Mandatory Drug Testing for Public Assistance

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Public Assistance is government aid to needy, aged, or disabled persons and to dependent children (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). All public assistance applicants should be required to take a mandatory drug test before they can qualify to receive any form of public assistance. Drug tests can detect a number of different illegal substances like, marijuana, steroids, amphetamines, cocaine, PCP, and opiates. “More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health”(CNN). One should never feel they are entitled to public assistance, it should be felt as more of a privilege. Sadly, in the last ten years, our economy has unfortunately depreciated rapidly. The economy is so bad at this point, that it can be very difficult to find employment. For some, it can be impossible, especially if uneducated. The result is that more people, now than ever, are applying for public assistance. The amount of public assistance being paid for food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is so high, it is imperative that we find a way to fix this situation to prevent so many people from taking advantage of something others in this world so desperately need and rely on to survive, not to feed their addictions. This money can, and it should be used for something so much better. For example, the money that the applicant would have received considering they passed the drug test should be used to rehabilitate the individual. Addiction is a compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Assuming, that our public assistance programs could get mandatory drug testing approved, they could then eliminate most or all of the issues with public assistance money being abused and spent on drugs. I have read articles concerning the matter of how expensive or inexpensive it would become if mandatory drug testing on applicants for public assistance was enforced. I have also read articles concerning the matter of mandatory drug testing for public assistance benefits being unconstitutional and an invasion of the applicant’s privacy. Some of the authors felt that it was a great idea since there are so many drug addicts on public assistance. Therefore, the money that addicts already receive from public assistance will be seized. For this reason, money would be saved. Some of the authors suggested that even if drug testing became mandatory to receive public assistance benefits, there would still be no money saved because there are more individuals on public assistance with children than there are without children. Considering this, if the applicant does in fact have children and their benefits are no longer being paid, how are they going to financially care for their children? It is already very difficult to find employment in the economy today. However, I know from personal experience that it is close to impossible for an addict to even keep a job, even if they were able to find employment with the economy the way that it is.

The majority of Americans would probably insist they get a job and stop living off of the state. This is not always possible in every case, particularly if one is uneducated. A blog posted by CNN states that there are “More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older- nearly 9% of the U.S. population-use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Considering an addict finds a job, what is the difference in making an applicant take a drug test before being hired for a job, and making an applicant take a drug test before becoming approved for public assistance. There is...
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