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Debate: Welfare drug testing

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Should welfare recipients have to take mandatory drug tests?

Background and context

In 1999 the state of Michigan was the first government within the United States to implement a drug based screening procedure for welfare recipients in certain "target areas", most in surrounding neighborhoods of Detroit. The goal of the project, and keynote of the debate, is the desire to minimize or streamline state fiscal spending on social services in areas that arguably lack necessity. The popular notion is that welfare recipients shouldn't need public spending to help sustain their addiction. Rather it is opinioned that those funds would be better spent towards actually assisting the recovery of the addiction.

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Would drug screening (random or mandatory) decrease public spending on social services?

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Yes

Welfare spending would either decrease or at least be utilized more effectively to assist those who really want to make life improvements. It would of course remove the taxpayer as the crutch of the addict. The goal of any social service should have the betterment of the community as it's focus. Many social service abuses would cease or be significantly reduced as a result and the one's who really need the help but are also trying to get off assistance would be more equipped to do so. It should be noted that startup costs would be intensive but the savings to the State would be monumental. The end goal would at least minimize abuse of the system and taxpayer resources. Addicts who really need welfare assistance would potentially reduce or reform their habits out of necessity to survive. In the end it's better for the community and for the user.





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No

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Is mandatory drug screening an invasion of privacy?

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Yes

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No

Individuals maintain their right to privacy. They don't have to submit to drug testing. They would have to submit to drug testing ONLY IF they requested access to public assistance. The State should have a zero tolerance policy toward drug use coupled with welfare. I personally do not want my tax money going to support a crack addict's habits. I would rather my money support the people who really need it and are more likely to contribute back into the system once they get on their feet again. Keep in mind the individual will at all times maintain the right to refuse the drug test without fear of criminal prosecution but will have to keep in mind that they have to pay their own way through life if they would like to utilize drugs.

Additionally, in most States, the government already dictates how the food stamps are utilized. You cannot use them to pay for beer and cigarettes. Is that an invasion of privacy too? The 'invasion of privacy' argument is a trap door that could inadvertently lead to food stamps being used to pay for lottery tickets. Public funds are not a matter of an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy. This is the government's proposed screeing process to approve people for public funds. It is no different than civil service requirements for drug screening. It's not a matter of privacy in the private sector so why would it be in the public sector?





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Yes

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No

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