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April 19th, 2011
04:35 PM ET

Should states require drug tests for public assistance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Twenty-seven U.S. states, as red as Arizona and Georgia and as blue as New York and California, may soon be adding another requirement for those applying for aid such as unemployment or welfare: Being clean.

More than half the states in this country are considering legislation that would require recipients of public assistance to pass a drug test before getting their handout from the government.

The details vary from state to state, of course.

A bill in the South Carolina state senate, for example, would suspend unemployment checks to any person who didn't get a job because of a failed drug test. A measure in Arizona would call for random drug testing for all people who receive welfare. In Massachusetts, a bill has been introduced requiring random drug tests for recipients of public assistance who have prior drug convictions. If you fail the drug test, you would be placed by the state into a rehab program because of the state's mandatory health care program.

Of course, if these measures pass, they will likely be opposed by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches. In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that "suspicionless searches," like many drug tests, violate Fourth Amendment rights, unless those tests are conducted for specific reasons like public safety.

On the other hand, I don't want my tax money being used to buy illegal drugs. And that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Here’s my question to you: Should states require drug tests in exchange for public assistance?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Paul in Ohio:
Jack, absolutely! If folks aren't willing to prove they are helping themselves, why should the taxpayer help them afford a drug habit? If these folks want privacy, then they should do it without public assistance.

Layne in Antioch, Illinois:
I believe Tommy Thompson, the past Governor of Wisconsin, did it as well as requiring that a recipient perform a certain amount of hours of public service. From what I remember, it worked really well, and actually dropped the number of people on welfare significantly.

E.J.:
Completely unreasonable given the unreliability of drug tests. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs show up as a false positives for illegal drugs. Imagine how you would feel to be taking a prescribed drug and then forced to go into rehab or being barred from benefits because of a false positive.

Devonne in Houston, Texas:
I am "required" to get a drug test in order to get and hold my job for which I receive pay. If you wish to receive your pay from the government, you should have to submit to drug testing as well. Get off the drug-induced stupor and take care of business; whether kids, school, etc. The cost of the test will be paid by the funds that are not distributed.

Pat:
Absolutely. If the state is going to provide assistance, the person getting it should not be using it to buy drugs or provide money to someone else in the family to buy drugs.

J.D.:
I don't want my tax money to be spent on drugs either, but Jack, how much money will be spent on the tests, legal action, and administration of these laws?

Loren in Chicago, Illinois:
This is a terrible question because it says so much about us as people. But, the hard fact is that people on public assistance are there for a reason and substance abuse is frequently a cause. There is a public compact here and we need to decide whether this type of asocial behavior should be a bar to receiving the support of our community.


Filed under: United States
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Tom in Desoto, TX

    This seems reasonable. Someone hooked on drugs isn't likely to be a good employee

    April 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Larry Feierstein

    First there should be drug testing for all public employees. Once that is complete lets just test everyone who is seeking government assistance of any kind.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  3. Dave in Arizona

    No, in fact drug laws should be repealed so we can start saving this country trillions of dollars in law enforcement, border security, and treatment.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Eric

    Yes, with the exception of a meal at a soup kitchen or bed at a shelter. Any taxpayer paid assistance provided in a form that requires the judgement of the receiving party to be effective should not be provided unless their is some reason to believe that judgement is present and this means not on drugs. America can be compassionate and still be smart and insist that is taxes are effectively spent.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  5. Linda

    No, I do not believe that drug tests should be a rquirement for public assistance. What if the mother passes and, the father doesn't? Do the children then starve because of the sins of the father. No! according to the New Testement : The sins of the fathers shall not be put upon the children.

    What strikes me as ironic is, that some states are wanting Pot legalized. Such a hypocritical nation.

    Linda
    Gas City, In

    April 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  6. Carla

    Absolutely YES, as long as they also collect accurate information that indicates the drugs the individual may be taking by prescription. If they show ILLEGAL drug use, they should be denied public assistance and placed in detox.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  7. Barbara Leavitt

    Absolutely. In many cases people trade their food stamps for drugs and the children still go without. I have had people stop me outside of the grocery store and offer to sell me $100.00 worth of food stamps for $50.00, granted that was several years ago but I've no doubt it still goes on.

    Henderson NV

    April 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  8. JENNA ROSEVILLE CA

    Should states require drug tests in exchange for public assistance?

    Jack

    Let me guess who suggested this, the governor of Florida, whose heath care company was raided by the feds and he got a slap on the wrist.

    Seems to me that he and others are only looking to make a buck for themselves as care nothing for the people needing assistance.

    Those who think that this should happen should go to gritty streets of LA or NYC and tell me how many of those homeless crack heads are on welfare. NONE

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  9. Peg in NY

    Yes! If you need to pass a drug test for a job, you need to pass a drug test to get public assistance. That would and should include alcohol.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  10. maggieb

    Well of course they need to be tested to get assistance, Same as they need to make sure they aren't Illegal before getting assistance

    April 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Conor in Chicago

    I hope states do start testing for drugs for welfare recipients. That way after about 5 years of data accumuliation when it's discovered that the vast majority of them don't use drugs and are instead were just completely failed by the education system and Capitalism a major talking point on the Right will be null and void.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  12. David of Alexandria VA

    Yes - and if "positive" they should be referred to a program to get help. And after 6 months, if they are still "positive" all their benefits should be cut off. People make bad choices. And our compassionate nature offers them help. But, I don't want to fund junkies in perpetuity. Particulalry when we spend so much already giving them help.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    Drug addiction is its own punishment, so states should not deny assistance to those in need for reasons of "morality". Kindness is moral, not punishment.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  14. Rick, Medina, OH

    Jack,

    Every and any program except Food Stamps and Medicare probably should require drug testing. It doesn't make sense to provide welfare or education assistance to someone who will misuse the funds. But feeding our people should be unconditional, especially when so many beneficiaries are children.

    Rick,
    Medina, OH

    April 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  15. Russ in PA

    You want public assistance? Take the test. You want to protect your privacy, don't take public assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    No reason not to........the public shouldn't be funding drug use.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    It sounds like a good policy until you need to come up with the funds to pay for it. Those tests are not cheap. How about requiring proof of residency?

    April 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  18. John from Alabama

    Jack: If high school athletes have to be drug testedl before playing sports then people seeking public assistance should be drug tested. The fear is people who receive public assistance might use the funds for drugs or weapons.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Maybe instead states should require drug tests for anyone running for public office.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  20. Ed from California

    Oh, heck yes!! A monthly drug test along w/a "State" doctor exam that proves that they're hurt or disabled. And that exam can be random w/different, State approved doctors, at the very least ,yearly.. And all these tests are to be paid for by the recipient, too! And, lets not forget Prescription drugs too! Our, "doctors" hand out Oxycontin like it's candy. Some of those "doctors" need to be spending some quality time in a prison!! But, we are too, touchy-feely for that. So, lets keep on importing drugs, and we'll keep on exporting, guns and money!! Aahh, Free Enterprise!! Long live outside sales!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  21. Kim Smith

    Wow, I didn't realize we had so much money available for drug testing. I guess giving drug tests to 1/3 of the population is one way to create more jobs for drug labs, while at the same time increasing the prison population. How about community service in exchange for public assistance?

    April 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  22. Cliff from Upstate NY

    No they shouldnt..all this bark about small government and now they want to intrude into people lives..now I dont condone people using drugs at all but FYI beer, wine etc is considered a drug also...how about this...MAKE THE CASE WORKER ACTUALLY DO THEIR JOB AND ENSURE THE PERSON IS LOOKING FOR WORK...i did a paper on public assistance..and people are only supposed to be on "welfare" for 5 years...let's enforce that before we starting conducting pee test

    April 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  23. Phyllis G Williams

    Should states require drug tests in exchange for public assistance?

    That is one way of protecting the nation’s health
    and warning drug users to abstain from it.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  24. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, of course those who receieve public assistance should be tested for illicit drug activity... also, check for any new tattoos, tacky manicures, unnecessary upgrades to cell phones and cable TV, etc. Recipients should get money on the taxpayers' terms. Any leech that can afford to buy non-essentials doesn't get government assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  25. Tim

    I dont know about requiring drug tests for public asistance...but I think we should make it manitory for everyone running for public office. Have you heard what these yahoos are saying...? They have to be high on something!

    April 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  26. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    That is a great idea to make people applying for public assistance to take a drug test. There should also be random drug test while being on public assistance. The last thing you want do is give money to a drug addict. Because drugs will always come first. Anyone who test positive on a drug test, there should be a mandatory check into the family situation. How many children are involved, are they being cared for and what are the living conditions. If the children are not being cared for and their health is threatened they should be put in foster homes.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  27. Bradley, Portland, OR

    If we're going to impose requirements on welfare recipients, I'd rather require them to be temporarily sterilized while they're feeding at the public trough.

    They shouldn't be bringing more babies into the world to be supported by the taxpayers when they can't support themselves or their existing families.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  28. Dave, Orlando, FL

    You betcha! It’s hard enough to support my own family. And while I am willing to help people down on their luck, I sure as hell don’t what to have to support a bunch of drug addicts.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  29. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Yes, i think they should within reason. I also happen to think that people who receive governmental assistance can still contribute to society to help pay back what they receive. They can do jobs around the state and cities to earn some of that financial assistance like picking up trash and mowing medians. I honestly believe if people that were able to work were required to do so in order to receive assistance then fewer people would ask for it in the first place. They would instead go out and work for their own money.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  30. Annie, Atlanta

    Only if states that adopt this measure will provide those who test positive with the appropriate level of help. Drug addicts are people and, as such, should not be discarded.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  31. Richard, in Kansas

    Why not? I f your going to take assistance from the taxpaying public then the taxpaying public has a right to know that your not wasting that money on drugs when you should be trying to get back on your feet again. If times are hard you have no business spending money on drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol anyway.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  32. Chicago Jim

    Yes, underwriting illegal drug useage is worse then sending food stamps to fat people.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  33. Jane (Minnesota)

    No, I don't think they should; this sounds to me like it's a violation of rights. Besides, from reports I've heard of the Florida attempt at this, the Governor has a business interest in a drug testing company. I think this is as apalling to me. More more step down the path of Moral bancruptcy for our country. Congratulations, Righties!

    April 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  34. Kevin of SD CA

    Should states require drug tests in exchange for public assistance?

    Not only drug tested but enlisted in a mandatory re-education program and drafted into the military as sand bags (which they are) if they have no other useful abilities!

    April 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  35. Joe Tyrrell

    Seems aquestionable strategy. There are better ways to attack the drug problem.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  36. Loren, Chicago

    This is a terrible question because it says so much about us as people. But, the hard fact is that people on public assistance are there for a reason and substance abuse is frequently a cause. There is a public compact here and we need to decide whether this type of asocial behavior should be a bar to receiving the support of our community.

    April 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  37. Pete in Georgia

    How could we ever enter into that world of "Political Incorrectness" ??
    Lord have mercy, next there would be talk of personal accountability thruout the Land !!

    Heresy !!

    April 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  38. david -seattle

    No, but they should enforce drunk in public and drug use tickets in the streets of america. when someone recieving assistance is getting drunk or drugged out and get a ticket , they should lose thier welfare..here in seattle, the epidemic of heroin and malt liqour is prolific. and the cops look the other way... all while unkle sam is subsidizing the nieghborhood demis while the addicts are empowered by other tax payer dollars, all while aggressively threatining people if they dont give more money. but, that is what you get with obama sympathyies for the devil...cuz he knows what its like to be a loser

    April 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  39. Jon

    Yes! Yes! Yes! 1000% Yes! Especially for anyone who has been convicted on drug charges. Everyone on the urban street knows how the government assistance is being used to obtain drugs. It's ridiculous. I predict that it would produce a wave of violent protests, though. These users have been shooting up on the government dime for so many years they believe they have a right to do it.

