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Kansas Joins States Considering Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

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Kansas has joined the growing number of states considering drug testing for welfare recipients. A group of lawmakers in the state are supporting a proposal that would require one-third of Kansas welfare recipients to undergo random drug screening.

These people would have to pay for the drug screen up front. If they tested negative, the state would refund the expense. A person who tested positive for drugs would have to submit to a drug evaluation, and might be required to attend a treatment or education program, according to The Kansas City Star.

After a second positive drug test, attendance at an education or treatment program would be mandatory. The person would be terminated from the welfare program for one year. Anyone testing positive for a third time would be permanently cut from the program.

A household that included someone banned from the welfare program would receive their aid from a third party designated by the state, the article notes.

Earlier this month, legislators in the Virginia House recommended that a proposal to perform drug screening on certain recipients of public assistance in the state be delayed until next year, to allow more time to study the potential costs of the measure.

Recently, officials in Pennsylvania announced they are introducing a new drug testing program for certain welfare recipients. Pennsylvania’s program will randomly test those with a felony drug conviction within the past five years, and those on probation for such crimes. A program introduced in Florida last year to test all welfare recipients was blocked by a federal judge.

5 Responses to this article

  1. Carol / June 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Besides! I have to do a drug test to get paid. A lot of jobs required it.

  2. Avatar of Carol
    Carol / June 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I don’t like my taxpaying money going to drugs. I do know for a fact it happens a lot. It can help save taxpayers money in other ways; maybe not directly through the welfare program. But, we pay a lot of money for people who are incarcerated and medical. I just dealt with a mom of 5 kids who didn’t want to work. She didn’t need to. She had welfare money. She bought meth that affected her heart. (umm? Had enough money for drugs?) She was hospitalized for 3 months and had heart surgery. Guess what? She didn’t pay a dime. Taxpayers did. I worry more about the children. The law is also to help the children and it is supposed to help get people back to work and not depend on welfare. I think the law will help deter drug use in many families who need the money. Food or drugs? True. Not all families. And yes, there are people who truly needs help. But, taxpayers will end up paying for rehab anyway. So it doesn’t hurt to try to have this law where people on welfare have to do a drug test and see what happens. Forking them out money hasn’t seem to help. Unlike other states, Kansas is considering the 3 strikes you’re out rule. Heck, I wouldn’t give them 3 chances. But, they are thinking of the needs of the individual. Sometimes you have hit rock bottom before getting help. And you’re not going to hit rock bottom if someone rescues you all the time. Drug use has become a very big problem in our country. Talk to any drug enforcement agency. There has been some kind or form of drug for hundreds of years. There always will be. The only difference is that American citizens has become a society of being enabled. They don’t want to work for a living. Americans are like spoiled little children. When you raise a spoiled child they grow up to be unhappy adults. Unhappy adults think drugs will make them happy.They don’t know the good feeling of being responsible, independent and the pride of working. As far as human rights? You lose your rights when you do something illegal. Period. I think law enforcers, social workers, educators, and medical people see at first hand what happens and they are sick of it.

  3. Linda Cheek, MD / February 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I agree with testing the welfare recipients. This is one group making a living off of prescription drugs. Jeff, why are doctors having to act as law enforcement and why are they sending us to jail, giving free rein to the population doing the crime? If people don’t do the drugs, they don’t have a problem. If they do, they need to get clean or not live off the tax dollar, driving a $35,000 vehicle with their drug money.

  4. jeff / February 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Another instance of a degrading law that only increases costs, demeans human beings, and makes people less likely to seek the help they need. When did our social services programs become “law enforcement” oriented? Are we social services professionals now in the business of custody, enforcement, and public accountability at the expense of healing and restoration? This is indicative of the creep of public authority into co-opting other organizations, public and private, into arms of accountability and enforcement at the expense of those organizations true missions. As I said before, “When did our social services programs become “law enforcement” oriented?”

  5. jeff / February 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Dr. Cheek. A doctor should not act as law enforcement. If an individual has a behavior and wishes to seek help for that behavior should they be reported for it? Or should the doctor, social worker, addiction specialist, work with this person to change their life? To say “if people don’t do the drugs, they don’t have a problem” is extremely simplistic and ignores reality. People will do drugs, that will not change. What can and should change is our response to this fact. This response in it’s current form has failed miserably for many years. Perhaps it’s time to try a new mindset and a different approach. After all, isn’t healing and restoring someone what it’s all about? Not simply throwing them away because of behavioral choices. Behavior can and does change. We are agents of help and change, not simply accountability.

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