General Question

casheroo's avatar

Do you think welfare recipients should be drug tested?

Asked by casheroo (18091points) March 4th, 2009

Welfare meaning food stamps, cash assistance, medical assistance for yourself or your children. Not including WIC.

If you think they should be tested, how often should they be retested (you usually renew your benefits every six months by sending in all your information)

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26 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

Sounds like a plan.

skfinkel's avatar

No. Not unless we begin testing all the individuals who are receiving other money from the government, eg banking administrators, state authorities who will be distributing money, colleges, scientists, etc. Why just single out the poor?

laureth's avatar

I agree with @skfinkel. But even if I didn’t, I’d wonder why not test the WIC recipients? Of all of those groups, pregnant or nursing women on drugs would do the most potential harm.

chyna's avatar

No. What would happen to the children of parents taking drugs? There are too many variables to just take them off food stamps for a positive test. I know, someone is going to say the kids should be taken away if the parents are on drugs, but there aren’t enough foster homes for all those that this would encompass.

casheroo's avatar

The eligibility for WIC has a higher income requirement, so some people do not consider it welfare, since you have to be at or below the standard income.

“The State agency’s income standard must be between 100 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines (issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services), but cannot be more than 185 percent of the Federal poverty income guidelines.”
For Medicaid, you have to below 185 percent.

VS's avatar

Most people who work at jobs that pay taxes to provide the services that welfare and other governmental assistance provides have to be drug-tested. If they have to be drug tested to work, shouldn’t people who don’t have to work for the money be drug-tested, too? I say yes to drug-testing. And as far as it impacts the kids, if the welfare recipient parents are taking drugs, they shouldn’t be raising kids anyway. Some drugs are obviously much more insidious than others…

laureth's avatar

What would be the reason for the drug testing – what would the Government be hoping to accomplish by doing so? If it is to insure that taxpayer/borrowed money isn’t being used for drugs, we’d have to test WIC and everyone else, too.

laureth's avatar

@VS – that’s an excellent argument for @skfinkel‘s point.

casheroo's avatar

” If they have to be drug tested to work, shouldn’t people who don’t have to work for the money be drug-tested, too?”

Uhh, I would think they do need to work, since cash assistance and food stamps will only get you so far. Also,you have to be working, or in training program to receive cash assistance.

Harp's avatar

The National Institutes of Health published a study of drug and alcohol abuse among welfare recipients back in 1996 and found that the percentage of abuse was quite in line with the statistics for the general population. So if we’re motivated by the assumption that welfare recipients are more likely to use drugs, that assumption appears to be unfounded.

chyna's avatar

@Harp Good point. And if they aren’t taking kids away from people who work and do drugs, why take them away from welfare recipients?

Mizuki's avatar

You should be drug tested…and then should mind your own f******** busines

chyna's avatar

@Mizuki Was that directed at me?

KrystaElyse's avatar

No. People will not apply for assistance for fear of being drug tested and that means people who need help won’t be getting it.

It’s a huge waste of money in my opinion. We should be concerned about the misuse of tax payer money on welfare reform. With the way that the current system works it is very hard for people to get off of welfare, not because they want to sit around and be lazy all day, but because the jobs that are out there for them are VERY low paying which makes it hard for them to have a stable income to just pay the bills and put food on the table.

It’s stereotypical to think that ALL people on welfare are drug addicts, alcoholics, lazy, stupid, and have 12 kids from 12 different fathers. Yes there are some out there who fit that description, but a surprising number of welfare recipients are folks just like you and me who hit a major bump in the road.

We need to put this money towards creating jobs and training, not drug testing.

marinelife's avatar

I agree with skfinkel. Let’s test all the people who receive social security, medicare, government student loans for college and tuition benefits for the military. Syill want to single out the poor?

SuperMouse's avatar

No, I don’t think so. Especially at a time like this, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of the people receiving government assistance have paid into the program during years of employment. Not to mention that will be just one more expense for the system. Personally I would much rather spend my tax money to help people out rather than giving them piss tests.

FYI, I have a friend on WIC and ADC and food stamps, she is required to volunteer 25 hours a week and job hunt 15 hours a week.

cdwccrn's avatar

To what end?

basp's avatar

Where I live, the employees who work in human services do not have to be drug tested as a requirement to work. Drug testing only happens if there is evidence a person is using on the job. And even then, if caught a person does not get fired but is given a chance with counseling.
I might add, there are mechinisms in place to drug test a welfare recipient if there is evidence that they are using. And, typically, they are directed toward counseling.. And there is the potential they could lose their assistance.

pekenoe's avatar

Why not just legalize the crap, let the government subsidize it so it’s cheap, let the druggies od and get them out of the system that way?

asmonet's avatar

@pekenoe: Most overdoses occur because of the unreliable nature of some recreational drugs. If it was legalized and regulated, OD instances would become extremely rare. Your comment reeks of ignorance. People are not just druggies to be eliminated from the gene pool. They are people with problems, that need help and education. Combine this with the drivel you posted in your own welfare question and quite frankly, I think we should eliminate you.

As for drug testing, no. It would cost more money to implement than it could possibly save, it would bog down processing rates and prevent money from getting to those who need it.

It’s a terrible idea, with no positive gains.

jca's avatar

in the county i work in, welfare recipients are tested if there’s a suspicion or history of using. If they’re positive, they have to go to substance abuse counseling (inpatient or outpatient, depending) in order to keep their benefits. the reasoning is they try to get people off welfare by finding out if they’re eligible to work or be trained to work, and supposedly if they’re drug addicts or using drugs, they would not keep a job (not my opinion, just stating how it is here).

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet : Give it your best shot, ignorant be me.

I’m kinda confused by your statement though “People are not just druggies to be eliminated from the gene pool”


What users need is a kick in the ass instead of some bleeding heart patting them on the head and telling them it’s not their fault.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I dont understand why or how anyone can be drug tested.

In NJ, schools can not drug test children because it is a violation of their 4th amendment Right to Privacy. However, the system has found a loop hole by doing so for children who participate in extra-curricular activities, which in my opinions is BS because they are the least likely to be doing drugs anyway.

But anyway, how can it be a violation of children’s fourth amendment, but we as adults are being increasingly forced to have our right to privacy violated by all different aspects of life? And now we have more and more people asking for more drug tests. Please post me some links that show the benefits of drug testing. The war on drugs is a huge failure and as long as we maintain these Orwellian policies, it will continue as such.


I’m with asmonet on this one. Users do not just need a kick in the ass. They need to be educated. We need to start educating kids about the specifics of drugs when they are teens. They need to understand how the brain works and how addiction affects the brain. People need to know that all drugs are not the same why certain drugs are addictive and certain are not. I truly believe that you can not entirely blame the addicts, but the society and education that they grow up with.

For anyone interested in a great site for info on many drugs, check out

asmonet's avatar

@pekenoe: I pity you, and I sincerely hope no in your family has to deal with addiction with your opinions by their side.

pekenoe's avatar

@asmonet Gee thanks, I’ll treat any drug users in my family the same as any other.

The_unconservative_one's avatar

@pekenoe You never cease to amaze me with depth of your depravity.

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