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Welfare Drug Testing Bills Introduced in Four States [FEATURE]

drug testing lab -- corporate welfare carrying out an ineffective strategy?
Critics of welfare drug testing cite unconstitutionality of warrantless drug testing, the cost of drug testing tens or hundreds of thousands of people, counterproductive results and mean-spiritedness in opposing legislation that would require it. But that hasn't stopped legislators from coming back again and again.

With this year's state legislative season barely under way, bills have been introduced in four states -- Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oregon -- to require drug testing for people receiving public assistance. And in a novel twist, a bill in Indiana would require unemployment recipients to declare they are not using illegal drugs and threatens them with up to three years in prison for perjury if they are found to be using them.

But while such bills may be popular with politicians of a certain stripe, they don't find much support among professionals in the field. Groups that have lined up against such bills include the American Public Health Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, the National Health Law Project, the National Association on Alcohol, Drugs and Disability, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the National Black Women’s Health Project, the Legal Action Center, the National Welfare Rights Union, the Youth Law Center, the Juvenile Law Center, and the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which successfully litigated against Michigan's welfare drug testing law, has also come down strongly against welfare drug testing. Such laws are "scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound," in the ACLU's opinion. The group cites studies showing welfare recipients are no more likely to use drugs than the rest of the population and that 70% of illicit drug users are employed. It also cites research showing that drug testing is an expensive, but ineffective way to uncover drug abuse. (Full citations and more information are available at the ACLU link above.)

But the kicker for the ACLU is the unconstitutionality of warrantless drug testing by the state, as determined by the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Michigan case. Michigan was the only state to actually implement a welfare drug testing program, but the appeals court found that the program violated the Fourth Amendment's provision barring unreasonable searches.

The persistence of such attempts is drawing concern from the drug reform community as well. Given the fiscal pressures facing the states, legislators could be even more susceptible to pseudo-populist demagoguery than usual.

"I am quite concerned that recurring legislative proposals to require drug testing of welfare and/or unemployment applicants and beneficiaries will gain new momentum with the budget crises confronting so many states, and also in Congress," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "The proposals are mean-spirited, counter-productive and will ultimately cost much more than they save by depriving needy Americans of access to benefits. DPA will do all it can to ensure that these proposals do not become law."

"These kinds of laws aren't going to stop someone who is addicted from being addicted," said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. "They're just going to drive them further away from getting any kind of help. Also, it is often poverty that causes the stress that helps create addiction. If you make someone poorer, you just deepen that despair," he pointed out.

"If you really want to deal with the problem of addiction, provide treatment on demand," Wexler offered. "And if people are worried that not everyone will take advantage of it, let's put that to the test. Make drug treatment immediately available and see if the claim that people will turn it down has any merit."

But nobody is offering treatment on demand. Instead, legislators are offering up a stick with no carrot.

In Kentucky, a bill championed by Rep. Lonnie Napier (R-Lancaster), HB 208, would require all adults applying for public assistance to undergo drug tests, followed by random testing once a year. The measure would apply to all adults receiving or applying to receive food stamps, cash assistance, or Medicaid. Although Napier told the Richmond Register a positive test result would not necessarily result in the loss of benefits, the bill itself says that a positive test will make the individual "ineligible" for public assistance.

"There’s people buying food with food stamps and trading that food for drugs. Children are not getting benefit from it. Children do not need to be in a home where drugs are present," the loquacious Napier told the Register. "Maybe it could get people off drugs. Drugs are breaking the state up. If we could get a few people off drugs, it would be worth it," he said.

But Napier's assertion about trading food stamps for drugs appears to be based on little more than hearsay. "People tell me people are abusing the system," he said. "If you knew you were to be tested, you'd want to be clean."

Still, Napier's bill has some powerful friends. Among its cosponsors are House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonburg) and House Minority Leader Danny Ford (R-Mt. Vernon).

In Missouri, Rep. Ellen Brandom (R-Sikeston) is pushing HB 73, which would require a drug test for anyone applying for or receiving public benefits if there is "reasonable cause" to believe they are using drugs. Failure to pass the drug test would result in the suspension of benefits for one year, and the person would then have to apply to be reinstated in the program.

Brandom told Kansas City's KCTV 5 that she was doing it for the taxpayers. "They're very resentful that they're working hard, and have to take a drug test to work," Brandom said. "The people who aren't working can receive their tax dollars, and don't have to be held to the same high standard."

That bill passed the House Rules Committee on an 11-4 vote last week and is set for a House floor vote this week. A similar measure passed the House last year, but died in the Senate.

A welfare drug testing bill has also been introduced in Nebraska. The Chronicle covered it last week; you can read about it here.

In Oregon, there are two separate bills aimed at recipients of public assistance. State Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) has introduced SB 538, which would require all people receiving welfare and food stamps to be take a drug test each six months -- at their own expense. A positive test result would result in the termination of public assistance.

And state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) has introduced HB 2995, which would require those applying for unemployment benefits to first pass a drug test. Those who tested positive would have to enter drug treatment or give up their benefits.

Richardson's bill has not yet been assigned to a committee. Starr's bill was assigned Tuesday to the Senate Health Care, Human Services and Rural Health Committee. No hearing dates have been set.

And then there's Indiana. In the Hoosier State, state Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) has introduced SB 86, which would require people seeking unemployment benefits to declare on their applications that they will refrain from any illegal drug use. The bill also says that applicants are subject to "penalty of perjury" if they sign a declaration and then are found to be using drugs. Perjury carries a prison sentence of up to three years in Indiana.

