Should drug testing be mandatory for welfare recipients?

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Are we (society) scared that welfare receipients are using money to buy drugs?

I would be more concerned with how they are spending their money in general. There is a shelter program here in Nashville that requires their residents to provide their bank statement to their case manager every month. Some clients actually like that because they never learned how to create budget or live within their means. THAT makes more sense than drug testing.*

*Obviously, most Americans don't know how to live within their means. And most poor people are poor because they don't make enough money to cover some of their basic expenses. So, I'm not saying that only people with low incomes are irresponsible with money.
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the walfare system needs to be revamped in general, but having mandatory drug testing is not going to solve the problem that alot of people have with the system, ie: lazy people who would rather sit on their butts all day.

besides the fact that the drug testing itself would cost more, but if they offered treatment that would cost a whole lot more. If people have issues with their tax money going to feeding hungry kids, i'm sure they would have a bigger problem with tax money going to helping drug addicts.

instead of having drug testing, have more drug treatment centers that actually help, not just a meth clinic where they get addicted to a new drug. have resources to help them get educated and job training so they will not need welfare. offer free birth control options.

i'm not sure how welfare is in other states, but i know in mine, they are making it harder to get benefits. most people have to do volunteer work and show they are actively looking for a job or they lost benefits. a typical addict wont be sober long enough to do this.

In my experience, i see the ones who are living off welfare and not really making any efforts to take care of themselves are not on any drugs. i can make a list of people i know on welfare who are not on drugs, but always finds the loop holes so they can stay home and continue to collect. those are the people who should be scrutinized. give them a drug test and they will pass with flying colors. ask them about the last time they had a job and they couldnt tell you. they are perfectly healthy and capable of working, but rather stay home and not do anything. those are the people who infuriates me.
Sure, let's do it for everyone receiving government assistance. So, that includes those getting:

Medicaid
Medicare
CHIP
Social Security
Federal Financial Aid
Any kind of federal grant (including grants for small business)
US Politicians (if they aren't already tested)
Those receiving earned income tax credits
Supplemental security income for the elderly and poor
Those receiving child care, energy and other assistance
Drug test all vets for as long as they receive federal assistance (life?)
Public school children, teachers and administrators
Etc.

Get my point? This is dumb.





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Originally Posted by Kilajo
I don't really get the "point" bc almost everyone in the groups above are either who I am referring to in my question or were already required to get drug tests while they were earning their benefits.

You're not really making a point w/ regard to my question...just fleshing out some groups to possibly be included or that had been incuded.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Um. Really? Public school children? That's like 95% (just a guess) of the population at some point in their life. Come on now. You can't require drug testing for anyone who's being benefited by the government. We ALL benefit from the government in some way. (Driven on a state-maintained road, lately?)
I don't think it's drug addicts, or even those that are "gaming" the system that are really the problem.

The problem is that SO many people have to be on this kind of assistance in the first place. If you have a job, you should be able to have the means to live, and that isn't the case.

And on top of that is what Po said, that no one in this country seems to know how to handle money. There are people my age with 6 figure jobs, living paycheck to paycheck because they are so irresponsible with their money.
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Also, what kind of drug testing would be most cost effective? I'm thinking urine analysis.

You can smoke crack on Monday and drop clean the following week. Or you could have smoked weed 3 mos ago and still drop dirty today. UAs are not as reliable as people think.
Originally Posted by Po
It woudn't be feasible to do them very often or realistic to expect really high outcomes.

But maybe if you can identify and treat 1% or 2%, it's still a success?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
This is an interesting comment. It seems as if you're assuming the purpose of drug-testing for welfare is to identify and treat drug-addicted poor people. So, it's a success if you successfully identify and treat some.

I generally assumed that the purpose is to prevent drug addicts from receiving government assistance, to which the success would then be measured not by how many drug addicts you help (that would just be a side effect), but rather by how many drug addicts you withhold government funds from....and possibly how many non drug-addicts benefit from these additional funds.
"I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
SL5000, I get what you're saying now about employment vs. social safety net programs.

But even amongst poverty reduction programs, it seems like this is singling out welfare recipients because they're seen as lazy and good-for-nothing. Why aren't people proposing drug testing to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, where (I believe) more money is paid out than for welfare benefits?

But this is really my reason for answering "no":
WELFARE DRUG TEST COSTS MORE MONEY THAN IT SAVES
ETA: the link didn't post, but I was trying to quote Springcurl above.
Originally Posted by sarah42
So the bottom line is not do something bc it costs more money than it saves?
(That would sort of be an argument against all forms of welfare, wouldn't it?)

What if there are ppl who are legitimately wasting their lives and harming their children and eroding the fabric of society bc of drugs? We taxpayers are suppying their drugs?

Society doesn't have an interest in trying to address this?
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

Also, what kind of drug testing would be most cost effective? I'm thinking urine analysis.

