Alcoholics work for beer in Amsterdam program

MGN Online

AMSTERDAM (AP) - A pilot project in Amsterdam isn't trying to help alcoholics into recovery, instead it pays them in beer. And that has people in the Netherlands and around the world talking.

Three days a week, men in the program start their work day with two beers, then they work the morning shift, eat lunch, and get two more beers. They'll work an afternoon shift before closing out the day with their last beer. And sometimes there's a bonus drink.

For years, a group of around 50 rowdy, aging alcoholics had plagued a park in east Amsterdam, annoying other park-goers with noise, litter and occasional harassment. The city had tried a number of hard-handed solutions, including adding police patrols.

Amsterdam East district mayor Fatima Elatik says the city was spending about $1.3 million on various prevention, treatment and policing programs, but they didn't work.

The pilot program, run with the small nonprofit Rainbow Group Foundation, costs about $25 a day for each participant.

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