Drug Testing for Welfare
by Karianne P on December 5, 2012 - 11:20am
Drug Testing for Welfare
With economic struggles and social crisis on the rise, welfare has become a very demanding and controversial topic of discussion. Within the past year, many states have already made or are looking to make passing a drug test a requirement for welfare recipients. The reason for this is because government officials do not want their hard working citizens’ tax dollars to go towards the use of illegal drugs. Rather, they want those receiving financial aid to use that money appropriately.
There are many different opinions and views on this reform, making it a very controversial subject. The positives of drug testing welfare recipients are obvious; workers’ tax dollars won’t go to the buying of illegal drugs, hopefully encouraging those that are on both welfare and drugs to stop using and put their money to better use, and increasing state revenue by both charging for the drug tests and not giving out aid to those who failed.
The negatives of the drug testing welfare recipients, however, are not so obvious. One of the biggest negatives may be the fact that by drug testing welfare recipients, the government would be effectively criminalizing poverty even more so than it has already done. Also, in fear of failing a drug test, one may not take one and not receive welfare, only furthering the hunger, need, and possible criminal activity in order to get goals met. Also, as it has proven to do so in Florida, it may even end up costing the state money rather than bringing in money. According to actual state records, out of the 4,086 recipients that were drug tested, only about 3% failed the test. The state had to reimburse everyone that passed the test, so it ended up costing them more money to perform the tests than it saved by not giving out the aid to those that failed.
So, what is a possible solution where all parties involved will be happy? So far, the only middle ground that has been tried out is in the state of Louisiana. They have random drug testing, much like some government jobs have. Instead of testing all recipients, only some get tested, and the rest remains the same. If failed, they no longer receive financial aid. If passed, they get reimbursed (Spencer, 2012).
Spencer, N. (2012, May 18). More US States Pursuing Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from World Socialist Website: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/may2012/welf-m18.shtml