Drug Testing and Welfare Recipients
Imagine you are grocery shopping with your family, and are approached by a stranger who asks if you would like to buy their food stamp card at a reduced cost. Would you question the individual on why they would possibly have the need to sell their government benefits? Would you immediately judge the person and think the worst of them, that they were using this money for drugs or alcohol? A current issue up for debate is the right to test welfare recipients for drugs. Some states including Florida and Michigan already have this protocol in place. The welfare program was designed to be a temporary solution to help families in need to get back on their feet, and meet their basic needs. It is estimated that 50 to 80 percent of family based services involve drugs or alcohol abuse (Chui 2001). Some advantages of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients are that it fosters self-reliance, averts abuse of the welfare system, gives people an opportunity to receive treatment, and ensures correct allocation of tax dollars. So why not drug test the recipients before a person can get qualified for services? Drug abuse has been a problem in the United States for a very long time. In the beginning before there were regulations narcotics were freely used in elixirs and other medical and homemade remedies. It was not until the effects of these drugs were known, and the damage was already done that government regulations were put into place. It has been determined that the use of drugs has been the main cause of most crimes in the United States. Statistically it has been shown that nearly half of the current inmate population has some history of drug abuse. It has been brought to the attention of legislators that there is a drug abuse problem within the welfare system. When the welfare reform act of 1996 was passed there was a...