    Jon
    Lima, Ohio

    April 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  40. Scott in Bellingham

    Sure, give 'em a drug test. But then what? If a soul fails a drug test then what do you do? Counsel 'em? Spank 'em? Write down their test score so that a worker can compare it to their score the next month? Deny assistance?

    I'm thinking "none of the above." Then what's the point of the test?

    And another thing. Drug tests are now proven to frequently give "false positives' particularly in women.

    I don't use drugs, I think they are a waste of time. I would hope a drug user would figure out for themselves drugs are a waste of valuable time, that life is precious and very very short.

    I don't think we need any more rules. As of a Dec. 31, 2010 report there are 83,500 pages of federal government rules and the cost to administer them if $1.7 trillion per year. If we get rid of 42,000 pages can we get rid of 1.5 million federal workers?

    April 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  41. Dee in New Paris Ohio

    On one hand, we should require random drug testing before handing out public money to people who take assistance. I personally do not want my tax dollars going to someone who is using drugs.

    On the other hand, since most of those taking public assistance are probably so depressed they can't stand it, and are already subject to all sorts of slander and name calling, and blame, maybe in addition to the pittance they get on assistance, we should give them the drugs too!

    April 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  42. Devonne

    My opinion, I am "required" to get a drug test in order to get/hold my job for which I receive pay. If you wish to receive your pay from the government, you should have to submit to drug testing as well. Get off the drug-enduced stupor and take care of business; whether kids, school, etc. The cost of the test will be paid by the funds that are not distributed.
    Devonne
    Houston, Texas

    April 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  43. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    People on public assistance can't afford drugs! That is a stupid negetive stereotype spread by bigots. The real drug users are middleclass suburbanites with the kind of jobs that pay enough to afford drugs. Test THEM. Test the corporate managers that bring it in by the truck load and plane load. Test the executives of Wells Fargo that launder the money. Leave the little guys alone.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  44. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Yes! Public assistance is a crutch until you can get back on your feet, and should NOT be an enabler of addictive behavior.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  45. Sandstone.

    "Nitty Nora! Why not? It would stop the spead of pests, and those that can't help themselves. What about the kids, who have to live amongst all this?"

    April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  46. Layne Alleman

    Jack, I believe Tommy Thompson, the past Governor of Wisconsin did it, as well as requiring that a recipient perform a certain amount of hours of public service. From what I remember, it worked really well, and actually dropped the number of people on it significantly (a lot found work thru the public service). Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  47. Joe Travis

    Jack,

    Not in Florida if the new Governor who has a vested interest in a drug testing company. The Governor then wants to mandate all employees to have yearly drug testing. The majority of public assistance recipients are no different than the majority of the rest of our population. The problem is that there is a movement to make those receiving public assistance, as "the other."

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    April 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  48. Joe R - Houston

    You mean like drug rehabilitation programs? Or parenting classes? Or drivers license testing? Maybe so, but not for corporate welfare programs like receiving food stamps which enrich the coffers of Archer Daniels Midland, Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogs, Kraft and Con-Agra.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  49. Steve in Michigan

    So, if you use drugs you don't need a place to live or food to eat? That doesn't make sense. This is only a good idea if the same drug test puts the person in PRISON so they have a place to stay and food to eat. Then it would make sense. Defunding lawbreakers does not make sense. If you know they broke the law, lock them up... or leave them alone.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  50. Julie from Louisiana

    Abolutely!!! I have to be drug tested in order to keep my job. Why not people on government assistance?? It makes no sense to object to this. But then government decisions make no sense.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  51. Reed from NYC

    What kinds of drugs are you referring to, Jack? It depends. Many people on public assistance are on drugs due to disability which requires drug treatment, so it would have to be done without fear of legal repercussions to those who have proper medical documentation. This could open a can of worms which could create havoc within a system that is already mired with bureaucracy.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  52. pat

    Absolutely–If the state is going to provide assistance, the person getting it should not be using it to buy drugs or provide money to someone else in the family to buy drugs.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  53. Thom

    Many employers now require periodic testing as a means of protecting their business and financial interests, other employees safety, consumers and reputations. I can see no reason states should not do likewise. The taxpayers are the public assistance client's employers and deserve no less for investing their tax dollars in them. Drug use is of no benefit to either employee or employer. It is not an acceptable or legal societal behavior and is of no positive benefit to society as a whole. I am of the thinking that if one can afford purchasing drugs, which are a great and ever growing expense, over food, heat, utilities, education, child care, rent, transportation, etc., then they do not need assistance from my pocketbook. Yes, test them.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    April 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  54. Dennis north carolina

    States and the federal government should drug test all people to include employees and people receiving public assistance and welfare. also they should test people who get pelt grants or other grants. our tax money should not be used for any illegal purpose.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  55. Janne from NC

    If you can afford beer and cigarettes you don't need food stamps and if you can afford pot, crack, heroin or any other drug you dont need public assistance. Its called making responsible choices. Thats what is wrong with society now. People think the government owes them something. The days of personal responsiblity and being responsible for the choices we make are gone.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  56. Jerome Ex-pat in Canada

    sure, then get them the help they need to kick the addiction.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  57. Joyce H

    If states require drug tests for those applying for government assistance, then they need to apply those same tests to city officials, and anyone else who represents the state or government. Is your question regarding illegal drugs, or ones prescribed by a person's doctor? What drugs would be acceptable and which ones would not? I think the U.S. needs to clear up the drug problem as a whole before dictating that states deny needy people, or families the assistance they may need. Then there is the cost to consider. I am all for weeding out those who take advantage of the system, but there must be effective and common sense criteria for aiding those who genuinely need help.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  58. Mike in Denver

    Most people in this country are subject to drug tests to get their paychecks, why should public assistance be any different. If they claim a right to that assistance, they have a responsibility to the taxpayers footing the bill.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  59. Jim

    It should be obvious that when 'We the People' try to help others, those being helped should try to help themselves. Getting off the drugs, booze, and other self-destructive and non-productive behaviors should be expected, with counseling and other help provided within a plan for the entire family group to get off of public assistance. Drug testing should be one requirement; it already is for most employment. Jim in Knoxville, TN.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  60. Denver Guy

    The basics: What type of test? You're not going to stick all those people with needles, are you? Hair is unreliable for some things, what if they're licensed for medical marijuana? With fake urine for sale at stores or online, you will need to hire someone to watch each and every applicant pee if it's not going to be a joke. Does the public at large deserve to be treated this way? Hell no. This recession demonstrates it could be anybody needing assistance. Maybe if it's gone on for a period of time, a year or two, then it's time to drug test? I don't know. As for testing all who need to apply, every widow, I say it's unnecessarily degrading and uncalled for, and stronger dictionary terms I'll spare you for now. My friends in Europe would not stand for being treated like cattle in this way. If I ever consent to such a test for employment, I'd have to keep it secret from them, or they would laugh at the American. If there is no reason to suspect a crime, I say privacy is sacred. Soon an employer will be able to do a complete genetic profile on you in the back room from a couple of shed epithelial cells in your urine. Even if it's illegal, whose to say they won't? Small companies need to keep costs down. No, I say thumbs down on all testing without evidence of a crime. What I might be prescribed from a national pharmacy is none of their business.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  61. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Jack

    Yes, and Congress too.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  62. Donnie H. Bay St. Louis, Ms.

    No. It would only cost more money to conduct the the drug tests. The fact is the person who's name is on the assistance application may not be using the drugs. Others in the household could be taking advantage of the system via the recipient. Just because the recipient doesn't use the funds to buy drugs does not mean the funds aren't being spent on drugs.
    Is it a one time test ? if so that's stupid and would be highly ineffective. Is it monthly? If so lets say there are 50 million Americans who receive some type of assistance. Now lets say that dug test could be conducted for $2 bucks. Thats an additional $1.2 billion a year on top of the cost of the assistance. Realistically speaking it will cost far more than $2 per person to drug test every one. Instead I say drug test the politicians because it's obvious something has them impaired...

    April 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  63. Randy

    Yes. I would also require all elected officials to disclose any and all bank accounts (on or offshore) associated with the official and their family members be included in the same legislation. It would be funny to see how fast that would be dropped.

    April 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  64. Cee, La

    I am about to come to the conclusion that people who are on public assistance should have to have regular drug tests and those who have children should have their assistance directly tied to the school system.......and their childs school performance......no parental involvement..........no check..............

    April 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  65. Steve

    auh...well...let's wait until I'm off unemployment!

    IL

    April 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  66. dave in nashville

    Absolutely, if you're clean you don't qualify. Exactly how politicians are selected.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  67. Chandler in Rockaway, NJ

    Sure, Jack. While they're at it, they can check for alcohol abuse (maybe a bigger problem than drugs). Oh, and they can check for fatty foods, obesity, and lack of exercise. Of course, make sure they aren't illegal aliens. Or living out of wedlock. Or gay. Or Democrats.
    If we keep this up, the only people eligible for welfare would be country-club Republicans. Oh, wait. They don't need it.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  68. Nancy, Tennessee

    The most humane thing we could do for a drug addict is to administer a drug test and require treatment if they fail it. So many drug addicts are caught on a roller coaster and don't know who to ask for help to get off drugs. If instead of handing out money, we paid for drug rehabilitation everyone would win. It's a sobering idea.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  69. Angela

    YES!! Drug test those people. I do not receive aid but I can tell you now I would submit in a second to a drug test. Wonder how many people would lose their food stamps, cash, and medical. BUDGET CUT!!! :) Drug tests all the way!!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  70. Doreen

    Absolutely they should undergo drug tests. I don't want my tax dollars supporting a welfare system where people can spend MY MONEY on drugs. I had to take a drug test to get my first paycheck – fair is fair.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  71. ecnav

    If we do, be prepared for a sharp increase in property crime.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  72. Bob D Iowa

    Jack, I am totally against drugs and the damage they do to the user and unborn. If testing is required then rehab programs should be provided too. I am using Chantix to try to break 50 years of smoking (so far so good) but without help and support I could not do it. So yes in must to all cases with help.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  73. OrionStyles

    Right... because that doesn't make the problem less expensive.

    If you are worried about the cost of handouts, it is far less expensive than the police response, due process in courts, and than throwing these people in jail for X years.

    Knowing that it will cost you probably 10 times as much to not provide assistance to people with problems it is clear most of you are more interested in judging others than actually caring about the state of the economy....

