Program in Amsterdam pays alcoholics in beer

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Program In Amsterdam Pays Alcoholics In Beer

A controversial program in Amsterdam is paying alcoholics partly in beer to clean litter off the streets.

NBC reports the initiative has some government funding and gives the alcoholics five cans of beer a day, rolling tobacco, a hot lunch and the equivalent of about $13 in euros.
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Program in Amsterdam pays alcoholics in beer
Pedestrians pass stores on a city street in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Dutch pension funds will be allowed to calculate liabilities on the basis of an adjusted discount rate as the government seeks to keep the retirement system viable amid low interest rates and an aging population. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Pedestrians walk along a shopping street in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Dutch pension funds will be allowed to calculate liabilities on the basis of an adjusted discount rate as the government seeks to keep the retirement system viable amid low interest rates and an aging population. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Road traffic signs for cyclists stand on a street near residential properties in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Dutch pension funds will be allowed to calculate liabilities on the basis of an adjusted discount rate as the government seeks to keep the retirement system viable amid low interest rates and an aging population. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A young boy rides on the back of a bike down the street next to one of the many canals in the capitol city of Amsterdam July 15 , 2013. While recently New York City is introducing a bike share in order to provide New Yorkers with more options for getting around the city. In Amsterdam, with a population of 801,200 in the city limits, there are a estimated own an estimated 881,000 bicycles. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
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One of the project's leaders told NBC the program gives the alcoholics, who normally sit on the street, something to do.

She also told the BBC: "It's quite difficult to get these people off the alcohol completely. We have tried everything else. We might not make them better, but we are giving them a better quality of life."

In January, The New York Times reported other cities in the Netherlands were looking into adopting the program as well.

The paper also points out some conservative lawmakers in Amsterdam have called the program a waste of government money, saying the program shows tolerance for alcohol abuse.

But the project leader with the program says the alcoholics don't get enough beer to make them drunk. She also says she hopes the program helps them make positive changes in their lives.
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