An issue in human services that is being mulled around in my community and state is what to do about drug and alcohol use while collecting welfare and other state benefits. The money that is meant to get the parents back on their feet and provide for the children is being grossly misused. Many people who are collecting benefit checks, food stamps, and medical benefits are unable to pass a drug test so in essence are not able to work. They seem to be able to afford cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs but run short on bills, diapers and household goods. The dilemma is that on one hand it might be a violation of rights to ask people to be drug tested, but it’s no more intrusive than providing social security #’s, birthdates, and mother’s maiden named, or pay stubs. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, (2008) the 1996 Welfare Reform Act authorized - but did not require - states to impose mandatory drug testing as a prerequisite to receiving state welfare assistance. This is in part to the fact that some think that testing people for drug use is a violation of their civil rights. The big question is should people be allowed to collect benefits from the state if they are misusing the money for drugs? If the person cannot pass a drug test to get benefits they cannot pass one for a job. This means they have no intention of getting a job in the first place unless they are forced. If the people are not working they get lazier and more likely to produce more children. I would side on testing, because if the money is used for the purpose it was intended for most people will not mind but those who use have an issue.
American Civil Liberties Union, (2008). Drug testing welfare recipients. Retrieved August 18, 2010 from http://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/drug-testing-public-assistance-recipients-condition-eligibility
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