Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients Essay

955 words - 4 pages

A major issue in society today is welfare and its effect on everyday life for the country as a whole. The taxpayers of America are concerned that welfare recipients are abusing the system and taking benefits where they aren’t needed or using the money received to buy various drugs. A thought that has been proposed is the idea of drug testing welfare recipients as a precursor to getting their benefits. However, I have found in my research that this will not be a feasible solution to the perceived problem. Although many states are implementing programs for drug testing for welfare recipients, it is not a feasible idea for the immediate future because of the problems with achieving an accurate ...view middle of the document...

Another issue with this debate is the question of how to they will determine which of the welfare recipients could be abusing illicit drugs. According to a study done for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, most studies “relies exclusively on administrative data or self-reports of substance use” this leads to problems with underreporting and therefore makes it difficult to determine the true number. Some claim that the problem can be solved with just drug testing anyone who applies for the government assistance programs but this brings up its own host of issues.
The problem that arises with requiring everyone that applies for benefits to take a drug test is that the current method for testing for illicit drugs, urinalysis, has its own problems when it comes to execution and also the fact that it can be biased toward certain drugs. For one thing, urinalysis doesn’t tell if the person is under the influence of drugs but rather “detects the presence of non-psychoactive drug metabolites that may linger in the system days or weeks after use” (Gieinger 1). This becomes a problem for people trying to quit drug addictions and get help to turn their lives around because it will pick up traces of drug use long after the user has quit. Also, while the purpose of such drug testing has been to reduce the use of drugs, unfortunately this hasn’t always been the effect. Urinalysis is more sensitive to some drugs as opposed to others for instance; it “is particularly sensitive to marijuana, a single use of which can register positive for as long as a week, long after any effects have vanished; heavy users may register positive for as long as 4-6 weeks” (Gieinger 1). On the other hand, it...

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