"In employers' eyes as well as many Hoosiers' eyes, there is something wrong with the system if unemployment applicants are able to receive taxpayer money that may, in fact, be used to purchase controlled substances and lead to them being unqualified to work," Leising said in a press release. "This is an issue legislators need to review."

The bill is moving. It passed out of the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee last week.

The battle over welfare and/or unemployment drug testing is going to have to be fought again and again. In addition to the states that have bills this year, similar legislation has been proposed since 2008 in Texas, Rhode Island, Missouri, Nebraska, Georgia, Kansas, West Virginia, and Arizona. The impulse to target the poor and disenfranchised remains strong and is made even stronger by the dire fiscal position in which the states find themselves. The bright side is that, so far, that impulse has not prevailed.

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!

You must end both

As a staunch libertarian who believes in the end of prohibition for all drugs I would have to disagree with Phil on this one. While of course I don't want those who are on drugs to be segregated because of their medical problems the fact is that any welfare system combined with our current drug war must include this type of testing.

Your never going to get conservatives, or even many liberals, to agree with ending the war on drugs if their tax dollars are going to go to subsidize its use. Until we cut the pretensions that welfare is there to help the so called "needy" the natural laws of economics show that when we subsidize something we can guarantee that we have more of it.

Now I know I'm going to get a bunch of people who will say that I'm evil and want people to die in the streets. But to them I have to ask, if welfare is such a good program then why do we need the state to enforce it. If it is completely moral for those who have not earned a "fair" income to receive it through its confiscation from legitimate earners then why do we need the state to enforce it? Can't the so called poor then just walk into peoples homes and personally take it?

The state is nothing more than the fallacy that you are being benevolent when really all your doing is point guns in peoples faces(police) and threatening them with kidnapping(arrest) and locking them in cages(prison). No amount of voting will ever change the fact that the government is completely predicated on violence. The proponents of ending the drug war always state that it is a persons personal responsibility to deal with the effects of their drug habits, I only ask that you extend that moral law to the rest of your beliefs. Only once we realize that we don't need a gun in the room(government) can we really begin the hard work of making this world a better and safer place through voluntary interaction.

Think of the Economy Please!

Won't someone please think of the drug testing companies whose profits will flatline if we don't continue in our quest to test everyone? With the economy in the state that it is I don't think we can bear to let an industry of this size suffer because of the trivial rights we might trample in the process of making things equal for everyone. Think of the countless lab technicians forced to get jobs as unimportant as curing cancer or some other trivial problem plagueing the health of mankind.

McD's picture

Poorly Economies and Growth Industries

Absolutely! If you're not careful the next thing you know someone will be trying to impinge on America's greatest growth industry - the incarceration industry. And don't forget the poor pharmaceutical companies! Jeez, what a bunch of ingrates! It's not just lab technicians and people whose labour actually produces something you need to worry about: just think of all those poor politicians who have grown accustomed to gratuities from Big Pharma et al and other lobbying interests. What would they do if suddenly they found themselves in need of a real job? I suppose that's the name of the game, isn't it: make as much money as can while you're in power just in case something goes wrong one day? I'm sure there was something in the Bible about this. Something to do with rich men and camels, wasn't it? Or was it about the difficulty in serving two masters? Roll on the time for weeping and gnashing of teeth!

drug testing for,.....pretty much everybody.

Yes, someone with some sense in here:)  What a tough, self righteous crowd here.  I enjoyed reading your post.  So far you seem to be the only one making sense in here.

Its a very good idea

I think the whole deug testing thing is a great idea im unemployed and consider my self to be unwealthy an believe its a good idea I think so because there are a lot of people on welfare,an assistance from the government that supposely dont have money for food, vehicles, or homes but they have money to buy their drugs off the street it is their own fault they put the drugs before these things they need an if this is the case they need to get themselves help an their priorities straight instead of having our government taking care of everything else so they can take care of their drugs because there is people who really do need help an dont spend their money on things like drugs make sense does to me I vote yes on drug testing people getting assistance from the government such as ssi,ssd,foodstamps etc

Strange argument

"Can't the so called poor then just walk into peoples homes and personally take it?"If you cut off the only way that people have of feeding their families because they were exposed to marijuana smoke in the last 30-45 days that's exactly what some of them will do.The fact is we are in a recession compounded by the shipping of our manufacturing jobs to countries with no labor laws or benefits and poor wages.If a person is a hopeless alcoholic or smokes cigarettes do we starve them too,or just make them and their families homeless?You are obviously a deep thinker.Just how many "good" reasons do you have to take away the basic needs of people that find themselves unemployed in this job market.Like all those who are lucky enough to have a good job and a good life you resent having to pay the paltry taxes necessary to help poor people and revel at the chance to throw rocks.The drug war itself is so immoral that you should be working to end it,as you claim you want to.How can anyone who thinks the war is immoral try to justify using it to hurt the poorest among us?This is the kind of convoluted argument that we hear all the time from those on the right.It is why people don't trust the Libertarians when they claim they will not fail to take care of the poor and disabled.Thank you for proving that fear is justified.

undrgrndgirl's picture

i marvel

at the mental gymnastics... i thought a major pillar of libertarianism was letting (adult) people do what they want with their bodies... most libertarians i know say all drugs (including all pharmaceuticals) should be essential over the counter...

furthermore, most cannabis users are gainfully employed taxpaying individuals and unemployment is a type of insurance workers pay into when they are working - not a government hand out... if one can perform one's job when being a cannabis user, i see no reason to penalize that same person for the same activity if they were to lose their job...




