City In Germany Going To Give Alcoholics Beer in Exchange For Them Cleaning The Streets


Germany – The “Pick-up” initiative, planned by charity Addict Support Essen to start in mid-June, offers addicts beer – along with food and medical treatment – in exchange for working three to six hours a day collecting litter off streets. They will also get “pocket money” of €1.25 per hour, similar to the established “one-euro-jobs” which employ unemployed and homeless people in Germany for public projects at an hourly rate of €1. “Pick-up” will be totally voluntary and targeted at Essen’s long-term alcoholics, many of whom also have drug problems and have spent time in prison, the charity said in a statement. “The aim of the programme is not to supply people with beer,” it explained. “For the participants it is about a meaningful daily structure, feeling useful and learning a new way to behave.” The statement claimed offering people beer was a small part of the project, merely a means to an end. Addict Support spokesman Bärbel Marrziniak told broadcaster ZDF: “Some of them simply need the bottle of beer to become fit for work. “If we didn’t give it to them, they would not turn up in the first place.” And organizers defended plans to use free booze to entice alcoholics into work by saying that for many long-term drinkers abstinence is an unrealistic goal. If the promise of free beer motivates addicts to work, regain a daily routine and accept medical care, they said, it is worthwhile. Addict Support Essen also argued it was right and proper the project be paid for out of public funds. “It is the same with funding for most social programmes for disadvantaged and sick people in Germany,” it said in the statement. “It ends up saving money in other areas.” But some condemned the plans as irresponsible and exploitative. “It would be nice if we could give the homeless a bit of their dignity back, when they’re already at rock bottom,” Sabine Zschaler, chairman of charity Homeless Support Ruhr and Lower Rhine, told ZDF. “But that’s not going to happen if we pay them with beer.” Zschaler said she suspected many participants would turn up, do the minimum required to get their bottle of beer, and then leave. But Addict Support Essen is confident the tactic will produce results, pointing to a similar scheme in Amsterdam which they said was highly successful. “Pick up” claims it will make a difference by educating participants on a controlled approach to drinking, alongside giving medical support including immunizations, medicines, vitamin supplements and counseling. The scheme’s one-year trial is slated to kick off in Essen in mid-June, with a medical observer assigned to evaluate its effects among participants. What will come about at the end of that, we don’t yet know ourselves,” Marrziniak said.

In the end, everyone wins. Alcoholics get their fix, and the city gets the cleanest streets that side of the Mississippi. What’s the big deal? Alcoholics have a special sonar system built in to find alcohol. They are going to get their fix no matter what. Even if it means they have to give a ZJ, they will give a ZJ. So good for this Germany city for simply accepting that, cutting out the middle man, and getting squeaky clean streets in the process. I guess it’s sort of a “if you can’t beat then, join them” type of deal. Plus, when the homeless alcoholics piss and puke all over the place, they will have the personal responsibility to clean it up. Sure, you could waste money trying to rehab these guys, and maybe one will successfully clean up. But you know what’s cheaper? Tossing each poor a can of Miller Lite, handing them a broom, and getting on with the day.