Testing Welfare Recipients for Drugs, But Not All Federal Employees?

21 May

Ok, let me get this right.  Ohio along with other (usually Republican run states) would like to drug test welfare recipients?  And they want people who need financial assistance from the state to pay for these tests and the state will reimburse them?

Wow.  Clearly, politicians don’t quite get how poverty works.  Folks who need financial assistance don’t have “extra” money lying around to pay for drug tests, let alone wait for the state to get around to paying them back once they prove they aren’t guilty of taking drugs.  I participate in my workplace medical spending plan and they can often take their sweet time reimbursing me even when I really need the money back.

And I’ve spent over an hour trying to find if State of Ohio employees (which includes Governor John Kasich and the state legislators who want this drug testing program) have to pass drug tests.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, “many state and local governments have statutes that limit or prohibit workplace testing, unless required by state or Federal regulations for certain jobs.”  State and federal contractors must have a drug-free workplace and state of Ohio prisoners must be drug free, but employees aren’t tested?

Every job I’ve had since I was twenty drug tested me before I started employment and I was fine with that because I knew all other employees were tested.  Also, the companies paid to have me drug tested.  Basically, there was an innate fairness involved, but it isn’t fair to have people without means to front the cost to test for an activity they aren’t unlikely guilty of.

Tampa Bay Online reports that Florida has only had “about 2 percent of applicants” for welfare benefits fail their drug tests since July 1st.  Is catching 2% of welfare recipients worth the effort when the same article reports that ” 8.7 percent of the population nationally over age 12 uses illicit drugs?”

Testing welfare recipients for drugs only makes sense if you want to make them feel worse about being poor.  All these Republican state administrations were elected promising jobs, but instead they’re proposing drug testing for those who need those jobs the most.  I’m fresh out of gold stars, but good work!

Here is the article “Drug Testing the Poor: Bad Policy, Even Worse Law” from Time Magazine and written by Adam Cohen (8/29/11).  This article does a great job of addressing the fact that states are not saving money in welfare benefits with these programs.

Hope you enjoy the articles!

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Politics


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