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Drug Screening Now Required for People Seeking Welfare Benefits in Utah

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People seeking welfare benefits in Utah must now take an online drug-screening survey, which is designed to determine if they are likely to have a substance use disorder, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Those who receive a high score will be required to take a drug test. A person with a positive drug test will have to enroll in a drug treatment program and stay off drugs, or else their benefits will be cut off, the article notes.

The company that makes the drug screening survey, the SASSI Institute, has one version for adults and another for teenagers. It says its surveys are 94 percent accurate.

According to Utah State Representative Brad Wilson, who sponsored the bill, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of welfare recipients are drug-dependent. He said most welfare recipients qualify for Medicaid, which will help cover treatment costs.

The newspaper notes Michigan and Florida faced legal challenges when they mandated drug testing for welfare recipients. In both cases those laws were struck down as unconstitutional, according to the article.

Many states have been considering measures that would require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing.

2 Responses to this article

  1. Joshua / August 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    what i like about this bill is that they have to take a written exam first, so you aren’t just blanket testing everyone who applies, at least they learned something from the multitude of similar laws that have been found to be unconstitutional. here’s the problem though. people who recieve welfare benefits typically use drugs at a lower level than the general population. if you are using “keeping tax money out of the hands of addicts” as the rule, it would be more effective to administer the test to contractors used by the state, applicants for state jobs, or lobyists – you know the ones who get the majority of the state funds. apply the rule fairly, or just admit that you hate poor people.

  2. Avatar of ARCpoint Labs of Seattle
    ARCpoint Labs of Seattle / August 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    It is good to see these continue to pass. it is only right that if they are going to collect money from the government, they should have to comply with government laws.

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