Feature: Bills to Require Drug Testing for Welfare, Unemployment Pop Up Around the Country

With states across the country feeling the effects of the economic crisis gripping the land, some legislators are engaging in the cheap politics of resentment as a supposed budget-cutting move. In at least six states, bills have been filed that would require people seeking public assistance and/or unemployment benefits to submit to random drug testing, with their benefits at stake.

drug tests: don't waste the money
In Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, and Oklahoma, bills have been filed that would force people seeking public assistance to undergo random drug tests and forgo benefits if they test positive. In Florida, a bill has been filed to do the same to people who receive unemployment compensation. In West Virginia, both groups are targeted. [Update: Kansas passed a bill on March 5.]

In most cases, legislators are pointing to the 1996 federal Welfare Reform Act, which authorized -- but did not require -- random drug testing as a condition of receiving welfare benefits. But a major problem for the proponents of such schemes is that the only state to try to actually implement a random drug testing program got slapped down by the federal courts.

Michigan passed a welfare drug testing law in 1999 that required all Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) applicants to provide urine samples to be considered eligible for assistance. But that program was shut down almost immediately by a restraining order. Three and a half years later, the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier district court ruling that the blanket, suspicionless testing of recipients violated the Fourth Amendment's proscription of unreasonable searches and seizures and was thus unconstitutional.

"This ruling should send a message to the rest of the nation that drug testing programs like these are neither an appropriate or effective use of a state's limited resources," said the ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project head Graham Boyd at the time.

According to the ACLU's now-renamed Drug Law Reform Project, which had intervened in the Michigan case, the other 49 states had rejected drug testing for various reasons. At least 21 states concluded that the program "may be unlawful," 17 states cited cost concerns, 11 gave a variety of practical or operational reasons, and 11 said they had not seriously considered drug testing at all (some states cited more than one reason).

Random drug testing of welfare recipients has also been rejected by a broad cross-section of organizations concerned with public health, welfare rights, and drug reform, including the American Public Health Association, National Association of Social Workers, Inc., National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, National Health Law Project, National Association on Alcohol, Drugs and Disability, Inc., National Advocates for Pregnant Women, National Black Women's Health Project, Legal Action Center, National Welfare Rights Union, Youth Law Center, Juvenile Law Center, and National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

But that hasn't stopped politicians eager to take a stand on the backs of society's most vulnerable. Using remarkably similar rhetoric, legislators across the land are demanding that those seeking benefits be tested.

In West Virginia, Rep. Craig Blair (R-Berkeley County) has created a web site, Not With My Tax Dollars, to publicize his bill, which would apply to anyone seeking welfare, food stamps, or unemployment insurance. "I think it's time that we get serious about the problem of illegal drug users abusing our public assistance system in West Virginia," he wrote on the site. "We should require random drug testing for every individual receiving welfare, food assistance or unemployment benefits. After all, more and more employers are requiring drug testing. Why not make sure that people who are supposed to be looking for work are already prequalified by being drug free?"

In Florida, Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) has sponsored a bill that would require random drug testing of one out of 10 people seeking unemployment benefits. Those people are supposed to be "ready, able, and willing" to work, he told Tampa Bay Online. "If they can't pass a drug test for unemployment compensation," Bennett said, "then they can't pass a drug test at my construction business."

In Hawaii, Rep. Mele Carroll (D-District 13) introduced her "Welfare Drug Testing" bill last month. "The idea came from knowing a lot of families and members in the community who are on assistance that may or may not use some of our public funds for their drug habit," Carroll told KHON in Honolulu. "If the state is pouring money out there to assist families, this could be a way to look at some of our families who are on substance abuse. Make them accountable," she argued.

But such arguments didn't fly with any of the welfare rights, civil liberties, or poverty and child care organizations the Chronicle spoke with in recent weeks. They were unanimous in denouncing welfare drug testing as ineffective, arguably unconstitutional, and just plain mean-spirited.

"Drug testing welfare recipients is coming back?" asked an incredulous Maureen Taylor, Michigan state chair for the National Welfare Rights Organization. "That's ridiculous. The courts slapped it down when they tried it here, and they should slap it down again. These politicians think the reason people are poor is because they're on drugs, and that's just stupid," she scoffed.

