Welfare Programs Should Not Require Mandatory Drug Testing

Topics: Drug addiction, Addiction, Drug abuse Pages: 5 (2044 words) Published: December 12, 2012
Welfare Programs Should Not Require Mandatory Drug Testing
There are many welfare programs available to the public that a lot of individuals depend upon. Without access to certain benefits some people may not survive. Such benefits include food stamps, medical assistance, cash assistance, day care vouchers and job placement assistance. Although some may argue that there are people who take advantage of the welfare programs, there are plenty of people who require and appreciate the benefits provided. Recently there has been talk of drug testing welfare recipients. Because the public is concerned with welfare recipients taking advantage of the system they want to keep drug addicts from receiving benefits. This is a major controversy right now is our society but once investigated it is clear that welfare programs should not require mandatory drug testing. Dealing with social services and being a part of the welfare programs is not a fun time. Acquiring benefits usually consists of long wait times, a lot of paperwork and rude or irritated social workers. While receiving benefits it is a requirement that you re-certify about every 3 to 6 months. That means resubmitting all paperwork and information again, with or without changes. If your paperwork does not arrive on time to the social services office, our benefits can be cancelled. All of these components of being on welfare become extremely frustrating, especially for the people already dealing with the stress of no money, no food, no medical benefits and no job, and make it hard enough for people for people to receive assistance without the added drug testing which many lawmakers are now trying to enforce. Many are unpleased with the national welfare system. Over the years many states have advocated for welfare reform. Observers of these welfare experiments believe that the experiments will help show the county what is beneficial and what is not. A study done by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that more than one third of mothers on welfare are addicted to drugs. Experimenting with drug testing of welfare recipients could help to reduce this number and help young mothers get in to treatment and find jobs. But taking away their benefits due to a failed drug test would not help cure the addiction or provide assistance to those in need. Although many experiments have the potential to be good for overall society, many still question its effectiveness and legality. In a viewpoint from Helium, Ranee, a writer and contributor, expresses her extreme support of drug testing individuals who receive welfare benefits. She talks about her own experience with her mother whom abused the welfare system in order to support her own drug habit. Ranee states that the system “should be reserved for emergency situations, like people losing their jobs because of the economy and the disabled.” (“Welfare Programs Should Include Mandatory Drug Testing”) By providing benefits to drug addicts she feels, just like many others, that the welfare system is encouraging drug use and wasting tax payer dollars. Matt Lewis and Elizabeth Kenefick are research assistants for the Workforce Development Team at the Center for Law and Social Policy who argue against claims made by people such as Ranee. They argue that while some may think drug testing will save money, because of the assumption that many will lose benefits due to drug use, is false. Mandatory drug testing from their point of view is based on stereotypes. It will be costly and inefficient while imposing risks on the health and welfare of innocent children. Lewis and Kenefick instead offer the alternative of helping drug addicts and supporting them in an effort to get clean. Several states including Alabama, Maryland and New York found drug testing of welfare recipients to be inefficient. “Alabama discovered that job training programs were more effective than drug testing in moving people off welfare.” (What...
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