We do NOT pay unemployment tax, your employer does.  May want to brush up on how things work before commenting on it. 

I do not agree that an occasional pot user shouldn't receive help, and that people shouldn't get it from one failed test.  But if someone continues to fail a drug test, you shouldn't get my money!  PERIOD.  And I am not sure if it is unconstitutional to be drug tested, but if it is, then why is 80% of the work force required to take one to get a job at all??  If I am required to take one to GET a job, then those who get taxpayers and government money for NOT working should be required to take it as well.  That is EQUAL.  It's not requiring more from them than is required of the normal working person.  Those who are using this money to continually use drugs (or $400 iPhones) couldn't even GET a job as they wouldn't be able to pass a drug screen for it, which means they have NO intention of working.  This is common sense. 

And yes, there are plenty of people that will say that the children will suffer if you take the assistance.  Well I was one of those children.  My father abused the system for 10 years (hundreds of thousands of dollars) and was an alcoholic and drug user.  THAT is where the money that you people want to GIVE away with no stipulations goes.  My siblings and I traded, sold and cashed in all available assistance so my father could buy his drugs.  We DID suffer because no one stepped in to STOP him.  We hardly ate at all and lived in NASTY dirty conditions. Those children need to be taken away anyway, not live with a drug user who doesn't use YOUR tax dollars to feed their children. 

OF COURSE there are those who don't abuse (although I know a LOT of people on it in some form and have NOT EVER met even ONE who didn't) but if they are, then a simple urine test should not be a problem at all.  And this garbage about mandatory testing would make the recipients feel negatively about themselves is totally HOGWASH.  There is nothing negative to feel if your test is NEGATIVE.  Then you have the ridiculous claim that it costs too much.  Being that the US spends $131 BILLION a year on public assistance (and this doesn't even include unemployment and Food Stamps!!), taking those who can't pass a drug test to save their lives would SAVE SAVE SAVE money in the long run (and not that long once you start cutting repeat offenders off).  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!


Most libertarians are opposed to taxation funded welfare programs.  We know that before such a program came into existence in this country, people were generous to local charities and churches which took care of those who could not care for themselves.  Once the welfare programs were implemented, we not only quickly got a lot more poor (which number increases every year), we also now have a lot fewer people contributing a lot less (money or time) to private charities and churches.  We do not advocate letting those who've fallen on hard times just hang in the wind, we just want people to be free to give what they feel they can, in their own way, to the charities they believe do the best job with the least amount of administrative costs (which is just the opposite of how government does it) or directly help one (or more) local family in trouble.


I absolutely agree with you on this. I contribute to the poor my way; I don't want big brother to decide for me!!!


I absolutely agree with you on this. I contribute to the poor my way; I don't want big brother to decide for me!!!


Yes, it was all luck that landed me my good job and good life.  

It wasn't sacrifices that my mother and father made for me.  It wasn't the fact that I got good grades in high school and went on to college because of it. It wasn't the fact that I worked damn hard at an entry level position and worked my way into management.   

Hell no!  I 'won' life's lottery.

So, tell me, just what level of lifestyle are we supposed to subsidize for those that won't do what I've done? 


First thing I would do if a new recipient came in to apply for welfare would be to ask them their cell phone number.  When they give it to me I'd ask them why the hell they have a cell phone?  It's expensive--bad choice.   And don't tell me you 'need' a cell phone.  Hell, I didn't have one until last year.   You can get VOI phone service for pennies a month.     Then I'd ask to see their cable bill.   And then I'd make them call and cancel their service because, you see, cable TV isn't a 'need'.

That's just for starters.  But I'm sure I'll be called 'mean spirited'.  But folks, I don't have things that I cannot afford--I'm tired of paying for them for others.


U Really?

You don't expect one to have a cell phone or cable or any luxury of life if they haven't been handed a college education by mom and dad. Lucky you :) Those of us who have worked OUR butts off and still have little cant have a $30 a month cell? And we cant have cable for our little ones who like Nick, Jr. (EDUCATIONAL). Point is, we " ain't" all uneducated or drug users. We are the product of our generations before us and it is up to us to break this vicious cycle. Part of that is applying for food stamps, SSI and such as needed, so our kids have better lives than we did and better expectations for their own future. We also need Medicaid so when our kids need vaccinations or antibiotics they can get well or stay well and not get your pretty perfect college fund kids sick. Many children will be hurt if everyone takes your opinion on this. But like butt holes, we all have them.

Its called a little hard work

I'm a single mom and I disagree. I paid my way through college myself, thank you with honors.  I work nights we spend days out learning, hands on  (educational and even some physical exercise you can't get from Nick Jr) and we can't afford those luxeries that you take from my paycheck. Sorry people like you are afraid to make some sacrifices, cause I do so that you can. Thanks.

I agree

Taking away the basic needs isn't the answer and it punishes children.

I worked for 15 years at the same job and was laid off. in this recession.  I've been out of work for two years and I'm going to college for a degree that will only get me a wage of $10 - $12 an hour (they will only allow certain classes to be pursued while I'm unemployed and accepting worker retraining).  I was making more than this plus benefits at my 15 year job.  I'm a single mom struggling to keep my home and meet our basic needs.  I volunteered (no paycheck) all summer for the WWBWC taking flow measurements and monitoring wells.  I've applied for food stamps.  I'd gladly submit to a drug test and pass it, but if I had to pay for that drug test to qualify I might not be able to afford it.  My ex who is also unemployed and lives with his girlfriend, collects unemployment and food stamps, uses drugs, drinks alcohol, smokes cigarettes and doesn't pay child support.  He doesn't go to school and he doesn't look for work.  Volunteer isn't in his vocabulary.  The state of Washington is so slow at pursuing child support that he will run out of unemployment benefits before they get a child support garnishment in place.  Then he'll continue to live off his girlfriend and welfare as long as possible until she forces him to find another temp job that he can work long enough to get hurt or sick and claim unemployment again. 