"We are in favor of a drug free America and we believe people who exhibit strange behavior should be tested," said Taylor. "Elected officials who propose such things would be an excellent place to start. The politicians should lead by example."

"This is really bad policy," said Frank Crabtree of the West Virginia ACLU. "These are the most vulnerable people in our society, and their children are even more vulnerable. These are people of whom the legislature has no fear. They have to deal with the problems of daily life to such a degree that they are not as politically active, and that makes this bill just seem like a bullying tactic."

Crabtree also addressed the legality of any such programs. "Constitutionally speaking, I don't think the state can force you to give up your right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures to obtain public benefits," Crabtree said. "This would seem to fit that category."

Crabtree saw the West Virginia bill more as political grandstanding than a serious contribution to public policy. "If part of their rationale is that there is more drug use among recipients of public assistance, that argument fails," said Crabtree. "But this does appeal to a certain kneejerk mentality, which leads me to think this is just a lot of political posturing and pandering to a conservative constituency."

"I oppose such legislation for both philosophical and practical reasons," said Darin Preis, executive director of Central Missouri Community Action, which works with poor families. "The proposal here would have state social workers taking on yet another task for which they are not prepared. This will add cost and more bureaucracy, and with our state budget in the fix it is, I don't think we can pull this off," he said.

"Philosophically, I think we should be holding people accountable for what we want them to do, not for what we don't want them to do," said Preis. "People want to take care of their families, to do the right thing. It just doesn't make sense to me. Taking away benefits from someone struggling with substance abuse issues isn't going to help them; it will only make matters worse."

"These bills are a waste of money at a time when governments don't have money to waste," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "And they're extremely discriminatory in that they focus on someone smoking marijuana, but don't address at all whether someone is blowing his check on alcohol or gambling or vacations. The bottom line is that even if someone is using drugs, that doesn't mean they should be denied public assistance, health care, or anything else to which citizens are entitled. These bills are unnecessarily cruel and they show that some politicians still think it's in their best interest to pick on vulnerable people with substance abuse issues."

The bills seeking to drug test people seeking unemployment benefits are even more pernicious, Piper said. "Unemployment compensation is something that people pay into when they're working, that's not a gift from the state," he said. "If you are unemployed, you earned those benefits and you shouldn't have to prove anything to anyone."

"Drug testing welfare recipients or people getting unemployment is a terribly misguided policy," said Hilary McQuie, western director for the Harm Reduction Coalition. "If you find people and cut them off the rolls, what's the end result? You have to look at the end result."

Legislators proposing random drug testing of welfare or unemployment recipients have a wide array of organizations opposing them, as well as common sense and common decency. But none of that has prevented equally pernicious legislation from passing in the past. These bills bear watching.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

What crime?

The thing is, most MJ users aren't misbehaving. They are peacefully and responsibly making a better choice, apart from the legal considerations, than their critics. The harm caused by marijuana is so minimal that it is difficult even to point to any examples. It is so minimal that without invasive technology or violations of legitimate privacy, it is difficult even to detect marijuana use (except that one's nose works pretty well..). Nobody complains of harm! Even in civil cases, which usually require a lower standard of proof than in criminal cases, the plaintiff is required to demonstrate harm. The marijuana laws are unique that even as a felony, i.e. a criminal case, no demonstration of harm is required. And no wonder! It is very difficult to provide!

There are lots of angles related to marijuana prohibition, but virtually every one of them is sterile. There are no legitimate reasons to prohibit responsible adults from choosing marijuana over alcohol. Legitimate prohibitions must at least provide evidence of overriding, significant harm, which is certainly lacking in marijuana persecutions (sic). That must change.The only crime in marijuana use is disobedience of the law, and in a free country, simple disobedience must not be a crime! If users behave themselves regarding other, legitimate laws, the government has no business imposing itself of people's personal choices. Nothing less that our much vaunted freedom, which America is so proud of, is at stake.

Emmet C's picture

Good for the Goose

Though I am against blanket testing for many reasons and agree with the previous commenter that choosing MJ for recreational use over the deadly C2H5OH is a mark of wisdom, one suggestion would receive my unreserved support:

"We are in favor of a drug free America and we believe people who exhibit strange behavior should be tested," said Taylor. "Elected officials who propose such things would be an excellent place to start. The politicians should lead by example."

