Expanding Number of States Proposing Mandatory Drug Tests for Program Recipients

This year an expanding number of states are looking to implement mandatory drug testing for recipients of welfare, food stamps, unemployment and other benefits.

According to The New York Times there are currently legislators in 36 states that have proposed required drug testing for people who receive welfare benefits. These laws have passed in states such as Indiana, Arizona, Missouri and many others. The American Civil Liberties Union has been highly busy this year due to suing the state of Florida on grounds of unreasonable search and seizure due to their drug test laws. In Florida a beneficiary of welfare must pay for their own drug test, and does not receive welfare checks if a positive drug test occurs.

The laws and proposals for drug testing recipients of lower income government aid has stirred up quite the controversy. Supporters of these drug testing laws feel that this will ensure that their tax dollars will be spent accordingly. They feel in this hard economic time of budget constraints it’s important to ensure that their tax money is not enabling support for drug habits.

On the other side, critics of the drug testing laws feel that this portrays negative stereotypes about the lower income class. They are concerned that these testing programs will prevent some recipients from receiving the aid they need for basic necessities, which could result in an even worse drug addiction mental state resulting in an increased demand for substance abuse treatment.

At the moment there are around 20 states that will not provide unemployment money for workers who lost their jobs due to drug abuse. Over a dozen states currently do not allow welfare benefits for anyone who was convicted of a drug felony. Also some states, such as Kentucky, are proposing to require drug testing for other government programs such as food stamps and home heating assistance.





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