Many States Considering Measures to Require Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

Almost two dozen states are considering measures that would require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, the Associated Press reports.

Although the measures are popular because of a perception that people on public assistance are using state funds to buy drugs, statistics have largely shown that to be untrue, the AP notes.

Critics of the bills point out that courts have struck down similar programs on the grounds they amount to an unconstitutional search.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he supports drug testing of welfare recipients. Fellow candidate Newt Gingrich has said he considers testing as a way to curb drug use and lower related costs to public programs.

The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found an estimated 22.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—8.9 percent of the population—were current illicit drug users. A random drug testing program in Michigan showed a similar percentage of its public assistance applicants tested positive.

In September 2011, Florida found its welfare applicants were less likely than Americans in general to use drugs. The state compiled the figures as part of a state law that required drug tests for welfare applicants. In October, a federal judge halted the Florida law, ruling it may violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

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    March 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Can anyone believe the on-going stupidity of the crazy GOPS trying to throw away yet more money on useless, discriminatory tactics? All the while complaining about big government, cutting spending and how they give a shit about this country. How did things get this crazy? Please sign some of the petitions out there to being to find another way besides criminalizing drugs for profit.

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    February 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Why limit it to welfare? Shouldn’t they be testing everyone who receives public money? Politicians, military contractors, farmers, oil company executives, etc.

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    February 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    liberty and justice for all. what happens to the children do they want to take them down too? oh thats right than they’ll get them into the system thats what they would like. while they sip on the legal drug alcohol. this is a shame.

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    vicky wood

    February 27, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Are the poor who receive public funds the only ones to be held up to scrutiny? What about the millions of tax dollars that go elsewhere? Shouldn’t they be held to the same expectations as the poor who receive way less? Or are we all ignorant enough to believe that substance abuse is a disorder of only the poor?

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    February 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    of course programs that don’t work, and are unconstitutional should be expanded. are the politicians in these states incompetent, or is it the voters?

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