These people are, after all, suckling on the public teat. If only there were a urine test for arrogance.


great comment!

"If only there were a urine test for arrogance." perfect

Govt converting users into sellers by denying unemploymnt comp

If the govt takes away people's unemployment compensation, drug users will just sell drugs to make up for the loss. Market entry would be easy since users already have dealer contacts.

how hospital can use a drug test against victim of crime

i live in ohio and 5 years ago was washing dishes in my home when i was stabbed beatn passed out taken to grant hospital here columbus as i was out i was given a drug test and failed and because of that i was not able to get victim of crime to help with this medical bill i really feel that they have a right to invade my rights and think the almost dying was bad enough but then this was a slap to my face and just another way to save the state money and make me feel like a vicim again way to go ohio for another way to control someone just washn dishs in his own house

Public Assistance = Drug Testing

I wonder if they're going to make Goldman Sachs and AIG employees do this?


So if I want to get a job working for the government at ANY level (other than Obama's administration) I'd have to get drug tested for a job. If I just want a handout from the government, I don't have to get drug tested??? Anyone out there with half a brain that sees the issue here?

If people don't think it's right to drug test someone on government assistance ...fine. Then stop drug testing me when I'm getting a job.

While you are at it, legalize pot!!!

You are making an erroneous assumption!?

Supporters are also against drug testing for cannabis in the workplace. It is not a reliable way to detect, whether or not, a person is impaired from use. Or, that the person smoked last weekend, and is not impaired at all! It is not reliable enough, because many of the quick tests have been shown to give erroneous results. If one is not working impaired, he should not be guilty. In the present case, if it is in your system, you can be unimpaired, and guilty, both at the same time!

Not only GETTING a job, try

Not only GETTING a job, try KEEPING a job!! How is random testing even legal?

AMEN!!!! Finally someone

AMEN!!!! Finally someone said what I have been thinking the whole time I was reading this article. Why should the citizens that work to pay their taxes which pay for these services be drug tested and the receivers sitting at home on their butt not be tested. It makes absolutely NO sense.

Absoltely agree, only if

Absoltely agree, only if everyone thought like us!!!!!!!!!


Most of the worlds biggest dictators had that way of thinking too.

"EVERYONE should think the way I do. If they don't, lets kill them!"

Or just assume they're guilty and waste everyone's money trying to prove it.


Here's an idea:

Stop assuming that all those people who have been so unfortunate to have had their entire lives ripped away from them and turned upside down by whatever faceless corporation they were working for tossing them out on their asses due to budget cuts caused by poor economy, are really drug monsters just ITCHING to get their dirty hands on your precious money.

YOU are not paying for

YOU are not paying for someone else's unemployment insurance. WORKERS PAY INTO UNEMPLOYMENT WHILE THEY ARE WORKING, and when they lose their job, the receive back from the money collected for that purpose. That's why it's called insurance. 
You will, however, be paying for the drug tests issued to every single one of those people, and that's not gonna be cheap, honey.


And obviously you've never been so unfortunate to have been laid off before, or you wouldn't speak so flippantly about all of the recipients sitting on their butts. In your eyes, OF COURSE, none of them are TRYING to find a job! They LOVE having an income utterly insufficient of supporting themselves and their families. They LOVE having to chose between having to pass up much-needed healthcare for themselves and their families and living indefinitely with debt that they will never be able to even fathom covering without a job. They LOVE not knowing where their next meal is coming from! And when they have car problems, they LOVE having to bother someone else to take them to wherever they need to be, rather than to be able to pay for car repairs. They also LOVE the fact that no matter how hard they try, JOBS ARE NOT AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. Hopefully you can join in on the fun sometime!

