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Drug Testing For Welfare?

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by sonia11, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. sonia11

    sonia11 Senior Contributor

    Soooo, I realize I may be starting a flame war here, but everybody on this forum seems pretty well behaved.

    Are you in favor of forcing people who want public assistance to pass a drug test? Personally, I'm not. As much as it might feel righteous or whatever to say, "Yeah! Make sure people aren't spending tax money on drugs!" It actually costs WAY more tax money to test everybody. And guess what? Only about 1% of people on welfare do drugs. So it's practically for nothing.

    Additionally, drug testing doesn't catch the alcoholics spending their food stamps on beer. And making it harder for people like single mothers and their children to get desperately needed assistance is just not worth a sense of justice.
  2. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    I'm split on this issue. I really hate to see tax money spent on drugs because I hear a lot of people complain how th ey can't afford to do anything because they have to support welfare. But then it might take a lot of tax dollars to screen everyone as well. but then again we also do drug tests when it comes to other things such as jobs, driving, ect. In the end it is the government handing out this assistance so it should be up to them if it would be beneficial to test and if it will be affordable to do so. besides, any good parent would not do things that would keep them from taking care of their kids such as losing one job after the next or failing drug tests that will determine of they can do certain things.
  3. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    I am for the idea. I don't think a dirty test should mean that welfare or food stamps are automatically revoked, especially when children are involved though. Testing positive for drugs should trigger some requirements for mandatory counseling and other interventions. There is a lot of drug abuse by people who live in poverty, this could be a way to help some of them.
  4. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    I am not in favor of it. There are other ways to prevent recipients from spending their checks on drugs. The idea that is being tossed around here is giving the recipients debit cards with the amount of their check on them. They wouldn't be allowed to use these cards at the liquor stores and most drug dealers wouldn't want them. Of course what would stop them from trying to sell them to get the money instead of using the cards? There has to be a solution that works better then drug testing!
  5. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    I don't know. I think we're re-enforcing stereotypes here. I also don't think someone should be denied food because they have an addiction.

    The only time I really think it should be a thing is maybe if they've been convicted of dealing, like felony weight. Not a plea bargain because they got caught with one joint, etc. but actual, hardcore, dealing.

    This has always been a tough one for me. Should any crime cause assistance to be revoked or denied? Should we give alcoholics blood tests before they eat?
  6. crc3thebest

    crc3thebest Community Champion

    Perhaps, it would benefit society and the economy if many were tested. The idea is many are using the system incorrectly to support habits. Our Welfare system is designed to help others get back on their own in the world, however it has turned into something way beyond reach.
    dechantajones likes this.
  7. SarahWorksAtHome

    SarahWorksAtHome Community Champion

    As someone who receives government assistance (not welfare, but SNAP and medicaid) I say YES!
    If I was working for the benefits, I would expect to be drug tested. If I'm being given a hand up for free, I should definitely have to follow some expectations and guidelines.
  8. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    I don't think it'd solve the problem. Not just that it would be costly and add one more stigma to an already very stigmatized group of people, but more that we know that people become addicts more easily when they are down on their luck and stuck in the mean loop of lower class poverty. What would drug testing achieve for them? That they can't feed themselves and their kids anymore and cannot find lodging because they smoked weed sometime? Then what?

    Tax payers like to claim that it would be better because then their money would not be wasted (and come on, if we want to talk about wasted money, we should look up at how much the government wastes of it rather than down at how low classes use it wrongly, but that's a whole other point). They have this idea that, once poor people who have contact with drugs get their chance of support cut off, they'll go and get a job and get enough money for themselves that they can become model citizens or something. This strikes me as very idealistic and naive, when we consider the way poverty has been working and the damages people get.

    I don't think we should refuse people their right to a home and to food just because they've been found to be using drugs. That's a recipe for taking away their last chance and sending them straight to the streets, where they will probably fall much deeper into addiction, crime, misery, whatever you can think of. If the goal is to help and create a better system, I just don't think that's a decent solution.
  9. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    I agree that wasting more tax dollars doesn't make since. It's already bad enough that people with Jobs still need public assistance because of how jacked up the economy is. There's no point in making things worst by spending more money on screening. I still don't think people should use welfare to support there drug habits, but if they spend more money to single them out we all loose. There are a lot of people who really need help and some who work and have families.
  10. SarahWorksAtHome

    SarahWorksAtHome Community Champion

    There are a lot of considerations and situations that would have to be worked out. I think a warning system could be put in to place requiring rehab (outpatient even) and if there are children involved, having a case worker make sure their needs are being met while requiring the parent to get clean.
    The system is giving little hand outs to anyone who remotely qualifies for them now. What if they truly gave tough love and hand UPS instead? Put the children ahead of the adults.
  11. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I also have mixed feelings about this. If a person was working and getting a wage off an employer then they could be expected to be tested, so shouldn't that also apply people who are claiming benefits?