    We need solutions to problems, not ways to make it far worse so you can feel indignant to help you get through the day. :)

    April 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  74. Ralph Nelson

    It would be a great idea if drugs were not addictive. Ever tried to stop smoking six packs a day? Takes many tries and several years. Just think how much harder it must be to lick heroin or cocaine? They well just turn to crime to get their fix, so how about a better idea? How about paying them to stay off drugs? Don't punish bad behavior. Reward good behavior.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  75. Dak70

    My initial reaction is "hell yeah drug test"' but then I think of all the people that I would rather have pleasantly stoned than angry drunk. Maybe they should just test for the hard stuff, meth, coke, heroin, scripts. I mean you could be at a party with people lighting up and accidentally breathe some second hand and pop positive.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  76. Bill

    On the other hand, I don't want my tax money being used to buy bombs. And that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  77. Nic

    If I have to take a drug test to work, so I can, in turn, pay taxes that fund these welfare programs, they should have to take a drug test to receive money they aren't working for.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Jamie

    Yes, test them. I get tested by everyone that I ask for money from (my employers) so why shouldn't people that want aid? Also, since they are getting paid by the government, why not work for the pay? You don't have to be a prisoner to pick up trash off of highways do you?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  79. Kris

    Makes sense. If people can afford drugs, they should be able to afford food. And, as far as the drug testing, I'm sure the money saved in aide would more than pay for it!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  80. Ryan

    Who pays for these additional tests to hand out free money? Did free money just get more expensive?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  81. dogdog

    Play the tape all the way through. A number of individuals test positive, get cut off of assistance and turn to crime to survive in lieu of government checks. Lets not mention the need for more state run treatment facilities costing tax payers more money. Oh yah, to hell with HIPPA laws-the positive test results will somehow be stored and later published by some computer hacker. Individuals will be labeled for life! Great idea GOP. If this goes through-all state and federal employees should be tested randomly as well (including Senators and Representatives)!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  82. Karen Madigan

    I think any individual on the government dole should be required to pass a drug test. I work 40 hours a week and am subject to random drug tests at my place of employment. Why should an individual that is not working and benefiting from my hard work (through my tax dollars) not be subject to the same?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  83. Nurse Lisa in Shelton CT

    yes – my tax dollars should not be misappropriated to buy illegal drugs nor even go to someone who can otherwise fund the buying of and justify the taking of illegal drugs. If you on public assistance can find a way to "party" then the party on my dime is over.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  84. In the wind

    Yes we should, just as soon as congress and the white house take lie detector tests!!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  85. Adam

    Maybe... It sounds like a good idea, but how much is it going to cost to run millions of drug tests? It doesn't sound like people are going to be 'cut off' from public programs if they test positive. If that is the case, we are just adding a huge sum to system that is allready drowning.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  86. pkfops

    So now when you get laid off after 20 years with an employer, the nut jobs on the far right want to stereo type you as a lazy drug addict when you apply for the unemployment assistance (for which you paid for) to help you get to your next job?

    Too funny.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  87. Steve W.

    I can't wait to see who wants to pay for every developmentally disabled (mentally retarded), disabled veteran, wounded (physically and emotionally) veteran, physically and/or mentally handicapped and elderly person to get a drug test for government assistance. And not just one test It would require many per year. So much for smaller government. You would think the money spent on testing good and decent people, which the vast majority are, would vastly outspend the few people taking advantage of the system. I don't have exact numbers, but I've read that it's about $80.00 for a good drug test. Multiply that my millions and millions. plus staffing and facilities. Do you now think we're saving money?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  88. TAW in Chicago

    When you require a drug test to pay taxes then it would be equitable to require a drug test to collect aid funded by taxes with respect to random or qualifying tests. However, I would agree with a policy that ends welfare, unemployment, etc for those refused a job because they couldn't pass a drug test. I don't think we need to go down the road of violating privacy rights using preemptive testing.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  89. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    Yes. I am sick of funding addicts and drunks. Maybe then, they would be able to get a job. Oh wait, they don't want one. Sorry.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  90. Liam - Reston VA

    No – but we should drug test our elected officials for allowing billions in unemployment fraud/public assistance which occurs in Medicaid as well. Amazing that this huge issue is not addressed. Seems like the "druggies" are smarter than all of us, so why not let them keep taking our money as fraud, buy drugs and have a good time. We all are not smart enough to stop them yet. Obama and the Dems will accuse you of a witch-hunt if this were even brought up. You would be deemed; after the "poor" and "sick" what a joke. Get a job and a life and leave us alone..

    April 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  91. Alex

    Right, because the way to reduce spending is to add another level of bureaucracy that will be dedicated to performing and analyzing hundreds of thousands of drug tests every week...This would end up costing taxpayers more money. Sounds like a huge boon for the healthcare industry, which will surely gouge on prices because government using its collective bargaining power is "socialism".

    How about instead, we enforce the welfare and unemployment rules already in effect, as opposed to adding yet another layer?

    I'd rather see every drug legalized in this country than see this legislation passed in all 50 sates.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  92. Concerned Citizen

    Why should I spend my tax dollars on someone who then in turns uses them to buy illegal drugs? If they have money to spend on illegal drugs, then they obvisouly have enough money to being with.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  93. Ken in NC

    Sure but throw members of Congress into the mix. They have been acting very strange since early January. Someone might be spiking their Tea.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  94. Al

    If they require it for assistance then the elected officials getting paid with public money should be subjected to testing also. It's not just the poor that buy drugs in fact people with money buy a lot of them.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  95. Gerry Huber

    It would be a great idea if drug testing was required for assistance, if it was done properly. A drug screen is just a drug screen and there are a number of medicines like dextromethorphan that cross-react with the drug screens giving a positive PCP test, and there the drugs that can be adulterated to give negative results. The bottom line, all drug screens are not created equal but if the drug screens are sent off to be Quantified by say GC/MS/MS analysis, then there is a chance that you can make it work. Just doing a dipstick pee-test is a joke, and any fool can get around that.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  96. Andrew in Atlanta, Georgia

    Absolutely they should be tested. This money is to help people out that are between jobs. If you are wasting the taxpayers money to buy drugs instead of paying for food/rent/utilities while actively trying to find a job, then you don't deserve our money and are doing nothing more than spitting in the face of the people that are actually trying to improve themselves and make their lives better.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  97. Cindy

    YES! Anyone who receives public assistance from the government should have to pass a drug test!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  98. Soros

    First test the lawmakers to see if they are clean. Start from the top.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  99. Deuce

    Let's just drug test everyone and put the results in the paper. Seems fair to me. I would LOVE to see how clean my elected officials are...

    April 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  100. JohnDHater

    Another attempt to deny people of color assistance. Laughable.

    Sure I approve, and when you see half of "white" america getting denied left and right for being meth/coke heads...eventually all this madness will stop.

    Also, whatever money is saved by denying someone assistance will be spent running the drug testing - STOOOOOPID!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  101. Paul P.

    If professional sport athletes can be randomly tested without due cause, I see no reason why the same cannot apply for recipients of public assistance. It makes alot of sense as long as the costs are kept under control. However that pesky constitution will pose a real problem, an amendment will likely be in order before you even attempt something like this.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  102. Corvus

    NO! The notion that those on welfare are spending all their money on drugs is a hateful stereotype perpetrated by the usual suspects– the anti-government, anti-humanity, pro-business and judgemental moralistic wing of American politics. The REAL drug users are middle-class suburbanites with the disposable income to afford it. And then there is that pesky Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches in the absence of suspicion. BEING ON WELFARE IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO VIOLATE SOMEONE'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Being impoverished should not be a sufficient reason to subject people to unwarranted searches and humiliations. People are innocent until proven guilty... remember?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  103. SoS

    Of course people asking the government to support them should be required to pass regular drug tests. A great many people have been asking for this for years and only now that our economy is tanking and cuts have to be made does common sense finally start to win out. It's not an unreasonable or suspicionless search if they are required to agree to it in order to go through the process. Take the test or get out of line and go get a job.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  104. Jim in Amarillo Texas

    They certainly should. And what about a step further: if a person is convicted of a drug related crime and is sent to prison, then the individuals "dependants" (all fo them) would not continue to receive benefits. They would in turn have to file for themselves and pass the screening. We have kids today that think welfare/drug dealing are acceptable since that is how their daddy, and his daddy,etc. survived.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  105. Scott B

    I'm as liberal and compassionate as they come, but I'm all for drug testing for public assistance. I can't get a job and contribute to the support of these people without one. Why shouldn't they?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  106. Jim Howard

    Jack,

    Let's face facts. Our "war on drugs" has been no more successful than our recent nation-building exercises in the Middle East. It's time to legalize and tax drugs and it's time for America to exit the Middle East.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  107. Scott Stodden

    I Think Jobs Should Require Drug Tests To Get A Job But For States To Drug Test People Before Getting Assistance Is A Bit Over The Top In My Opinion. We Can Drug Test People For Getting Welfare But We Can't Create And Add Jobs, Lower The Deficit, End The Wars, Etc... Come On Jack This Is A Waste Of Time!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  108. Brooklyn

    You can say what you want about the War on Drugs and whether or not prohibition is effective or not, but the bottom line is that taxpayer money should NOT be going to subsidize someone else's bad habits.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  109. GloSeattle

    I don't think it's an unreasonable search if you are an employee whose actions if under the influence would jeaopardize anyone's safety, or well being in any way, (this would cover anyone employed anywhere in any capacity) or if funds you obtain from the public require public disclosure by demonstrating drug addiction is not affecting your situation in getting those funds. I don't think drug addiction has any place in either the workplace or in funded public programs. As long as the testing is for everyone, I don't think it's discriminatory.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  110. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    When a person applies for a job, like one at a fast food place, they are required to pass a drug test so to me this is simple. Yes, people who are receiving welfare and other help should be clean and sober. We enable too many people that need help and we should be proactive and stop the bleeding.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  111. Sandra

    The answer is simple...YES this should be the case for everyone receiving state aid...for whatever reason. If they're clean, then they have nothing to worry about..

    April 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  112. Seph

    You get what you sign up for. If they don’t like they rules they can find another option. It is not against anyone’s rights to be drug tested.

    I had to pass a drug test in order to gain employment (which is my source of income) so why shouldn’t these people have to pass drug tests to receive their source of income?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  113. Paul P.

    Sounds reasonable to me, but this seems to me to be the sort of thing those who are constantly crying out for a smaller federal government should be dead set against. After all, this is simply adding more personnel, cost, procedures and conditions added to a government system...isn't it?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  114. Dave

    By all means! Anyone receiving public assistance should be screened for substance use/abuse. How the bleep can you afford drugs and such if you can't pay your bills. Public assistance should ONLY be available to those unable to work (injured). Those that can't find jobs should be contributing to public service if they want to receive public (money from others working) assistance!that means volunteering.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  115. Renee Peoria,Ill

    You do realize drug testing costs money? If we're running out of money for public assistance how are they going to pay for the tests? I just took a drug test as part of a job application. That's up to the company where I applied for a job; if they think it's necessary and decide they can afford it, so be it. But this is just another attempt at finding a reason for cutting off public assistance because our govt. is so bad at handling money. Nobody in Congress can balance a checkbook either. Address the bad spending habits of our politicians before finding another excuse to blame their victims i.e. everybody left jobless by the lousy decisions that let Wall Street create this crisis in the first place and then get away scot free.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  116. Richard Larson

    First, all state employees, all elected and appointed state and local officials should be required to undergo random, unannounced urinalysis testing. Once that program is effectively in place, then a law mandating that any adult applying for unemployment, and/or social services be tested.

