Drug testing promotes a positive environment and assists the government in dealing with the addiction problem more effectively. But the US government attracted negative publicity when they approved a law requiring that people who need financial support must undergo drug testing.
The law on drug testing for welfare recipients was initially introduced in 2012 when Barrack Obama served as the president of the US. The government saw it as an effort to decrease the cost of unemployment benefits. They believed it’d discourage people from using funds to buy addictive drugs.
In April 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill to revoke this law, allowing the states to test the people for drugs that depend on social security funds to make ends meet.
Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: Laws
Here are some of the states in the US where the drug testing law is still observed:
As per the law, lower class individuals undergo drug tests in order to qualify for welfare funds. The government covers the expenses of drug testing.
The major purpose as to why this law was introduced was to cut down on welfare costs and improve the economy of the country. It gained popularity during the last recession when the government was struggling to support the unemployed citizens. However, the annual reports suggest that this policy does more harm than good.
The Impact of the “Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients” Law
The law on drug testing for welfare fund recipients has attracted negative publicity. In 2013 and again in 2014, the Florida government tried to pass a law obliging all applicants from temporary assistance to needy families to undergo drug tests. However, the courts rejected this law and returned the verdict that the government failed to provide sufficient evidence on the efficacy of the program. Implementing this law would be against the privacy of the people.
The states where this law was enacted have yet not been able to achieve the desired results and the reports highlight why it may not be a good idea to enact this law across the country.
In Utah, 9,552 people eligible for unemployment benefits were screened for drugs, but only 29 positive tests were turned up. Similarly, in Missouri, 31,336 applicants underwent drug tests in 2015 and only 38 out of them were found high on drugs. Arizona State screened 87,000 welfare fund recipients during the past 3 years, but none of them tested positive. In the 2nd half of 2015, North Carolina gained only 21 positive results after testing more than 7,600 applicants for the unemployment support fund.
Despite the unsatisfactory results, many counties have enacted this unfair law. The government spends millions of dollars on drug testing the welfare recipients. On average, Utah state government spends $23,592 every year on drug tests, while Missouri spends around $336,000 per year.
Another major problem with drug testing is that not all test results can be trusted. The applicants taking legal medicines such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines also tested positive. The applicants may go for further tests at their own expense to prove that they aren’t addicts.
Instead of reducing the expenses, this law further creates financial challenges for poor people as well as the government. The government spends a huge sum on drug tests every year, when this amount could be used for the greater good.
Reaction to Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
The government was criticized when President Trump approved the drug testing law for welfare recipients. Critics argue that instead of assisting the government in reducing expenses, this law has rather created challenges for the country. The additional costs of drug testing are a huge burden on the economy.
Moreover, these laws are seen as an action to violate basic human rights. It attempts to deprive the poor people of government support.
No one can say that the government doesn’t offer them any support just because they don’t apply for unemployment funds. Government subsidies come in many forms and even the wealthy people benefit from subsidized costs of goods.
For instance, your employer may offer you a tax-free health insurance or the government may subsidize basic food products such as sugar and wheat. It’s not a valid argument if someone claims that they don’t receive any sort of benefits from the government.
So, since the law is supposed to treat everyone fairly, it’s not a fair decision to introduce laws for only the poor, while wealthy people continue to enjoy a myriad of benefits.
Another major reason why the law regarding drug testing for welfare recipients is severely criticized is because it tends to demonize lower class people and promote discrimination. It displays a negative image of the poor and presents them as drug addicts.
It’s extremely important that the government should focus on ensuring that the law treats everyone fairly and equally. For this purpose, it’s crucial to review this law and make the appropriate changes.
The debate on whether the government should impose laws regarding drug testing for welfare fund recipients is yet undecided. Until there is the evidence that this law actually benefits the government as well as the common people, its benefits will be outweighed by the problems it creates.
If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, get in touch with us at Arizona Addiction Recovery Center and we will help you get rid of any addictive tendencies or dependence you may have.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888-512-1705.
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