They're Just Requisitioning New Whips...

New whips for to beat on their favorite whipping boys.

'Feel-good' legislation for haters.

Okay sounds interesting

A former welfare recipient while I lived in Oregon and later in California. I found Oregon makes it hard to find work with their stupid "How to Look for a Job" garbage.

A family of 3 in Oregon only receives $500 a month (California is $725 ) and $300 in food stamps. We ended up living at a shelter because the waiting list for housing is closed. The job hunt wasn't going good and I ended up going to California because staff at the shelter started suggesting I give my kids up because I couldn't find work. Once there I rented a room at $500 a month and lived on $25 after paying my rent and phone, buying diapers, and other necessary stuff for my kids.   In this economy I obtained employment after buying a laptop with my tax return and waking up in the morning at 5 am and submitting resumes on the computer till 10 pm at night for 3 months. I had my cell phone for employers to contact me, and limited it to a $30 a month plan. I submitted about 150 applications a day for 3 months while on exemption due to severe depression in California. It was the best thing not to be pressured to look for work as I had time to care for my kids and put applications in all day.

I'm better now and I work in the Office of the CEO and President at a very large bank. I receive 4 weeks of vacation and 2 weeks of sick leave the start of every year and I'm lucky to be healthy enough to work and be able to provide my own health, dental, vision, disability, and Rx insurance. If it had been necessary for me to go to all my doctor appointments, supposed work assistance programs, plus come up with the money for a bus ticket, drug test, etc. I wouldn't have gotten anywhere.

While I agree anyone coming into the office looking like a crack head or sporting Nikes and driving a Mercedes should be singled out. Most of us don't even own cars on welfare, we have to sell them or they won't help us. Medicaid has been reduced a joke, its basically a program where you don't want your kids to get sick. If they do they are sure to die because no one will treat them. I would rather have worked then received $500 a month. That amount is less then I make in 1 week.

I guess my point is that finding a job is already hard enough, I cried everyday because we went from a 3 bedroom house to nothing. It wasn't fair, its degrading, and the caseworks are cruel and treat you like dirt. I would never willingly go back and if I don't have too I won't.

I read your post and I

I read your post and I understand what you mean: Welfare is not what most people think; you don't get much money;but you get benefits like "food stamps; medicaid; but in the long run; welfare is a "black hole"; in some states such as Conn. if you get welfare for years and then you get an Inheritance; the state deducts any money they gave !

..and your point is...???

...what, it's free money?  No...they SHOULD have to pay it back!  I'm sick to death of supporting people, MANY of which are nothing but freeloaders.  I see over and over again people on welfare who buy food items that I don't buy because of the price, rather than buying ingredients and COOKING a MEAL, they buy the expensive, microwave meals.  STUPID & WASTEFUL!  Not to mention the junk food they buy.  I always wonder how people who supposedly cannot buy their own food end up as big a house with mouths to match to whine about their situations.

In total agreement

In between school and school about ten years ago, I had the wonderful experience of dealing with New York's welfare system. As a single adult, they gave me $160 on a food stamp card that was only useable at specific group of groceries. In order to get this wonderful benefit, I spent five days bounced around their different offices instead of being allowed to look for a job. When I finally did get a few temp gigs, it would take up to a month for three days of work at a time to finally roll into a citibank account that kept taking money if I couldn't keep more than $1500 in deposits (the free checking accounts at Commerce were a blessing, but I didn't get one of those until 2003). This when I couldn't make more than $100 a week.

When back in school, I got hooked on dextromethamphetamines (prescribed, at that) to complete my $70,000 degree. After losing a semester, AA got me cleaned up, all for the price of an hour a day, which was a lot less time than I spent in the welfare offices or the mandatory outpatient rehab.

I moved to Germany with my boyfriend about three years ago to escape all this, and now as a foreigner they tell me I already qualify for a year's worth of unemployment benefits, which is at minimum 60% of my minimum income. As my job is demanding, I only get 24 days of vacation a year -- which isn't a lot when the standard is 30.

They're also beginning to shave benefits from the welfare system they have here, which is a little sad, but then out here it is or used to be a lifetime benefit for the poor. Last year though, the courts judged that approx.€900 month for a family of three is too small a benefit and directed these to be raised - and despite all these handouts, the worldwide recession barely touched us.

Only the military and the police get tested for drug use, and it's about active use on the job. Supposedly they can also cup-test drivers they pull over, but I've never heard of it actually happening. Yet anyone, government employee or welfare recipient, can still go to Amsterdam for under a €100 round-trip.

If the recession proved anything, it's that the US model of trying to support business growth first and shrink government is a failure, leading the whole country into deeper wage slavery and reducing the kinds of benefits that actually lift up the country as a whole: by taxing the citizenry for the purpose of providing highly skilled, highly educated, and healthy, unstressed workers.

In total Agreement

You forgot to mention at what incredible tax rates these benefits come from.

Europe is bankrupt, too

Euro style cradle to grave benefits will end soon.  It's not sustainable as you can see by watching all of the countries need bail-outs.

Life is hard.  Quit whining.