    There must be a proviso that any positive must be of sufficient strength to not be from second hand exposure and that any positive must be supported by an independent analysis of a second sample before an application is denied. Further there should be no penalty for an initial positive other than a required completing of an anti-drug program. Subsequent positives could mean that they are barred from participation in the program for a minimum of six months. Any further positive would result in a significantly longer ban and/or incarceration with mandatory participation in rehab clinics.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  117. John

    HAs anyone who thinks this is such a swell idea, bothered to check into what substance abuse rates are among public assistance recipients, or are you all just perpetuating the same hateful and demeaning stereotypes? I did look into this and ... SURPRISE! Welfare recipients have substance abuse rates at the same rate as the rest of the population. So, does zero tolerance for drug and alcohol use, (BTW: alcohol use is legal!), become the new standard for everyone or just for recipients of public assistance? I could make a case for the cost that we pay in this country trying to keep non-welfare folks from using drugs ... perhaps we need to drug test EVERYONE, rich and poor, employed, unemployed. Has anyone considered the cost of doing all of this testing. How many of you who wrote in favor of this BIG BROTHER stuff use drugs yourself? Shouldn't you all be tested too?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  118. Alice,Ohio

    Yes, I feel it's the right thing! but what do we do when thier dirty, that would be the big ? for everyone involved.forced rehab,jail,what about kids where do they fit in?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  119. Laura

    It shouldn't stop there. Testing should include alcohol and cigarettes.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  120. Just Say No to WASPs

    So I am assuming everyone who is saying yes is content to deal with the increase in crime because drug addicts won't get assistance. Hope you live in gated communities. Then you all can blow your hard earned money by giving it up to build more prisons cause we all know that is working top notch. When they can't get their free money for drugs they'll come after you. You've been warned. But why stop there, drug test every child who walks through public schools, drug test every person before they get onto an airplane, drug test families before they can purchase utilities like water and electric. Hell, drug test every man, woman, and child everyday of their lives until it all goes away, cause that's the solution, right?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  121. mrtonywhit

    To all those who agree with this testing, you're going to be really sorry you've given these people that kind of power. These things are just test to see how far they can go, and will that be the end of it, i doudt it. People of the future are going to really hate us for what we've turned the country into, no more land of the free, home of the brave. Oh well, it wasn't true anyway.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  122. Tom

    Only if it includes alcohol, tobacco and caffeine Jack!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  123. Jason G.

    Sounds good and reasonable to most of us middle class folks...but it seems kind of like a slap in the face to those on welfare. It seems like most people feel anyone on public assistance is probably just a drain on society, somehow lazy, or milking the system and that the public are somehow footing the bill for them all living the "high life".

    I married my sweetie pie a couple months ago and she was on public assistance because she was divorced and because the father of her three children was on drugs and didn't even pay his child support except four times per year so he wouldn't go to jail, as is Kansas law. She just flat out didn't make enough money to support all her children's needs. It is situations like that which make me feel like people need to get off their self-righteous high horse and realize that some people probably do take advantage of the system, but we should help take care of the disadvantaged of our society.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  124. jason

    no. not unless they are also going to test them for alcohol and tobacco. Many would agree that they should not test them for alcohol and tobacco, yet the logic is the same: people don't want their tax dollars to go towards others' unhealthy habits.

    Marijuana, for example, is safer than alcohol or tobacco – if it's okay for people to use alcohol or tobacco and still get welfare, then it should be okay for them to use marijuana. Marijuana just happens to be illegal for political reasons, as opposed to real ones.

    It's strange to say it's okay for a welfare recipient to spend a hundred dollars a day to drink themselves to within an inch of their life, but it's not okay if they spend ten dollars a month get harmlessly dazed every once in a while. Such logic says to me that the motive doesn't actually have anything to do with expecting them to become better people, it's more about "I have a job that does drug testing and thus am not allowed to use drugs, so why should they be able to?"

    April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  125. Calandra18

    Looks fine on the surface, however-where do they draw the line on our civil rights at these proposals? Where does the government draw the line on what they can take from us as a people? And, how many of our civil rights will be gradually taken away from us until there are none left? Just a few questions to ask yourself before you jump in headfirst one way or another on opinion.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  126. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    If Government money is only given if the recipient is first drug tested and found to be drug free, under THIS set of circumstances then drug testing should be required by anyone receiving Government money.
    Start with Congress.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  127. Elaine Kass

    No way this should fly (I'm from Florida). People who use public assistance that barely covers housing and food don't have extra for purchasing drugs. Gov. Rick Scott wants to charge US for the money spent on drug testing at a cost of $900 per individual – that will most likely end up in his crooked pocket.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  128. Pat

    I'm for it. They need to enforce whatever repercussion they decide on for positive results. Don't even bother with it if you aren't going to enforce it.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  129. Nick from Minnesota

    My only question is: Where does it stop? If people are getting public assistance, we see it as the governments and our chance to legislate how people live their personal lives. Similar to the gay marriage issue, it's not that these people are affecting us personally, we just want to make laws so they can't do it anymore because we just don't like it. I don't want people buying drugs with tax money either, but I am far more afraid of what others laws will follow so other people can tell me how to live my life. Maybe we should make sure they don't use it for cable tv, snacks, or other things we don't like?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  130. Concerned

    It is my opinion that drugs are a main concern of public safety thus not violating anyones rights. Without the demand for these drugs violent crimes and property crimes would fall. The only people who would be against these laws would be 1.Users 2.People who profit from the users. It is the duty of our government to provide the best protection possible for the citizens, including the addicts.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  131. Bob

    There are plently of legal drugs you can waste your money on and still pass a drug test. Anyone ever hear of alcohol?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  132. Little

    Drug testing for public assistance should be implemented. Too many people take advantage of the system. I see people in the grocery store using food stamps while talking on their Iphone holding a Coach purse. Where is the accountability?

    This is more than right or left winged debate. It is for the betterment of our future, as people and a country.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  133. Ken

    Yes, If I have to take a drug test to get a job and pay welfare,then why don't people on welfare have to take a drug test to GET welfare? This has been an on-going problem and will be until they clean up the assistance programs and make these requirements mandatory in order to receive assistance benifits

    April 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  134. Tom

    I have a great idea to save trillions of dollars and balance the budget Jack. End the drug war and use the money for education and treatment for those who need it.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  135. Edward

    I say yes to the drug tests....it will force many people to work who are otherwise comfortable receiving assistance for free for life.

    I've paid taxes from the last 13 years that I've worked. I am now a full time college student and I don't work. I applied for food stamps and was declined because I "go to school." They said if I got a job working only 1 hours a week, I would qualify.

    They told me this as I looked around at the waiting room realizing most of the people in there didn't work or go to school and were only gaming the system. Here I am, someone who has paid into it and now needs it (until I graduate) and they decline my application. Also, after I graduate, I will continue being a productive member of society and pay back into the welfare system just to support those who have not contributed ever!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  136. Guido Melo

    Only after welfare recepients have too

    April 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  137. Mark

    I'm a liberal-democrat and I think this is a fantastic idea. I have been saying this for years and I think that people across the political spectrum would agree that regular drug testing should be mandatory to keep welfare and other government assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  138. Sean

    I'm fairly liberal and I agree with this 100%. You want a handout, you better be clean.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  139. Eric Nashville Tn.

    YES YES YES, the only people that have to fear a drug test is someone using drugs. How stupid. I personally know 2 doctors, one is a surgeon. They both are regular drug users not to mention a high percentage of the nursing staff. a lawyer, and several food workers at local restaurants that are all using drugs. Most use weed and are working up to harder more powerful stuff ,but as i see it the only way to prevent drug use is to mandatory test everyone in all walks of life, identify them and try to help them, not that they feel that help is needed. But as long as people in the position of power want to get high and feel that it’s their right because it doesn’t affect anyone the United States will continue to live with a plague that could be stomped out within a 3 year time period. We just have to have the guts to stand up for what’s right and change the law to work against drug users not continue to help them hide their habit.,

    April 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  140. Ashley

    Testing for some drugs and not others (because drug tests are expensive and budget directors are not omnipotent) means that some drugs will slip through the cracks. Not only does this mean the problem wont get solved, but now drug users will simply turn to more dangerous and less detectable drugs such as inhalants, which do not show up on drug tests because they stay in the system for so short a time. These drugs and others like them are much worse than marijuana. Stop wasting time and taxpayer dollars and solve the socioeconomic problems that lead to drug dependency rather than treating welfare recipients like criminals.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  141. Ellis

    We give BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars in taxpayer handouts to executives of corporations without requiring drug testing but someone getting $400/week needs to be monitored for drugs, to be sure taxpayer money isn't being wasted? This is just a way to lash out at the little guy again.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  142. fred

    they should be tested, and also if physically able should be made to do some sort of work, for example, clean up parks and neighborhoods.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  143. Anthony Watkins

    If we aren't going to repeal the drug laws, we should not only enforce this plan, but add it to the tax cuts. if you receive a Bush era, or Obama era tax cut, you should be denied the tax break if you fail a drug test!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  144. Mike

    Does 'public assistance' include my disability resultant from military service? What about Social Security? Illegal drugs are illegal regardless (so is misuse of legal drugs, i.e. Nyquil smoothies), but would this mean a military retiree suffering from Agent Orange exposure, or someone that had a negative reaction to pyridostigmine bromide has to give up thier vices(booze and smokes) completely to keep thier benefits?

    And while we're at it, should we go a step further and say, "If you're doing anything more than 'just getting by' we're cutting you off"? I've only heard it anecdotally, but as I hear it there's a gap between 'need the assistance to get by' and 'I'm living comfortably'.

    And I'll go ahead and add another anecdote: While living in South Carolina, I was told by my gardener (an old man who was literally going door to door to find work) that people buy fruits and vegetables with thier EBT cards, then sell them to the 'farmers' that sell fruits and vegetables as "organic" or "locally grown" at roadside stands. People will always find a way to game a system unless it is so draconian as to be nearly unusable.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  145. Happy Tax Day!

    Sounds good to me, but while we are at it why not drug test every single government employee every single time they draw a paycheck?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  146. Jeffery Foley

    I'm always labled extremely liberal by the folks that know me and I support this 100%. I am upset its not already in place. However one question, What about children who are born to addicted parents? How do we make sure they get something to eat?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  147. Joy Benson

    I agree, Iget housing assistance and will be glad to take a test to keep it. There are so many ppl I know on everything welfare, foodstamps and housing and they sit around all day smoking weed and not really lookn to better themselves. Once we get the public assistance down test for FASFA also. thats free money that people smoking and shooting up. I work hard to take care of my family and still could use alittle help but I cant get anything cause the lazy good for nothings smoking their help up..Test EveryOne!!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  148. Peggy in Dallas, Texas

    The ranks of people "on assistance" has been swelled by the many folks who have lost their jobs as a result of the "crash" of 2008...normal, responsible, skilled people, who cannot FIND jobs, but WANT jobs. YOU could be next, so swallow all your arrogant comments about who people on assistance are.

    The attitude that people on assistance are all druggies and have multiple babies to stay on assistance is certainly unfortunate; that may be true to some degree, but it is not in the majority at this time.

    I say yes, fine, administer the drug tests...along with proof that they are not illegal aliens. And, if someone fails the drug testing, have something to offer for their recovery. If there are funds for the testing, there are funds for puttting something in place to help them.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  149. Robert

    Here is how I look at it. As long as all the laws are met with, "And I will be first to take it", I am for it. What I mean is contrary to popular belief People that smoke Pot also pay taxes. Right now my biggest concern is that the people making the laws need to abide by them. Give the Senate or Congress a drug test tomorrow and see who has to provide Dr notes for chemicals found.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  150. Chris (Louisiana)

    Jack,

    Personally i do believe that there should be some kind of drug testing for government assistance. I'm not saying that everyone out there collecting a check every month is on drugs but the majority of them are. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to ride through the bad part of town, which every city/town has some form of, to see people of all races either sitting on a porch drinking out of a brown bag or hiding around the corner always on the lookout.

    My point being is that we're trying to get people back to work and off of the taxpayers/my dollar so they can contribute to society rather than just take up resources, which if you've watched the news lately, are harder and harder to come by.

    They're going to have to take a drug test to get a job and get a paycheck anyway so whats the difference in requiring them to take a drug test to get a government paycheck? And if they do come back positive, offer them help. If they refuse, then refuse to give them a government paycheck.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  151. Slothbuddha

    If they start denying people assistance for taking drugs, then they should also deny it for people who smoke, drink, are obese, have kids who do poorly in school, or for any other reason that indicates that they make poor decisions. I think it's stupid.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  152. Crystal from Houston

    If all I had to do was pass a drug test to get WIC so I could actually afford formula for my child, well I would be the first one in line. Lets get the people who are obviously on drugs off of welfare and let the people who actually work hard get the help they need.

