General Question

jca's avatar

Another drug test question: How do you feel about having to come up negative on a drug test in order to receive Public Assistance?

Asked by jca (36010points) August 19th, 2008

In the county I work for (and probably most other counties) if someone is positive on a drug test they are mandated to attend a drug program in order to receive public assistance (more commonly known as “welfare.” Also, if someone is arrested on a drug offense they are no longer qualified to live in public housing.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

57 Answers

poofandmook's avatar

I am 100% in favor. If you’re spending money on drugs, you shouldn’t expect free government handouts. The very thought infuriates me.

augustlan's avatar

I second PandM…the assistance should be for necessities(sp?), not indulgences.

tinyfaery's avatar

This is actually good way for people to get treatment.

Cardinal's avatar

I third PandM 100%

buster's avatar

Drug tests are unconstitutional. The next thing you know you will have to take a drug test to get a drivers license or apply for a credit card.

Snoopy's avatar

I like the idea of the drug test. I like knowing the my hard earned tax dollars won’t be snorted, shot up or inhaled. Illicitly

jca's avatar

Buster: Snoopy made my point: the public does not want to pay their taxes to fund drug use.

buster's avatar

Drug test are way too expensive to test everyone on foodstamps and section 8 and every other program.

jca's avatar

for PA, it’s a urine test which is simply a stick they insert in the bottle of urine. for Section 8, i think it’s only if you were convicted of a crime involving drug sales. that’s so drug dealers don’t get to live in public housing on our tax dollars.

Snoopy's avatar

I once lived in Chicago. A significant amount of the problems in the “projects” were drug related. Get rid of the drugs and you improve innocent persons’ living situations.

buster's avatar

What about the kids that have drug addicted parents. What are they supposed to do?

stratman37's avatar

If I have to pass a random drug test to keep working, they should pass one to keep freeloading.

Snoopy's avatar

My husband is subject to taking a drug test for job (he hasn’t been asked yet, however——). I would find it particularly offensive that his money was earned under this scrutiny but that the spending of the taxes from it was not…..

jca's avatar

buster: that’s a whole different issue.

Snoopy's avatar

@buster. Are you kidding me? You would prefer a kid to live w/ a drug addict? Huh?

buster's avatar

Can you research this and post some links about the effectiveness of doing this? Im going to look too.

Snoopy's avatar

@buster. Are you implying it isn’t worth doing at all unless it deters people from illicit drug use? Not picking a fight, just curious.

jca's avatar

Buster: please post when you find the links. it’s not clear to me when you say “the effectiveness of doing this” what you mean by effectiveness.

drhat77's avatar

@poofandmonk – a lot of street drugs are pretty cheap, and if one doesn’t want to spend cash, sexual favors can also be exchanged

Snoopy's avatar

@Drhat. Well then FOR SURE I would be all for a prostitute receiving tax payer assistance as long as the drugs weren’t purchased w/ tax payer money.

?!?!??

Snoopy's avatar

sarcasm, folks

drhat77's avatar

@snoopy i’m just saying tax-payer money is a realtively weak argument against giving drug addicts public money. Yes, i think we all feel bad when losers waste public funds on a go-nowhere life, but a public policy should be based on something a little stronger than “tut-tut”

drhat77's avatar

@snoopy public welfare comes under the assumption that all “deserve it” – whether that way of thinking is right or wrong is a whole bigger debate. As crazily upside down as it is, your husband does not deserve his job, but he has earned it.

Snoopy's avatar

@ drhat Hmmmm, maybe.

But I still flat out don’t like “my” money being given to a drug addict. Plain and simple.

Snoopy's avatar

I am guessing what you mean is that my husband doesn’t have a right to his job but the person w/ need for public assistance has a right to same, regadless of drug use?

If so, then I would just have to disagree on the latter.

Snoopy's avatar

This conversation is a slippery slope.

For example, does the person on public assistance not deserve the same “rights” to all OB/Gyn services as someone receiving those services privately?

read: abortion

The government say no.

jca's avatar

i am still trying to grasp the logic of thinking people are “entitled” to receive taxpayer money (in other words, be supported by those who work) and spend that money on drugs. whether it’s $10 they spend or $500, nobody can tell. it’s called enabling.

drhat77's avatar

@jca you’re right but it is the founding principle of welfare, and it has a long precedent, and i don’t know how easy it would be to change it.

