Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients is a Bad Idea

SB 2279 and HB 1308 would subject poor families to drug testing and treatment as a condition for receiving economic assistance. Though well-intentioned, would be counter-productive to helping poor families and fails the basic test of a Christian society.

(1) Asking why a person is poor has its value, but not for the purpose of determining whether the person deserves help.  The person deserves help because he or she needs help.

(2) SB 2279 makes our social assistance system do the job of law enforcement.

(3) States that tried drug testing found very few drug users, but testing costs a lot to administer. The money wasted is money that could be spent on treatment.

(4) The research tells us that we cannot treat substance abuse problems unless we first take care of the family’s basic needs.

(5) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is not a cash hand-out program.  It is a comprehensive program that requires work participation.  If those jobs require drug testing for safety reasons, the participants will be tested.

(6) The state does not currently have enough drug treatment programs. Poor persons should not be hurt further because, of no fault of their own, they can’t get into a program.

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