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Many States Considering Measures to Require Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients


Almost two dozen states are considering measures that would require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, the Associated Press reports.

Although the measures are popular because of a perception that people on public assistance are using state funds to buy drugs, statistics have largely shown that to be untrue, the AP notes.

Critics of the bills point out that courts have struck down similar programs on the grounds they amount to an unconstitutional search.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he supports drug testing of welfare recipients. Fellow candidate Newt Gingrich has said he considers testing as a way to curb drug use and lower related costs to public programs.

The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found an estimated 22.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—8.9 percent of the population—were current illicit drug users. A random drug testing program in Michigan showed a similar percentage of its public assistance applicants tested positive.

In September 2011, Florida found its welfare applicants were less likely than Americans in general to use drugs. The state compiled the figures as part of a state law that required drug tests for welfare applicants. In October, a federal judge halted the Florida law, ruling it may violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

17 Responses to this article

  1. Marcia / March 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Can anyone believe the on-going stupidity of the crazy GOPS trying to throw away yet more money on useless, discriminatory tactics? All the while complaining about big government, cutting spending and how they give a shit about this country. How did things get this crazy? Please sign some of the petitions out there to being to find another way besides criminalizing drugs for profit.

  2. ethan / February 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Why limit it to welfare? Shouldn’t they be testing everyone who receives public money? Politicians, military contractors, farmers, oil company executives, etc.

  3. LINDA VANDEVEER / February 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    liberty and justice for all. what happens to the children do they want to take them down too? oh thats right than they’ll get them into the system thats what they would like. while they sip on the legal drug alcohol. this is a shame.

  4. vicky wood / February 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Are the poor who receive public funds the only ones to be held up to scrutiny? What about the millions of tax dollars that go elsewhere? Shouldn’t they be held to the same expectations as the poor who receive way less? Or are we all ignorant enough to believe that substance abuse is a disorder of only the poor?

  5. Joshua / February 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    of course programs that don’t work, and are unconstitutional should be expanded. are the politicians in these states incompetent, or is it the voters?

  6. Avatar of Ghedra Dunn
    Ghedra Dunn / March 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I Agree. I think anyone that receives our tax money for food, rent, as a source of their income should be tested, the police, teachers, military, public officials. But I really do think anyone on public subsidy should be tested. But don’t limit it to just them.

  7. Avatar of Evan
    Evan / March 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    No one thinks Substance abuse is a disease of the poor, the poor are the only people using other citizens hard earned dollars to support their own addictions.

  8. Avatar of josh
    josh / September 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    its not just the poor being singled out. the people with jobs have to do ramdom screenings for their job.

  9. Nan / March 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Totally agree with you, Ethan!

  10. Joshua / March 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    maybe this is the wrong croud to bring this up to, but the answer to your question is, because doing that would violate the constitution.

  11. Joshua / March 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    if it’s waste of tax money that’s bothering you, then you should be against these programs. studies routinely show that people on welfare use drugs far less than the average person, and these programs always spend more money on testing than they save in welfare benefits.
    it is simply not logical to support these testing programs on the basis of saving money

  12. Avatar of kyle
    kyle / June 8, 2012 at 1:27 am

    yeah maybe so but those of us who have jobs get randomly drug tested every couple months and when we are hired on along with back ground checks, and if we are hurt or injured or a wreck then we have to piss in a cup on location or side of the road with the safety breathin down our neck! im not sayin spend a million dollars testing everysingle person unless they have a prior use charge or come in lookin high as a kite or alcohol abuse

  13. Avatar of amy
    amy / July 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    OK people, I am hear to tell you as a former drug addict myself I traded my fooodstamps, and spent my Soc Sec checks on drugs. also I knew tons of other people that did, and still do the same thing. In fact there are drug park where addicts can go and trade foodstamps for drugs on the spot for 50 cents on the dollor. Now I am clean and sober for over 3 years, have a job, and damn right it is fair for people wanting assistance from the tax payers to prove that they are doing the best they can to get out of the situtation they are in. Yes people need help,but if you’re asking for a hand out from a govt agency, then yes you should pee in a cup to prove you’re not just getting a free ride. Addicts don’t typically get clean until they have exausted all other options. i think if they test positive treatment should be required to continue getting assistence.

  14. Joshua / September 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    It is fundamentally unreasonable to say that because a private company can do something then the government can do it as well.

  15. Avatar of Krista
    Krista / July 13, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Thank you for your honesty! I have witnessed many aid recipients doing that exact same thing with their federal aid. Congrats on your sobriety! Keep it up, and keep getting your name and story out there! I agree with all of your comments about the issue and ways to help others. Awesome!

  16. Krista / July 13, 2013 at 8:06 am

    You think the government is doing this for profit? I’m pretty sure they are doing it to stop throwing money away to drug users who refuse to work and collect federal aid that working citizens, like myself who works THREE jobs, work to create taxes to pay for them. In my area, I can literally tell you that maybe 15% of the people on welfare actually use them for what they are provided for. The other 85% do exactly what Amy above says she used to do. Do you think that is okay? Are you are hard worker? Wake up every morning and work 12 hour days, 7 days a week, only to come and get your paycheck and see that over $100.00 was taken out for taxes to be given to people sitting around buying drugs with it? You can’t honestly think that’s okay, unless you are that person. I know there are people out there that don’t do that, but they have nothing to worry about and they know they will pass their drug tests and continue to receive their aid. You have to be drug tested for almost every single job you can get, and many do random drug tests – not just before you are hired, but throughout your employment. Employees don’t have an option and they suck it up and take the test. I have never even been AROUND an illegal drug in my entire life but I still have to get drug tested to WORK, to MAKE MONEY, to SUPPLY for welfare.

  17. Avatar of Mirada
    Mirada / November 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Actually the children are not punished. They just have to find someone who is can pass a drug test to give that money to. Strictly for the children and no one else. So the children are not being hurt or put into the system. They are taken care of.

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