    Every day you see people with WIC and food stamps that are driving hundred thousand dollar cars; where are they getting the money from?

    I am accountable for children in a high poverty area and most of their families recieve WIC and food stamps and then you see the kids coming in with hundred dollar shoes on every week, and the sad thing is that they do not even have basic school supplies.

    Poverty breeds poverty and just handing out money to someone who is already poor is not helping them it is just showing them that they do not have to do anything to get money, and that is what the children are learning.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  153. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    I'm with you Jack. I don't want to underwrite a welfare drug culture. Many get food stamps and then sell them to get cash to feed their habits. This must stop. People are receiving money from all of us taxpayers to support their families. In return they often neglect their children and care only about their addictions. I'd prefer drug testing and offering them a chance to rehab and get a job.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  154. Ed

    Perfectly reasonable. Extend it, too – Section 8 Housing, Housing Vouchers, Food Stamps, etc. Make it MANDATORY for Drug AND ALCOHOL testing across the board in EVERY STATE.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  155. daphne

    I agree that those receiving public assistance should be drug tested upon application and then randomly.

    Public assistance is intended to be a temporary measure of relief to people in need. Just as recipients of unemployment must document their efforts to gain employment and regain independence, I believe agreeing to drug testing can be another tool to determine their progress toward becoming productive members of society.

    Too often working with the public, I've seen recipients diverting their funds toward drugs instead of valid living expenses.

    Granted, if testing is implemented, the program will require funding, but I also see it as a creator of jobs. The question is: what will be done when a recipient tests positive? Can we offer them rehabilitation in an effort to help them enter recovery and retain their public assistance?

    The initial question is simple, but the follow-up should testing be implemented is extensive. I, for one, think it will be worth it.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  156. John Jacques

    Why not!! Most companies require a test just to be hired. Why not test people who are trying to get my tax dollars for free??

    April 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  157. Cort in Kansas

    Drug testing should absolutely be required for public assistance. Its is not a right for you to get free money from the government. Drugs are illegal still, right? If you want to have kids, sit on your ass, and collect this money, it should not be too much to ask that you be able to pass a urine analysis to receive said money.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  158. oEo

    Sure, give them drug tests. But lets also give drug test to the board of GE before they can get their tax breaks. Or to sports team owners before they can get taxpayer funded new stadiums. And remember, perscribes drugs are still drugs as are alcohol and tabacco.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  159. RezMed

    Great idea. Drug and alcohol testing for SSI and Driver Licenses as well. I am all for it, and I am not a conservative. Many workplaces require regular drug testing. We need to make drug use unacceptable for everyone, not just employees.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  160. lisa

    No this is NOT the thing to do. The reason? Because if people are addicted they will feel even more distraught and likely will ADD to the problem by going to criminal activity and nefarious actions in order to get their fix or what they need. In time we will see more crime as the group who needs their will grow and find more clever ways to go about illegally finding the money in which to get it. There will be a greater chasm between the law abiding citizens and the non law abiding citizens...

    April 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  161. Jon

    Absolutely!!!! I am required to pass a drug test for my job. Individuals receiving public assistance should be required to pass a drug test to receive assistance. Otherwise, it is quite possible that our tax dollars are used for illegal purposes.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  162. John from WI

    I would only support this as long as all the corporations getting government handouts prove that they are always acting in the best interest of the general public. Heck, if we are going to hold the unfortunate to such a standard, then lets hold the fortunate to the same standard.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  163. Mark

    I am for the proposals. There are too many cases of parents who sell or barter their food stamps and use ADC funds to buy drugs while their kids go without.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  164. Mark from Voorhees, NJ

    Yeah, let's have drug tests, and if they are positive for nicotine, cut them off, too. And if their cholesterol is too high, let's get rid of them! And if they don't believe in a specific god, off with their heads! Who is going to pay for all this? Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump. Really Jack.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  165. Alice

    Most people on public assistance aren't on drugs. They're just uneducated. Why don't we take all the money we'll be spending on drug tests (and lawsuits) and put the money into education, where it is really needed.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  166. RK

    The article equates unemployment funds to public assistance (Food Stamps- now called SNAP, Cash, and Medical.) This is not correct. They are completely different programs which are legislated and funded in an entirely different way. I know this because I have received unemployment in 2000 after being laid off then 5 years later I become a Welfare-to-Work program instructor for 5 years. All of my clients were TANF recipients (had a child or were pregnant). Thus, I got to know the criteria and policies very, very well. I COMPLETELY agree with drug testing as countless clients told me that they couldn't pass a drug test to get a job. It wasn't said with shame but just in laughing, matter of fact way. My father worked for the Federal Gov't and was randomly drug tested. Anyone who gets paid with taxpayer dollars(President, Senate, Congress, etc.) should! The only problem I see is the cost of testing and the consequences needed to really work to wake them up wouldn't be seen as the "tough love" that it really is.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  167. Erica

    YES!!!!!!!!!! I had to be clean from drugs for years to be in the military, I have to be clean from Drugs now to maintain my job. I also watched my neighbors, 19 and 20, who had 4 kids (4 different dads too, she was the 20 yr old) sit at home and smoke pot all day, play on their iphones, neither had a job, both collected unemployment and welfare!! So these losers, yes, I will call them exactly what they are, are sitting home, spending my tax money on drugs, great, wonderful! Yet as a veteran it took me over a year to get the VA to help with my college education, and I in no way live above my means, but struggled just to maintain a place to live? This is how our country runs?? Ridiculous. You fail a drug test, no money for you, have kids?? Have the state take them away, your an unfit parent as it is!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  168. Jobi

    Hell Yeah, Test them all !!! And I mean every one of them, For "ANY" Person getting "ANY" Kind of assistance. Maybe We The People who PAY TAXES, Will get to keep a couple of Dollars next year.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  169. Matt

    No. Receiving government services should never be dependent upon giving up one's privacy. Should people have to pass a drug test before the fire department puts out the fire in their house? Should cops only respond to 911 calls from houses where everyone there has passed a drug test? Should people have to give up their privacy be able to use the roads? Open an FDIC-insured bank account?

    And what happens to the country when everyone who ever smokes a joint or drinks a beer is deemed unworthy to be a part of the economy? This is just punitive, hateful and short-sighted.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  170. Linda

    I've always thought this should be done-at the very least for welfare/cash-aid applicants. Some of the money doled out for these programs aren't used for the purpose it was meant to be used for, at least this will "weed" out a few of the problem clients.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  171. Bill

    More tests will require more money outlays.

    However,

    from the behavior of our congress, I strongly suspect there should be drug testing of congress.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  172. Michael in Columbus

    Yes. A government handout, like a drivers license, is not a right but a privilege. You have to allow the government to photograph you if you want a drivers license; let the state drug test you if you want government money. Addicts too often sell their WIC cards for money to purchase drugs. Let's put an end to that.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  173. Ohio Joe

    I agree on testing recipients of public assistance if they have recent drug convictions. No one wants our tax dollars going to drug dealers. There are a few questions that make me cautious though. What organizations are lobbying for these regulations? Do they represent the companies that produce the drug tests? If we test across the board, more of our tax dollars will go to these companies than to the purchase of illegal drugs.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  174. Native American

    What do we do if all that drug testing costs the taxpayers more than it would to give drug addicts public assistance? What will we do when people who can't pass a drug test for public assistance turn to crime instead? People who need help don't just cease to exist because you resent their need for help. Complex problems do not have simple solutions, no matter how much we wish they did.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  175. Bob

    No, unless we start testing politicians who are paid with tax dollars.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  176. Emily

    Individuals will always find a way around this. Fake urine and also many drugs leave your system within a few days time. I agreed it should be done, but done effectively and all loopholes closed

    April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  177. Sebastian

    Jack – I'd rather see an "intelligence" test before people can vote.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  178. Jay

    Ok, so the guy who smokes a joint on the weekend is cut from unemployment or thrown into rehab, but the guy who virtually cashes his unemployment check at the liquor store has nothing to worry about? That makes sense.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  179. John Bowser

    And who is going to pay for all of this drug testing? There isn't enough money in the budget now and you want to pay for drug testing while people go hungry. We need to focus on what is important and leave the common man alone. Now if you want to polygraph Wall Street and the Congress....I'll pay for that.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  180. Jay Ess

    Ohio: Yes, but it should be coupled with strong and effective addiction therapy and counseling, funded by the State in lieu of welfare benefits.

    There's no reason to expect them to "kick the habit" without access to the healthcare and professionals necessary to actually "kick the habit." Know what I'm saying?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  181. Kate

    So we want to test American citizens before we give them aid but we allow illegal immigrants to use our hospitals, schools and public services for free without any questions? Sorry but if they are going to test me for drugs then stop giving free aid to someone who is breaking the law.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  182. Vernon Frazer

    No. It violates our Constitutional rights. In this economy, it implies that people whose unemployment compensation has expired have become criminals. The typical drug test would waste $900 of money that, in this purported fiscal crisis, could be spent more productively. As a former welfare worker, I identified my clients who used drugs and requirede them to attend drug treatment programs or not receive aid. If the testers hired unemployed people and prospective recipients to conduct the tests, they might generate some of the JOBS JOBS JOBS that politicians are piddling away after their election promises. Maybe our politicians should take drug tests. Most of them sound high on something.

    Vernon Frazer

    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  183. Carl Armbruster

    I don't want my tax dollars used to buy drugs but I don't want my tax dollars used to buy twinkies either. Should we test recipients for trans fats also? Seriously though, why give money to welfare recipients ever? You help provide for the most basic needs: food, shelter, and clothing. The shelters can be government-run shelters (create jobs) that are guarded (national guard, army, etc). Food and clothing are provided at the shelters and only at the shelters. You get your monthly assistance by going to the shelter with a government-issued photo id and you pick up your nutritional sustenance (no soda, no candy – remember this is a hand-out) that doesn't include unhealthy foods. Will we waste money with this program? Yes, but in the form of jobs, not in the form of giving money to be used for drugs to welfare recipients.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  184. Robby Bowling

    Are we in denial about everything or has the" political correctness disease" crippled all commonsense. Drug test all the parasites & freeloaders. For that matter test everyone in Government we just might find out the inmates are running the asylum. You screw up your fired, your on you on, its over. God helps those who help themselves.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  185. Charles in California

    We should not drug test. Who is going to pay for the test and rehab? A drug addiction in not an easy thing to stop. So if a mother or father test positive they lose their only income, kids get put into foster care and parents end up living on the street maybe prison. Don't you think this would cost more.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  186. Barbara Griffin

    Yes, I think they should have to have drug tests to recieve assistance. It is a huge waste of taxpayers money for people who are too sorry or lazy to work to use our hard earned money for drugs or alcohol. Mississippi.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  187. jessejames

    Abousolutey,be tested,most people that are getting assistance are so
    strung out they could not hold a job down anyway or don't want to work
    I use to work for an institution that houses low income.When these people pay $150.00 a month for a (3) bedroom and drive nice ESCLADES or HARLEYS how do they support this life style

    April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  188. Mike Mahl

    I would rather see mandatory drug testing for all investment bankers and anyone holding public office. Their conduct has a much greater impact on this country than the behavior of people on public assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  189. Shirley

    Gov't assistance is NOT a career choice!! Recipients should submit to random testing for the duration they receive benefits. Same rules should apply with unemployment. Regardless of race, religon or political beliefs!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  190. Tim

    I feel if you are on government assistance that you are like a child and we the tax payer the parent. If your going to live in our house you are going to follow are rules. I think all government assistance persons should be tested for drugs including alcohol and nicotine. On the other hand if you are productive and a tax payer than prohibition should not exist for you because you can handle your own affairs. Max freedom for producers limited for non-producers

    April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  191. AR Rosary

    Ironic everybody is stating, "TEST THEM, TEST THEM"....but understand it must equally be proportioned. So drug test would need to be administered to EVERYONE at EVERY level (& if we’re in a trillion dollar debt, really where is the logic in doing this ((I’ll play along for a minute though))

    ….so all those companies who received taxpayer money for the bailouts & any who receive any type of funding would need a drug test. Yes this would include CEOs, VPs, upper management, etc….now there is where you would find a SIGNIFICANT amount of cocaine use. Funny that gets swept under the rug a lot, not to mention the disparity between crack & cocaine charges.

