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Missouri Governor Signs Bill Authorizing Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients


Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed into law a bill that requires drug screening for people applying for or receiving welfare benefits.

Under the new law, a person who tests positive or refuses to undergo testing and does not complete a substance abuse program will lose benefits for three years, KMOX reports. If the person participates in a substance abuse program and does not test positive for at least six months, he or she can keep their benefits.

To protect children in families who have lost benefits under the new law, the state will appoint a third party to receive benefits on behalf of the children.

On the federal level, a bill introduced in the House by Louisiana Republican Charles Boustany would require drug testing for anyone applying for or receiving benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. A similar bill, proposed in the Senate by Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, died last year.

19 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Penny A.
    Penny A. / November 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    @kt- Oh yeah, get a job!!?? Why do you think government assistance has increased so much since the reccesion? There aren’t enough jobs, not enough good jobs that you can live off of. The middle class is shrinking and people can’t pay their bills and feed their children. Not having a job can lead to depression, feelings of failure and drug addiction. Drug addiction is an illness, it’s not something you can control-without help. Instead of victimizing these people even more, how about offer free rehab. Our country and it’s people are way too quick to label people and write them off. Take a moment and see how people on welfare live, and if you have a drug addiction your living situation is even more volatile-sometimes leading to death. The most disenfranchised of us are victimized the most. These people need help and guidance, not punishment. I agree education is the key. Take a look at a stack of resumes sometime-most are just high school graduates or GED’s. If you want to get a good paying job you need some college. That’s the real problem here, our government isn’t supporting education enough and the good jobs that use to pay without a college degree are disappearing everyday. Government is always about look over here at this superficial mess, don’t look at what were doing or failing to do. Shame on Jay Nixon for signing this bill, costing taxpayers so much money to “root out” and punish very low-income drug users who may get food stamps, we got to save that $40 a week we gave that guy, right? But wait, we spent $100 to do it, oops.

  2. Avatar of kt
    kt / November 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    It comes down to the people on welfare just need to get a job. If they are able to buy drugs and alcohol then they clearly don’t need welfare. I am for this law and support it I’m sick of the free bee people living off welfare its so pathetic. Stop having kids if you can’t pay for them or buy “protection” if you Cant afford that then stop doing it. Stop living off the government. If you can get drugs you don’t need welfare simple as that stop being whiney and finding every ex use in the book to get free money. Get a JOB!!!!!!

  3. Avatar of Laura Lynn
    Laura Lynn / June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Why are we not drug testing Congressmen and Senators they are living off the tax payer dollar. Plus they get life time salary for ten years of work, all on tax payers back

  4. Avatar of Linda
    Linda / September 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    State assistance to drug addicts is enabling just as families giving money to drug addicts is enabling. Anything that helps addicts to reach bottom is more humane than enabling them to continue using–it is damaging their brains, bodies, and chance of a future. If they have kids, it’s even worse. The government is trying to stop drugs, but demand keeps them coming.

  5. Avatar of Taylor
    Taylor / August 31, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Seriously, for all of those who feel that its okay to buy drugs and do drugs while receiving state assistance, you are way off! Why should a person who is willing to get off their butt and WORK have to drug test for most jobs now but people getting benefits from the state for free shouldnt have to?? Are you serious? You probably have a crackpipe in your hand as you read this.

  6. Avatar of Gary
    Gary / July 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Supply and demand, if you cut the number of buyers of drugs then the need to produce them lessons.The most important thing is that those who use there welfare to purchase drugs now have an option to get clean and start turning there lives around. Giving money to anyone already in a position of no self worth magnifies the problem and it breeds the same of their offspring.

