Pennsylvania Introduces New Program to Drug-Test Some Welfare Recipients

Officials in Pennsylvania 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.

The Pennsylvania program is being piloted in one county, and could expand statewide this summer if it is shown to be cost effective, Fox News reports.

“One of the biggest suggestions I hear from constituents at the numerous town hall meetings I regularly hold is that we need to drug test welfare beneficiaries,” State Senator David Argall, who supports the measure, said in a statement. “With over $10 billion going to the Department of Public Welfare, this initiative seeks to stop the abuse within our welfare system.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 36 states put forth proposals last year around drug testing of welfare and foods stamps. In addition to Florida, Arizona and Missouri also passed legislation. The measures in those two states were tailored more narrowly, the article notes.

Opponents of measures to require drug testing for welfare recipients say they are unfair, and are not cost effective.

4 Responses to Pennsylvania Introduces New Program to Drug-Test Some Welfare Recipients

  1. billinsandiego | February 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    As long as myths regarding who are using illicit drugs contnue we will never develop effective drug abuse prevention programs. These kinds of programs are “popular” becase they serve the myth that poor people are drug users. The opposite is true and all those who really work in the alcohol and other drug field know it. But the politicians can get votes if they enact laws that curry favor with the larger population, even if those laws do not make any sense whatsoever. Drug testing welfare recipients only adds more humiliation to those who have found themselves destitute and need to feed, clothe, and house their children. Most welfare recipents get off welfare within a year if they can work and employment levels are reasonably low.

  2. Rob Fleming | February 15, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Pennsylvanians might be better off, and fewer of them would become welfare recipients, if EVERY citizen got drug tests as a matter of right, just as they now get routinely tested for high blood pressure.

  3. Dana | February 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Another example of our Politicians beings “out of touch”. Drug testing for Welfare will not prove Welfare abuse or fraud.

  4. Bobby | March 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I don’t see anything wrong with it, as long as they stipulate that anyone with positive results have to attend intensive outpatient therapy and if that doesnt work then detox and inpatient for awhile and then if they keep using take them off welfare, but just don’t kick people to the curb because they have a disease.

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