actually employers pay into

actually employers pay into unemployment insurance not employees-it is not something taken from a workers check-employers are required to pay it

actually employers pay into

actually employers pay into unemployment insurance not employees-it is not something taken from a workers check-employers are required to pay it




you got laid off, apparently someone else had more skills than you, they kept their jobs.  Yes there are jobs, and no you will not have that high paying, easy and sit on your butt all day jobs.  I am totally for having drug tests for people who are collecting MY money and use it to buy THEIR drugs, If YOU are not on drugs then why are YOU so opposed against this.  I am 22 i have 75k a year job I have full benefits, and i work for my money while scum like you make people feel bad for people with out jobs.  Yes i know there are lay offs but guess what, I do recall Mc Donalds is hiring,  I'm sure Burger King will hire you.  Stop going for the jobs you don't have the skills for and work at a job you do have the skills for.  Sure you won't be having that 50k a year job but its better than nothing, people like you are useless piles, I moved 5 states away for a job.  If you are fully capable of working work and you are collecting welfare or unemployment and you have no mental problems and you have both hands and legs, sorry, YOU ARE A LOSER! some people say i have a kid. Well you should think about the responsibility it takes to have a kid before you start having sex, people these days are just dumb. I gurantee if the government takes away welfare and unemployment and all this free assistance, I gurantee unemployment rates will drop and people will find jobs and if they don't they won't survive, this world is a dog eat dog world, learn it, and people just try to make it easier but look how far the government is in debt.

You are overpaid for your job

You are overpaid for your job because you CLEARLY lack critical thinking skills and can't even spell McDonald's correctly. High unemployment isn't caused by people not wanting or trying hard enough to get jobs, it's caused by production and demand for goods and services going down and thus companies not needing as many workers. Also, telling parents with children who want to provide for them that they were dumb for having had sex is NOT anything close to a workable solution or useful at all.

Please don't vote. You don't seem interested in solving real problems, only in making judgments of others, which is about as useful as a horny teenager with a box of Kleenex.



PSSST.. Working for the


Working for the government, and being able to reap the benefits you PAY INTO..

is two completely different things..

It seems asinine to DENY people benefits for what they ingest..

Druggies pay taxes to!

Let's get serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO to this web site. Look at the videos.Then send the links to friends. Contact your local State and Federal Elected Officals


More Legal Issues on Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

It’s common knowledge among most drug users that random drug tests are likely to detect marijuana and nothing else, since cannabis is the only recreational drug that stays in a person’s body for more than 72 hours.  Effectively, drug testing is all about detecting cannabis metabolites, and little else.

Any welfare law that favors meth and crack users over cannabis users is illegal.  In the case of drug testing, it’s illegal on several fronts, one being the 14th Amendment’s equal protection of the laws clause.  Another is the 4th Amendment restrictions on search and seizure.

Still another legal blockade is Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, which prohibits Congress from passing Bills of Attainder.  Bills of Attainder are laws that discriminate against or punish a single person or a specific group of people (i.e., marijuana users) without recourse to a trial.  In the Middle Ages, attainder was used to punish children for the crimes of their parents, or vice-versa.  In fact, ‘attainder’ is derived from a word that means ‘tainted blood’.

Aside from the legal issues, the primal urge to persecute marijuana users in the United States for having drug tainted blood, urine or hair, is clearly pathological.  The same mentality that resulted in Jews being marched into gas chambers in Europe is at work within drug legislation, camouflaged by society’s dubious claim that a health motive exists.  Drug users as a whole are often painfully aware that no altruism motivates America’s drug laws.  From their point of view, which is the only view that fits the circumstances, what motivates the drug laws is little more than authoritarian hatred.


Drug testing is about much more than cannabis

I'll skip the minor things like human rights and remind you that for millions of Americans these are tests for medicine they take on a daily basis and a very significant number of employers discriminate on the basis of information tests reveal or suggest which the employers are legally prohibited from asking about. They're an end run around anti-discrimination laws.

Possible Long Term Benefit?

I'm absolutely opposed but...

