Should People Seeking Government Assistance Be Required to Take Drug Tests?

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“Shouldn’t you have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check since I have to pass one to earn it for you?” That’s the question many, hardworking Americans are asking themselves. In today’s America, government aid is highly depended on. The US government has spent $498 billion dollars this year on welfare alone. Mandatory drug testing for welfare applicants is becoming a popular idea across the U.S. Many states including Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Louisiana are considering adopting laws that would require states to drug test welfare applicants. In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott passed a law that required welfare applicants to pay for and pass a drug test from July through October 2011. According to the National Conference for State Legislatures, Florida was one of three states in 2011 to put a drug testing for public assistance in the books; twenty eight states in 2012 proposed similar measures. The Department of Children and Families reported that 108 people tested positive for drugs, while 3,936 adults showed no sign of drugs in their system. Another 2,306 people opted not to take the drug test, though the survey did not ask why they were refusing to take the test, so there is no data to show whether those people objected to the policy or had obtained employment and therefore canceled their application.

In September 2011, a University of Central Florida student, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, sued the state over the new law mandating drug testing of all welfare applicants. A little more than a month after the suit was filed, a federal judge ordered a temporary stop to the drug testing. A bench trial is scheduled for March 2013 before U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven. Required drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits ended up costing taxpayers more than it saved. Of the 4,086 applicants who scheduled drug tests while the law was enforced, 108 people, or 2.6 percent, failed, most often testing positive for...
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