Mandatory Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients is a controversial issue. Should the government hold people accepting government entitlement’s accountable for illegal drug use or would this type of action cross the boundary of civil liberties into an invasion of privacy? The government has a vested interest in getting welfare recipients back into the working population. Holding welfare recipients accountable for illicit drug use only ensures the government’s monetary investment in human resources is protected. Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients would be beneficial to the state despite its initial cost to initiate the program. There are many benefits of Mandatory Drug Testing Welfare Recipients. The state of Florida implemented a mandatory drug testing program for their welfare recipients. According to studies, the drug testing program cost the state $45,580. Only 2% of the applicants tested positive for illegal drugs (White, 2012). The purpose of the program is to ensure government funds aren’t subsidizing a drug habit. Proponents of the law in Florida insist that drug testing must expand. “The drug testing law was really meant to make sure that kids were protected, that our money wasn’t going to addicts,” Chris Cinquemani of the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability, told the New York Times. On paper the mandatory drug testing program costs more than the program saves, but the savings can be made through those getting help to stay off drugs. I believe many lives could be changed through the realization their addictions are costing them the opportunity to receive federal dollars to restart their lives. If this program keeps the low income at-risk population off of drugs, there would be savings made by having less drug users out of prison. These are examples of the intangible savings that cannot be measured. Most people are reluctant to disclose having a substance abuse problem because of the disgrace associated with it. Welfare recipients are especially reluctant because of added concerns about losing their welfare benefits. If an applicant were to fail, they would not be able to receive assistance until they complete a substance abuse treatment program. This will empower them to reach their potential while clean. Drugs make it harder to begin the journey to independence and ultimately everyone wants their freedom. By providing substance abuse treatment for those in need, it would make them one step closer to being a productive member of society. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, some advocates of drug testing for welfare recipients support the practice because they believe testing will detect and remedy substance abuse, which is seen as an obstacle to employment ("Drug testing welfare," 2011) According to Pre-EmploymentDrugScreening.com, drug use can contribute to tardiness, high turnover rates, absenteeism, attitude problems, stealing, less productivity, crime and violence. These are many reasons employers often require drug tests for those looking for employment. Employees are forced to be held accountable for their actions. It’s simple, if you don’t pass, you don’t get a paycheck. This should be required of welfare recipients as well to receive a check from the government. Drug testing will require recipients to stay drug free, therefore making them a more employable citizen. There are many states pursuing drug testing for welfare recipients. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “at least 28 states put forth proposals in 2012 to require drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients. Three states passed legislation in 2011 and four states passed legislation in 2012 bringing the total number of states to seven. In 2012, Utah passed legislation requiring applicants to complete a written questionnaire screening for drug use and Georgia passed...
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