You can smoke crack on Monday and drop clean the following week. Or you could have smoked weed 3 mos ago and still drop dirty today. UAs are not as reliable as people think.
Originally Posted by Po
It woudn't be feasible to do them very often or realistic to expect really high outcomes.

But maybe if you can identify and treat 1% or 2%, it's still a success?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
This is an interesting comment. It seems as if you're assuming the purpose of drug-testing for welfare is to identify and treat drug-addicted poor people. So, it's a success if you successfully identify and treat some.

I generally assumed that the purpose is to prevent drug addicts from receiving government assistance, to which the success would then be measured not by how many drug addicts you help (that would just be a side effect), but rather by how many drug addicts you withhold government funds from....and possibly how many non drug-addicts benefit from these additional funds.
Originally Posted by Who Me?
I think a lot of ppl assume that (which is very telling in and of itself) and cannot abide it bc it will make them seem...not sympathetic...not progressive.

I think different ppl have different agendas.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

SL5000, I get what you're saying now about employment vs. social safety net programs.

But even amongst poverty reduction programs, it seems like this is singling out welfare recipients because they're seen as lazy and good-for-nothing. Why aren't people proposing drug testing to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, where (I believe) more money is paid out than for welfare benefits?

But this is really my reason for answering "no":
WELFARE DRUG TEST COSTS MORE MONEY THAN IT SAVES
ETA: the link didn't post, but I was trying to quote Springcurl above.
Originally Posted by sarah42
So the bottom line is not do something bc it costs more money than it saves?
(That would sort of be an argument against all forms of welfare, wouldn't it?)

What if there are ppl who are legitimately wasting their lives and harming their children and eroding the fabric of society bc of drugs? We taxpayers are suppying their drugs?

Society doesn't have an interest in trying to address this?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I hesitate to think that most of the people that are taking significant enough amounts of drugs to be eroding the fabric of society simultaneously have their crap together enough to apply for assistance programs.

Sure, there probably are some. But I would venture to guess that most of the people wasting their welfare money are not wasting it on drugs. Not that it makes their misuse of money acceptable - just that there are probably better ways than drug testing to help people to use their money properly.
Also, what kind of drug testing would be most cost effective? I'm thinking urine analysis.

You can smoke crack on Monday and drop clean the following week. Or you could have smoked weed 3 mos ago and still drop dirty today. UAs are not as reliable as people think.
Originally Posted by Po
Let's do urine, hair, skin, stool, blood, internal organs, cavity search, anywhere else we might be able to catch the pot smoking, crack smoking, heroine shooting poor people on welfare. They all use you know.

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Originally Posted by Kilajo
Please. We are trying to have a mature and respectful conversation.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

SL5000, I get what you're saying now about employment vs. social safety net programs.

But even amongst poverty reduction programs, it seems like this is singling out welfare recipients because they're seen as lazy and good-for-nothing. Why aren't people proposing drug testing to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, where (I believe) more money is paid out than for welfare benefits?

But this is really my reason for answering "no":


ETA: the link didn't post, but I was trying to quote Springcurl above.
Originally Posted by sarah42
So the bottom line is not do something bc it costs more money than it saves?
(That would sort of be an argument against all forms of welfare, wouldn't it?)

What if there are ppl who are legitimately wasting their lives and harming their children and eroding the fabric of society bc of drugs? We taxpayers are suppying their drugs?

Society doesn't have an interest in trying to address this?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I hesitate to think that most of the people that are taking significant enough amounts of drugs to be eroding the fabric of society simultaneously have their crap together enough to apply for assistance programs.

Sure, there probably are some. But I would venture to guess that most of the people wasting their welfare money are not wasting it on drugs. Not that it makes their misuse of money acceptable - just that there are probably better ways than drug testing to help people to use their money properly.
Originally Posted by cmb4314

If that's your personal interest. OK. But that is totally outside the scope of my question. I wasn't asking how to help ppl develop better money management skills.

I was asking specifically about the issue of drug testing.

Is it fair, effective, efficacious, feasible, reccommendable, evidence-based, etc. Why or why not?

If I am on welfare and I am addicted to drugs, what better way to help me than to identify my problem and compell me to get treatment? Or will other things help me more?
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

How widespread a problem is it, drug addicts using welfare money to support their habit? Guess I never thought about it, personally.
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So the bottom line is not do something bc it costs more money than it saves?
(That would sort of be an argument against all forms of welfare, wouldn't it?)

What if there are ppl who are legitimately wasting their lives and harming their children and eroding the fabric of society bc of drugs? We taxpayers are suppying their drugs?

Society doesn't have an interest in trying to address this?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I hesitate to think that most of the people that are taking significant enough amounts of drugs to be eroding the fabric of society simultaneously have their crap together enough to apply for assistance programs.

Sure, there probably are some. But I would venture to guess that most of the people wasting their welfare money are not wasting it on drugs. Not that it makes their misuse of money acceptable - just that there are probably better ways than drug testing to help people to use their money properly.
Originally Posted by cmb4314

If that's your personal interest. OK. But that is totally outside the scope of my question. I wasn't asking how to help ppl develop better money management skills.

