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Is it moral to drug test welfare recipients?

Asked by: Btf36
  • I believe it is moral, if it is used for the right purposes.

    Drug testing welfare recipients shouldn't be a means to exclude individuals from receiving welfare, but to grant help for those with addictions so that they have a better chance of getting back on their feet and not having to rely on welfare at all. Many people who suffer from mental illness and receive welfare have trouble functioning and thus keeping jobs, and drug abuse is common with mental illness as well as alcohol abuse. If their welfare is being used for drugs, then an investigation to their well being should be set forth to determine if they are mentally stable enough to function independently, or if they need assistance much more than just financially.

  • Actually I vote neither

    I voted "yes" because I don't want to have my vote on the no side. I do not believe we should be giving welfare handouts at all. Note, welfare handouts=means tested programs so SSI and Medicare doesn't fall under welfare.

    Since I don't believe in handing out welfare (it enables irresponsibility) therefore there is no need to drug test.

  • It's taxpayer money

    If we as a nation are going to continue welfare programs without any checks on the recipients, then we are opening the doors to abuse of the money. In today's day and age, we want more privacy in our lives, but if you are doing drugs, which is illegal, and recieving government aid, thats a problem. After all, if you have nothing to hide, then why wouldn't you consent?

  • It's a reasonable condition.

    For starters, we should not even be in the predicament of debating the morality of drug testing welfare recipients, because there should be no welfare recipients to drug test. Forced wealth redistribution is not moral. It is theft even if it's for a good cause. Charity should be voluntary.

    However, since we've painted ourselves into this corner, it is reasonable for taxpayers to expect some control over how their money is spent. Drug testing is relatively simple and inexpensive. However, it's also completely ineffective. I wouldn't be opposed to welfare recipients being subject to audits and having to meet certain work requirements.

    Posted by: Quan
  • How is this even a question?

    I have had to take a drug test to begin work at several jobs, they also had the right to drug test me at anytime during my employment there. If I failed a drug test then I would lose my employment. If these are the rules to work and earn and income then why would it be immoral to ask those on welfare to pass a drug test?

    I also personally know several people who abuse the welfare system. It makes me angry. Every single one of them had the money to buy drugs and smoke weed all day... The welfare system helped enable them. I know welfare is very important for some, but its not meant to be abused by lazy jerks taking advantage of the system.

  • First of all, it's unconstitutional!

    Drug testing without probable cause is a violation of the 4th amendment. Moreover, why are we putting such an emphasis on drug testing recepients, when it's been shown that (on a societal level) alcohol is more detrimental than any drug and yet alcohol is almost glorified in America. Also, let's say a recipient fails the drug test and loses their welfare benefits. What about their child(ren), who have no control over their parents actions, and who can't just go out and get a job.

  • Drug testing welfare recipients not cost-effective, or moral.

    On Nov. 9, Wisconsin began requiring drug testing for many welfare recipients, including those collecting unemployment and those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training program. The requirement for drug testing was included in the budget signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, in July.

    Applicants for welfare programs will be required to fill out a questionnaire about drug use and then may be required to submit to a test based on their responses. If applicants test positive for drug use, they will be referred to a treatment program funded by the state.

    Drug testing welfare applicants is not a new process. Such policies either exist or have existed at one point in 14 states, including Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma. The problem with them, even if you ignore the questionable morality of tying a person’s only food source to a drug-free lifestyle, is that they cost the states that implement them more than they save.

    Take Arizona’s program, which was enacted in 2009, for example. Between 2009 and 2012, more than 87,000 people went through the state’s welfare program. (Not all were required to take drug tests.) Exactly one person was caught. The state saved $560 as a result. The next two years brought only two more failed tests, for a grand total of three in five years.

    Of all applicants, 23 people refused to take the test and were subsequently stripped of their benefits. Even if you include them in the total amount saved, it would still be only $3,500 over five years. Considering that the state initially estimated $1.7 million in savings, the issue becomes more apparent. For a program supported mainly by conservatives, it is hardly fiscally conservative.

    The Daily Beast found that Utah spent $25,000 in 2012 to catch 12 people out of the 466 tested. WBIR, a TV station in Knoxville, Tennessee, found that in the latter half of 2014, Tennessee only caught 37 people using drugs while on welfare out of more than 16,000 screened. Florida’s program was ruled unconstitutional by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2014 on the grounds that the state officials failed to prove a “substantial need” for all welfare applicants to be tested. Under its program, only 2.67 percent of those tested were found to have used drugs.

    One of the reasons behind the movement to drug test welfare recipients is the myth that “welfare queens” are gaming the system and cheating hardworking Americans out of their tax dollars.

    Drug testing welfare recipients is not cost effective, and almost no one who is tested fails. It also ties people’s main, if not only, sources of food to the ideal of living drug-free. Wanting people to refrain from abusing illegal drugs is not negative in and of itself, but forcing them to do so in order to afford food is immoral. We must find a better way to investigate potential fraud without putting people’s livelihoods in jeopardy in the process.

  • Waste on a False Principle

    We have many politicians especially members of the GOP demonizing those who utilize welfare services. They would lead you to believe that these people are lazy staying home collecting a check. In reality, most are working earning low wages or have suffered a life changing event such as a layoff or catastrophic illness. They are also convincing the public that there is much waste in the system due to drug use. Making a board assumption that un or under employment is due to drug use. With the assumption that tax dollars as being wasted, seven stated have instituted a drug testing program for recipients; but is has run a foul in cost effectiveness.

    Florida 2.6% of applicants tested positive. The state spent more on drug testing than denial of benefits to those who tested positive. The state spent 178M to set up and conduct test to save $60k in benefits. Of Arizona’s 87,000 screenings only one tested positive. This saved the state a few hundred dollars by denying benefits over the several thousands of dollars spent on drug testing. Overall there has been between 1% to 3% positive results in states that test. The average savings of $2,400 per positive result. With hundreds of thousands into the millions of dollars spent to set up and conduct test the cost savings to tax payers is negative.

    Still the politicians rage on stating the testing itself deters drug users from filing for benefits, thus saving taxpayer dollars. Hardly understand that rational; hungry kids are hungry kids. A parent would not let their child go hungry for fear of a drug test. Yet there is another factor to consider. Of the few who do test positive, public treatment centers are very few with 6 months or more waiting time for admittance. So who is all this testing really helping, the taxpayers, the welfare recipients or the politicians who wish to lead the public down the road of misinformation in an effort to win elections? We need to stop demonizing the underclass and start doing something productive in eliminating the root cause for individuals and families requiring social services. Drug testing wastes tax payer’s dollar.


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