Should drug testing be mandatory for welfare recipients?

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I didn't read this whole thread yet, but I think no, just because it's implying something really negative. That being said, I think that welfare should come in the form of a "card" not a cheque, and it should be only accepted at certain spots (Targets, Walmarts, etc.) and not for purchases or tobacco or alcohol. I also think the government should be able to track where it's used if they'd like to do a random check.
Originally Posted by Narnia
Many places here use EBT cards now. It's like a debit. It's cut back on things I used to frequently see in the 80's and 90's, but there have been other issues. I think the Post did a piece about cards being used at ATM's in strip clubs, porn stores, bars, etc.. not too long ago. I saw a heading about it, but did not get to read it.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
There's clearly so,e major kinks in the system.. That's why I suggested only being used in acceptable places, like gift cards are. But I digress, if I had all the answers I'd be rich :P
"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
I didn't read this whole thread yet, but I think no, just because it's implying something really negative. That being said, I think that welfare should come in the form of a "card" not a cheque, and it should be only accepted at certain spots (Targets, Walmarts, etc.) and not for purchases or tobacco or alcohol. I also think the government should be able to track where it's used if they'd like to do a random check.
Originally Posted by Narnia
Many places here use EBT cards now. It's like a debit. It's cut back on things I used to frequently see in the 80's and 90's, but there have been other issues. I think the Post did a piece about cards being used at ATM's in strip clubs, porn stores, bars, etc.. not too long ago. I saw a heading about it, but did not get to read it.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
There's clearly so,e major kinks in the system.. That's why I suggested only being used in acceptable places, like gift cards are. But I digress, if I had all the answers I'd be rich :P
Originally Posted by Narnia
You and me both.

Yes there are many kinks, in many areas of social work. I do not know all the in's and out's but between growing up at DSS and my current job, quite a bit mystifies the mind.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

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 HATE when "aggressive" is used to describe people (usually women and usually of colour) who are straight-shooters / blunt / direct etc. I didn't see spidey attacking anybody or being defensive - she just has a more "hard-hitting" style.
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To answer the OP:

I have many of the same ideological difficulties with this that others have already raised. I find it disingenuous if people are trying to claim that this is about "trying to help even 1 or 2% of addicts to get help." Just as it is generally clear when something is racially coded as something else ("I'm against affirmative action because I believe in fairness and everyone should be treated equally" or "When I say 'thug', it means anyone who breaks the law, not just Black men") it's also clear when something is poor-bashing. With complaints about welfare abuse, we generally see poor-bashing and racial coding intersect, and even if the person in favour of drug testing doesn't specifically raise the issue of welfare abuse, it so obviously engages that issue and attracts that kind of support that it would be foolish to try to pretend otherwise that that's what's going on.

I cannot think of a good reason why this would be an OK idea.

Financially, as others have pointed out, it doesn't save money and may even cost money to proceed this way.
Is it a moral issue? I think we are moving towards greater acceptance of the idea that addictions are a form of illness that the sufferer cannot control - they are not a poor moral choice any more than cancer or diabetes are. Is receipt of welfare a moral issue? People try to make it so, with the constant focus and anecdotal claims of "all these folks on welfare scamming the system." You'd never know it the way some people talk, but the chronic, long-term welfare users who see it as an alternative to earning a living or the crooked welfare cheats are the extreme minority of people who use welfare. MOST use it as short-term aid when they are down on their luck, and it gets them through a bad patch after which time, they become employed and get off assistance (we even have a few board members here who have done that.) All the talk about welfare tends to ignore this salient fact.

Welfare is no more a waste of taxpayers' money than any other government spending - we all pay for public schools, whether or not we have children currently in them, we all pay for the roads whether or not we drive a vehicle, we all pay for wars whether or not we support them, etc. Yet people pull the "I pay taxes and I don't want to waste them on those people" arguments far more often with social assistance than with anything else.

In terms of treatment of drug addictions, that is a worthy cause, but why connect it specifically to "needs-based public assistance" (whatever that means - I would assume every spending of public money meets a need, but the concern here seems to be with those who are poor.) Why are we only wanting to "help" those who are addicts and also on welfare, when plenty of people who are addicts and need help are not on it? Either those who are even poorer than those on assistance and are homeless and panhandling (I have many clients who are addicts and the worst of them tend to do this rather than collect assistance) or those who are "better off" than those on assistance and have other sources of income while they use.

The implication seems to be that the reasonably well-off addicts are not draining the public purse so we should focus on those on welfare - or that the addicts on welfare are on welfare because they use, for which I haven't seen any proof. First off, addicts can drain the public purse in many ways other than being on welfare - through crime, through trafficking if they sell to support their habit which then creates more addicts, through the medical and social services needed to support them, etc. Secondly, there is then the argument that all kinds of other people may be "sponging" who receive different kinds of benefits and assistance, which was an argument raised and dismissed as irrelevant, but in fact is highly relevant.