    There are some people using public assistance that are avid drug users, but this is not a fair generalization because the majority are not users. If so then everything I said about upper management is valid & they should be held accountable like anyone else......but then again this is America & rules don't apply to people who ride on high horses. Well lets send the memo we're in cars & airplanes now & none of us is above.

    Don't open up a can of worms if your in the dirt already.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  192. abby

    I don't see any problem with drug testing. People have to do it for their jobs, so why not?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  193. Emily

    You should absolutely have to pass a drug test to get any sort of assistance. There's no reason why I should have to pass one to WORK, but people get handouts without having to pass a drug test. Also, if you can't afford to feed and house yourself...then you obviously shouldn't be able to afford drugs which means that the system is being abused if you fail a drug test while claiming you need assistance.

    I also think that women who receive assistance should have to have mandatory birth control (shots or implanted). There's no reason why people should keep reproducing if they can't afford to feed the children they already have.

    I understand not wanting to harm the children, but the children are already being harmed in these situations. In many cases they are just pawns to get more assistance and never benefit from the assistance. If someone truly needs help they would still receive it. We have got to stop this cycle of taking people's responsibility away from them. If you allow someone to be jobless, drug using, baby factories without having to have any responsibility, they're going to.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  194. CSnord -- Phoenix

    Absolutely, States should require people to be clean before receiving aid. The ACLU argument against unreasonable search does not hold up because the search is not compelled - the user has the option of refusing the drug test and the public assistance. There is a quid pro quo, so the search is not unreasonable. Tax money should not be used to support drug habits.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  195. Michael Shea Albuquerque,NM

    As a card carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union I find it repugnant that a worker would be required to pass a drug test before they collect unemployment benefits. They paid into unemployment when they were working. This is not a dole. If we were going to drug test then we should alcohol and tobacco test .

    Both of those drugs cause physical harm and mental harm. the drug war is a joke anyway. Marajuana and other "User Friendly Drugs" should be legalized. Hard drugs should be decriminalized.

    Society is making it harder and harder for people to survive. If you apply for a job and have bad credit you won't be hired. With this down economy I'm willing to bet that three out of four applicants have bad credit or declared some form of bankruptcy.

    Fascism is alive and well in the U.S.A.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  196. JoshA

    Yes, It is a good idea. Force the parents and kids to get drug tested. There is no one forcing them to collect public assistance so the drug testing would be voluntary.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  197. Brian (From Chicago)

    I think so Jack. As a football player in college, I was subject to random drug test all the time. It was just part of the game (if you will) of what you are participating in. If you want unemployment, get clean! I think there should be a 3 strikes and your out system,however, and then you're required to get help. And funding drug rehabilitation is not wasted spending! We want to help people get off drugs to make them better citizens.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  198. Liza Null In Houston Texas

    Oh – and if the Chronicle is any indication of the current state of affairs down at my local police precinct, you might as well go ahead and test every cop on the force, too. Figuring out how to tell 18-year veterans they're being "let go" because they piss dirty should keep you bureaucrats busy enough for awhile to stay off the backs of the poor people whom you've made dependent upon public assistance to begin with. We just buried a 25-year-old young cop who liked to snort a li'l bit o' blow ever' once in awhile.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  199. Doug

    Jack,

    The unemployed are employees of the state with a job description that requires them to search for work. If drug use can disqualify the unemployed from a job position, then it should be well within the right of the state to test its employees, the unemployed, for use of illegal drugs without a prescription.

    Long Branch, NJ

    April 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  200. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    Yes Jack, and I would like to add to the list everyone who collects government welfare money to submit to drug AND alcohol tests..

    People collecting U.S. government money should not be spending any of that GOVERNMENT MONEY (it's not theirs) on drugs or alcohol.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  201. Alvin

    The real recipients of the drug tests should be the elected officials. They are the people that continue to govern our state and federal governments into the ground without doing the very simplest of repairs. They have no checks and balances to oversee them. They impose their own free will and ignore the very core of their election base. They lie, steal and cheat the tax payers and cater to the rich as if they were the only citizens in this nation. When the nation is at its knees finacially, they seek to blame it on the elderly and disabled, knowing fully who really created the problem. I ask you Jack, who really sounds like they are on drugs?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  202. Stephanie

    YES yes yes!!! I think it's ridiculous that I would have to pay my tax dollars to go to someone else who is strung out. We definitely need more restrictions on government aid. I think it's great for the people who legitimately need it but how are we to know that someone really needs it? If you have to have the government help you to survive you shouldn't be wasting your money on drugs. We should also implement something about receiving aid when you have tons of children! Birth control!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  203. josh

    Absolutely NOT! Just because you fail a drug test does not by any means mean you have a drug problem. Pot stays in your system for 30 days cocaine and meth 3 days. I am not willing to deny someone help because they smoked a joint, that is just ludicrous. People in this country really need to learn the truth about drugs and the harm the so called "war on drugs" has on our economy and freedoms. Prohibition is a FAILED tactic. We have much bigger problems to deal with than poor people on welfare. Anyone who believes in this sort of government intrusion does not deserve freedom. I also believe we should ban piss tests in the workplace. because you fail a test at work does not mean you are high at work.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  204. Greg

    No, I don't believe that makes sense. Welfare was put into place to help those who can't help themselves....or won't help themselves....frankly it doesn't matter to me, and it shouldn't to you either. Whether or not they use drugs is not relevant in my opinion. Welfare keeps people fed, it doesn't make people rich. If you deny welfare to those who are on the lowest level of society, you have desperate people who threaten the livelihood of those who are priveleged. It's what separates us from countries like Brazil where there are huge disparities between rich and poor to the extent that the rich are threatened by the poor. It's a matter of national security in my opinion. I don't give a crap if those on welfare are on drugs. Welfare is not bankrupting this country. What is leading us down the road to insolvency is a mixture of an inordinate amount of money spent on defense (over 50% of the TOTAL combined defense spending of all countries in the world) combined with unreasonable public salaries/pensions and general government waste. The cold war is over, and the war on terror is overblown. Time to scale back on defense. And the lack of no new revenues certainly amplifies the problem (we need to cut costs AND raise taxes to the prior level under the Clinton Administration). The budget should not be (and frankly can't be) balanced on the backs of those who can afford it the least

    April 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  205. Liz

    I am 100% for this! Most jobs require that you submit to and pass a drug test. If its necessary to be clean to work hard and make the money why shouldn't it be required to be clean in order to recieve public assistance? The only people who would oppose this would be people afraid of losing the assistance because they are using drugs! I certainly don't want my tax money to support drug usage or people abusing the system in order to get my money.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  206. Eric

    I sure don't want my tax dollars going to support a drug habit...so absolutely drug tests should be required to get state aid. When I discovered that my 16 year old son was addicted to drugs, all money stopped. I put him in rehab and when he came out clean, I sat down with him and explained there will be NO money until I can trust him and that meant random drug tests. When he came up dirty a second time at the age of 18, he was shown the door and told to not come back until he was clean. It took him two years of fumbling around on his own, but he did it. It's called tough love and if I can dish that out to my son, you can bet I'm not going to be happy about my tax dollars supporting a drug addict I don't even know.

    Thanks,
    Eric
    Chicago, IL

    April 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  207. Pierre Angiel

    No, no drug tests. This assistance is for people in trouble,

    Pierre in Miami

    April 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  208. Doug

    A great idea. I'm happy to support PEOPLE in need, including funding rehab, NOT their habit...

    Doug
    Orinda, CA

    April 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  209. Jeff Simmons

    I think that any person, receiving any type of compensation from a government agency should be required to submit to drug testing AND deduct the cost of said tests from their benefits. Unemployment, disability, welfare, food stamps, and health beneftis should come into the umbrella to be tested.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  210. Paul

    Jack what other things don't you want your tax money spent on? Internet porn, booze, prostitutes, junk food. What if they are donating to a terrorist organization or going to strip clubs, getting an abortion? Clearly we must hook every citizen up to a lie dector and take regular samples of bodily fluids, and hair to be sure all is on the up and up. I suggest if you want this kind of world go live in China or Saudi Arabia.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  211. Andrea

    YES, YES, YES!!!! I don't care who you are, your color, how many kids you have, or anything else. The job market stinks and there are a lot of people needing help, well if you are really in a need you wouldn't be able to afford the drugs!! As far as covering the cost of the test look at how many would lose benefits for FAILING the drug test so all in all it would pay for its self! I do receive government assistants because of a disability it is harder for me to find a job but I don't sit around and waste what I do have on drugs, cars, and other expensive things. I have cut my bills down to where they are only 200.00 a month!! If I can go without stuff because I truly need help then others can go without the drugs!

    April 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  212. Matt

    It depends on the type of assistance. Programs like welfare and food stamps should require drug tests. Tax money should not be used to buy drugs, and food stamps can be sold by addicts to buy drugs. But a program like unemployment insurance should not be subject to drug testing. Recipient's employers have paid into this system, and recipients should be allowed to spend this money however they choose.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  213. Donna McGregor

    No, I do not believe in drug tests at all. I am grateful my employer doesn't require them. Now the biggest problem I have with this is that, at least here in Florida, they want the applicants to pay for the tests themselves. As much as $70 per test. If you are applying for welfare, how do they expect you to pay for this when you are already broke?

    April 19, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  214. TPM

    Yes, PLEASE!!! Let's do this NOW.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  215. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Government supports drug addiction under the American with disabilities act and also support drug rehab programs, all paid by taxpayers. 90 day drug rehab programs require drug test and States should be required to drug test people in exchange for public assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  216. annette

    rick scott wants to do this in florida. we have to be drug tested for employment and yes i would agree drug testing those who need public assistance but there is always a way of getting around passing these tests.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  217. W Parmenter

    it's like going to work a condition of employment . Make people work for their hand out . I don't care if their scraping pigeon dung under bridges enough is enough

    April 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  218. dennis in pa.

    yes for welfare, for unemployment not so sure, only if the fired offense was for drug or substance abuse. otherwise i feel it is a violation. i think that since you put into the unemployment insurance then you should get it with out the test. anyone who goes on other types of public assistance it should be required for anyone getting tax payer money. my job made me take a pee test. no test no job. as long as everyone knows the rules then there isn't any problem.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  219. Jay

    Sometimes people who need help have problems with drugs, not giving them help because of that will not make communities and country better. There are many types of public assistance, and reading the comments some people are misinformed. If you force drug tests on people receiving government assistance, drug test elected officials too. Personally I believe marijuana should be legalized in the same way alcohol is.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  220. Steve

    I have to be able to pass a drug test to receive a paycheck from the government after working hard in my military hospital serving soldiers, vets and their family members. I see no reason why anyone else getting a check from the government shouldn't have to do the same. This seems reasonable, fair and in keeping with what soldiers who risk their lives also have to do in frequent unit drug testing.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  221. Shane D

    Absolutely, if you collect welfare, social security disability or any other federaly funded pay you should be drug tested. It wouldn;t be that much to ask if people actually saw what is really going on. also, with drug testing i think anyone on public assistance and their children should be finger printed so the abusers of the system would not be able to collect from multiple areas/states and use friends kids to collect more money. yes it does happen. The welfare system is one of the most corrupt systems our government has.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  222. All For it

    When I read this comment from a fellow New Mexican I was floored. "People on public assistance can't afford drugs!"

