Sep 2000: General view of urine testing at the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories Olympic Drug Testing Facilities in Pymble, Sydney, Australia. These facilities will be used to analyse athlete samples during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Nick Laham/ALLSPORT (Getty Images)

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Many American’s feel they are underpaid and overtaxed. So it’s no surprise when they sometimes feel they are being taken advantage of by some government welfare programs.

While the popularity for the war on drugs is waning, the popularity for those receiving welfare benefits to be drug tested is growing strongly.

Montana is currently looking at drug testing by introducing House Bill 200. This bill would require drug testing for those applying for “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families,” (TANF).

Is Drug Testing Picking on The Poor?

Is proving how much money you make an imposition? Is proving your marital status an imposition? Is proving your children are your children an imposition? Is proving your legal residence an imposition?

If not, then why would drug testing be an imposition? Unless you are required to pay for your own drug test in order to receive benefits, which is the case in some states.

What Does Federal Law Allow?

Currently Federal Law only allows drug testing for TANF benefits. Some states have tried to enforce laws regarding food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP) but found they run the risk of losing federal US Dept. of Agriculture funds if they were to enact such a law.

Governor Walker of Wisconsin plans to move ahead and challenge this part of the law in the courts.

In Maine, only convicted felons would have to submit to tests, which would be less likely to be challenged in court.

Florida, on the other hand, required all applicants for any benefits to submit to drug testing. That was stopped by federal courts and has been repeatedly upheld in appeals.

Does Drug Testing Reduce Drug Use?

Since the program in some states is still in its infancy it might be too soon to tell. But here are some early returns.

  • Arizona – 108,408 screenings, 24 required second screenings, 2 disqualified, 12 disqualified for refusing to take the test.
  • Missouri – 69,587 screenings, 1,646 required second screenings, 69 disqualified, 711 disqualified for refusing to take the test.
  • Utah – 9,353 screenings, 1,878 required second screenings, 29 disqualified, no report of those refusing to take the test.
  • Tennessee – 11,300 screenings, 273 required second screenings, 24 disqualified, no report of those refusing to take the test.

Some Final Thoughts

When it comes to drug testing for benefits I would personally like to start with the president, congress, governors and state, county and local politicians.

I think that might explain some of the more ridiculous laws and regulations we see passed. I mean it’s obvious they are on something.

I see nothing wrong with keeping families safe. Drugs and alcohol in a family setting is never a good thing.

Not every welfare applicant abuses drugs or alcohol but I think there is a certain level of responsibility that comes with using other people’s money.

If you are earning and spending your own money I have no say in what you do with it as long as you are not hurting yourself or others.

But, when it’s my tax dollars in use, I think I have not only the right, but also the obligation, to suggest the parameters for receiving my tax dollar.

I doubt our more liberal governor will sign this bill if passed so it’s probably a moot point but bringing it to the forefront for discussion is healthy.

What’s your opinion on drug testing welfare recipients? Would you favor testing for all benefits, or just a selected few? Or, would you favor no testing at all?

Comment below.

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