Ohioans receiving any form of government financial assistance has been steadily rising. How would random drug test effect these numbers and who would pay the price in the end?
Since Florida passed their controversial drug testing law, many other states have looked into introducing similar bills. Florida’s law required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug testing. On December 31, 2013, a federal judge struck down this law claiming it was unconstitutional (New York Times, 2013). The ACLU had filed on behalf of recipients, who claimed that the mandatory drug testing was violating the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. What does this mean for Florida’s recipients and how will this have an impact on other state moving forward with their plans for a bill?
In 2011, House Bill 208 was proposed in Kentucky. The bill would require random drug testing for Kentucky residents receiving welfare, food stamps, or Medicaid. Henry List quoted Representative Tom Burch, “When they cut off welfare to the recipient that means you could have five or six kids out there who could be without it” (List, 2011). I understand his comments. I do not want the children to go without because their parents can’t pass or have failed a random drug test. How can we solve this problem? And will we ever be able to solve it? Rep Burch said he would support HB 208, if amended in a way that protects children (List, 2011). Rep. Lonnie Napier amended the bill to allow those who fail the drug tests to continue receiving assistance if they agree to undergo state-paid substance abuse treatment. A Colorado Legislator notes, “If you have enough money to be able to buy drugs, then you don’t need the public assistance” (The Inquistr, 2012). There has to be a huge cost for all of this. Not only are they being drug tested, but if they fail, they still receive benefits but will have to undergo state-paid substance abuse treatment. How much money is going out in order for a person to collect their benefits?
My concerns is will the random drug tests and possible substance abuse treatments be paid for by my tax dollars? I would rather have the state government spend tax dollars on education, police departments, fire departments, or even road construction. Why should we be paying for someone to go to rehab just so we can continue to pay for their government assistance, too? How much will this all cost, in the long run? What would the repercussions for another failed drug test? How many chances will the recipients be given in rehab? Will they be sent back to rehab if they fail a second or third test? Where the line be drawn? “Hard working taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to subsidize drug abuse, and this bill will help to ensure they are not,” Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said in a statement when she signed the measure into law. (Prah, 2012).
USA today reported that Ohio was one of two states looking into placing restrictions or...