Patch Asks: Should Welfare Recipients Be Drug Tested To Receive Benefits?

Food Stamp applicants would be required to enter job training programs under bill under consideration by legislature.

The Georgia legislature is considering enacting a bill that would require welfare recipients submit to drug testing to receive benefits.

Versions of the bill passed both in the Georgia House and the this week.

Supporters say if applicants are on drugs, they won't be good stewards of the taxpayers' money that funds welfare.

Opponents say it's likely to be challenged and note a federal judge struck down a similar initiative in Florida, WABE reported Friday.

The measure has garnered national attention and even international headlines as far away as India.

Meanwhile, legislators in Wyoming rejected a similar bill that would have required drug testing for benefits.

A separate bill under consideration by the Georgia legislature would require food stamp recipients enroll in job training programs as a condition of receiving benefits.

Better Georgia, a non-partisan political group, opposes the drug testing measure.

"It's singling out one group of Georgia residents and making them a special group," Bryan Long, Better Georgia's executive director, told East Atlanta Patch.

Lawmakers should be focused on things that would spark job creation, not targeting the jobless, Long said.

Better Georgia plans to send urine-testing cups to state lawmakers within a week to underscore that they, too, receive taxpayer money.

If legislators feel drug testing is critical, they should lead by example, he said.

The organization conducted a survey of 806 registered Georgia voters and found:

  • 79 percent support testing elected officials and senior appointed officials
  • 66 percent support testing CEOs of corporations that get tax credits or government contracts
  • 64 percent support testing welfare recipients and unemployment recipients

"If they’re wanting accountability, start with those in power and start testing them and then you can start including other people to test," Long said.

What do you think? Should welfare recipients be drug tested as a condition of receiving benefits or are they being singled out unfairly?

Victor Cooper March 09, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Love what Better Georgia plans to do.
S4m March 09, 2012 at 04:38 PM
100% test all of them. People paying the taxes that go to welfare have to be tested to get their jobs, so why not make the people receiving the free handouts get tested?
Greengirl March 09, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Being tested by your employer for a job (that you can choose to take or not) is not the same as being tested by the government for necessary government services. I don't think we need to give these political fools any more control over our lives. This disastrous policy was instituted in Florida under Gov. Scott (who owns drug testing facilities no less) and was found to be costly and inefficient. Less than 2% tested positive and the savings for those 2% was no where near the cost of the testing, which tax payers foot the bill for. This is not about fiscal responsibility as the testing cost more than the savings. This is instead about the right continuing to demonize the poor. Also the law in Florida was halted under judicial order and is costing more in legal fees for the taxpayers to defend this law even though it will likely be ruled unconstitutional. Once again this is just Republicans wasting time on non issues that will only cost taxpayers more money and involve the government further into our lives when they should be focusing on real economic solutions.
Tank March 09, 2012 at 05:06 PM
If we have a budget surplus and can identify extra funds to pay for the drug testing, then sure....test away. Or if the cost of the tests can be paid for in benefits withheld from positive tests (which hopefully would make the person clean-up and reapply). Otherwise, let's focus on spending our tax dollars in a more responsible manner than on misinformed partisan legislation...
Bryan Long March 09, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Better Georgia believes accountability starts at the top, with those in power. Send a pee cup to Gov. Deal! http://bettergeorgia.com/2012/03/08/send-gov-deal-a-pee-cup-dont-drug-test-georgia-residents/
dorothy buono pirzad March 09, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Good behavior, morality, bad choices, poor lifestyles can't be legislated. The self righteous, better than thous should put their energy into wiping out poverty and the inequalities in our society which would greatly decrease crime and violence . The fact is that a large amount of the ripping off happens in the administration of these programs. Let's start by testing all welfare administrators, then caseworkers, then judges and so on, how about police ? They are all paid with tax dollars. Of what value is it to have a large part of our society stuck in poverty, unable to fulfill their potential as human beings on a level playing field ?
Kirkwood Resident March 10, 2012 at 03:36 AM
So who pays for the drug testing? Oh, the poor people on welfare can pay monthly fees. Sounds like a great plan. How about we all get drug tested every time we get a tax break from the government? Since that money could have been used as tax revenue, then if you get a tax break you should be tested to make sure you don't use that tax break for cocaine. In reality, the cost to operate and maintain a drug testing program for welfare will end up costing taxpayers more than the people it catches or prevents.
Péralte Paul (Editor) March 10, 2012 at 10:34 AM
This comment has been removed for TOS violations.
Paul M. March 10, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Definitely test those lawmakers and CEOs receiving funds.
S4m March 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I'm pretty sure those evil CEOs, police officers, and firefighters (that get paid with our taxpayer money) DO get drug tested to get their jobs.
Bryan Long March 13, 2012 at 06:26 PM
CEOs of private or publicly traded companies may or may not be required to take a drug test for employment. But if Gov. Deal decides that some Georgia residents should take a test to receive government benefits, then I'm confident he won't mind being the first to take a drug test and then extending his policy to the executives who receive government tax credits and contracts. That way their will be no doubt.
matiri March 19, 2012 at 06:50 PM
As a recovering addict who received gov. benefits I can tell you that most addicts know exactly how to beat a drug test. Because this bill alows those that fail the test to reapply after retaking and passing a drug test, the effect on drug users will be minimal. Also, the benefits received are hardly a windfall and most recipients can barely afford to buy toilet paper much less drugs. Welfare is definitely not an adequate replacement for a steady job. Many of those that do lose their benefits will resort to illegal activities to supplement their income and feed their habit which will lead to higher costs in our judicial, legal, and penal systems (there goes that savings). And the job training program mentioned in the bill, while well intentioned, does no good without jobs to train for. We can thank the same group that wants this bill passed for that. The solution is to stop treating the symptoms and begin eliminating the causes for drug use and the issues that make welfare necessary.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something