Should people on welfare benefits be forced to take a drug test? | The Tylt

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Should people on welfare benefits be forced to take a drug test?
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Supporters of drug testing say the government must ensure taxpayer money is well managed. It it especially important to hold people responsible when they are receiving public benefits. 

It is not uncommon for individuals employed in the private sector to be tested for drug use when applying for a job. For business owners, this practice holds employees accountable for their actions, and if they do not pass the drug test, there is a very simple consequence: no job.
Similarly, if states like Arizona choose to drug test those who are on welfare and drug use is found, the consequence should be the same: no further taxpayer assistance.
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It is generally accepted that the vast majority of people receiving funding don't use illegal drugs — but no child should ever be put at risk. While they are the exception, drug-addicted parents who are denied welfare cash may get the wake-up call they need to turn their lives around and put their families first. Immediately providing these individuals with a path to recovery is a compassionate and inexpensive improvement over current law.Welfare is meant for families. Our welfare dollars should be reserved for people in honest need of a hand up. Drug testing for welfare cash is the right thing to do for our children and families — and doing right by them must remain our highest priority.
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Several states have implemented policies that require new welfare recipients to pass drug screenings. Very few people tested positive. Critics of the policy argue forcing recipients to pass a drug screening only makes being poor that much more humiliating. 

The testing is meant to assure taxpayers their money isn’t being “wasted” on the less desirable, those who would somehow manage to buy drugs with the assistance. But in Tennessee, where drug testing was enacted for welfare recipients last month, only one person in the 800 who applied for help tested positive. In Florida, during the four months the state tested for drug use, only 2.6% of applicants tested positive. Meanwhile, Florida has an illegal drug use rate of 8%, meaning far fewer people on services are using drugs than their better-off counterparts. The drug testing cost taxpayers more money than it saved, and was ruled unconstitutional last year.
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Applying and being accepted for aid is a mentally grueling process that can stretch on for months. Add to that the humiliation of having to pee in a cup just because you can’t afford to eat. There’s already a huge stigma about having to receive services, a spiral of shame and embarrassment that permeates the use of the system. Instead of wasting taxpayer money to weed out a small percent of those in need, demonizing an entire sect of people in favor of misleading stereotypes, maybe it’s time we put our funds into helping them find their way out of the system and onto their own two feet.
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Here are some perspectives from people who think welfare recipients should be tested for drugs. 

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Here are perspectives from people who are opposed to testing welfare recipients. 

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Should people on welfare benefits be forced to take a drug test?
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