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Should People On Welfare Have To Have Drug Testing?

1389 words - 6 pages

Should people on welfare have to have drug testing?When accepting a job many employers require one to consent to and pass a drug test before being hired. If that individual rejects to consent or fails the drug test they are not hired for the position. Why should drug testing among welfare recipients be any different? Recipients of welfare do not currently have drug testing regulations on a federal level and that has a lot of people very upset. Many feel that tax payer money is being spent on illegal drugs rather than being spent on ways to get them off of welfare. Recipients of welfare argue that it is an invasion of privacy and unethical to force drug testing upon them. Drug testing among welfare users is something that should be implemented nationwide to potentially help save tax payer money and decrease drug use while not invading privacy rights.Budget cuts are no stranger to states and the federal government. While the federal government has no current mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients, the states have begun to implement their own. Most of these mandatory tests resulting from the cause of budget cuts (Vance). States feel that they can cut back on welfare spending by identifying those who test positive and deny them assistance. Since 2007, over half of the states have considered bills requiring aid recipients to submit to drug testing procedures while receiving public assistance (Budd). The majority of these bills implement testing without belief of prior suspected drug use but rather to further assume that the aid money the states are providing is not being spent on illegal drugs. Congress delivered a very blunt message through Rep. Zimmer by saying, "No more money for nothing…Get a real job." This quote coming after drug testing by states came into question (Budd). While drug testing welfare users is partially intended to cut costs that hasn't necessarily been the case. On average it costs $30 per test (Vance). Multiply the number of test by the number of welfare users and that total can easily reach above $100,000 in strictly costs. These high costs put in question whether the costs outweigh the number of positive drug user's benefit money. The state of Utah found that after they implemented drug testing among welfare recipients they saved $350,000 throughout the process (Price). Research has found that, 1.3% to 3.6% is the rate of drug abuse/or dependence among welfare recipients compared to the rate of 1.5% among the broader population (Budd). It is clear that the number of drug users among those on welfare is higher which gives the testing justification; it just leaves the question of the efficiency of the costs vs. benefits analysis. If money was no object, then testing is a clear cut decision. It will reduce the number of drug users because they will either be forced to go without assistance causing them to get a job or be on assistance and stop using drugs. Stopping the use of drugs should be the number one goal of...

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