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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Drug testing welfare recipients is the wrong plan

I understand how some people think it is attractive to drug test people receiving government assistance, commonly known as welfare. After all what reasonable person could find it acceptable that people receiving money from taxpayers use it to buy drugs. I feel that way too and that’s why I think drug testing those that receive assistance is the wrong thing to do.

If you think everybody who is on welfare takes drugs or everybody on welfare doesn’t have a job you should know the opposite is true and that most are hard working people who have had unfortunate times. Though if you think like above you might as well stop reading now, nothing will convince you that they aren’t moochers that should be left to fend for themselves. However if you understand that most are hard working and earnest people going through difficult times them read on.

There are lots of reasons why it is the wrong thing to do. First similar measures in other states have been ruled unconstitutional and there is no reason to think this bill wont be either. There is no evidence of rampant drug use by welfare recipients. It violates the spirit of presumed innocent until found guilty. There are already mechanisms in place to take care of welfare cheats. It punishes the many for the actions of a few. This creates additional costs and even though Rick Scott has sold his interest in Solantic, much of the states money will go to an industry that the governor is intimately tied to.

Furthermore we should be wary of measures that target just one group even if that group is getting assistance from the majority. If it erodes the rights of that group which group will be targeted next. History has shown us in Germany in the thirties and America in the fifties that big things often start small, the loss of a right here, an additional hoop there.

However the biggest reason we should pass on this measure is quite simply it will not work. These are not going to be random tests; people will see them coming days if not weeks in advance. People using drugs will be able to take counter measures. Most drugs that can be detected by a urine sample leave the system after a few days. Then there are also other means to get around the tests as well. Criminals who do drugs will continue to use these means or just take a break in order to get their assistance checks. This whole process is just the state going through the motions, all it is, is smoke and mirrors. This is Rick Scott cherry picking an easy issue to appease his base. Like I said above what reasonable person would accept those on government assistance using the money to buy drugs but what reasonable person would want to spend what little money we have on a plan that won’t work.

If we want to reform welfare or to make sure that those that receive assistance deserve it that’s fine, that’s a noble cause but lets come up with a plan that works and do something meaningful. Lets make sure those that receive food stamps use them and don’t sell them. Lets increase home visits to make sure people are using the money properly and lets put hoops in place like having those on assistance complete skills or trade program or are in college. And if that means we have to provide day care while they do these classes then that’s a short-term expense that will save us money in the long run if we can get the family off welfare.

This issue is meant to divide and distract us. Like merit pay for teachers did this sounds good, but like the argument for merit pay does, drug testing welfare recipients rapidly falls apart when critical thinking is applied. Sadly however a lot of people don't apply critical thinking to issues they just go with their guts or what sounds good. I admit drug testing welfare recipients sounds good.

Friends don’t get caught up with fly by night solutions. If this is an issue we are serious about then lets sit down and come up with solutions that will work and be long lasting, peeing in a cup is not one of those solutions.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher


  1. It's a good thing we are all entitled to our own opinion. I think they should be tested, and I think you are wrong.

    Here's a thought... Let's put it to a vote. I am betting the majority support this law. Just log onto FB and look at the number of people around the country high fiving this move.

  2. Did you read the whole post or just the title? Read it and come back and tell me what you think. The majority isn't always right by the way, just look at Rick Scott...

  3. Yes, I read it. I am sorry, but we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. I've seen way too many people abuse government assistance (even in omy own family). If you want the money, pee in the cup. Don't do drugs??? Then, there's nothing to be concerned about.

  4. Okay fair enough. I don't think is a real solution and if we want things to improve or change we need to come with real solutions. Thanks for reading the post...

  5. I agree with you on that comment. This is not a solution at all. It's a start,

    The discussion should now be, "Where do we go from here?"

    There are plenty of good people who truly need/deserve the help. Let's work with them to come up with some next steps to help them be successful and independent. Government assistance should be short term. Unfortunately for some, it is a way of life.

  6. So they want to piss test people who don't have a job, but then they want to piss test people who DO have a job? Sounds like a bunch of lies to me, concocted by crooked politicians and their cronies in the piss test industry who are interested only in lining their pockets. I've been working for over 30 years, and I don't give my piss to ANYONE! PERIOD! It's all you dumbed down idiotic sheeple who are stupid enough to take a piss test that are destroying our freedom! My piss only goes one place; down the toilet where it belongs! You Nazi bastards want my urine? You'll have to extract it from my cold dead body, just like you can pry my gun from my cold dead hands!

  7. I think it's interesting that Florida's governor owns 70% of the company that's going to be doing the drug testing under their new law. Rich get richer and the poor get screwed. And the average American swallows the diversion hook, line, and sinker.

  8. Mandatory community service/ volunteering for welfare recipiants. If we're going to support you and you aren't disabled, do something to contribute until you are working again.