    I also live in Albuquerque and know for a fact that most of the people I have known on welfare here happen to be serious drug users as well. Typically Meth. Your statement is false and made it seems without personal knowledge of individuals in that type of situation.

    Society does not deserve to spend hard-earned money paying for the addictive habits of individuals who are interested in nothing more than a free handout.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  223. Wahine

    Youthink Public Assistance costs a lot now? Wait until you see the bill for that PLUS drug testing.
    Anyone who uses any sort of 'public assistance' should be tested: if you use roads, libraries, financial aid, veteran's benefits, courts, etc...AS WELL as gov't officials!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  224. Rose in Rockford, IL

    I think it is a perfectly wonderful idea. Then when we get that passed, let's make sure that anyone receiving government assistance also has to work at something in order to get it...even if it's volunteer work a couple hours a week.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  225. Judy in New Orleans, Louisiana

    I have to pass a drug test to get a job and I have to pass various random drug tests to keep my job. I have to be drug free to get a pay check, why don't the non-productive, non-contributors of society have to be drug free to get my hard earned money via the taxes I have to pay.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  226. John Sharp

    Absolutely not, this will cost the taxpayers a fortune. I am not going to pay for it. This is such a short sighted remedy and an expansion of government.
    Not needed.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  227. Deborah DeVane Sterling, VA

    Hell yes. My husband has to take one for his job. My son has to take one for his job. I've had to take them for every job I ever held. It's about time people who are asking for public funds have to prove they aren't spending it on a bottle, needle, smoke or 'whatever'. Of course... that should go for all those bankers and wall street fat cats who we bailed out with public funds too. Wonder how many of them could pass the coke test.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  228. Nick

    I say no. It seems like a slippery slope to me. Next thing you know, if your overweight you can no longer get food assistance or maybe less food assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  229. Mike

    Yes, they should test for illegal drug use.

    Anybody thats on public assistance (of any kind) should be trying to do the right thing and be clean of illegal drug use.

    Taxpayers should not have to pay them to be on illegal drugs.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  230. Peter Kszystyniak

    How about mandatory drug tests for everyone? Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear.
    Perhaps we could cut down on illegal drug use, track down the suppliers and maybe put the cartels out of business!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  231. Jeremy

    Testing, sure if you include the two biggest drug killers: alcohol and tobacco.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  232. Justin

    They absolutely should, along with recipients of social security, medicare, and any government pension. But then again, wouldn't that be government intrusion into peoples private lives??? Funny how the argument can skew just by adding a few more categories huh?

    April 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  233. KBinMN

    Stand outside a supermarket around the first of the month and you will see why this is needed. People stand outside and trade their EBT cards for cash at 50% of their value. They take the cash and buy drugs. Why should I have to pay for that?

    April 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  234. Barb

    I'm as liberal as they come and I think this is a good idea. Too many people, including a family member, blow the money they earn on drugs, cigarettes,and booze and then expect a handout for food. If you can afford to buy cigarettes, illegal drugs, and booze, you don't need taxpayer help to buy food. Instead you need to readjust priorities.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  235. Tim in Texas

    We can continue to try to deal with the symptoms of the problem in this society, or we can attack the actual problem. The problem is the growing divide between the very wealthy and the lack of upward mobility opportunities for those at the bottom. We need to concentrate efforts on education and job training. Personally, I would suggest that we dump about 10 billion into a national half-time on-line curriculum for grades 1 through 12. Such a curriculum would cut class sizes in half, cut down on the time teachers have to spend on testing & instruction in rote material learning and allow more time for a really innovative curriculum for the face to face classroom time.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  236. Butch

    Forget the Constitution, personal freedoms, etc. Let’s test everyone monthly. . . every adult over the age of 18 should be tested. . not only would we ensure clean employees, those getting government assistance but also a big step forward in the drug war. . we’ll pick up that Constitution thing later!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  237. Steve

    I agree with this concept, and I think taxpayers should give it a chance. It's not discriminatory as the ACLU would have you believe. In fact, any reasonable person would assert that drug abuse is a PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN. The 4th Amendment states that a reasonable suspicion must be present to search someone. Well, it is a reasonable suspicion that a healthy percentage of welfare recipients abuse drugs– the stats prove it; therefore, it is quite logical to suspect that some people on welfare are abusing drugs, and the taxpayer has every right to ensure their money is being spent wisely.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  238. johnny america

    Yes, if the american people are giving money to someone we need to make sure they arent doing illegal things with them. Drug testing is one way to make sure that the money is at least not going to that.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  239. Rick in JP

    Drug testing should only be done if the result will be treatment for addiction. Addiction is a disease that requires and deserves medical intervention.

    That said, it seems that as often as not, the people clamoring for this kind of change to law are the same ones who complain endlessly about their 'oppressive' tax burden and 'out of control' government spending. If this is passed, let's be sure to do a very thorough analysis of what the costs will be before enacting a law. Remember, we'll all be paying for this.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  240. Brandi

    I understand the emotional reaction of many people is to say yes, drug tests should be required. However, that's an issue that will be tied up in court for too long, creating another unnecessary burden on state budgets. However, if it was required that you work a certain number of hours for the state in exchange for your assistance and you fail to show up then you lose your assistance...well, that I could get behind. It would be hard for even the most liberal person to find a way to say that working for assistance is unfair.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  241. Jack from L.A.

    Sure, if they're going to get taxpayer funds, they should submit to testing for illegal drugs. And while we're testing, we should test to see if they're good parents. And we should find out how they're going to spend that money. What if they were spending it on unhealthy food? They shouldn't be able to do that. It will make them less healthy and we will have to pay for their health care because of their poor choices. And we should also make sure they're not drinking too much. And I'd hate to think my hard-earned taxes were being used for poor choices in entertainment. I think a 25" TV is plenty, I don't want some slacker using my taxes to buy a 50" flat screen. And while we're checking, make sure they're driving a sensible car - otherwise they might as well be depositing money in al-Qeada's Christmas Club account.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  242. Carolyn

    At first glance, one would say yes. However, there is not a good way to do this. Children of these persons would be hurt by this law. Also, many people were not raised as we were and simply have not had anyone to help them be different than the way they are. As a civilized country we should not deny them benefits.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  243. Austin

    No, there are too many inherant problems involved, and not just with the logistics of carrying out such an endeavor.
    What constitutes "failed"? How and what type, specifically, of test would be conducted?
    Doing so, in any case would cause people to loose their dignity and also their privacy as well; any prescription medicines that came up in the test (ie narcotics, etc) would need to be explained and proven by the person tested...Just because someone "passes" a test at some point in time, like before being handed a job or benefits dosent mean, at all, that they will not after the fact (unless if its random)....in the states where it is random....how on earth would that possibly be enforced???
    In the job, the randomness is because you're at work, at a fixed location.....someone un-employed or a young mother receiving assistance isnt necessarily at a convenient location all the time......would a "fail" be given by default if she happens to be out of town, out of state visiting relatives? many people in this situation have no car....would the children be required to test as well when they reached an age? All this is VERY intrusive....
    Some things t0 think about, and I have more but I will spare the details to a largely un-sympathetic and ignorant population here....

    April 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  244. NWM

    As a prosecutor, I fully support legislation that would terminate public assistance for anyone convicted of a felony crime. We as tax payers are subsidizing the careers of many repeat offenders. I have seen this over and over again in my career. Drug traffickers, child abusers, rapists and violent offenders who are receiving public assistance while living off of public assistance.
    I also agree that if you are receiving public assistance, you should be subject to random drug tests. If you are so poor that you need tax payer money, thaen you are too poor to spend it on drugs!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  245. Mike from Mississippi

    Yes, I think they should be tested for illegal drugs before and during the time that they are getting public assistance.

    Its our tax dollars and its not for supporting their illegal drug habit.

    If they want to do the right thing, then they should get clean and remain clean.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  246. John in WV

    I've been suggesting this for years. As a health professional, I see this issue come up on a daily basis in the hospital. People can't afford to pay for health insurance or food for their kids but they can buy iPods, narcotics, and two packs of cigarettes per day? Please, stop being a waste of life and everybody's tax dollars.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  247. JRC_Gainesville

    It's the libertarian response to the continuing entrenchment of the nanny state: If someone else is going to pay for your wellbeing, that someone else in turn gets to put conditions on how you are going to live.

    Sounds good to me...

    April 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  248. Roy

    Ok...if we are going to Drug test everyone that receives "public assistance", we should start with the executives and senior staff in the financial industry. The taxpayer bailout and other corporate welfare amounts to billions of dollars in "public assistance". Many of those guys are addicted to drugs and were responsible for the worst economic crisis since the depression. Let's start there.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  249. Doug Clark in Indiana

    They absolutely should test for drugs! That should include professional athletes though too. If these so-called professionals are testing positive, then they don't deserve to be making millions of dollars and setting a disgusting example for children. Teach them that "if you do drugs" you are OUT OF A JOB! especially in professional sports.
    As far as goverment aid goes, they need to also put a CAP on how many illegitament children these baby mill moms have. Discourage poor human habits of bearing mutiple children without being able to provide for them "YOURSELF" without public aid. Traditional families and our systems cannot afford them any longer!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  250. Viktor

    When you shut of an addicts source (cash) to get drugs it leads to bigger worries, that addict will simply turn to crime and it will cost the the system more to keep them in a jail cell, worse it could cost innocent lives in robberies and burglaries. Tax payers money would be better spent if recipients of public assistance were required to put in 40 hours a week cleaning street, highways and going to government run classes to train them for public sector jobs. To then qualify for a respectable public sector job they will be tested. This method might restore self respect and a sense of purpose to an addicts life and in return get them to seek help with their drug issues. Having an open communication with their classroom teachers or on shift supervisors with no penalties for coming out and being honest about their issues would help increase the success rate.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  251. holly

    My only question with this legislation would be if there is a "loophole" if the person is receiving support for their child(ren). There is no guarantee that said person would not use that money for drugs. However, the children should not be punished there either. I think it would be more effective to require those couples to be on birth control while receiving assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  252. Korny

    It is foolish, since many dont have access to health care they will self medicated themselves.
    It could be drinking to reduce cronic pain to taking cocain to battle depression.
    They are opening up a can of worms here...

    April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  253. Greg Penn

    Drug addicts shouldn't be able to eat or have a place to live? The kids of drug addicts should not have even the slightest chance at food or shelter? This is another attempt to divide the country on a ridiculous issue. This is just more of the same welfare myth that is always popular with politicians during an election, but really serves no purpose in reality.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  254. Jim in Oklahoma

    If it's been brought up its likely an issue that needs to be addressed. There is no reason for the already overburdened tax payers to pay for someone elses illegal substance abuse. We already pay for them again and again when we send them through the legal system not to mention through the pain and suffering from ruined lives dealing with their side effects. This step is what I hope will be the beginning of the real war on drugs here in this country. A war that brings the consequences to the abusers as it never has before.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  255. Kris

    Why stop at those that need assistance. Let's not forget about those that use the government all the time yet are not considered assisted... How about we drug test all the CEOs and their staff prior to giving them major contracts/handouts/bailouts. Let's not forget our friendly businesses that are associated with our military.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  256. birddog in Mississippi

    Drug testing costs a lot of money, and what do you do with the people who test positive. Seems to me that they would just end up on the streets. I'd suggest instead that we stop allowing food stamps to be used for stuff that has no nutritional value, offer more treatment opportunities, and give people some community service work to do in return for public assistance – at a good rate of 'pay'. Such work might eventually provide a pathway to a job, particularly if people who did a good job in that service were then 'promoted' to job training – which would also be done in return for public assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  257. Queen (Utah)

    I think that they should be tested for every drug except weed. Being on public assistance is so stressful that you need something natural to calm your nerves.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  258. Nik

    Yes, why should we pay tax's to help buy someone drugs....If they didn't buy the drugs they may have money to buy food.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  259. Susan from Idaho

    When an individual enters into a public assistance facility, they should be greeted by a phlebotomist. There goes the fan club for the handouts.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  260. dj

    Dj from Reno says:

    There is no good reason why anyone seeking financial assistance from the government should NOT be tested for drugs. Yes it will cost more, bur this will be offset by those who fail and don't receive assistance.

