Amsterdam's pragmatic approach to problem alcoholics: pay them in beer, let them work buzzed

  • Article by: TOBY STERLING , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 16, 2014 - 9:01 AM

AMSTERDAM — The men streaming in and out of a small clubhouse in east Amsterdam could almost be construction workers at the end of a hard day, taking off their orange reflective vests and cracking jokes as they suck down a few Heinekens, waiting for their paychecks.

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cootoriginalJan. 16, 1412:40 PM

"--She conceded there has only been one individual so far who has moved from the program to regular life." Isn't this what the do-gooders always say..."If we can save just one life, it will be worth it." Finally someone is thinking outside the morality box and taking a real-life approach. A do-no-harm approach that may help alcoholics feel better about their life, (contributing to society) can't work worse than shoving unwanted treatment on this population. I'm all for this type of thinking. Wet houses are also fine in my view.

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kallman11Jan. 16, 14 2:12 PM

Really? This is the same as "disparate impact" as a housing policy and the removal of vocabulary like “continual willful disobedience” in school systems. Did anybody read the article about how excessive alcohol consumption can kill you? So this program helps these folks commit suicide?

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dearabbyJan. 16, 14 5:10 PM

Bottom line is, everybody wants something to do. This gives it to them, it's no cure, but it makes living with them much more tolerable. Isn't that the goal?

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selfmadeJan. 17, 14 3:55 PM

It makes good sense to try it out! However, this would never work here because it's not PC to let addicts operate amongst "normal" productive citizens, and plus the "liability" whether perceived or real, is too much for the current American psyche imagining imbibed city workers doing their thing...

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davethedogJan. 17, 14 5:59 PM

There will always be a segment of the population that is going to be drunk and living off the government no matter how much we want to deny it. Why NOT have them do something productive like pick up litter? Another brilliant idea from Amsterdam.

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