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Thread: Drug tests for welfare recipients

  1. #1

    Default Drug tests for welfare recipients

    We talked about this fairly recently, and I thought it might be worthwhile to revive the debate with actual data.



    Last year Florida became the first state to pass and fully implement a bill mandating suspicionless drug testing of all applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The law mandated that all applicants pay for the cost of the drug test themselves, and that they be reimbursed if their test came back negative.

    [. . .]

    In the four months that Florida's law was in place, the state drug tested 4,086 TANF applicants. A mere 108 individuals tested positive. To put it another way, only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for illegal drugs — a rate more than three times lower than the 8.13 percent of all Floridians, age 12 and up, estimated by the federal government to use illegaldrugs. Now might be a good time to remind folks that in the debate over the bill, Gov. Rick Scott argued that this law was necessary because, he said, welfare recipients used drugs at a higher rate than the general population.

    [. . .]

    The utter absurdity of this law is magnified when you realize how much it cost the state of Florida to run this program. The data released today shows that Florida spent $118,140 reimbursing the overwhelming number of Florida TANF applicants — 3,938 to be exact — who tested negative for drugs. That is far more than any money saved by the program, at a net cost to the State of over $45,000.
    Brought to us by the ACLU.

    So in short, drug testing welfare recipients does little more than harass citizens who break the laws in question at a rate 1/3 that of the general population, and it costs the state an arm and a leg. And Republicans in Florida are so in favor of a big, expensive, inefficient government.

  2. #2

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    While I like the Idea of it, and I am very much in support of it, when it is really that ineffective and costs so much, then it isn't worth it and should be cut.

  3. #3

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    Notwithstanding anything else...I have to ponder a non-random/surprise testing...how many may have 'cleaned' up, before submitting to the test??

  4. #4
    EmeraldsAndLime

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    We need regular and surprise drug tests for people collecting welfare.

    If they refuse a test. Goodbye benefits.

  5. #5

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    Because, clearly, being poor is probable cause for a drug test? Give me a fucking break.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marka View Post
    Notwithstanding anything else...I have to ponder a non-random/surprise testing...how many may have 'cleaned' up, before submitting to the test??
    Depends what the drug is. Cocaine clears the system pretty quickly. But people on welfare are probably buying pot (cheaper). That takes a whole bunch longer to clear your system. It can take over a month if you're a heavy smoker, and weeks if you smoke moderately but regularly.

    Let's be intelligent for a second. People who smoke pot (and do other drugs) are generally not on welfare. Drugs cost money. Welfare doesn't give anyone walking around money. Trust me on this- I was on unemployment for a year while my girlfriend kept a job that paid decently well. We lost our savings and had a few days we didn't eat in order to make rent. Your typical pot smoker either has a paying job that leaves them with some spending money at the end of the day, or is a kid who gets money from mom and dad. Want to catch people who smoke pot? Stop testing welfare recipients, start testing high school students and 20/30 year olds making $40-60k/year.

    The rate that people on welfare use drugs is probably in the same neighborhood of the rate at which pensioners use drugs (considering the rate can't be much lower). If we're going to require drug tests to get welfare bennies, then we should also be testing people who participate in public pension plans.

  7. #7

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    It's just a punishment for the poor for being poor and to keep the poor down, the way I view it. Not all poor people are drug users. I know many people that live below the poverty line and they don't do the illegeal stuff. No reason to- it's too expensive and it's a life-destroyer.

    I'm somewhat poor myself and live on some benefits and I don't like the fact that they can do that. I stay away from drugs. Why should I do illegal drugs? No reason to fuck my body up over that shit. My only vice is alcohol and as of late; I've been trying to cut back on the beer. Drugs are something I avoid.

    That's all I can say on it. Not sure what to make of this law but there has been talk about implementing a similar system here in Ohio and it caught a hail-storm of criticism from the Democrats and the civil liberty people.