If the proposed testing did occur and;

required retesting of positive results by a different and more reliable method (perhaps by a different company),

prohibited even requesting victims to sign waivers of liability,

required everyone in a supervisory position or higher to state under penalty of perjury the probabilty of a postive result being incorrect,

required testing labs to make certain disclosures [including posting lists of all known causes of false postive tests and an estimate of the number and nature of possible unknown false positives or a statement of inabilty to make sure an estimate],

forced labes to conduct vigorous ongoing testing to uncover sources of false postives [say 10% of every test batch had to be control/research samples containing something that was neither being tested for or known whether it would test as something being tested for],
a high level of onsite supervision & unannouced inspections by an independent third party (e.g., ASTM),

and required a number of other quality control testing/improvement measures,

perhaps the drug testing industry would largely collapse within a few years. As far as I can tell the real profit in the drug use testing industry is from the use of cheap single tests whose accuracy only meets standards for deciding whether a second more accurate but more expensive test is worth administering. The economic pressure to sign waivers of liability protects employers and drug testers from responsibilty for harm to individuals caused by incorrect test results and hides the untrustworthiness of test results because people generally lack the ability to force this (or other test related issues) to be examined in court cases.

Of course as the old saying goes, "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride."

BTW, a couple drug testing related links of possible interest,






And, I know about people who pass these tests, all of the time. Even, when they are stoned! So, why do you cower to the un-Constitutional intrusion into your life? Their testing does not prevent anything. But, it might actually encourage people to abuse things like meth and opiates because they leave a person's blood stream quicker! That sounds real smart, now. Doesn't it? They actually encourage dangerous behavior. Since, those other drugs can be deadly, yet, no one a has ever OD'd on cannabis!

They are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on it. The only ones, truly benefiting, are the ones making, all that, money selling your companies the drug testing kits!

The United States?

Is this what we have sunk to? I used to think the "prohibitionists", were idealistic, perhaps a bit narrow minded, but with this rash of bigoted fat assed rules, they are just mean sons of bitchs. After all if they cared about this country, they would not be so supportive of keeping criminals in charge. But they pretend that this nearly forty year failure, has worked. And by doing so they try to ignor that the criminals love this short sighted bull shit. After the dust settles and questions are asked, our current "officials"will have a hell of a time convincing me, that they ever believed that prohibition ever worked for anything. It was a way for most of them to raise a truly wonderful bounty. So when you speak to your local "officials", find out why they support keeping criminals in charge?

These "Drug Free" politicians about to vote for Booze

If you hear "Drug Free" rhetoric from these politicians. Be on the look out because these are probably the biggest receivers of contributions from the alcohol industry lobbyists ( www.FollowtheMoney.org ) and will likely be voting to make alcohol sales more widely available in their communities to increase tax revenue. They are trying to get a twofer: promoting "drug free" amerika while saving their state's budget.

Drug users are also tax payers.

If the government is going to collect taxes from drug users it shouldn't try to restrict their benefits.

drug testing is more than reasonable!

NOt only do most jobs drug test before they hire but why should other people have to help people support their drug habbits. yes this good be bad for there children but maybe people will then realize that the money spent on drugs could benefit them and there families. As for this being an insult to people already facing hard times. I don't think so. If you really need help the least you can do is a drug test.
And as fpr drug users being tax payers to.. DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL ! why should we help you poison yourselves and others. There are so many people that need help and you think we should spend money supporting drug habbits? No I don't think so!

Not as simple as it seems

I pay approximately 20K/year in income tax, my real estate taxes run 5K/year, and I pay thousands in state sales tax, and I am currently employed. Don't I deserve the benefits I have paid for when the time comes? Your response suggests that people haven't earned these benefits and they don't deserve them without the unreasonable intrusion into their privacy. I have earned them and I am protected from unreasonable searches by the government. There is a difference between me entering into an agreement with an employer and me getting back benefits from the governement that I have paid for is there not? Many businesses have realized that they aren't getting the cost benefit that they expected from their drug testing programs. The only people that will likely benefit from this program are the politicians that will get votes from people like you and the manufacturers and providers of drug tests.

You are more than uneducated on this matter!

Considering fact that hard drugs leave your system much quicker, the only illegal drug these drug tests are going to even catch is Marijuana, and that's significantly less harmful than alcohol, which we all KNOW is something most working Americans are absolutely hooked on. As a matter of fact, have you not heard all of the scientific studies that are finally starting to surface? Marijuana is MEDICINE and our pathetic, idiotic country has criminalized it.

