Pennsylvania Introduces New Program to Drug-Test Some Welfare Recipients

Officials in Pennsylvania are introducing a new drug testing program for certain welfare recipients. Pennsylvania’s program will randomly test those with a felony drug conviction within the past five years, and those on probation for such crimes. A program introduced in Florida last year to test all welfare recipients was blocked by a federal judge.

The Pennsylvania program is being piloted in one county, and could expand statewide this summer if it is shown to be cost effective, Fox News reports.

“One of the biggest suggestions I hear from constituents at the numerous town hall meetings I regularly hold is that we need to drug test welfare beneficiaries,” State Senator David Argall, who supports the measure, said in a statement. “With over $10 billion going to the Department of Public Welfare, this initiative seeks to stop the abuse within our welfare system.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 36 states put forth proposals last year around drug testing of welfare and foods stamps. In addition to Florida, Arizona and Missouri also passed legislation. The measures in those two states were tailored more narrowly, the article notes.

Opponents of measures to require drug testing for welfare recipients say they are unfair, and are not cost effective.

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    July 22, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    I just want to say that in theory drug testing ALL recipients sounds great, but to actually play out… It would most likely prove inaccurate and not cost effective. Its not very hard for these people to pass a drug test even when they are dirty. Look at the back of any “High Times” magazine and you’ll see the newest gimmicks to use or go to GNC and buy some crazy detox rememdy or they just find someone else to give them clean urine and then take extreme measures to smuggle it in. The only accurate way to test them is through blood tests and that would cost more money than it may save us. I’m glad that they are at least testing those that have recently been in trouble. Statistics show that sooner or later, all addicts and alcoholics have a run in with the law so hopefully that helps get them into this category of people. If we can even just find a way to keep these people off drugs for a consecutive 6 months, their chances of recovery almost double! Something needs to be done and though this may serve as very little improvement, at least its a step in the right direction!

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    June 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Its about time the government took action against this and those out there that are against this well only thing I can say is shame on you cause you must be one of those addicts that my working money is paying for
    Way to go Pa!

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    June 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    You collect welfare and unemployment because you “can’t” find a job and yet you can’t get a job because you can’t pass a drug test so you continue to collect welfare and unemployment! “Unfair….not cost effective.”, yea sure!

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    June 19, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    I work my butt off everyday, but am still poor. I get up at 5am and get home from work at 7pm. When I get home, there are always a bunch of welfare recipients hanging out, swimming, smoking cigarettes & in my way of pulling into my driveway. These people get high every day. They smoke pot, take large doses of percocets, take molly, suboxine, snort coke, etc. and are drinking beer every day. Some have the nerve to ask to borrow money from me, then get mad when a tell them I am broke. It is the truth. I had to pass a drug test before getting hired, and we have random drug tests scheduled by my employer. These so called neighbors never look for a job. Now my money is contributed to this?! Welfare should be more strict than employers since the money, food stamps, medical assistance, WIC, whatever is handed to them. I can’t even afford to eat most of the time. A hair cut puts a hole in my pocket.
    The least our politicians can do is vote for drug test prior to receiving assistance and also randomly test while receiving this. I think that they should be forced to get a job after a point in time after receiving assistance or else cut them off. More over, there are people I know that need welfare assistance that are declined or can’t receive a decent amount. Why does this happen?! Hey, make jobs working for welfare by having these people investigate the recipients. Geez!

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