Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients
Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients
Will mandatory drug testing for those receiving public assistance save taxpayers money? Taxpayers with jobs are subject to drug testing when obtaining employment and random drug tests while employed. Taxpayers are subject to drug testing, while those that receive public assistance are allowed to collect money and benefits without having to be tested for drug abuse. Should we allow those receiving public assistance/welfare aid benefits to collect money and benefits that allow them to further their drug habits? Is drug testing for welfare recipients constitutional and fair? The cost effectiveness and the fairness of mandatory drug testing for those receiving public assistance needs to be reviewed because we need to be diligent with tax payer money, and we need to keep everyone’s constitutional rights intact as well. Exploring the cost of mandatory drug testing in the 12 states that already require drug testing for public assistance recipients, within the federal guidelines, will assist in understanding the true costs of the testing. States requiring drug testing are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah. (Laine, 2015) The Federal government allows for narrow drug testing. Federal law prohibits those that have been convicted of drug-related felonies from receiving welfare benefits. States can opt out of the ban. Maine has opted out of the ban, and requires those convicted of drug related felonies to be tested. Applicants who fail the drug test can choose to enroll into a substance abuse program to avoid losing benefits. Drug tests will cost $62 each in Maine. Maine’s tax payer dollars pay for the drug testing and substance abuse programs. Zach Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine states that, “This is a waste of state resources which could be better spent on many things." (Durkin, 2015) States can use the funding to improve infrastructure such as roads or use the money for job training resources. “Florida spent more money on the program than it saved, according to a New York Times report, and only 2.6 percent of the more than 4,000 people tested had used narcotics.” (Rodgers, J, 2015) States with drug testing in place have used more money administering tests and treatment plans than it has saved by allowing those individuals to continue to receive the benefits, which in turn costs tax payers more money by administering the tests.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause, and it is imperative to all citizens that we follow out constitutional rights and do not overstep our bounds, even if we think they are for good purposes. The Supreme Court has ruled that drug testing is a search within the means of the Fourth Amendment. Searches cannot be conducted without probable cause or a warrant. Probable cause for drug testing relies on case managers to recognize signs of drug abuse and self-reporting drug use. The limitations of probable cause for drug testing are a difficult task to overcome. (Player, 2014). The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has called mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients unconstitutional. "It certainly has been something that the ACLU has litigated all over the country because it is so misguided," said Zach Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine. Laws that have called for random drug testing have faced constitutional challenges in some states, including Florida, where a law was struck down in 2014. (Durkin, 2015) The Constitution and the Supreme Court have deemed mandatory and/or random drug testing for welfare recipients unconstitutional without first having knowledge or suspicion of actual drug use by the individual.
Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients needs to...
References: Laine, S. "Drug testing for welfare recipients: Wisconsin poised to join other states." Christian Science Monitor. 2015, January 23: n/a.
Durkin, A. (2015, January 13). “LePage gets OK to drug test some welfare applicants.” Portland Herald Press. Retrieved January 15, 2015, from http://www.pressherald.com/2015/01/13/lepage-gets-ok-to-drug-test-welfare-applicants/
Rodgers, J. "El Paso County DHS to require drug testing, rehab for some clients to continue benefits. “McClatchy - Tribune Business News. 2015, January 24
Player, T, C. (2014, January 01). Public Assistance, Drug Testing, and the Law: The Limits of Population Based Legal Analysis. American Journal of Law and Medicine, (1), 26, retrieved from http://elibrary.bigchalk.com.ezp-02.lirn.net
ENG101 has taught me the importance of using references and how using the proper writing guidelines can improve someone’s writings. Using references establishes that the thoughts and information that you are providing is accurate and true. When using the proper writing guidelines it helps one put their thoughts into proper order and make sense of what is being said. Using the guidelines also assists in making the writing process not so daunting, by breaking it up into smaller pieces. My writing goals for my next writing course would be to improve on the skills that I have gained while taking this course. I will use more references and the writing guidelines to make my writing the best it can be and not such a daunting task. I need to improve on using better grammar and spelling. I forget where to use commas a lot of the time. Overall, I feel that I did well in this course and learned some valuable tools to take with me to assist in other courses that I will take, as well as my working environment.
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