The prohibition on marijuana is a joke, and drug testing is a joke, because you're only going to catch the harmless part of the drug community, leaving the really ugly side of it untouched. Which is no surprise... I wouldn't expect the government  to care enough to waste energy to make the extra effort to punish the real criminals-hard drug users, when it's so easy to catch the little guys who are doing nothing morally wrong (other than breaking a law that shouldn't be in place to begin with) to make themselves feel productive.

Also, unemployment insurance is not the government HANDING over money. Workers pay into that fund while they have a job, so that when they lose their jobs, there is something to keep them afloat during their time of crisis. Perhaps your feelings are justified towards those who refuse to look for a job, and rely only on the joint partnership of welfare and their own ability to reproduce like rabbits, but those who are receiving unemployment are not receiving it from YOU. YOU are not helping support their habits. They're getting paid by the company that fired them, and if they wanna spend $20 a week on a bag of weed, I would say that's a little better than spending $100 in one night of drinking, which is 100% LEGAL to do, whether you're employed, getting unemployment benefits, or on welfare... Just as long as you have a ride home.

Common Sense Freedom vs. Blind Fear Fascism

Employers should not have the right to discriminate against people if they recreationally use drugs during their free time, when not at work. If the drugs are affecting their performance, than they should only be reprimanded only for their poor performance.
If people have the right to collect welfare or unemployment, they all have the right to spend it how they chose. They may chose to spend it on bills, rent, a vacation, at a bar, on expensive shoes, fast food, school supplies, gambling, parking tickets, toys, porn, etc... Should the government decide how every penny of unemployment or welfare is spent? What about people on unemployment who grow and smoke their own weed for free? OUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON IMPORTANT ISSUES, LIKE OUR DWINDLING RESOURSES OF FOOD, WATER, LAND, etc… Politicians need to stop trying to discriminate and punish their fellow citizens in an attempt to control the personal lives of people. The problem with the economy is simple… The U.S. imports more than it exports. Getting high does not cause all of the problems with society. Whatever negative side effects or consequences there may be associated with using drugs, the most detrimental thing about using drugs are the legal ramifications.

Who is the real problem?

People who chose to use drugs are not the screwed up ones causing all the problems. People against people who use drugs are the ones not in the right frame of mind. Locking up people who think different is not right. Starting wars is not right. Invading a person’s home or body is not right. Discrimination against fellow citizens is not right. Taking away rights is not right. The people who think these things are ok, are the ones who have a problem. They are the ones creating problems for other people. Maybe these people should be forced to chill out and take some bong hits so they are not such uptight evil assholes.

i can beat that!

just like the other several million people that have used a product or cheated a test,any idiot would use this to get a check,thus making these tests useless.there is no drug test that cant be beat, there are many doctors,lawers,c.e.o.,police men,that go home and smoke one, lets get real the belief that this does not happen is funny really.nathan

The sad tale of Joe the Speeder

911 Operator: 911 What is your emergency
Joe the Speeder: My house is on fire, please send the fire department
911 Operator: Unfortunately according to the speed monitoring device that was installed in your car, you recently exceeded the speed limit so we can't provide you with any public services
Joe the Speeder: You can't do this, I'm a tax paying citizen
911 Operator: I'm sorry sir, but you have the choice to not call us if you find this aggrevating.

then everyone receiving assistance should have to do it

AIG, all the bank CEOs and all the high mucktee mucks should have to do it also. I am not a user myself, but I get tired of all the laws and restrictions placed upon those at the bottom. Hey, anyone receiving government money for any reason should be drug tested - not just the bottom rung!!!



good to see

At least the one example of the kind of person that would support such a bill shows a complete lack of understanding and a complete lack of empathy.Any addict and I include myself,can beat those tests with a reasonable notice or just flat out right now if you want.The only people tests will catch are those that are too simple to cope.I'll never understand how these people think.They taught me everything I know.

something to think about

If welfare and unemployment benefits were stripped away from those who failed drug tests then I can only imagine what that would do to the crime rate in America. Not that I condone drug usage of any kind by anyone but I really believe a drug user on welfare and/or unemployment is safer than a drug user who has had these things stripped away from them as they would probably be alot more crazed out of desparation which would be very bad for the community in which they live.

