Drug Testing For Unemployment/Welfare Recipients?

Some people in one state may soon have to undergo and pass drug tests before being granted unemployment benefits or welfare.


Some people in one state may soon have to undergo and pass drug tests before being granted unemployment benefits or welfare.

Georgia state lawmaker, Republican Michael Hardin, is sponsoring the bill that requires random drug tests for anyone getting such benefits.

Hardin says the bill is an idea whose time has come for weary taxpayers. Hardin says, "They want to know without a doubt that their tax dollars are not going to support illegal drug activity."

Harden says the drug test would cost no more than $25.00 and be paid by the person being tested. The state would cut off anyone who refuses the test or fails.

Other backers of the legislation say they want to make sure those on the unemployment line have the ability to go back to work and they say one of the things that's preventing them from having that opportunity is the fact they can't get past the drug test.

What Hardin is proposing is nothing new. The Congressional overhaul of welfare in the 1990s allowed states to implement drug testing as a condition of receiving help. Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Virginia tie eligibility for some public assistance to drug testing for convicted felons or parolees. A Michigan proposal for random testing was struck down by a federal court on grounds it violated the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Now before you assume this is a great idea and there couldn't possibly be any opposition, consider this...Bonnie Erbe wrote an opinion piece for U.S. News & World Report last year saying drug testing for unemployment recipients, "Is one of the dumbest things I've heard recently coming out of state legislatures." Her reasoning..."There's no room for alcoholics and low-scale drug users in jail and forcing them into homeless shelters isn't going to get them any closer to recovery."

Of course the flip side of Erbe's argument would be why should taxpayers fork over their hard earned money for people who do drugs, and if they have the money for drugs, why do they need our money? I know a lot of hard-working people who have to pass random drug tests to collect a paycheck...so why should welfare/unemployment recipients not be included? Who knows...the random tests might just be a blessing, forcing drug users to clean-up their lives!

What do you think? Should people be required to pass drug tests before receiving unemployment or welfare benefits? Do you think NC should consider such legislation? Or do you have no problem with people doing drugs and collecting taxpayer-funded assistance?




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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by me Location: me on Aug 18, 2011 at 04:19 PM
    drug test them make them pay for it, they are going to be getting money anyways so make them pay out of their own pockets for something and not the state..
  • by Rhonda Location: Greenville, NC on Aug 3, 2011 at 06:34 PM
    I absolutely think that anyone receiving welfare benefits should have to pass random drug tests. I am a hard working, tax paying citizen who had to submit to a drug test to get a teaching job. Talking about "rights". How is it right for my hard earned tax money to go to support a drug habit (rather than balance the budget)??? Frankly, I am confused that this is even an issue. It's insanity!
  • by Travis Location: North Carolina on Aug 2, 2011 at 02:27 PM
    If i have to be drug tested to work then you have to be drug tested to sit on your ass. That simple
  • by Babs Location: Kannapolis on Jun 30, 2011 at 09:00 PM
    Finally!!! I have seen wayyyyyyy too many people that are addicts living off of our tax money. Personally, I feel that anyone getting any type of assistance should be required to take random drug test.
  • by David Anthony Kearns Location: Florida on Apr 19, 2011 at 07:56 AM
    Drug testing the worst welfare recipients. What a pleasant idea! Skin. Hair. Urine. Feces. Here’s a comment from a state senator in Florida taken from Miami Herald. "It may seem a little onerous telling folks they need to get drug tested," conceded Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah. "But at the end of the day, I want to help people who want to help themselves." You’re right! And test the worst low down freeloading offenders first! If your corporation takes tax money, or incentives, provide sample. If your company received bailout money, provide sample. If your company consistently screws up and over chargers the government, provide sample. If you received a Bush tax cut and you want more of the same, provide sample. http://www.facebook.com/drugtesttherich
  • by Khiara Location: Greensboro, NC on Apr 6, 2011 at 12:08 PM
    I think it is a good but bad idea. Its a good idea because it will stop alot of people from using drugs. But, hten you have to think about the children that are involved. If there parents are taken away because of drug use there will just be more kids in foster care/homes. Do we really need that? They could potentially become tomorrows muderers and theives. We have to give this careful consideration!
  • by Sara Location: Ohio on Mar 2, 2011 at 12:03 PM
    Why not drug test? I have in the past recieved assistance and would have willingly taken a drug test to recieve the help i did. As far as the 4th amendment, people are NOT entitled to assistance if they don't qualify....so make the drug test a qualification. If you don't use drugs you've got nothing to worry about.If the problem is paying out of pocket, just deduct it from the 1st mounth's assistance.
  • by Teresa McCorkle Location: Ohio on Feb 15, 2011 at 02:11 PM
    If you go for a job interview you have to take a test. If your not doing drugs you have nothing to worry about, but if you are why should Ohio tax payers have to give up our tax dollars that we need for our familys.
  • by Jennifer Location: Washington on Feb 8, 2011 at 09:32 AM
    I have a friend who desperately wanted to get clean. She had no money to go into treatment and her health insurance wouldn't pay for treatment unless she had been in jail or committed a serious crime. Washington should spend more on drug treatment programs with an incentive for those who stay clean (random testing) and less money supporting drug addicts!
  • by Kay Location: Washington on Feb 8, 2011 at 09:12 AM
    Two comments below said it all: If the test comes back CLEAN it is picked up by the state. If the test comes back DIRTY the recipient pays. AND, YES!!! I agree! Anyone receiving public benefits should be REQUIRED to submit to drug testing BEFORE they even fill out any paperwork. Then random drug testing to continue receiving benefits.Washington should pass that legislation!

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