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Friday, July 25, 2014

Link drug testing to welfare benefits

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

What's wrong with drug testing for welfare recipients?

Nothing according to a Michigan court which last week ruled that the state can indeed test welfare recipients for drug use. The results will not be turned over to police and won't effect food stamps. But those who flunk the drug test will be recommended for treatment and could eventually lose their welfare benefits.

As expected of course, the American Civil Liberties Union strongly opposes the court ruling. But despite their opposition it appears the public is strongly behind the movement. And when you're dealing with public money in the form of welfare benefits, accountability should be part of the formula.

If a drug user is concerned about a loss of welfare benefits they clearly have two options. First, stop their drug use. Or second, forfeit their taxpayer-funded benefits. It's pretty simple as far as I am concerned.

I think the public is overwhelmingly in support of some form of accountability for those who receive welfare benefits. Drug use is a major barrier to employment - among other issues - and welfare recipients cannot approach being self-sufficient until the drug use is ended. If the state can accelerate that process, more power to them.

There is a growing movement in this nation to fully re-examine how tax dollars are spent. The minority of welfare recipients who abuse the program should be held to a standard that assures those dollars are indeed making some impact. A continuation of a lifestyle that promises no hope to end that dependency is simply no longer acceptable. Generational welfare is aided by drug use. That much is certain.

We applaud the court ruling and would favor its implementation nationwide. The sooner, the better.



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