In the past several years since welfare reform the issue of substance abuse among welfare recipients has arisen periodically as a policy and programmatic concern. In recent years, policy debate has focused on welfare policy and proposals to require drug testing as a condition of eligibility. States typically address substance abuse in their welfare programs at a state level. This paper discusses the prevalence of substance abuse among welfare recipients and the research needed to change the policy in this state for our welfare program.
Studies of the prevalence of substance abuse among welfare recipients have varied widely in their findings, with rates of between 4 and 37 percent. Much of the difference in rates found in these studies is due to different data sources, definitions, and measurement methods and the different thresholds used to define substance abuse. Another difference is whether alcohol abuse and/or the abuse of prescription drugs are included in the estimate. Also how can we get true evidence when we don’t have the means to drug test these welfare recipients yet (US Dept of Labor, n.d.). Government should not be paying for illegal drugs whether its 4 or 37 percent of the Medicaid recipients. Employers require drug testing before employment so why should welfare recipients get the same treatment for the gift of receiving government funding. Its tax dollars of the working people funding someone else’s addictions. Drug use and use and its consequences affect all of society that is vital to a strong America. Drug use strains our healthcare, criminal justice systems and endangers the future of our young people with the overall strain on our economy.
Evidence and Research
It is estimated that one-half of American companies now require drug testing on potential employees and random testing after hiring. These requirements are compatible with the United States labor laws. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that drug testing