    It will also inspire people to get their act together.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  261. Sally in Texas

    So it would be ok if these folks were using alcohol, but not pot? Prescription drugs like oxy, but not heroin? We're so screwed up.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  262. Gary Boughman

    I am all for requiring those recieving public assistance to pass drug tests. However, you are asking the wrong question. Why are the members of congress, the supreme court justices and the president not subject to random drug testing? It would seem that they should be held to at least as high a standard as airline pilots, truck drivers, and workers in our nuclear power industry. And, after all, they are recieving public assistance.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  263. Too Funny

    Why not add medicare recipients, people who get a tax refund, military retirement and federal retirees to the list?

    April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  264. mike

    I used to be in middle management at a state job here in NY. We all received drug testing info. Then, all the managers had a seperate seminar and I attended. It was quite irronic to me that the powers that be just assumed the only people possibly using illegal drugs on the job were the subordinates. I sat in the room with other managers fully knowing that several of them were users. But, when you work at a state job here in NY, you are treated like the criminal you are assumed to be.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  265. Chris in WI

    How about we save even MORE money and stop putting people in jail for something that should not be illegal in the first place.

    Keep the government out of my body, my mind, my soul, and my urine!

    If I do something wrong by all means piss me, but until then stay out of MY business.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  266. Dariel, Santa Rosa, CA.

    If you required drug testing for public assistance, you may find about 50% less recipients that are eligible the first year, and 25% less drug addicts by the end of the second.

    Most addictions result in no ambition and a lot of wishful thinking and as long as they can feed their addiction, they will not move forward.

    God save their children.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  267. professorcastillo

    Not unless they are also going to require drug tests of all elected and appointed officials, who are also paid with taxpayer dollars. Also, we need to drug test the CEOs of all corporations that get government contracts or subsidies. Everyone who gets an agricultural subsidy. Why pick on the least, and not those who are getting the most?

    April 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  268. VeganDude

    Yes. Requiring drug tests is the way to go. No one on drugs should have a right to the product of my own labor.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  269. bam

    100% they should be especially those addicted to the drug marijuana.
    fat lazy and high is not how u get a job

    April 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  270. Chris from Utah

    I don't have a problem requiring drug tests, but I also believe we should make resources available for people who need help kicking the drug habit.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  271. Mark

    What about people who use alcohol? This is the most damaging drug used in our society – more deaths, illness, violence. etc. Because it is legal does that make it OK or somehow harmless in the work place. Is it ok to give assistance to active alcoholics and deny it to someone using pot medicinally? The whole idea simply doesn't make sense and will hurt children and those suffering from illness.
    please think before you leap.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  272. Ed S.

    Of course, this is something that should be required. Seriously, you have to get a drug test for a job, why not government assitance. I also believe they should do random drug testing. If you fail a test, then your assitance should be canceled, you should be sent to a recovery program, and then apply again. This would be after you have and show proof of completion of a recovery program.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  273. Kristi

    If I am required to pass a drug test in order to become employed, then you should have to pass a drug test in order to get unemployment pay or any other welfare pay for that matter. I was on food stamps for several years and I wouldn't have minded at all if I was asked to take a drug test. And now that I'm a fully employed taxpayer, I expect my money to be put to good use.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  274. Myra Daigle-Palmer

    Most definitely, YES!!! There are too many people out here who need help but because sooo many people are already getting public assistance they are denied. Many of these that are already on spend their time popping out babies or loafing around drinking their beer and using their drugs while those who really need the help cannot get it!!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  275. Jason, NY

    You know whats funny? most of the people opining on the subject here, probably don't even pay a dime of income tax. So of course they think its a bad idea to test people who recieve assistance, their money isn't going toward it.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  276. dave c

    No, but they should be mandatory for all public officials, especially those thqt come up with assinine, bullying -the-poor ideas like this.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  277. Mark Woodhams

    Absolutely! Why should my money go to support their drug habit! We need to change the culture in this country. Get the people off welfare and drugs and be productive members of society.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  278. Doug Clark in Indiana

    They absolutely should test for drugs! That should include professional athletes though too. If these so-called professionals are testing positive, then they don't deserve to be making millions of dollars and setting a disgusting example for children. Teach them that "if you do drugs" you are OUT OF A JOB! especially in professional sports.
    As far as goverment aid goes, they need to also put a CAP on how many illegitament children these baby mill moms have. Discourage poor human habits of bearing mutiple children without being able to provide for them "YOURSELF" without public aid. Traditional families and our systems cannot afford them any longer!
    This can't violate 4th amendment rights, this isn't a drug test chosen at random to a random person. This is a prequalifying drug test to get a paycheck provided to them by actual hard working taxpayers. A great mojority of us had to drug test for our jobs and so should they!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  279. Chris

    HECK YEAH! If I need to pass a drug test to work, they should be required to pass a test to live off my tax dollars! As a matter of fact, all adults in their houshold should have to pass a drug test too!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  280. Ian Jellico

    Yes, that is a perfect legitimate request. You want my money? You need to prove to me that you are responsible enough to use it appropriately.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  281. Ed Manley

    Writing from Birmingham AL.
    What will you do with those who fail the drug test, as so many will? Kick them out of assisted housing? Stop food assistance for their kids? Don't test until you have an answer.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  282. Kris K

    Heck yes! Why not drug test those on public assistance AND those who are getting unemployment? We should have a zero tolerance policy for those on assistance. However, anyone out of work alrady has a history of working and has paid into the system for unemployment. Those out of work should not be cut off.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  283. Clint

    No. Drug addiction is a disease. It should be treated like any other disease. In addition, people on public assistance also have a right to privacy. Drug testing should only be legal for people who do a job which it would be dangerous to do under the influence. (Like doctors, pilots, ect.)

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  284. Abby

    As someone who has worked in social services as a licensed masters social worker, I think it is an excellent idea. I would say that a majority of the 10's of thousands I have worked with over the past 11 years would fail a drug test at some point during the time they receive food stamps, TANF and medicaid.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  285. Mark

    Yes, if you don't want the test then don't ask for my money. I also think we need to control the foods being bought with public assistance. A mother should not be permitted to buy junk food for herself or her children. In the end the healthcare costs also fall on my map. I totally support welfare but we need to make some changes in what we provide and how it can be spent.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  286. Ian in Corvallis

    Hard drugs like crack, PCP and heroin are out of your system in a couple of days so lets call it what it is and call it marijuana testing.

    The real problem here is the cheap tests (~40-100$) are easy to beat. The more expensive tests are not feasible on this scale. While the idea sounds nice in reality it is not accomplishing anything. Of course politicians don't base things on reality so it will likely get passed.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  287. Victor

    No. What world do you live in? A number of people who need public assistance are drug abusers. Many, not by choice but due to poverty and a degraded life. Pair assistance with rehab. Do you really think a drug addict is acting through choice. Try stopping smoking!!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  288. Chris

    No way Jack! Just because someone has a drug problem doesn't mean they do not require these services to survive. I agree that more rehab and education is needed to prevent and stop these issues from occurring to begin with. Besides, how would they regulate alcoholics on this "proposed" program?

    April 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  289. Randy

    Jack, as a member of a union here in NJ, I am frequently on and off unemployment my union brothers rely on these benefits to fill the gaps in our weeks off. I would have no problem drug testing in order to continue or initiate govt benifts, after all how are these individuals supposed to get off govt assistance if they couldnt pass a drug screening which is required these days by almost all employers.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  290. Daniel in California

    I think that it is a wonderful idea. If I am required to take one to even be considered for a job and then possibly tested periodically to make sure that I am staying clean on that job then I think that someone asking to be supported by the state should do the same.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  291. Lisa L.

    Yes. I think that people should be drug tested because those on public assistance are selling their public assistance (Food Stamps) for drugs in North Carolina and why give them assistance for children when everybody else will eat except the children who the assistance is for in the first place.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  292. george welk

    Great idea...just make sure that all who get government money get placed in the pool for random tests.......includes all who get AG subsidies, all who get tax increment financing, all who receive grants, all social security recipeints, all who get government paychecks, including congress ....get the picture?

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  293. James in Oklahoma City

    Yes. There are many instances when recipients of unemployment and welfare misuse the benefits afforded to them to partake in drug use, mainly marijuana. I have received both benefits, and I believe that it is fair to say if we give you these benefits, then you must remain drug free and available to receive gainful employment.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  294. Frank Free

    Yes. People who do not want to help themselves – stay sober and drug free – do not deserve our help and my tax dollars.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  295. Richard

    NO!!! This could be one of the bigger mistakes in history and let me tell you that is a big mistake. Let us say that a family is on state assistance and they have a small baby. Sure they should be good parents and not do drugs but thruth is some are not and that could be the only money that family spends on food, clothes, diapers, or on the child alone. I think you get my point and I really don't get a say on what happens to my money once the government gets it anyway so who cares.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  296. Blake Green from Texas

    The government can drug test people who receive welfare if it does the same for CEO's when they ask for a bailout.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  297. Anne Houston

    Will alcohol be included? I say go for it– the data might just disprove some of the worst prejudices against the unemployed. I'd add this, drug test corporate executives - I don't want my hard-earned investments run by alcoholics and drug addicts (even when the drugs are prescribed but abused). Also my unemployed but clean and sober husband might get put ahead of some applicants, even though he has been unemployed over six months - maybe even for a job that will pay enough to cover the cost of a home health aide to assist me ($8/hr doesn't do that).

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  298. Katie

    This is the best idea I have heard in years!!! Absolutely should be a top priority for all states and the federal government...... NOW!!!

    April 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  299. Marilyn Gabler

    In Texas if people have been in prison they are not elgible for Social Security when they get out. I don't see why drug testing to receive any other government assistance should be treated any differently. Further, in the case of unemployment, the payments should cease and the potential employer should immediately call the police. Drug abusers are criminals.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  300. Rise Hill

    I don't believe in welfare under any circumstances. All welfare is doing is rewarding lazy people by giving them money for giving birth to lots of children which is causing a population explosion of idiots and the cycle goes on. Look at the difference between the recent disaster in Japan and hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The Japanese people helped each other & treated each other with respect. The high percentage of welfare recipients layed around waiting for someone to come and get them. People will never begin to better themselves if they continue to get support from the government which we pay for. The budget could probably be balanced if welfare was suspended.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  301. Randy

    I think that drug testing should be mandatory for all new public state and federal employees as well as those who are unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits. It should be mandatory because I believe that most workplace violence occurs due to people who are using drugs in some way, shape or form. Sudies have shown that people who are taking drugs tend to be more violent people and less trustworthy employees. This would make our workplaces more safe and secure if all employers required people who are potential candidates to undergo some type of drug testing for employment screening in order to ensure that we have a safe workplace for all who have families and are employed at a company.

    April 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm |