The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Should People on Welfare Be Drug Tested?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 852 times Debate No: 102707
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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Australia is now rolling out a new policy where 5000 welfare recipient's will be tested for drugs and if they test positive they will be given a basics card which will restrict what they can purchase and will not allow them to receive money straight for two years. I believe this to be a fair policy but others see at as an attack on the most vulnerable.

- You can argue even if you are not Australian just click on the news link provided to get a good idea of the situation.
- Please get a good understanding of the policy before applying as there seems to be some misunderstanding of the issue.
- Please include refrence links in your debate.
- Only accept the debate if you can finish it.
Debate Round No. 1


Now although I don't believe this will necessarily solve the issue of drug use with welfare participants it cannot make it any worse. To start off I will bring up two major points.

1. It will not leave drug users stranded
From what I've heard alot of people seem to have gotten this idea that if a person is tested positive for drugs they will have their pension cut but this really isn't the case. They will simply be put on cashless welfare cards that will allow them to purchase the necessities like food, clothing etc it also won't allow them to purchase alcohol or cigarettes. Sure this can be considered rough and perhaps unfair but allowing them to continue an addiction isn't exactly the best thing either.

2. It can be used as a push in the right direction
We can mostly agree that drug addictions aren't a good thing with the excessive cost as well as health risks that are present with an addiction. When you have an addiction and are on welfare you have very little reason to quit the addiction and seek help as you can still continue the addiction on the small amount of money you recieve. When someone is tested positive for drug use they will be refereed to a doctor that may recommend medication or drug rehabilitation.

It's hard to say what the outcome will be for the 5000 people testing out the policy. They may test them and only receive a small amount of drug users making the testing more of a hassle than something that could help in the long run. But drug addictions are expensive and cause horrible comedown effects making it harder to keep a stable job. People may have just enough money to live off but when most if not all of that small amount of money is being used on drugs food, housing and other bills become an afterthought.

(The link is for costs in Canada but the amount you pay is still around the same amount in Australia)



My Case:

Contention 1: Drug tests cost too much money and are ineffective

In the study below, we see how much money is being spent on drug tests. The number is 850,909.25$ and for that money we only uncovered 321 positive tests. In the scheme of 10 states, only finding 321 positive tests is extremely small when considering the population in total.

"In 2015, despite lack of evidence that programs in other states accomplished their goals, three more states have implemented similar regimes. And a ThinkProgress survey of the 10 states that now have these programs in place found that they continue to be expensive and not especially effective. All told, states spent another $850,909.25 on the testing regimes in 2015 to uncover just 321 positive testsR02;"R02;in more than one state, none at all."

Because we now see how ineffective drug tests are, we can see how much money the U.S. has spent for negligible outcomes. My opponent may be restricting this debate only to Australia, but even if it were the case, the U.S. does not fail to be an example of the huge avoidable economic losses.


Starting off with point number 2 about drug tests helping people get on the right path. My opponent claims that when people are on welfare there is little reason to quit. Not only is this false itself, but drug testing is not an effective way of combating substance abuse, and it costs tons of money. In addition, my opponent does not give a quantification of how many people would stop using drugs if we were to drug test. Numbers matter when talking about the impact of a policy. Also, generally, people have very strong incentives to quit. My opponent explains how drugs are so bad to the health, this is one reason to quit. There are other unmentioned deterrence"s, such as family. Let"s not pretend that there is no incentive to quit addictions when on welfare.

My contention 1 outweighs this contention on deterring substance abuse unless my opponent can provide evidence that shows drug tests to be effective in deterring drug users to the point that the 805,909.25$ doesn"t matter. With the money we spend on ineffective tests, we damage the economy. Finally, there is no evidence quoted showing that drug testing is an effective way of deterring substance abuse. There should at least be a study that shows X number of people quit because of welfare drug tests.

Onto point 1, this is just my opponent preempting a misconception. Sure, they may still provide for necessities, I agree. However, considering the uselessness established in my opponent"s point about drug deterrence, the disadvantages of being only able to pay for necessities outweigh the benefits of the drug test plan.

In conclusion, drug tests are costly and ineffective, and therefore my economic disadvantage outweighs the advantages of drug testing. My opponent has the burden of proving that the plan has effective means, the outcome of this outweighs my economic outcome, and that there is some sort of number as to how many people would quit. Finally, my opponent"s first point is agreed to, except for the part where I"m establishing that necessities are not enough.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by canis 3 years ago
Anybody should be drug tested..
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