    I'm not going to say more on this to avoid getting involved in a war over this. Plus when you're 10 and see a guy in a projects hallway with a needle in his arm with a shit-eating grin on his face as he soaks it in- makes you stay away from that shit.

    WildThing121675

  8. #8
    fargoth

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    I agree with a comment someone raised on this issue on another site, instead of drug testing those on welfare. Why not test someone else getting goverment money aka the ones making these laws!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEsahaettr View Post
    Depends what the drug is. Cocaine clears the system pretty quickly. But people on welfare are probably buying pot (cheaper). That takes a whole bunch longer to clear your system. It can take over a month if you're a heavy smoker, and weeks if you smoke moderately but regularly.

    Let's be intelligent for a second. People who smoke pot (and do other drugs) are generally not on welfare. Drugs cost money. Welfare doesn't give anyone walking around money. Trust me on this- I was on unemployment for a year while my girlfriend kept a job that paid decently well. We lost our savings and had a few days we didn't eat in order to make rent. Your typical pot smoker either has a paying job that leaves them with some spending money at the end of the day, or is a kid who gets money from mom and dad. Want to catch people who smoke pot? Stop testing welfare recipients, start testing high school students and 20/30 year olds making $40-60k/year.

    The rate that people on welfare use drugs is probably in the same neighborhood of the rate at which pensioners use drugs (considering the rate can't be much lower). If we're going to require drug tests to get welfare bennies, then we should also be testing people who participate in public pension plans.
    Pot; no doubt. However the drugs that are also most commonly being used by the poor are as cheap and easy to obtain as Pot and most are not tested for in the standard urinalysis. Meth: cheap and easy to come by, prescription meds; some of my students know where to go in the city to get 4 dollar oxy. Further, it is easy to beat a drug test that you know you are going to have to take, just ask any military recruiter how many of his recruits past the drug test before leaving for Boot camp and then pop positive when they first arrive because of some going away party fun. I can think of at least three in my own boot camp company and about a dozen others who joked about waiting till the end of Boot before they celebrated with weed.

  10. #10

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    I don't understand it... Who really cares if state welfare/benefit recipients are on drugs. They're not the ones that are gonna screw things up. If there should be any drug testing in society, it should only be for people in important jobs: judges, diplomats, politicians, the police, doctors, nurses, etc.

    And we shouldn't just be checking for drugs. We should be making sure that they're eating healthily and exercising regularly. After all, the state has invested a lot in them (in terms of their education etc.) and they have a duty to ensure that they live a long and healthy life. Maybe any judges who fail to run more than 10km a week should be suspended with no pay? Maybe politicians with a saturated fat intake of over 120% of the RDA should only be paid 1/2 the normal salary.

    Or maybe we should just go right to the source. Cash machines could have drug testing devices. You enter your PIN, blow in a tube, and if you're on drugs you forfeit your account balance. The same system could be set up in shops. If you try to buy food or medical supplies, for example, you could be tested and lose your right to any material possessions that you may be carrying if you test positively.

    If drug users have lost their rights to welfare/benefits, they have (to an extent) lost the protection that they get from living as part of a supportive society. Maybe other societal benefits shouldn't apply to drug-using welfare recipients. Maybe they should be legal "outcasts" who can legally be lynched, robbed, abused, etc. After all, if they aren't contributing to society, why should society give anything to them, eh?

    /sarcasm

    Seriously, this sort of counter-productive populist politics is nothing but a theatrical display to distract voters from the real issues. It won't save any money, it won't improve people's lives, and it has the very real danger of alienating the most vulnerable f***ed up people in society. And all because of the interfering self-importance of the wealthy who think they are so superior that they have the right to control the poor in ways that they themselves are not subject to.

    I read an article the other day saying that 1 in 8 prison inmates develops a drug addiction whilst in prison. Maybe we should be drug testing prisoners, then paying the prison staff accordingly. If drugs are rife, they don't get paid, if everyone is clean, they get a bonus...?

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