Class Warfare, Pure and Simple

On the face of it, it seems like a great idea, right? Stop the druggies and flunkies from getting your tax buck. Let's look a few things, though. If your tax dollars HAVE to go toward paying for social programs, would you rather they go toward helping those in need buy food, or to the drug testing companies? Also, how many will be disqualified from benefits for getting a false positive? Not to be cynical here, but with the recession growing worse, more people will be in need of assistance, and it is possible that this test will be used to disqualify and discourage as many as possible. All the while, much more money (much more than will likely EVER go for welfare payouts) is going to bail out bankers who gambled away our economic future selling fraudulent paper. While those losing their jobs are forced to suffer the added indignity of having to submit to random drug testing, those at the top get rescued. Many of us who now resent those getting social services may soon find ourselves waiting in line with them. When I heard of this policy on CNN, the first thing that came to mind was prisoners on parole. Ever since Ronald Reagan, the poor have been kicked and spat upon (remember the 'welfare queens'?). I doubt anyone who had to spend a day in a welfare recipient's shoes would say they were living the 'good life.' Now, they want to shake these people down and marginalize them even more, and add the recently unemployed to their ranks. Why should you have to take a drug test to get unemployment? We all need to wake up here, look around, and see what's really happening.

welfare should be drug tested.

ok i agree about more money will be going to drug testing companies. however, i am a single mother that is on state assistance because i don't have a degree and earn little pay (over min. wage but still not enough). i work full time, take care of my children, i live inside my means, not a drug user, and i use my food stamps for family dinner. i had to take a drug test to get my full time job and i think that anybody that gets money from the goverment should have to take a drug test. it just makes sure that our tax dollars are not going towards drugs. i would still apply for state assistance even if i had to take a drug test to receive anything. i think it is a simple thing to do, to help better your family or make sure your family has food on the table. if people don't want to take a drug test to help themselves, mcdonald's hires everyday. but than again, those same people would say they are to good to work there too.

I Have to 'Suffer,' So Should They

Hey that's not fair, I have to get drug tested and so should they! Maybe it's more correct to say that I shouldn't get tested and neither should they. Again, what if the drug testing meant a decrease in your already measly benefits (not to mention a false positive that would disqualify those who are innocent), would you still support it? Part of the reason the poor are being exploited is due to their own ignorance and lack of self-esteem. They've been beaten down and somehow feel undeserving of assistance, and have no right to privacy because they are asking for something. They forget that they may have been paying for these programs for many years with their tax dollars. Something else you exhibit that is very common is the feeling that because you have to work so hard just to keep your head above water, everyone else should. Perhaps you should get more money for what you do, meaning a LIVING WAGE, so you didn't need public assistance in the first place, but that is a different matter.

I agree that we need to get

I agree that we need to get the users off government assistance. Random testing most likely won't work. If you know that you may be tested at your next appointment then you just don't use before appointments. I have known many people who have gotten around required breathalyzer testing after a DUI conviction by not drinking the day before the test. I do think people that are convicted on drug or alcohol charges need to prove that they are staying clean to continue to receive benefits, this can be done by truly random testing with a call telling them to report in for testing within 2 hours time. The calls would have to be made by a living person and not a computer message to be sure that the person gets the massage and not their voice mail. That being said I believe the government should legalize marijuana, and charge the same level of taxes and with the same warnings as tobacco. Tobacco has been proven to cause cancer and death yet millions still use it every day and some states are making thousands of dollars in taxes on cigarettes every day. FYI: I am a 30 year old man who works a full time job to support my wife and three boys we would not make it through the month without our food stamps and could not get medical services without our state provided insurance, I have never used illegal drugs and almost never drink nor do I smoke. My wife can not work due to a medical condition, so we live on my $11 / hour, 40 hour a week job.

for the most part their

for the most part their logic seems to be, "I am using my tax payer money to help these people out.. therefore, I should have the right to know the money isn't going towards drugs"

The problem with this, is, marijuana can be grown freely, and many people are willing to share it freely..

So in order for that logic to be sound, they have to be able to proove they SPEND money on drugs..

If they cannot do that, they have no leg to stand on and it becomes "I disagree with this plant, therefore we are seeking out ways to punish people for using it" Ie A culture war...

