The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Should the government drug test before giving food stamps?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 958 times Debate No: 35919
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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The government is spending billions on food stamps and is taxing others for it. In that case I believe that I should know my money is going to something thats lifting society, instead of it all going to drugs. There actually are real people with real problems that would actually use that money for food and thats what the money is for so we need to start seperating the two types.


I assume this round is for acceptance. If not I'll make it up in round 2.
Debate Round No. 1


Though food stamps is not considered money it is a form of currency. Think about it, the money that could've been spent on groceries is now being spend on drugs. Can they buy the drugs directly with food stamps? No, but they can indirectly. When I pay taxes I like to know my money is going to a good cause so therefore they should be drug tested before getting food stamps benefit.

Now, I know this is going to be addressed so let me just shoot this point down right off the start. Being drug tested does not go against your rights. Food stamps is a privilege, a lot like driving. Even before you drive you have to do certain things to get that privilege (Classes, tests, money, etc), food stamps should be treated the same way.


Food stamps operate kind of like a debit card. Speaking as one who was dependent on them for most of his childhood, as well as one who was raised by drug addict parents, I know all to well how they work. That said, my personal experiences aren't evidence so let's look to the Texas Health and Human services commission for an illustration as to how food stamps work.

First of all it needs to be clarified that only approved items can be bought with food stamps[1]. You can't buy beer, ciggarettes or any illicit substances with them. You can't even buy soap or toilet paper with them, only food, seeds and certain approved plants (oregano, basil, etc).

So to imply that people would be buying drugs with food stamps is pretty silly.

Next let's assume people on food stamps are using drugs, what happens when you take the food stamps away? Again, speaking from experience the kids go hungry. I remember many nights where we would make midnight trips to Wal-Mart on the the first of the month to buy food; my parents actually did do drugs and we often didn't have any money to buy food. Had my mom been forced to take a drug test to get food stamps, I would have gone hungry.
Again however I know my personal examples aren't evidence, so look to the MSNBC to prove this point[2]. Kids can't help it if their parents make dumb decisions, and they don't have the agency to fix this problem when their parents decide to waste money on drugs. To take away food stamps because parents are being stupid is an awful thing to do.

Kids shouldn't have to go hungry, especially when they can't fix their crappy situation.

Then there's the issue of cost. There are people who are on food stamps because they don't have any other way to feed themselves or their families. When you demand them to be tested for drugs, the money used to buy the tests have to come from somewhere, and more likely than not it's going to come from the food fund[3].

Finally, I'm not going to argue the rights ground because it's a non-issue. Even if being tested for drugs doesn't violate one's rights, it's humiliating. We don't drug test scientists being given government grants, or students taking out loans to get an education. So why do we thing there's a necessity to test those needing money to buy food? Because we think the worst of these people, and that isn't fair.

When people need help to feed themselves or their families, we shouldn't assume they're up to no good. Drug testing food stamp recipients harms kids, wastes money and is flat-out humiliating. You can't use food stamps to buy drugs, only food.

Back to you Pro!
Debate Round No. 2


First off, though food stamps can't buy drugs (which I already said) the money that would've been spent on food (if not for the food stamps) can now be spent on drugs. Now I know to explain things to a pre-k level.

Secondly, the fact that the government is giving the food stamps to drug users to help support the kids than the food stamps are supporting the kids to be in a drug filled home (instead of getting a nice foster family for them). Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Thirdly, how is it humiliating?! You pee in the bathroom, right? Alone? Oh, that's right, I'm thinking of the rest of the world. If you need food stamps that bad than peeing in a cup in a room by yourself shouldn't be a problem. Before you expand on this point, let me cover everything (like you're in pre-k again). I they are testing everyone wanting food stamps shouldn't be a problem. If its in the bathroom than shouldn't be a problem. And if alone shouldn't be a problem.

Any questions slick?


The thing about being addicts, is that they don't spend their money wisely. There isn't a logical paradigm guiding them to spend money one way or another. They want drugs, so they buy them. Cutting their food supply off won't make them start spending their money on food; it'll make them turn to more drastic crime to feed their habit and their belly.

Pro doesn't really provide a compelling warrant to believe that addicts would start buying food instead of drugs either. He instead makes condescending remarks about my intelligence (not cool dude) and assumes his argument to be true.

Next, con doesn't warrant that the kids need to be taken from their home. Good foster homes are few and far between, whereas these parents care for their kids. Even if they continue to do bad things kids are better off with their parents[1]. We have to stop treating addiction as a crime, and start treating it as an issue of public health. Netherland's Narconon drug education program does this[2] and is much more successful than the U.S.

Again, Pro isn't concerned about the welfare of the children. making drug testing a prerequisite to food stamps does nothing but harm.

As for the drug testing being humiliating, Pro never responds to the argument that we don't require this same testing from scientists taking out grants, or students taking out loans for an education. However we want this from those on welfare because we assume the worst of them.

That assumption is humiliating. When people need help, we shouldn't just assume they're up to no good.

Thanks for the debate Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
You do realize that food stamps are not money, right, and can only be used on food at authorized retailers?
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