not have access to specialist residential rehab support.

Addaction helps people overcome a problem with drugs or alcohol by providing community support. But Mr Antrobus warned that this support is at risk because of cuts.

“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,” he said.

Since Ms Winehouse’s death hit the headlines, there has been a surge in sales of her music.

Her 2006 album Back To Black, which won five Grammy awards, topped the charts this week. It includes Rehab, the song which described her refusal to enter a drug rehabilitation clinic.

Her debut album Frank appeared at number five in the charts and five of her singles were in the top 40.

Fans have set up a shrine to Ms Winehouse outside her Camden Town townhouse.

Mr Winehouse visited it last Friday to meet some of the people who were paying their respects and hand out T-shirts.

A Home Office spokesman said the meeting between Mr Winehouse and Mr Brokenshire was a private meeting.

He added that the department would consider points raised in the discussion.