AND, I have seen people driving really nice cars walk into a store and use food stamps.
They are in such dire straights that they need food stamps, but they can drive in luxury. That is far more dispectable than someone who decided to take a puff from a joint at a social gathering..

As far as "Well a lot of employers do drug testing, therefore we should assure that they are clean!" Well, that is not the recipients fault, maybe we should be passing blame unto the employer?

I have a solution, but I have no idea how practical it would be to implement..

Why are we giving people on welfare checks, and food stamps they can simply resell(maybe the ones in nice cars really weren't rightfully the recipients?).. If they need food, maybe we should demand that they go to a local cafetiria, and eat food!

If they need money for their electric bill, give them checks payable for THAT purpose..

Lets Drug test our own Government

If we did they would more than likely be none (government that is)

Just one more step towards Dictatorship............

Fair is fair

if you pee clean, you get a job. if you're a druggie, you don't get a job and get to collect welfare!!!! BULL!!! I say those opposed to passing the bill are probably drug users, whatever their poison. I watched my neighbor sell her food stamps for cash and buy drugs all the time. The more kids she pops out, the more she gets. The more kids she has, the longer she gets to stay home and not work, meanwhile, walking around in the latest expensive fashions and getting new tatts twice a year or so. Now that she has a card, she takes people to the store with her and they give her cash! Ridiculous. Drug test everyone, getting a job or getting free money, fair is fair!!! And while they're at it, they should look into a bill for druggies going to the ER. They'll be treated but insurance should make them pay if their system is filled with illegal controlled substances. Reap what you f'n sew.
If officials are so concerned with crime, use all the millions (yea, millions) of dollars saved to put up cameras on every street corner.

If I fail a drug test

If I fail a drug test through my employer, I lose my job and my income. Point blank. Why should these people be allowed to keep their income and do drugs? Not only that, but if they have money to spend on getting high, then they should have money to pay their bills!

drugs and parenting

On facebook, please look at Pray for Ridge Moore.

This will give you an look at the results of mixing parenting and drug addiction.

Seriously???? Drug testing for welfare??

come on we are a broken nation as is.... so you want to take more of our money to test to see if people are smoking the reffer??? guess what more then 60% of our nation smokes pot!! other then the few states that have givin the OK on pot this nation blows millions on drug inforcement and prisoners that are sitting in jail eatin up our cash. if you are going to test for drugs you need to pass the law legalizing Marijuana first... tabacco kills thousands every year... drinking kills thousands yearly... pot: you cant over dose on it... it doesn't cause as bad of cancer as tabacco and unlike liquar that makes people more vilent pot calms people. marijuana helps people who have eating disorders and people with depresstion... unlike anti depresstion meds. pot doesn't have server side affects... your not going to have a vital organ give out on you at the age of 20 or become more depressed or suicidal by taking the drug.... I've had 3 friends die in their sleep because there depresstion meds stopped their hearts.... that wasn't a over dose... if the US would pass the law on marijuana then we would have more money maybe even enough to bring us up out of this debt we are in... If they past the law legalizing it who knows we might be able to be like canada and have free health insurance for our people... taking more money isn't going to do anything but hurt our nation more and drug testing isn't going to stop the users they will just find there way around it like they always do... in my mind Marijuana isn't a drug its the next step to better health care... as for meth, crack, x, and them others those are real drugs they kill people with a blink of an eye. those drugs are the kind people kill other people because they're on them....

If we have to do it, so do they!

I don't understand those people who say that people on welfare should not be drug tested..it is only fair that they should be. Us working class people work hard for our money and we get tax dollars taken out of our paychecks and it is given to the non-working class for FREE! soo..you're welcome for that. I'm a full time college student with a job, i have to pay for everything..i wish someone would give me free money and i could just sit on my butt all day for the rest of my life living off of the money that people work hard for. its complete BULL if you ask me. People on welfare have plenty of opportunities to get jobs, they just dont because they are on welfare and are given money to do whatever they want on it. They walk the streets, pop out babies like its their JOB, live in run down houses, and wear dirt poor clothes. please tell me they are not on drugs..you have to be insane if you do not agree. 

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