Okay sounds interesting

I like what you said and I know you would have much more to say if you could. I am very happy for your hard work and not giving up. I to am a single mom and have much to say on this. I feel, What is the point? Their is so much anger around this subject. I wish we could have a calm conversation about it. People are so stressed and so much of.........What is in it for me attitudes. We do have many that abuse the system but why punish the ones who really need the help. I have been there and paid it back also. A friend gets food stamps and medical for herself and children. She is on a medication that when teated shows positive for a narcotic. She has to go to the hospital and have blood drawn in order to prove she is not taking the drug the urine test clamed she has in her system. I am far from being a racist and this sounds like I am but read through and you will see that I am not. We have many illegal immigrants (in many races) that collect benefits. They do not work and if they do it is under the table. Many legal immigrants are also benefiting from the system. They are given grants that do not need to be paid back to open their own business. A perk we offer to help them get started in a new country. Then they do not have to pay taxes for 5 years. Helps them get on their feet so they can support themselves and family. I was self employed for several years and never got a break on taxes. We lived in poverty and if it was not for the tax credit, I would have not been able  to pay my self employment taxes for the year. What I am getting at is. For every person who wants to test for drugs and dislikes the welfare program. If the Gov. offers you the same benefits as they do to illegal/legal immigrants, Would you not take it? For sure 98% of us would. The problem is not with the people who are getting the assistance. It is with the people running it. I can't blame or be angry at anyone offered a hand in getting a nice step up in life. We need to learn to be kind again to our neighbors. The best way to help is, Help each other 1st. My hat is off to anyone excepting the free bee from the Gov.......! If it was me, Oh Yah! I sure would take it but, It is not offered to the people who were born and raised here. That is not the immigrants fault. Undocumented people........No, I do put my foot down with some of that but then again. I do not, because the children of the undocumented people will be the ones to suffer most. We need to stop offering perks for certain things like, testing how many babies a frog (just a stupid example) will have in a year. Well, as I said. I have a lot to say about this. I do wish you well and have a great 2011

test the Assembly not the poor

Kentucky state Rep. Lonnie Napier wants to test the poor for drugs before giving
them assistance. If we are going to be vindictive and punitive with our charity, why not go all the way
and test all citizens who receive state monies to see if they are worthy.

We can test state employees, pension recipients, and how about we start with the
assembly? Testing is estimated at $30 per test. That would be $18 million to
test the poor but only $4,200 if we only test the assembly!

This idea is as nutty as they come. First of all it implies that those who seek
assistance are somehow less trustworthy than those who do not need assistance.
Second, the cost is prohibitive. Take away a person’s assistance and you only
make the situation worse. Who is going to take care of the families and children
of those who suffering the disease of addiction who can’t get clean? Third,
science and logic already show that our policy of prohibition is a complete
failure. Piling on sanctions and punishments will place people’s lives in
jeopardy and accomplish nothing.

This is another one of those “holier than thou” laws that do nothing but create
more problems for people than they fix. It is another attempt to use the poor
and marginalized to save money. It only shows the lack of innovation and
imagination of our leaders and the assembly itself. 


The cost of drug testing

In my area it was $64 per test, 3 years ago.  I know because my husband (who retired 2 years ago) was tested occasionally for his job and he asked about the cost per test.  I've heard the costs are above $100 for the same test in some other places.  Seems to me the testing would cost more than the supposed savings, and there would be many more homeless (and a LOT more theft) as a result.


You are about as dumb as an East Kentucky coal bucket. I  live in an area where last year we had 43 over dose deaths and guess what? They all were welfare recipients or the children of those who are. This bill would greatly benefit our area and would deter those who do not deserve it from applying for it. There is a local attorney who "prides" himself as being the social security SSI lawyer. He alone has undermined the system and manipulates it to help those who are not disabled to get SSI which comes out of our pockets. A vast majority of those he helps have never worked or never worked long enough to pay into the system to even help pay for their slothful greed. These so called SSI lawyers and their quepidity as well as their stupidity will be the downfall of the system designed to protect those who are honest and worthy of such a program. It is funny that those who cry the loudest about such a bill are those who have the most to hide........

No sir!

The answer to your concern is to end taxpayer funded welfare, not to take more taxpayer monies to pay for drug testing applicants and recipients of taxpayer funded welfare programs.  

And to the commenter who mentioned her state deducts any "help" received from the state from an inheritance.  Yeah that happens in WA state, too.  Hubby's mother lingered in a nursing home long past her ability to pay privately, and when she finally passed, they deducted, from the sale of her home (hubby's inheritance), the exact amount of money Medicaid paid to that nursing home on her behalf.  I thought taxes were supposed to cover those Medicaid payouts!  What Constitutional law gives them the power to steal from a recipient of a taxpayer funded benefit to repay those benefits upon the recipient's death?  So what happened to the tax monies that were supposed to pay those benefits?  Does the state get to double dip, first the taxpayers and then the deceased, for those paid benefits?  And if the government is going to get repaid for those benefits from the recipient's estate, why the hell are the rest of us paying taxes for that program?  Something is very wrong, here.

SSI lawyer

That SSI lawyer still has to get a judge to approve the case before the money goes to the disabled person.  There might not be as many  who haven't worked as you think.  When I applied after 20 years in the military and 10 years at a civilian job, people accused me of not ever working.  A sister in law said her husband would not be able to retire because I was awarded social security.  Even after I was awarded full disability by the VA I still had to go through a hearing before Social Security was awarded.  It drove us into bankruptcy, trying to survive on only military retirement and pay 20% on our medical bills.  