Poser's avatar

@buster—Drug tests are no more or less constitutional than welfare.

The problem, as I see it, is not so much that welfare recipients might spend their money on drugs (I doubt the vast majority of drug addicts are also prostitutes), but that it’s exceedingly difficult for someone on drugs to get off welfare. I think it’s a great idea to test them.

I don’t think it should end with drug tests, though. I think welfare recipients should also have to attend mandatory financial and job training, as well as submit to regular financial audits. If someone is living off of money I’m forced to pay (and I have no say in who’s allowed to), they should only be able to do so at the greatest personal inconvenience the law allows.

jca's avatar

@drhat77: i don’t get what you’re saying – that the founding principal of welfare is enabling people to take drugs?

jca's avatar

if someone takes drugs, maybe, just maybe they’re not going to want to get up and go job hunting or whatever it will take to get them off welfare. maybe they’ll say, hey, this is a good lifestyle, i want to do this the rest of my life. sit back, do my stuff, not work, party all night, sleep all day – live large.

drhat77's avatar

the founding principle of welfare is everyone deserves it, no matter what

Poser's avatar

@drhatt—Source?

jca's avatar

@drhat77: in westchester and nassau counties, and i’m sure other counties as well, everyone does deserve it and if they’re positive on a drug screen, they will get it, as long as they participate in a mandated drug program. it may be a day program or it may be an inpatient program. if not, no dinero. if they don’t like it, there’s always regular employment. if you google it, you’ll find what i’m telling you is true.

stratman37's avatar

how about TUT TUT!

cak's avatar

I would absolutely support this! Also, job training, financial training and possibly some kind of working for the welfare. I don’t believe that they should receive the most demeaning jobs (before I get pounced on!), I firmly believe that they should be given some kind of job that they can build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

I don’t want to support a drug user. No free ride from me.

Judi's avatar

The money is for the kids, so go ahead and test the kids.

jca's avatar

@drhat77: what do you mean by “deserves it no matter what?”

does that mean if there are rules to qualify and they don’t follow the rules, they should get it anyway? then in that case we should all get it. please explain because i am still not following your logic.

poofandmook's avatar

I may make several enemies, but I don’t care:

Test them. If they test positive, take the kids and place them with a clean family who will spend the money on food for the children and not drugs.

EDIT: Before anyone jumps down my throat, don’t even bother. My mom was a cocaine addict, and my dad took me away from her. I’m thankful every day. I’d like to take my sister away from my mom and my stepdad, since their marijuana use is more than just recreational… but I haven’t got the means to do so.

Judi's avatar

pookandmook;
Have you signed up to be a foster parent?

poofandmook's avatar

I’m 25, unmarried, and I don’t own a home. I definitely don’t make enough money to do so either.

Judi's avatar

Then don’t presume that there are millions of people just waiting to be a foster parent either. 25 and living in an apartment is not to young to be a foster parent. Do you think the “drug” homes are better than yours. If they took away every welfare kid from a drug home think of the impact that would have on our economy. We would have to warehouse kids in orphanages to manage it because to many people are to young, don’t own a house, have to many other things to do, except throw out ideas they are not willing to back with action.

poofandmook's avatar

I CAN’T back them with action. I am not ELIGIBLE to be a foster parent. My INCOME is not high enough. So I can throw out any ideas I want. It’s called living in America. One of the perks, I hear.

Yes, let’s leave a child with a parent so he/she can watch mommy and daddy shooting heroin or snorting cocaine or hitting a bong, simply because it’s easier on everyone else that way. Don’t pretend we’re concerned about children if that’s the attitude we’re going to take.

Judi's avatar

I think that if your concerned about the welfare of the child you call Child Protective Services, not just randomly invade peoples privacy to exclude them from benefits. Did you know that the state PAYS you to be a foster parent? Unless you can’t pass the criminal background check I am sure you would qualify as a foster parent. Contrary to popular belief it is not a crime to be poor.

poofandmook's avatar

No but I feel it’s irresponsible to take on someone else’s problems, especially those of a child who is nearly completely unequipped to handle them in any fashion, when I have several financial issues of my own to deal with, including trying to go back to school (to work with troubled children/children from bad/drug homes, incidentally), etc. So please, don’t presume to tell me my ideas don’t hold merit simply because I am not ready to take on that responsibility yet.

