AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS (NBC) - A program in the Netherlands is getting people with serious alcohol addictions off the streets, and putting them to work. There's controversy surrounding the program, because the pay includes beer.
Its 9:00 am on the east side of Amsterdam, and Fred Schiphorst has just arrived at work.
He, like all of his co-workers, is an alcoholic. These beers might as well be their morning coffee.
The men are part of an unusual social project. A partially government funded program to pay alcoholics to pick up litter, with beer. Five beers: two in the morning, two at lunch, and one at the end of their shift.
That, along with a half a pack of rolling tobacco, about 13 dollars, and a hot lunch.
The goal? To get them off the streets where they drink all day, and into a daily routine.
From legal sex for sale in the Red Light District, to legal marijuana at the coffee shops, the people of Amsterdam have little to hide. Even their home windows are rarely curtained.
Their problems are up for discussion.
Ramon Spits was sleeping on a train station floor before he joined the project.
They all may still be drinking, but they claim it's a lot less than before.
Marco is even trying to stop.
A rhythm that doesn't just give them a chance to restore their city, but their pride.