If we want to discover and help addicts, why not drug test everyone? Why limit ourselves to welfare recipients? Simply put, as has been discussed, most people would never accept this and would see it as a huge invasion of privacy. But for some reason, welfare recipients are not always entitled to the same levels of privacy others expect and take for granted.

Finally, as far as drug testing and employment go, in Canada the law generally is trending in the direction that it is inappropriate unless being drug-free is necessary for safety in that particular occupation - driving, operating machinery, etc. You can't just drug test people who sit at desks all day just because you want to. And people have all kinds of ways to beat those tests anyway. I have plenty of clients who are supposed to take them as part of their probation and you wouldn't believe the ways people circumvent them. Forcing people into treatment before they are ready is pretty much useless, because if they want to find a way to use, they will, and denying them or their kids food or shelter because they aren't ready seems manifestly unfair.
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Amneris, I am with you on the treatment idea. I comforted (or at least tried to) a friend who was ready for treatment, asked for help, and was told that nothing could be done. It took so much courage for him to talk to his parents, and admit what he had been doing for several years. He could not afford a treatment facility, nor could his parents, and they did not qualify for any type of assistance. He cried for hours. Friends tried to help support him, but you can only do so much. He lost his will for sobriety and ended up in prison. It breaks my heart but he was dragging everyone with down with him near the final breaking point. We knew it would be prison or death, and at least he got help with addiction there.

I've had numerous friends with addictions, several who passed away from overdoses, and a small handful were able to get treatment. I do not think of a person as being less for it, *let me add unless children are involved and they endanger/hurt them. I will loathe a person until the end of time for that* and I would never think that meant only poor, or any other classification. Not for a second. I do believe they have to personally recognize choices they made as a part of moving forward. I don't think all responsibility of choice or action can be shunned. It needs to eventually be embraced.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 02-01-2013 at 06:24 AM.
Fifi, you are right on about the expense of getting treatment. A few of my dad's friends have left to go to other states to get help. my dad went cold turkey because treatment was too expensive. my mom was lucky enough to be able to get into a program the was free and helped the women get a job then move into a transition house where rent is cheap. this is not state funded but a non-profit that is not out to make money but to help.

growing up we were on welfare. if you drug tested my mom, she would had tested positive. but all the money she got from welfare went to me and my sister for the things we needed. i dont want to know how my mom got the money for her addiction in those days, so i pretend it never happened. all i know is that at the beginning of every month we would go shopping for everything my sister and i needed until all the cash was gone. And our fridge was always overflowing with food. we were so taken care of and my mom wa even able to help others in my family. No one even knew about her problem until years later when her addiction hit an all time high (no pun intended).

meanwhile, my aunt had 4 kids and only was raising 2 but got money for all 4. they always had food but not much of anything else. test her, she would be negative for drugs. her problem was alcoholism. will we also be testing for that?

Amneris, everything you said ++++10000!!!

Last edited by thelio; 02-26-2013 at 05:55 PM.
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 HATE when "aggressive" is used to describe people (usually women and usually of colour) who are straight-shooters / blunt / direct etc. I didn't see spidey attacking anybody or being defensive - she just has a more "hard-hitting" style.
Originally Posted by Amneris
Where *I* was coming from, was that it seemed she asked us to discuss, and then jumped in to referee every time the discussion wasn't going where she wanted it to go. It just seemed as if she had maybe been jumped on IRL about this subject or had a heated debate about it elsewhere and was dragging it into this forum.
We all love spidey :love:
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Narnia, you're not the target here: I am. Amneris will always find a way to fault my alleged intentions. Better to bail before the bandwagon arrives.



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Last edited by claudine19; 02-01-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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 HATE when "aggressive" is used to describe people (usually women and usually of colour) who are straight-shooters / blunt / direct etc. I didn't see spidey attacking anybody or being defensive - she just has a more "hard-hitting" style.
Originally Posted by Amneris
Where *I* was coming from, was that it seemed she asked us to discuss, and then jumped in to referee every time the discussion wasn't going where she wanted it to go. It just seemed as if she had maybe been jumped on IRL about this subject or had a heated debate about it elsewhere and was dragging it into this forum.
We all love spidey :love:
Originally Posted by Narnia
No heated debate IRL. Just an interesting topic IMO that rests upon major core values and assumptions in our world views. I wanted a genuine discussion on the actual topic (which is now taking place), not bandstanding...which IMO was happening earlier and is so annoying.

For the record: I'm ambivalent on this issue. But on a board full of bleeding heart liberals (real or pretend), in the role of devil's advocate, I'm going to lean more right.

