Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Florida Requiring Drug Tests For Welfare Recipients

In a move that affects 60,000 people in the state of Florida, governor Rick Scott signed into a law a piece of legislation that would require welfare recipients to undergo a drug test-- that they have to pay for out of their own pocket.  

Rick Scott:  Doing his part to make sure poor people stay poor.

If you test positive for drugs, you would have to complete a drug abuse program in order to receive benefits, while clean applicants would be reimbursed the cost of the test.  

The ACLU, as well as poverty advocates, have criticized this legislation as an attack on poor Floridians.  Some view it as the state treating laid-off personnel like criminals, while some question whether this is a violation of privacy.

"According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the drug testing of welfare recipients is likely unconstitutional and fiscally irresponsible. A Michigan law that required welfare recipients to receive random drug testing was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2003. The average cost of a drug test is about $42 per person tested, not including other costs associated with administering the tests.
"Additionally, a 1996 study conducted by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that welfare recipients were no more likely to use illegal drugs than the rest of the U.S. population."

Right.  Because people applying for unemployment can really afford a drug test.  Plus, who is paying for the drug abuse program?  The state, or the affected poor people?  


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