  I wouldn't jump to conclusions if I were you.  Studies continually show that the percentage of the poor population on drugs is exactly the same as any section of the population.  You really want to do something to get a handle on the drug problem ask your Legislator to switch our drug policy from one based on prohibition and punishment to one of harm reduction and rehabilitation.  Until that happens nothing will change.



Just another prohibition nightmare

Who are these people who so resent people who fall on hard times that they spend all their waking hours trying to make their lives even more miserable?Only a fool would choose to make a person homeless rather than to give them enough for rent and food.Prison is even more expensive than homelessness.Most G8 countries gladly take care of those who need help.It is only in Amerika that the war on drugs is a huge industry,prisons are privatized and some insane idiot is allowed to keep people penned up in a desert compound where they are abused and used as slave labor.Land of the free,if you can afford it and only if you don't get caught.

I'm not against helping someone down on their luck.

I'm not against helping someone down on their luck.  But I don't like the thought of my tax dollars being used to buy drugs.  I do believe that the war on drugs is a complete failure.  I'm not a drug user and never will be.  But I do think the answer to all of this is to legalize all of it and let Darwin take care of the rest.  Emergency rooms should refuse treatment to anyone who comes through the door high on heroine, cocaine, crack, etc.  Legalize it all and let the druggies self destruct.  Praise Jesus every time a crack addict dies!


Wow, not very Christian to wish death on others.  Is it so hard to believe that some drug addicts might still be able to become good people once they're off the stuff?


People that wish death on anyone with a drug problem should shut up! I am thinking this statement comes from a sheltered person.

While I do not use drugs or even drink for that matter, I know people in my small town in Kansas who are on welfare, get food stamps and cash and medical, they sell weed, pills whatever and have money to use these drugs while I am a single mom with two kids at home and cannot pay my bills on what the State of Kansas says is a utility allowance, I use propane to heat my home, they have a 2 hundred gallon min purchase which cost me over 350.00 each time I buy it. This is crazy they go by a chart opposed to what I actually pay. I don't mind taking a drug test to prove I put my children's needs first. I think if you test positive the cost can come out of your unemployment and/or your income taxes. As far as feeling low enough already that I get assistance, I do feel the need for people to be tested. It's YOUR TAX Dollars being given to those in need!

Some addicts

are good people even while being addicted, legal access to their maintenance dosage would be the best thing, not throwing them away just because you disapprove of their addiction.; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(182, 171, 142); line-height: 1.4em; font: normal normal normal 13px/1.5 Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; background-repeat: repeat no-repeat; ">

Sounds like you are addicted to religion.  Should society throw YOU away due to the danger you pose to addicts with your religious addiction?  Turn about IS fair play, you know.  

Btw, duplicate posts are frowned upon, either be more careful when posting or register so you can delete a mistake like that.  

PS Both your duplicate posts should be deleted, IMNSHO, for your wish of a violent death upon addicts.

i cant wait...

until you die!  man...  I cant believe that u posted what u did....  people like u are the reason our country is going to HELL..  and with thoughts like that you are going to be the one who is sent to the fire pits when the crack head you praised about dying goes right through the gates.  People on drugs are not bad and dont wish harm on any one.  you might as well be telling the guy beside you that has cancer the same thing.  Drug addiction is a sickness just the same as cancer with the same results some win and some loose.  And yes there are those addicts that would kill you then ask for anything.  but not everyone with this sickness is a ruthless evil person that should die.


I swear if i knew where you lived at right now i would make you prey for your own death and you would be eating your own words.  sorry excuse for a human is exactly what you are! When you lay down with your wife tonight look her in the eyes and really think about what you have posted.  Tomorrow look at your kids and reassure yourself righteous ass they wont use drugs.  but the sad realization is one day your son or daughter is going to be the crack head that the hospital turns away because they are high and end up watching them die on the street.

Never say never because drugs take over the best of us regardless of age, sex, religion, money. school, life, parents, friends. it can happen to you and your love ones.  I have a great feeling one day you are going to eat those words.

thank god jesus was killed by the jews so you can beleive

Typical Christian right wing abortion hating half wit, wouldn't know a politic from a dog tick. people like this make me glad I don't believe mans greatest lie, because if i had to spend eternity with a nit wit like this I would just refuse to ever die!, your an idiot go put your head in an oven and do the world a favor. Every single person on this planet is as good as you on your best day. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

"Praise Jesus every time a

"Praise Jesus every time a crack addict dies"???? Really, that is a "Christian" attitude? As a believing Christian, I know it isn't. Are you a member of the Westboro Baptist Church? They have a strange "christianity" too.

I'm not against helping someone down on their luck.

I'm not against helping someone down on their luck.  But I don't like the thought of my tax dollars being used to buy drugs.  I do believe that the war on drugs is a complete failure.  I'm not a drug user and never will be.  But I do think the answer to all of this is to legalize all of it and let Darwin take care of the rest.  Emergency rooms should refuse treatment to anyone who comes through the door high on heroine, cocaine, crack, etc.  Legalize it all and let the druggies self destruct.  Praise Jesus every time a crack addict dies!

The thing is, they probably

The thing is, they probably won't die on the streets because of the failed drug tests.  They'd survive.  Unfortunately they'd probably be pestering people for handouts, or engaging in burglaries and other crimes.  Personally, I don't see how denying them benefits is unconstitutional, but the costs are probably ultimately not worth it.  It would be bad to force people into a criminal underclass, where they can be used to bolster the membership of gangs and other criminal organizations. 

You're missing the point.

