Welfare and Drug Testing

The welfare program was designed to be a temporary solution to help families in need to get back on their feet, and meet their basic needs. It Is estimated that 50 to 80 percent of family based services involve drugs or alcohol abuse (Chug 2001). Some advantages of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients are that it fosters self-reliance, averts abuse of the welfare system, gives people an opportunity to receive treatment, and ensures correct allocation of tax dollars. So why not drug test the recipients before a person an get qualified for services? Drug abuse has been a problem in the United States for a very long time.
In the beginning before there were regulations narcotics were freely used In elixirs and other medical and homemade remedies. It was not until the effects of these drugs were known, and the damage was already done that government regulations were put into place. It has been determined that the use of drugs has been the main cause of most crimes in the United States. Statistically it has been shown that nearly half of the current inmate population has some history of drug abuse. It has been brought to the attention of legislators that there is a drug abuse problem within the welfare system.
When the welfare reform act of 1996 was passed there was a provision stated to allow drug testing on an as needed basis. This protocol has not been widely used, and seems to have been forgotten, until now that is. The government has identified a problem within the welfare system, and would like to recoup some of the losses, and also help some of the individuals that do have a problem. Welfare was meant to be a temporary fix” to help a person get back on their feet. If a drug problem Is present, a person will tend to stay on the system, not be employable, and use the benefits for which they were not Intended.

To get this issue in check law makers would like to see people be drug tested before being approved for benefits, and periodic random tests while they are receiving them as well. There are also provisions for persons who have a drug problem to receive the treatment they need. This pale chart represents the results off poll Fox News did In 2010. The question was, “Do you Delves welfare recipients snouts De Aragua tested There are many different types of tests used to detect drugs in a person’s yester. The type of testing used will be determined on the types of drugs being tested for and the cost effectiveness and time allotment.
Some states are proposing the individual will pay for the testing, but will be reimbursed once the results come back negative. Other states are proposing the amount of money they will save by cutting back on benefit fraud will be more than enough to cover the costs of testing. The most cost effective and time efficient method of testing is urinalysis. This test can be administered in an office setting and the results are available immediately. The only down fall to this test is it can be beat by taking herbal supplements that are made to mask the drug.
It is also not accurate in testing for substances like cocaine and alcohol as they are not testable in the urine after 3 days. Hair testing is another option. This test is administered in a clinical setting, and requires small amounts of hair taken from different areas of the head. One inch of hair gives the clinician sixty days of history, and cannot be faked. Blood tests also require a clinical setting and a laboratory to read the results. With the last two options of testing turnaround time an be days, weeks, or months, and can be quite expensive.
There are already a few states such as Michigan, Florida, and New Hampshire that have this protocol in place. The strongest argument for the testing of individuals is having such a program in place will help reduce the miss use and miss appropriation of taxpayer’s monies. Governor Rick Scott, R Florida, states ” It’s not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody’s drug addiction, On top of that, this is going to increase personal responsibility, personal accountability. We shouldn’t be subsidizing people’s addiction. (Scott, 2011). The state of Florida approved this bill that took effect July 1, 2011.
Governor Scott also stated “It’s the right thing for taxpayers,” Scott said after signing the measure. “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs. ” (Scott, 2011) It is perceived it would help reduce domestic violence and other drug related crimes. Individuals would also receive intervention and care they might not normally have access to without this program. If an individual were to fail a drug test they would be given the option to enter a state treatment program.
If the person was to refuse treatment or have a second offense after completing the treatment they would lose their benefits for a period of one year. As with all new laws trying to be passed there are also those who are against it. Opponents of drug testing believe that it is violating the constitutional protections in the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment to the U. S Constitution states, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.
Columnist William Safari in The New York Times writes, Not only is my home my castle, my body is my citadel. Unless I give you a probable cause to suspect me of a crime, what goes on in my home and body and mind is my business Robin Merrill of Maine Equal Justice, which provides legal services for the poor states, “Random drug testing is very questionable legally with respect to constitutional issues. If the government has the right to drug- test people based on receipt of aid from public assistance programs, what is to stop en government Trot requiring Aragua testing Tort anyone won receives a student loan or any other government benefit?
This law would create a very slippery slope with respect to infringement on people’s right to privacy. ” Another point in question is will this really save the tax payers any money? How much will the added administrative personal and the testing itself cost? The Miami Herald reports that the savings in Florida could reach one hundred thousand dollars, but no reports of administrative costs have been reported. Adversaries also raise the question about discrimination and alienation. They believe that singling out individuals because of their financial status could be disastrous and have negative effects.
Cutting off families benefits because of the actions of an individual could do more harm than good. Just because an individual has a substance abuse problem, how can you prove they are not using their benefits appropriately? (Dona 2005) Whether you are in favor or opposed to welfare recipients being drug tested, the issue is one that most people will encounter on Election Day. People who are in favor say testing will allow people to get help that otherwise would fall through the cracks. It would also raise the UN employment rate by allowing those individuals to become better qualified to obtain and keep Jobs.

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