April 24th, 2014
Drug Testing Welfare Recipients
According to a study on the government of Canada’s website, in 2003, 1.7 million people were on government assistance and that number has continued to grow. The current unemployment rate in Canada is 7.2% and many of those families rely on the government to put food on the table, a roof over their heads and clothes on their bodies, meaning that money is absolutely necessary. However, working citizens are often resentful of the citizens taking the money that they earned and some are demanding that welfare recipients be drug tested in order to be eligible. Although nowhere in Canada requires drug testing to receive welfare, several states in the United States do. However, this idea fails to consider that drug testing recipients punishes children, ignores that drug addiction is a disease that needs treatment, and that it has proven to not save money. Therefore, drug testing in order to be eligible for welfare is callous and nothing but a symptom of discrimination and selfishness in society. Taking away money from a citizen that tested positive for drugs would unfairly punish their children, who are innocent and didn’t choose to have the parents they were born to. 81.5% of assistance recipients in Oklahoma are children (Richey), which means that many children could suffer immensely because of their parent’s actions. If a person on welfare were to test positive for drugs and their funds were to be taken away, their children would lose their entire source of income, which would mean they would suffer infinitely more than they already did. The kids born to drug addicts would have no lunch money or clothes for school while alcoholics’ children still received funds. This would be extremely hypocritical and it is cruel to disadvantage children that already have the odds stacked against them. Living in poverty could cause them to do poorly in school and possibly turn to drugs themselves, completely obliterating any chance they had for a better future. It is possible to argue that if parents are using drugs, they are already wasting the money that could go towards their children. Although this argument is true, completely taking away all of the money is not going to solve the problem. More over, sending more children into the already crowded foster care system would also only cause more problems, a fact that American Public Health Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselor all agree with as they oppose all laws mandating drug testing in order to receive government funding (Richey). Finally, the money that families receive could help struggling parents get into rehab and back on their feet, allowing the children to overcome poverty and live a better life. The blatant disregard for how drug testing those on welfare would ruin children’s lives proves that the policy is callous and selfish. In society it is common for citizens to discriminate and stigmatize drug addicts. They are stereotyped as lazy but in reality, drug addiction is a disease that needs treatment. A person addicted to drugs cannot simply quit when they want to. Continued drug use changes the chemistry of the brain, alters its structure and its ability to function normally. Moreover, images taken of drug addicts’ brains show that the areas that are necessary for proper judgment, and behaviour control are greatly damaged. Once someone is addicted to drugs it is no longer a conscious choice to use, but something their body needs to function. It is wrong to discriminate against addicts because it is first and foremost, a disease, just like any other mental illness and there should not be any stigma attached to it. Therefore, entry into a medically supervised treatment centre is necessary so taking away that addict’s only source of income will not help them in any way and will only result in an...
Bibliography: Covert, Bryce."Utah Spent More Than $30,000 To Catch 12 Drug Users On Welfare." ThinkProgress RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.
Kelly, Brian P. "An Inane, Money-eating Sham: Drug Tests for Welfare a Huge Failure." Saloncom RSS. N.p., 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.
Richey, Kate. "Five Reasons Not to Drug-test." Oklahoma Policy Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014
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