Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:50 UK

Winehouse 'drug-free' for a year

Amy Winehouse
Winehouse has spent several stints in rehab clinics for her drug use

Singer Amy Winehouse has been drug-free for a year, her father has told MPs.

Mitch Winehouse made the comments to the Home Affairs committee during a session discussing the cocaine trade.

The former taxi driver was telling MPs about his findings on a documentary he is making on rehabilitation services which are available to heroin addicts.

He criticised the current healthcare system, saying there were few facilities for addicts who could not afford treatment.

Mr Winehouse was speaking at the House Of Commons

Speaking about his pop star daughter's much-publicised drug treatment, he said: "We were very fortunate - we were able to afford the best doctors, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation and hospitals," Mr Winehouse said.

"We're making a film about people who can't afford it and unfortunately we found there are very few facilities and very little help available for people like that."

Mr Winehouse said he believed the problem was caused by the majority of government funding for drug treatment being spent on the criminal justice system, where a convicted addict would be offered free residential rehab.

The truth is there is very little treatment available to people who walk in off the street and say 'I need help'.
Mitch Winehouse

"We've spoken to addicts who have told us people are desperately committing offences just so that they have a chance of receiving treatment," he said.

"The truth is there is very little treatment available to people who walk in off the street and say 'I need help'."

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, which is part of the NHS, hit back at Mr Winehouse's comments.

It said waiting lists for drug treatment in England had fallen to an average of one week, while 93% of people got the help they needed in three weeks, even when a stay in a residential rehabilitation centre was required.

Chief executive Paul Hayes said: "Drug treatment in England has never been more available to members of the public who need it. We think it is important that the public knows that, if they or a family member needs help, they can get it on the NHS."

'Remarkable recovery'

The agency is due to give evidence to the committee next week.

Amy Winehouse has spent several stints in rehab clinics for her drug use over the past two years.

In an interview in June, Mr Winehouse said he had seen a "remarkable recovery" in the star since the beginning of the year.

The singer performed on Strictly Come Dancing earlier this month, providing backing vocals for her 13-year-old god-daughter Dionne Bromfield.



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