  7. Avatar of Al Franklin
    Al Franklin / July 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    The large majority of people don’t do illegal drugs because they want to, they do illegal drugs because they feel they need to. Many of these individuals have an addiction and, if so, they have a disease. Everyone should show compassion for those less fortunate especially towards those citizens infected with the disease of addiction. If we hold them accountable then lets hold this country accountible for creating easy access to illegal drugs. Illegal drugs comes into this country as though it’s a legal commodity and it’s produced in this country like candy in a candy store. The State of Missouri and this country need to get its act together. FIRST, stop illegal drugs at our borders and stop the production of illegal drugs in this country. When this is finally done, we can then talk about creating laws to impose on welfare recipients regarding drug test. We all know that the State of Missouri nor the USA is capable of providing a safe and drug free society nor are they willing to provide secure borders especially when it comes to importing illegal drugs. While they’re testing the appetite for illegal drugs of WELFARE RECIPIENTS, The State of Missouri and this country NEED ITS APPETITE AND CONSUMPTION OF ILLEGAL DRUGS INTO ITS BODY TESTED. (Those who have ears need to hear and those who have eyes need to see)

  8. Dr. Peter Choate / July 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

    This is an example of policy designed to force rehab or force even worse poverty which in turn will increase crime and more children in foster care. It will end up costing taxpayers more. It is bad law that will have many unintended consequences.

  9. Avatar of jeff
    jeff / July 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

    It’s about time that a program like this was started. Too many people are bleeding and scamming the system dry. The downside is the fact that most people are forced into substance abuse programs that don’t want to be in. It’s like the drug courts, the most people are only going to work the program to keep out of jail. Something needs to be done to improve the welfare system and maybe this can be the pilot program and can be tweeked later.

  10. Avatar of Elisa Schneider
    Elisa Schneider / July 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Hey, I am all for accountability…..but lose benefits for three years? Here in NY State we have graduated sanctions…..45 days first time, ….etc, up until 180 days or until compliance. We hold people accountable for their choices, but also give them a chance to seek treatment when they are ready.

  11. john / July 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Get real they are already commiting crimes TANF doesn’t give you enough money for anything. They have to choose Food or Drugs it won’t pay for both. Addicts need consequences or they won’t get clean.

  12. Avatar of Chris Fruitrich
    Chris Fruitrich / July 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I wonder if Gov. Nixon or his legislature gave “real life” thought to this bill. I’m sure all its supporters felt they held the moral high ground with their get-tough-on-addicts stand.
    But I believe if we cut off all support systems for the homeless, dispossessed or jobless who smoke a joint now and then, that they will turn to crime to help eat and/or support their habit.
    That does not make our neighborhoods safer and it further divides the haves from the have nots.

  13. Dan Cook, LISAC / July 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Or it could help them “hit bottom” and decide to get help for there drug problem… :)

  14. linda vandeveer / July 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    this is not what will help them. they still need to eat. we are suppose to be the good samaritan to the suffering people not jail them or though them in the pit. they are already there. think about the potatoe famine !! this country is way off track.

  15. linda vandeveer / July 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    its not that simple, not everyone is going to find recovery;)

  16. Avatar of Lisa Ross
    Lisa Ross / July 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    This law is compassionate in that it offers treatment to those testing positive. It will help them get their lives back from the very real disease of addiction. Research shows that being compelled to attend treatment actually helps not hurts.

  17. Avatar of Missy
    Missy / January 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Most drugs was legal at some time or another. Meth for instance man made drug that was used for war fare and many of our veterans come back from war addicted and now many areas have major issues w the drug crisis. It was sold in legal forms until early 70s n the addiction drove people to illegal measures to fix their addiction. Many times over our own government has been guilty on the demise of its citzens!

  18. Bob / February 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    This is correct. I am a counselor in addictions. Who pays for the drug tests? Who pays for the 900 a day inpatient, then 900 a month for a halfway house. Who pays for the children’s foster care? You can’t make one addict change. They care about nothing except their habit which is uncontrollable. The first time they used was their fault after that the drug controls them.

  19. Avatar of amber
    amber / July 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Some will just turn into alcholics instead. Get drunk and doesn’t come up on drug test.

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