Should welfare recipients be drug tested?
Welfare recipients should not be drug tested due to various reasons. Firstly, testing people to provide to them aid is unconstitutional. According to the constitution, the welfare is set aside to provide a reprieve to the poor citizens. Therefore, imposing the law of them being tested first is tantamount to discriminating them in a bid to deny them their right. Moreover, testing them infringes on their Fourth Amendment Right that protects them from unreasonable search and seizure. Being poor does not establish a reasonable suspicion or reason that one is a regular user or reliant on drugs. Additionally, for such a test to be imposed or one is searched, they must willing give consent. However, relying on welfare for survival is not deliberate but because of lack of choice. Hence, to conduct these drug tests is tantamount to infringing on one’s constitutional rights.
Secondly, testing for drugs of these individuals does not work and only results in high costs. Testing of these people operates on the assumption that they use the welfare they receive on drugs. In states that have already begun utilizing this law, it has seen them spend considerable amounts of taxpayers’ money, only to find a negligible number of recipients. For instance, Utah used about 65,000 dollars and only caught twenty-nine people. The process, therefore, points to a high wastage of money on an exercise that proves not worth all the funds poured into it.
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Thirdly, recipients of welfare do not use more drugs compared to other individuals receiving government relief or reprieve. Pushing for such a law is an assumption that the poor are potential drug users. However, researchers have sufficiently proven that the poor do not use more drugs as compared to other people but spend their money on basic needs such as food and clothes. Therefore, the suspicion is unfounded. Additionally, it brings about unfairness because not only poor people benefit from government benefits. For example, citizens that take up home mortgages benefit from government deductions amounting to 70 billion dollars yearly. However, they are not subjected to any drug tests. Henceforth, if the aim of this law was to ensure the government’s funds do not fuel bad behavior, individuals benefiting from government’s welfare, deductions or tax credits among others should receive the same treatment.
Fourthly, conducting drug tests among these people may elicit a reduction in drug use but does not help those reliant on the drugs. Individuals who rely on welfare are likely to avoid the use of narcotics. Nevertheless, to those caught with drugs in their systems, refusing to provide welfare to them that they greatly need does not deal with this problem, as drug addicts require the services of a rehabilitation center to wean them off the drugs. Thus, kicking them off the program only sees the problem continue.
Instituting mandatory testing affects children of the poor. A high percentage of persons that benefit from the welfare are children. Enacting the drug test is likely to affect the children of a drug abuser significantly. If their beneficiaries are caught with drugs in their systems; they are denied welfare that in turn increases the suffering of these children more than necessary as they are made to pay for their parents’ mistakes.
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