    Having said that, there's a stigma attached to people that can't or don't work and not everybody on welfare takes drugs and drinks their money away.
  12. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    I suppose the purpose for testing everyone who is on welfare is to cut the [welfare] benefits of those who test positive? Theoretically this would motivate drug users to stop using drugs [so they won't starve] but this wouldn't be that helpful in the long run.

    Addicts will do anything to get their "fix." They can commit crimes. Crimes which would land them in prison when they are caught. And guess what? We'd be spending even more money to keep them in prison.

    Test them and demand that they seek treatment. That would probably be the better option.
  13. Jenga

    Jenga Active Contributor

    Drug testing isn't as expensive as you might think! They've recently developed a very cost effective method that has shown almost 100% accuracy. It only tests for the big drugs at the moment, Heroin, MDMA, THC and I believe cocaine, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Regardless, these tests take literally less than $1 to carry out. Even if a test were issued randomly every few months, I could see them being very effective. If anything, people should still be allowed on Welfare, but perhaps a reduced rate, so that they can actually survive. I'm not sure on the consequences of such a thing, as I'm not a sociologist, but perhaps it could act as an incentive to stop using?
  14. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Eh, I just think we can do better and treat people like humans who fail and need help rather than like misbehaving kids and all. But the warning and rehab thing isn't a bad idea, and I feel like to just change the kind of resources offered to people would be beneficial in the end.
  15. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    think it should be done. I don't think taxpayers should be called upon to finance someone else's habit. The government wastes enough of our tax dollars as it is. I think the number of people using substances is higher than 1 percent. I know of a few in this general area that would fall into that category. As far as I know, food stamps can not be used to purchase alcohol.
  16. SarahWorksAtHome

    SarahWorksAtHome Community Champion

    Food stamps cannot be used to purchase alcohol. There is a problem with fraud though and misuse. There used to be a gas station in my town that would ring things up differently and let people buy cigarettes and beer with their food stamps. Also, people will sell the use of their stamps for drug money. Hard to regulate that when it goes under the radar so the only way to know if someone did it is to drug test them.
  17. pstrong1969

    pstrong1969 Community Champion

    Im in agreement. I think everyone on assisstance should be tested. Keep people honest. I do think recipients should be given a chance. Im sure once they begin testing they will have a fair system. I believe the gov. is more concerned about people who get cash assisstance.
  18. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    And what are the chances that a person will seek help if that became mandatory for welfare recipients that fail drug tests?

    I think the point of welfare programs is to ASSIST, not to create a permanent class of people forever dependent on handouts. How would you feel if you gave someone financial assistance and this exact same person kept coming back time and time again because they never learned to be self sufficient? No I'm not talking about those that work and still find themselves in a bind, but those that don't work and expect handouts but won't even use the handouts properly.
  19. JayLyn

    JayLyn Active Contributor

    Sorry, but I'm not so sure that welfare is not created with creating a permanent class of people forever dependent on handouts forever, I took a first year social work class, as part of a two year diploma in the same, a number of years ago and the professor pointed out that by keeping people at a certain level (too hungry to fight but just comfortable enough not to revolt) they would have effectively created a group of non-voting sheep which is exactly what they want. The people that currently stay long term on assistance have lost the desire to fight for more because they are given just enough to survive as long as they use what energy they have to keep together the little bit they've got. If they choose to fight the system they are putting themselves at risk for losing the benefits they do have and since they have just a bit more than nothing, they still have something to lose. If you decrease ability to access these marginal funds, these very same people may decide that they have nothing to lose and in turn, will try to overthrow the system in desperation. The government isn't prepared for angry, hostile, addicted and mentally handicapped people to suddenly throw off the shackles of subsistence living and ask for more, like decent minimum wages that would make it possible to get off the system. Something like that might mean that the ten percent of the population that is well off, would have to pay more income tax and be, well, a little less well off.
    The more that the government tightens legislation around welfare without providing adequate wages and training to get off of it, the more likely that there will be a larger underground economy. People will find a way if pushed hard enough and while this might not be a bad thing in the long run, I sincerely doubt that the government really wants a large proportion of people on assistance off assistance and part of mainstream voting society. They just might decide that they want even more changes in how wealth is disbursed once they get back to working forty hours a week at less than livable wages and start to vote for another political party.
    Countries such as Sweden have extremely high tax rates on the population with the most wealth but they also have some of the lowest addiction rates in the world. In a world where all life is valuable and people are allowed to share in the spoils of earth's resources, it is possible (at least looking at Sweden's example) for the drug problem to be at least partially solved. So as for mandatory testing for drug use before receiving assistance I say make all drugs legal, put heavy taxes on the sale of them, and then rich and poor addicts alike can help boost the minimum wage to give everyone a fair kick at the can.
  20. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    Well, I also do have mixed emotions regarding this issue. I think they have to implement a rule on this one, if a certain person failed the drug test and is proven to have addiction problems, he/she needs to go through recovery/rehabilitation. If he/she approves the idea or the deal, then that person will be able to receive welfare assistance.