I don't drag drama from IRL onto online boards.
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I think really it does kind of come down to a right to privacy...the assumption that we are entitled to more when we earn wages from working as opposed to receiving need-based public assistance from the gov't.

Why is that?

Drugs are illegal for all, so why is there an assumption that wage-earners' possible drug purchases are more protected?

Why are the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness abridged for those relying on public assistance?
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Um. I'm guessing a lot of people aren't familiar with TANF and SNAP.

"Welfare" is electronic in all states as far as I know. I haven't heard of anyone getting a welfare check in a really long time! LOL! Cash assistance and food stamps are all on the same debit card (EBT).
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Just a follow-up on this thread:

Florida's law mandating drug testing for welfare recipients was struck down as unconstitutional, and today the state lost its appeal.As the judges made clear, there is no relationship between illegal drug use and poverty.

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court's injunction on Tuesday against Florida's effort to make welfare applicants pee in cups to prove they're not on drugs.

In a strongly-worded opinion, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed a lower court's October 2011 finding that Florida failed to demonstrate a special need for drug testing poverty-stricken parents who apply for cash benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

"The evidence in this record does not suggest that the population of TANF recipients engages in illegal drug use or that they misappropriate government funds for drugs at the expense of their own and their children's basic subsistence," the three-judge panel wrote. "The State has presented no evidence that simply because an applicant for TANF benefits is having financial problems, he is also drug addicted or prone to fraudulent and neglectful behavior."
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Just a follow-up on this thread:

Florida's law mandating drug testing for welfare recipients was struck down as unconstitutional, and today the state lost its appeal.As the judges made clear, there is no relationship between illegal drug use and poverty.

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court's injunction on Tuesday against Florida's effort to make welfare applicants pee in cups to prove they're not on drugs.

In a strongly-worded opinion, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed a lower court's October 2011 finding that Florida failed to demonstrate a special need for drug testing poverty-stricken parents who apply for cash benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

"The evidence in this record does not suggest that the population of TANF recipients engages in illegal drug use or that they misappropriate government funds for drugs at the expense of their own and their children's basic subsistence," the three-judge panel wrote. "The State has presented no evidence that simply because an applicant for TANF benefits is having financial problems, he is also drug addicted or prone to fraudulent and neglectful behavior."
Originally Posted by yossarian
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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 HATE when "aggressive" is used to describe people (usually women and usually of colour) who are straight-shooters / blunt / direct etc. I didn't see spidey attacking anybody or being defensive - she just has a more "hard-hitting" style.
Originally Posted by Amneris
Ah...and when I was posting more regularly back in the day, I think that my "bluntness" was often reported versus just being told that I had a more "hard hitting" style.
Hahaha.
Carry on.

Interesting thread.
Um. I'm guessing a lot of people aren't familiar with TANF and SNAP.

"Welfare" is electronic in all states as far as I know. I haven't heard of anyone getting a welfare check in a really long time! LOL! Cash assistance and food stamps are all on the same debit card (EBT).
Originally Posted by Po
Okay well I live in Canada and we don't do it that way. So I'm speaking only with perspective derived from where I live.
"Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
Um. I'm guessing a lot of people aren't familiar with TANF and SNAP.

"Welfare" is electronic in all states as far as I know. I haven't heard of anyone getting a welfare check in a really long time! LOL! Cash assistance and food stamps are all on the same debit card (EBT).
Originally Posted by Po
Okay well I live in Canada and we don't do it that way. So I'm speaking only with perspective derived from where I live.
Originally Posted by Narnia
Yeah, it is definitely not electronic in all parts of Canada, and we don't have food stamps.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Narnia, you're not the target here: I am. Amneris will always find a way to fault my alleged intentions. Better to bail before the bandwagon arrives.


Originally Posted by claudine19
Seriously? I wasn't "targeting" anyone. I just think women of colour are disproportionately labelled as "aggressive"... by a number of people.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











There are stereotypes, but I think the aggressive stereotype applies more to African-American women more so than other women of color, the same way being a seductress is the stereotype for Spanish-speaking women or women from a Spanish-speaking ethnicity. And at least from an American standpoint, the people usually associated with needing EBT are black, of Mexican descent, Puerto Rican, and white women - usually single mothers. These are the stereotypes I'm more familiar with.
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There are stereotypes, but I think the aggressive stereotype applies more to African-American women more so than other women of color, the same way being a seductress is the stereotype for Spanish-speaking women or women from a Spanish-speaking ethnicity. And at least from an American standpoint, the people usually associated with needing EBT are black, of Mexican descent, Puerto Rican, and white women - usually single mothers. These are the stereotypes I'm more familiar with.
Originally Posted by multicultcurly

Yeah, I should have specified, Black women. We're the ones who get called "aggressive" for speaking our minds.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











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