Amsterdam puts alcoholics to work in exchange for beer

22 November 2013 18:42

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Amsterdam puts alcoholics to work in exchange for beer

By cleaning up the parks and city streets, these men are able to earn about $13, half a packet of rolling tobacco, and five cans of beer in exchange for a day’s work.

Alcoholics in Amsterdam are often known for causing a nuisance, but a USA Today article reports that a new program is paying many of these people in alcohol. In one of Amsterdam’s parks, drunks could often be seen causing a disturbance or fighting. Now, by cleaning up the parks and city streets, these men are able to earn about $13, half a packet of rolling tobacco, and five cans of beer in exchange for a day’s work.

The government is working in partnership with the Rainbow Group Foundation. The NGO’s website states that the Foundation is committed to people with social problems, the homeless, the poor, drug users, and those with psychiatric problems. The organization provides shelter, relief, and aid to people in the margins of society. The Foundation helps to prevent social isolation through buddy projects and we support marginalized people to take an active role in society. Empowerment and participation of people are keywords in all of its activities.

Gerrie Holterman, who heads the Rainbow Foundation project, which is funded by the Dutch state and donations, says the aim of the project is to keep the men occupied and away from disruptive fighting and noise-making in the park. According to The Independent, The project, paid for by Dutch state subsidies and donations, rounds up alcoholics who have been “causing a nuisance” in parks and puts them to work.

They clean three days a week, from 9 in the morning to 3:30 in the afternoon. The alcoholics are split up into groups of 10, and their beer consumption is carefully monitored. The workers are given two cans of beer and coffee if they want it at the start of the day, followed by another two cans and a hot meal at lunch.

One of the alcoholics that participates in the program states that they need the alcohol to function, which impairs chronic alcoholics from remaining otherwise gainfully employed. Additionally, the program offers a structure in their lives, with a given scheduled and controlled nutrition plan and beverage consumption.

The program has been compared to a 2009 British trial with heroin addicts, reports Time Health & Family. Britain concluded a four-year trial in 2009 in which long-time addicts were given daily heroin injections as part of a treatment program to eventually help them off the drug. Now, with results showing the trial succeeded in reducing drug use and crime among participants, Britain became only the second country in Europe to institutionalize the program.

Source: natmonitor.com

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