Who's Responsible for Amy's Death?

08/05/2011 07:21 pm ET | Updated Oct 05, 2011

The writer of the song "Rehab" -- with the lyric, "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, 'No, no, no,'" -- has died at age 27. And although a senior London police officer has urged the media not to speculate over the cause of her death (which is very wise), almost everyone assumes it is substance related.

So was Amy's dislike for rehab the cause of her death? According to this viewpoint, Winehouse was too much in denial to recognize rehab or a 12-step group would be her salvation.

Except Winehouse had been in rehab any number of times. In fact, she had just gotten out. According to the BBC:

"She had recently finished a course of alcohol rehabilitation in London and at the time was under strict instructions not to drink."

Which reminds us that addicts are at greater risk of overdose deaths after leaving institutions such as prisons or hospitals. They then often return to accustomed levels of consumption of a substance while having lost their tolerance for it.

This story also reminds me that Ruth Fowler recently revisited the vehicular homicides caused by Audrey Kishline, founder of Moderation Management. This incident occurred more a decade ago, in 2000. Ruth's piece in "The Fix" suggests that Kishline's behavior was due to her efforts to moderate her drinking.

But in fact, Kishline was going to her car to down massive amounts of alcohol out of sight of prying eyes. And this may have been related to Audrey's recent attendance at AA -- which she had announced over the MM list. Even Bill O'Reilly was able to cotton to this information when he interviewed me.

It is tempting to ponder that, having no permission in AA to drink, Kishline was driven to all-out excess when she did drink. Only now she had no support group for drinking with caution, only people who had told her (like Winehouse was told), "Do not drink." And so, failsafe measures (called "harm reduction") such as, "You need to hold my car keys" or "I will be using/drinking and I need someone there to keep me safe" -- were not in place.

Relapse is sad but can be reversed. Death is forever. At the same time, of course, neither AA nor MM were responsible for Audrey's drunk-driving.

And there is no one left to blame for Amy's death, because the person in charge of her life is nowhere to be found. It's a damn shame.