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Chronic alcoholics clean a street on Sept. 9 in Amsterdam. / Nicolas Delaunay, AFP/Getty Images

To the chagrin of the anti-saloon league, Prohibition was repealed 80 years ago Thursday in the USA.

In 2013, the United States has rehabilitation programs galore to help addicts. But no state in this union has taken the same approach to alcoholism as Amsterdam.

In the Dutch state, alcoholics are working for booze. A handful of people are picking up trash in exchange for five cans of beer a day, 10 euros (about $13) and a half-pack of rolling tobacco, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Gerrie Holterman, the head of the Rainbow Foundation project, told the AFP that the alcoholics were causing trouble in Amsterdam's Oosterpark with fights, noise and inappropriate comments aimed at women.

The project, financed by the state and donations, splits people into two groups of about 10, with each working three days a week, according to the AFP.

After beer and coffee, the alcoholics start the job at about 9 a.m. and end the day at about 3:30 p.m.

"You have to see things like this: everyone benefits," Holterman told the AFP. "They're no longer in the park, they drink less, they eat better and they have something to keep them busy during the day."

Pilot programs that take a more pragmatic approach to addiction do exist in the United States. Syringe exchanges, which give clean needles to heroin addicts in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV, operate in several cities.

Follow @JessicaDurando on Twitter



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Alcoholics work for booze in Amsterdam

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