A lot of you are missing the point.  The legislation is not intended to "get a handle" on the drug problem.  It's meant to ensure that our tax dollars for welfare go to people who at least deserve and appreciate the help...NOT to throw it away while they're using drugs!


I agree with this... I think they should make it in every state.. I see so many children suffer, because their parents r drugies... It's not fair to the children.. It don't matter if they just get food stamps,, cause they will just buy their supplier some food... I do however believe that if they are going to do the drug testing, they need to do surprise visits to their home.. test both parents, or both parent, and boy/girl friend. Its only fair that way.


Julie C

My keyboard hurts

This is just a typical attack on the poor by the moral superiority.  Are you mad that your tax dollars are used to buy drugs?  Then you should be even more pissed that the majority of your tax money is out claiming the poppy fields in Afghanistan for Big Pharma.  I'm sure that they aren't testing for doctor-prescribed "medicines", even though legal drugs kill a lot more people than illegal drugs.  So, yeah, moan about all the lazy ingrates stealing .00000001% of your paycheck and let them pass laws to get rid of YOUR dwindling freedom, and your children's.  And maybe if you get too depressed about it, you can get some prozac, because that's so much healthier than a pot brownie... feel the pain melt away!  Then you might be able to talk calmly about the red white and blue stick up your bum, and how hard you worked to contribute to a system of death, lies, and McDonalds freedom fries, and how you would just LOVE to piss in a cup so that all the malicious drug abusers and their genetically insuperior offspring don't get frozen dinner tonight off of your tax money.  I mean, it's YOUR tax money, and it should be paying for a fat white man to sit in an office and for his daughter to go to the tanning salon, not for all those people on the street who are too lazy to get a $50,000 degree in slave management.  They're just going to spend it on drugs that don't have a brand name, and that's criminally un-American!


Anyway, it was previously mentioned that if to receive taxpayers money, one must pass a drug test, then all government officials and employees should be tested right away.  Even if that happened, the bureaucrats (or more accurately, their assistants) would easily maneuver around the paperwork, and nothing would be "proven".  You can't just turn their own game around on them, as ironic as it would be, because they came up with it!  The dungeon master refuses to participate.


I wish I had something positive to say or some sort of solution to this growing gap between the rich and the poor, and the growing ignorance of it, but what could I say?  We can't ignore it, we can't try to stop it, we can't just be charitable, and we definitely can't vote on it.  Civil disobedience will just put all the good minds in jail.  Police disobedience, government disobedience and military disobedience just puts another rich jerk in power.  There is nothing to say except "God bless the USA".

As crime rates soar because

As crime rates soar because the safety nets in America have been burned to produce income for our unfunded wars, we can pay for social service's or we can pay for more cops more judges more prisons and more bureaucracy to run it all. You cant have it both ways , we have to take care of those who chose not to succeed in the capitalistic business model we hold up as the best and only way to make our country work. The crime rates soar during depressions and recessions, So what is less expensive a new prison to home them and feed them and give them health care and schooling. or just forcing the communities to allow them to access these same facilities at a reduced rate in the real world we already pay for?.

You're missing the point is

You're missing the point is right

"A lot of you are missing the point.  The legislation is not intended to "get a handle" on the drug problem.  It's meant to ensure that our tax dollars for welfare go to people who at least deserve and appreciate the help...NOT to throw it away while they're using drugs!"

Though there is a lot more too. Drug people just can't seem to really stop. And the attitude of letting them continue is incredibly destructive, not only for themselves, but more importantly, for the rest of society. "Helping them" doesn't help. We have to get back to a social attitude that there is a weakness in them. This just has to stop, and society has to start to toughen up. Be sure that that lots of people, including the ACLU, will totally flip out when they hear this, and will use every nasty they can think of against us. But it is true. I can hardly see that the ACLU is doing good. I think they are doing terrible destruction, but they have lots of clever tricky logic and manipulation of the logic to get their way in society and in the courts. And paying yet more hoards of counselors to help forever people on drugs is BS, like the ACLU is.

Finally, don't be intimidated by high sounding legal interpretations and stereotyped manipulative phrases. You are on the right track, they aren't. Even in terms of logic, ethics, and justice, and The Good. Keep that in mind when you are getting intimidated into silence.

think people!

I understand the drug testing is needed,and i am very sorry for all you high and mighty people who are pissed of at the poor. Do you really think drug testing a mother then finding that indeed she is on drugs then cutting her and her family off is a really good plan?Sure the mother is wrong and should get help or be dealt with! But now you have these children who will not be getting their basic needs met, and guess what? IF your pissed about supporting them now wait till they are grown and end up in prison!You will be footing the bill for that. A drug addict mother will be the least of your worries!So please go punish these kids for the sins of their mothers! Cut of any hope these children have! They picked their mothers!Those children need to get jobs pay their own dam taxes while trying to hide the fact that they are being raised  by a drug addict! Think this is stupid?Wake up this is only going to lead to more poverty,and crime!A drug addict will still be a drug addict! 

 I thank God I was raised the in the suburbs!But I never forgot I was born very poor and i have lived in poverty!So if my taxes give just a handful of people food in there bellies and hope that life can get better then so be it!

You think!

