Citizens receiving government welfare should be subject to monthly drug tests.
Debate Rounds (3)
I will argue against Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients. This is my first debate so bear with me and let me know if I am doing anything wrong.
The main idea of drug testing for those on welfare is that, if they are found to be on drugs, are to have their benefits taken away. I will argue that this is unjust and unfair.
As doing drugs is against the law, those receiving welfare should have their benefits taken away. I will also argue that those who are not pursuing a better life should not receive welfare at all.
Subjecting welfare recipients is immoral, unfair, and is a waste of time and money.
To begin, let's dispel the idea that welfare recipients people are more likely to do drugs. 6.2% of Americans admit to using illicit drugs in the last month (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...). As marijuana becomes more acceptable in society, this number is likely higher by now, some studies finding numbers upwards of 10%. Recent drug testing programs for those on welfare has been enacted in some states, and they have found for welfare recipients, drug use is much lower. In Missouri, 0.01% of applicants were screened for further testing, and of those 10% were found to be on drugs. That is 48 of the 37000+ welfare recipients (http://thinkprogress.org...). Other states found similar results. Utah found 29 people out of the 9,500+ welfare recipients.
Despite the fact that the benefits for the positive drug tests were found, the programs flopped. The drug tests in Missouri cost more than $300,000. The average family receiving benefits from TANF gets about $380 a month, or ~$4500 a year, plus medical (http://www.acf.hhs.gov...). Even if the positive-tested people in Missouri were recieving benefits of $10000 a year, the program still would have lost $250,000. Clearly, the better economic option is to avoid drug testing altogether.
Now that we have seen that there is not enough welfare recipients on drugs for a drug-testing program to be a viable economic option, I will examine the morality and moral consequences of this issue.
The majority of welfare recipients are mothers with children (http://www.utexas.edu...). Should a child be punished because his mother or father was found to be on drugs? If we want to improve oppurtunity for low-income children, the answer should be no. It is not fair to low-income children that will suffer for their parents' actions.
Furthermore, if drug tests were enacted, people with a drug addiction that need welfare will be less likely to apply knowing that there benefits will be taken. This leaves a variety of consequences. One being that people with untreated drug addictions will not be able to recieve treatment and benefits they need to treat their ilness. Parents suffering from addiction who are relucant to apply for welfare and food stamps will struggle to feed their children.
Drug testing welfare recipients is also extremly inconsistent. It is inconsistent in that there are many, many people in the country using some form of government-paid benefits. To drug test only those on food stamps or welfare is not fair to them. There are people recieving social security, a government funded-program. There are people recieving Medicaid, government-funded healthcare. There are farmers that are recieving subsidies from the government. There are many, many people in the U.S. and other develop countries recieving government benefits, and those recieving one specific form should not be singled out.
Lastly, is that these drug tests would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures (http://www.archives.gov...). By law, these drug tests would each require a warrant or reasonable suspicion. Requiring a warrant would be another costly endeavor and simply cannot be done for each and every citizen to be tested.
Drug testing welfare recipients is a waste of taxpayer money. It is immoral and unfair to welfare recipients and their children. It is a violation of the Constitution. It is not a viable program.
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