I was asking specifically about the issue of drug testing.

Is it fair, effective, efficacious, feasible, reccommendable, evidence-based, etc. Why or why not?

If I am on welfare and I am addicted to drugs, what better way to help me than to identify my problem and compell me to get treatment? Or will other things help me more?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
It looks like cmb answered your question. She doesn't think drug testing is practical because most drug addicts don't receive benefits and most people "wasting" their benefits would test negative for a drug test.
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I hesitate to think that most of the people that are taking significant enough amounts of drugs to be eroding the fabric of society simultaneously have their crap together enough to apply for assistance programs.

Sure, there probably are some. But I would venture to guess that most of the people wasting their welfare money are not wasting it on drugs. Not that it makes their misuse of money acceptable - just that there are probably better ways than drug testing to help people to use their money properly.
Originally Posted by cmb4314

If that's your personal interest. OK. But that is totally outside the scope of my question. I wasn't asking how to help ppl develop better money management skills.

I was asking specifically about the issue of drug testing.

Is it fair, effective, efficacious, feasible, reccommendable, evidence-based, etc. Why or why not?

If I am on welfare and I am addicted to drugs, what better way to help me than to identify my problem and compell me to get treatment? Or will other things help me more?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
It looks like cmb answered your question. She doesn't think drug testing is practical because most drug addicts don't receive benefits and most people "wasting" their benefits would test negative for a drug test.
Originally Posted by multicultcurly
So it comes down to the fiscal impracticality? But not outright support or opposition?
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

How widespread a problem is it, drug addicts using welfare money to support their habit? Guess I never thought about it, personally.
Originally Posted by The New Black
Not very, I don't think, because as noted they would lose their children, and honestly - from the ones I've known (keep in mind the relatives working in legal defense fields plus my time working for a defense attorney - it's a LOT) welfare alone wouldn't be enough. It could be an imbalance because the ones I know of are typically in legal trouble, but based on what I know of the system...


I really think the fact there's a question of drug testing welfare recipients is a symptom of the other issues discussed in this thread, and that the original question has been answered pretty clearly multiple times: No, there should not be.

What interests me is the attitudes of "people are too lazy" etc... There are certainly plenty of reasons welfare recipients are on welfare, and I would guess laziness is far down the list percentage-wise. I suspect if they were qualified nearly every welfare recipient would be willing to take my job, no matter how lazy they may tend to be. After all, I sit on my butt most of the time, too! I'm doing work and thinking and using my education, but still - it's not exactly as if I physically work hard. The only people for whom I've never known there to be a shortage of work are those who do not need benefits and are physically capable of manual labor. Many welfare recipients aren't able to do that, or have to be able to get day care, have to be somewhere near a bus line, etc., and find they can't take the jobs which are available.

And of course there's the "If you lose your job you'll get more money from welfare" aspect of things. My mom was actually told that by a social worker after she and my dad split up when she was working at Burger King because she wasn't qualified for any skilled jobs.
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I believe the majority of adults receiving public assistance today work (tho that was not always the case).
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

The majority of adults receiving public assistance today work.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
But you said welfare specifically, not public assistance in your title.

Around here, you can only get welfare if you are NOT working. But you can get other public assistance when you have a job.
The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
-Speckla

But at least the pews never attend yoga!
The majority of adults receiving public assistance today work.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
But you said welfare specifically, not public assistance in your title.

Around here, you can only get welfare if you are NOT working. But you can get other public assistance when you have a job.
Originally Posted by NetG
I clarified "public assistance" in the first post to avoid confusion. There is no specific tprogram called "welfare" or public asistance. I tried to be as specific as possible w/ the programs I meant (by saying need-based public assistance). I was referring to TANF, Medicaid, Section 8, earned income tax credit, SNAP, Title XX etc.

Those can all be considered welfare and/or public assistance.
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I think you're being pretty aggressive in your responses, SL. Are you sure you don't have an agenda?
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How widespread a problem is it, drug addicts using welfare money to support their habit? Guess I never thought about it, personally.
Originally Posted by The New Black
Exactly.

I'm confused at to what drug addiction and welfare to have to do with each other. Completely unrelated. different problems. Different issues to address. So what would be the point of the test?
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I think you're being pretty aggressive in your responses, SL. Are you sure you don't have an agenda?
Originally Posted by claudine19
I'm just trying to cut thru the hyperbole and party-line rhetoric (which is so annoying to me) and understand how ppl really feel and why?

But all the time, it's all these PC sound bytes and the feeling that ppl are scared to say the wrong thing lest they be labeled some kind of way.

Just trying to have a real conversation.

I will give up now. LOL

eta - some ppl did respond w/ honest, responsive answers and I appreciate that.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 01-31-2013 at 02:45 PM.

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