Do you actually think that those kids are better off being in the care of a drug addicted mother?  I have don't have a lot of money as my wife and I are still in college, so don't think this is one of those "high and mighty's" you speak of, but if you have the money to buy drugs, then go somewhere else.  This is a step in the right direction, if these mothers need the money so bad, then straighten the hell up!  Also if you actually read what the bill says, it says that the support for the person on drugs will be taken away, something like $58 a month.  The kids still get the support, its just that the money will be handled by a third party person so the druggie can't use that money to do what comes naturally to do when they get their FREE money!  And no this isn't going to lead to poverty and crime, it will lead to our taxpayer dollars going to better, more trustworthy people, just like when it goes to prison.  I don't know what kind of friggin' ideas you have, but I would 1000000 to 1 rather pay my taxes to keep those kind of people behind bars. But I don't know what kind of passive ideas you have. Maybe we should keep only the murderers behind bars, because they're the REAL bad ones, and maybe let the rapists and thieves back on the street because, hell, at least in the long run, it'd be easier on YOUR wallet. 

You think!

Do you actually think that those kids are better off being in the care of a drug addicted mother?  I have don't have a lot of money as my wife and I are still in college, so don't think this is one of those "high and mighty's" you speak of, but if you have the money to buy drugs, then go somewhere else.  This is a step in the right direction, if these mothers need the money so bad, then straighten the hell up!  Also if you actually read what the bill says, it says that the support for the person on drugs will be taken away, something like $58 a month.  The kids still get the support, its just that the money will be handled by a third party person so the druggie can't use that money to do what comes naturally to do when they get their FREE money!  And no this isn't going to lead to poverty and crime, it will lead to our taxpayer dollars going to better, more trustworthy people, just like when it goes to prison.  I don't know what kind of friggin' ideas you have, but I would 1000000 to 1 rather pay my taxes to keep those kind of people behind bars. But I don't know what kind of passive ideas you have. Maybe we should keep only the murderers behind bars, because they're the REAL bad ones, and maybe let the rapists and thieves back on the street because, hell, at least in the long run, it'd be easier on YOUR wallet. 

Give me a Break!

I have read all the comments.

Most of who posted here that were on assistance were simply looking for a leg up in life.


I want my taxes to go to seniors and people that lost thier jobs in this economy!

Where I DONT want it to go is to second and third generation leeches on our system, who by the way have NEVER held a job!

Everyone reading this knows the FACTS of how many of those on assistance, who have never held a job, and are at age 30+ have a high chance of abusing drugs. That isn't made up, you all see the news.

In my opinion put my tax dollars on drug testing and rehab!

Your NOT helping anyone by just giving sick people your pity and allowing them to continue.

You all want to post things making things sooooo complicated.

The real victims are the children. THAT is who I feel sorry for.


The assertion that it is only the tax dollars of those who look down on the poor that are being "wasted" on those who receive public aid is ridiculous.  When I first applied for unemployment, I was given a verbal and written statement that I did not qualify as I had not earned enough income in the previous 3 fiscal quarters.  I was working two jobs to support myself and had no other options.  I have not been handed everything in life, everything I have I worked very hard for.  Recently I lost my main full-time occupation and was not earning enough from my second and third jobs to even pay my rent in full.  This time I was approved, as MY earnings had been high enough, not those of my neighbors as many of you seem to believe are the only ones paying into the system.


Unemployment insurance is something which we each pay into for ourselves and can NOT be received by those who have not earned it.  Even then we must jump through hoops to receive it initially, then continue jumping on command for each payment thereafter. Welfare, on the other hand, is paid for by taxpayers (which does include those on unemployment, we have to pay taxes too) and the recipients do not have the right to stick their hand out and demand that money if they intend to use it for anything other than that which it was intended for.  This means food, shelter, child care, etc.  Not drugs.  Free money and earned income deserve to be treated separately is all I am saying.

The Children Suffer .. for the Poor Choices of Parents

I live in an area ..near an Native American Reservation. Where public assistance is often traded for mainly alcohol.. since the drugs can be prescribed and paid for with Medicaid. The children come to school ..occasionally, to get a decent meal.. sometimes their only meals are school lunches. many are borderline FAE/FES.. with learning disabilities who slip thru the cracks. Head Lice, scabies, ring worm, are rampent, in fact, just a few days ago, a little first grade girl was taken aside and asked to tell "Mommy" not to send her to school until the Head Lice were treated.. the parasites visably crawling on the little girls forehead and in her hair; the mother refuses to comply - she has 6 children (often disappearing for days and weeks - forcing the siblings to fend for themselves). Call Social Services! you may say.. Ha.. if you want to be targeted, vandalized, threatened, beat up.. go ahead.. make the call. After all, in an area where everyone is your relative.. nothing gets done. Drug Abuse? In this area, as with other areas - cleaning solutions, mouth wash.. Advil, Corrocidin, Cough Medicines.. Air Duster (Aerosol huffing), Gasoline .. you name it. If you can get high from it. it is abused. I do not agree with the Disease Model of addiction.. as people choose this lifestyle, it's not random - the only afflicted are the children! The generational dysfunction is maddening, the only way to stop this is to educate and hope to teach a new way of life - the progression of alcoholism and drug addiction breeds apathy..and indifference. Drug testing for assistance... hmmm, and what about selling you children as deductions to others so they can qualify for the Earned Income Credit on the Federal Tax Return. There are so many abuses in many areas of Government - on both sides.. from misapproriation of funding to extortion.. it happens on both sides.. not just the recipients of assistance.. Drug testing will not solve anything; it will only appease the self righteous. Here's an idea: if those that choose to continue to use drugs - instead of drug testing on animals.. use these people for drug testing, afterall, they are using voluntarily. They should be excited to try new experimental drugs.. Legally! ..just a thought.. if they want to experiment.. why not be useful and productive ..for the common good of all mankind??

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