Judi's avatar

I’m just asking you to look at it from the child’s perspective. A pretty good mom who smoked a joint or went to a party where marijuana filled the air looses resources to take care of her kids and under this scenario would have to give up her kids to a foster system that is so over crowded because of this rule that they have to resort to warehousing kids in orphanages. Another mom is a hopeless alcoholic and really puts her kids in danger, but keeps her kids because she never gets caught. Are we as a society ready to raise an entire generation in warehouses?
It would be nice if major society questions could be solved in a 10 second political sound-byte, but life is really more complicated than that.

poofandmook's avatar

Did you not read my initial statement? I AM the child. I WAS the child’s perspective. Granted, I was lucky enough to have another parent. Maybe those children will too. Maybe they’ll have clean parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. When I said “clean family” I didn’t necessarily mean someone else’s clean family. I never said anything about warehouses.

I have no tolerance for drugs whatsoever because of what I went through as a child, so you’re not going to convince me I’m wrong with the “party with marijuana filled air” story.

scamp's avatar

@Judi do you have any children? I am trying to grasp how you would think it is ok for a child to grow up in the type of environment described in this thread. I think you might be a bit confused. In one of your posts, you said children would be warehoused, then in another you suggested a call to the children’s protection agency. Where do you think children go when they are called? And what makes you think an entire generation would be raised in warehouuses? Do you think everyone is on drugs?

drhat77's avatar

@poser – i’ve been looking for a bias-free source, but everything i google is highly political. my understanding is that a government system cannot discriminate who gets which government services, and as I recall welfare system founded in the 1930’s was designed to support ANYONE who could not support themselves. I’ll keep trying to find a good source.

poofandmook's avatar

@drhat: yes, but the 1930s was before the cocaine epidemic, the heroin years, etc.

Snoopy's avatar

@drhat Well that is the rub, I think. It is deciding if you think denying services to someone who is a drug user is discriminatory or not.

In other words, hopefully all of us would agree that denying services to someone based on skin color, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. is unacceptable.

However, there clearly seems to be disagreement about drug use. Personally, I think that it is not discriminatory. It is responsible use of tax money.

@Judi. If a person wants to use drugs illegally and be less likely to be hassled by the gov’t, then they shouldn’t seek handouts from same, in my opinion.

Poser's avatar

@drhat—Fair enough. I assume then, that you’re not saying that the welfare system was designed to support anyone who would not support themselves if they are able.

Judi's avatar

@drhat77 I am saying that if you rounded up every parent who tested positive and denied their children benefits then child protective services would have to warehouse them
@scamp Yes you were one of the lucky ones. Most arent
@everyone;
I would LOVE to see a world where no one does drugs. I hate drugs. They killed my first husband, my little brother and my brother in law. No one hates drugs more than me. I just think that in the long run this sort of law would end up hurting more kids than it would help.

scamp's avatar

@Judi Please read my post again. I don’t understand your reply to me.

poofandmook's avatar

@Judi: Well, until you’ve been one of those kids, you couldn’t really know, could you?

drhat77's avatar

it seems the key is: is welfare a right or a privledge?

if it is a right, than due process must be used to remove it from somebody. that means not just a urine drug test, but a court. It could be an expedited specialty court if the numbers make it feasible (for some reason i keep picturing the gang from Night Court).

if it is determined to be a privledge (and good luck with that) that it can come and go as the adminsitrating authority sees fit.

jca's avatar

In order to receive any type of public assistance or Section 8 you have to QUALIFY. In order to QUALIFY you have to meet certain requirements. You have to be determined to be in need financially, for one. You can receive public assistance if you are found to be a drug user, if you agree to attend a program. If you do not attend a program, you are not eligible to receive public assistance.

Whether the above makes it a right or a privilege i am not sure. i think it’s a right only for those who qualify. as far as i know, most counties (at least in NY) do not pay for people to receive benefits if they are found to be active drug users.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther