A current issue that is going on today is welfare recipients that are drug abusers. Welfare is supposed to meet the basic needs for the families who are in need of food & basic daily needs. Drugs seem far from one of the basic human needs to me. If the recipient gets all the benefits from the programs they will more than likely turn around and sell their food stamps for their fix rather than go to the store and get their family day to day needs because they are getting free benefits. Drugs also go hand and hand with family problems, violence, and crime. It is estimated that between 50% and 80% of Family Based Services involve drug and alcohol abuse. So why not drug test the recipients before a person can get qualified for services? Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing. Such laws, which proponents say ensure that tax dollars are not being misused and critics say reinforce stereotypes about the poor, have passed in states including Arizona, Indiana and Missouri.
In Florida, people receiving cash assistance through welfare have had to pay for their own drug tests since July, and enrollment has shrunk to its lowest levels since the start of the recession. The law, the most far-reaching in the nation, provoked a lawsuit last month from the American Civil Liberties Union, arguing that the requirement represents an unreasonable search and seizure. The flood of proposals across the country, enabled by the strength of Republicans in many statehouses and driven by a desire to cut government spending, recall the politics of the ’80s and ’90s, when higher rates of drug abuse and references to “welfare queens” led to policies aimed at ensuring that public benefits were not spent to support addiction. Supporters of the policies note that public assistance is meant to be transitional and that drug tests are increasingly common requirements for getting jobs. “Working people today work very hard to make ends meet, and it just doesn’t seem fair to them that their tax dollars go to support illegal things,” said Ellen Brandon”, a Republican state representative in Missouri. I think that if citizens are going to be supported by the state they should at least have to be clean and sober. The last three years, she sponsored legislation requiring testing of welfare recipients, and her bill was signed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, in July.
Advocates for the poor say the testing policies single out and vilify victims of the recession, disputing the idea that people on public assistance are more likely to use drugs. The unemployment is at 6.3 percent & 100,000 adults and children are receiving temporary assistance for needy children program. They also warn that to the extent that testing programs were successful in blocking some people from receiving benefits, the inability to get money for basic needs would aggravate drug addictions and increase demand for treatment.
“At an operation breakthrough, which provides day care services to low-income woman in Kansas City, Nicole, 22, who asked to be identified only by her first name, began to cry as she described trying to provide for her three children on a monthly welfare check of $342, plus $642 in food stamps. Her electricity was cut off that morning, she said, which meant she could be evicted from her subsidized housing. The struggle to make ends meet while pursuing a health care degree was so consuming that the idea of taking drugs seemed ridiculous, she added. Kimberley Davis,” the director of social services for Operation Breakthrough, said the legislation sent a bad message. “All this does is perpetuate the stereotype that low-income people are lazy, shiftless drug addicts and if all they did was pick them up from the bootstraps then the country wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in,” Ms. Davis