Lately the media has been following the legislatures and their bills involving mandatory drug tests before receiving government assistance. “According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Many are enrolled in more than one. That is about a third of the entire population of the country.” (Michael Snyder) How can we be sure that a third of the population is using our tax dollars for the purpose they are meant to do? I stand firm in my position that the government should perform drug tests on applicants and receivers of any form of government assistance.
Regardless of my stance on the subject, there are obvious pros and cons to the debate. One argument is the cost of the tests and how much it would cost to administer them. One drug test costs approximately $38 (Poole). The total amount of TANF expenditure for April 2013 was $7,642,402.82 provided to 62,520 people in Virginia alone! If you do the math, it will cost $2,375,760.00 to administer and analyze the drug tests just to the TANF recipients. That does not include the numerous other offered welfare programs. What about the 132,953 people on SNAP? I agree that it is a lot of money to spend to possibly save the taxpayers from contributing to the welfare system, but how much could we save if we ‘caught’ just 10 of the 62,520 recipients using illegal drugs and removed them from the program. Another standpoint is the constitutionality of it. People are complaining it’s against their 4th Amendment right to search and seizure. I have yet to find a case where based on a positive drug test as a condition of government assistance that the recipient has been jailed or had criminal charges brought against them. The drug tests are not for criminal purpose, only financial resolution. The