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PUBLIC OPINION > Welfare Recipients Should Take Drug Tests

News 2012/04/23 23:00:00
Georgia recently became the third state to require drug testing for welfare recipients. Michigan passed a similar law, but it was ruled unconstitutional in 2003. Florida also passed a law, but federal lawsuits are holding it up in court. Opponent organizations like the ACLU are already threatening to take action against Georgia's law, set to go into effect on July 1, but we wanted to know how the public feels about it.



Despite legal complications in the past, the vast majority of voters are fine with the drug tests. In fact, they think it's a good idea. It's easy to read the law as an attack on benefits in general, but most people agree it's a fair measure that private employers use all the time. The Top Opinion wrote, "I have to take random tests to receive my paycheck. Why can't welfare recipients do the same to get their paycheck?"

Leniency From the Left

Progressives and liberals were two of the only demographics to side against the measure. It might seem odd that government intervention would be embraced by the right and rejected by the left, but welfare is already a relatively liberal concept, and some see the test as a way of scaling back government aid. Plus, liberal note that welfare can be issued in the form of food stamps. However, moderates mostly sided with conservatives on this one.

No Complaints From the Unemployed

Surprisingly enough, unemployed voters agreed with the majority -- 77% of them think welfare applicants should be tested for drug use. Granted, it would only affect unemployed people who also do drugs, but it was an interesting statistic nonetheless. Part-time workers seemed a lot more concerned about it. Maybe because they aren't job hunting...

Smokers Sign Off

Obviously, we can't ask users if they do drugs. The closest thing we can come to is inquiring about legal substance use -- smokers and drinkers, in particular. Maybe they're a little more likely to empathize with addiction. But here, too, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Georgia's laws. It's not looking good for drug addicts on welfare.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about drug testing and welfare. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • lonewolf 2012/04/23 23:48:27
    lonewolf
    +14
    yes they should. people have to be drug tested to get a job and some have random drug test to keep a job. i know some people need welfare and i have no problem with that. but you have those that are just to damn lazy to work and that's the problem.

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  • Kit_Kat 2012/04/25 03:36:52
    Kit_Kat
    +4
    so many people on welfare(not all) are low life scum that dont deserve a penny. its about time something be done about it
  • Grammar... Kit_Kat 2012/04/29 20:16:43
    Grammar Freak
    There are some who are "low life scum," it's true. However, many are definitely not. In fact, the percentage of drug users in the welfare system is phenomenally lower than the percentage of drug users in the general population. Of course, being a drug user does not necessarily qualify someone to be "low life scum." There are plenty of "low life scum" who do not use drugs & I have never heard of a good filtering system to weed them out of any program, agency or organization, private or public.

    It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly judgmental people are toward others.
  • Kit_Kat Grammar... 2012/04/30 01:58:10
    Kit_Kat
    Your just as judgemental man. Everyone is, and if you say your not, your just a liar.
  • Grammar... Kit_Kat 2012/04/30 10:01:53
    Grammar Freak
    True. However, someone has to show me some substantial evidence for me to think that he/she is any one thing or another.
    The general idea that there are people who use drugs does not cause me to judge them as good or bad or upstanding or "low life scum." Evidence of deplorable behavior would certainly do that, but knowledge of drug use would not. Believe me, Honey, there are loads & loads of wealthy drug users & loads of wealthy "low life scum."

    I guess it's a matter of age... once a person has lived a few decades, he/she hopefully sees enough of life to know the difference between between being poor & being scum or the difference between being wealthy & being a good person. There is no link between socioeconomic status & quality of character.
  • Kdog McPot 2012/04/25 03:28:02
    Kdog McPot
    +4
    You conservatives talk about the government should stay out of our business? What the hell do you think this is? I swear some of you people have zero brains. I suppose you've never heard of anything called the 4th amendment? You know that tricky little law of illegal search and seizure. I myself have never taken a welfare dime. But I believe people have the right to privacy whether you or I like it or not. That is what makes America different from every other country in the world. Repeat after me...4th Amendment.
  • stl.sha... Kdog McPot 2012/04/26 14:22:13
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    Amendment IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I think you're misreading that a little. If the law is put into effect, people who receive welfare can "opt-out" of the drug test by not accepting welfare anymore. About 5 years ago, I got laid off from my job and while trying to find another, I got food stamps. If I was told I'd have to submit to a drug test to get them, it would have been my decision.

    I agree with the drug testing, to a point. I would would gladly donate my time & money for more options, such as: daycare, career training, housing, etc for people who want to get ahead, instead of just handing them a check. It's the whole "Teach a man to fish" concept. Who knows? After getting back up on their feet, some of these people might even re-invest in the same assistance options and help even more people in the long run.
  • Grammar... stl.sha... 2012/04/29 20:23:31
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    Your response does not refute Kdog's. It does, in fact, re-enforce it. It says that if there is no probable cause, the government has no right to search. Just simply applying to a government-sponsored program is not justifiable cause to search... particularly one's body.

    I do, however, agree strongly with the "teach a man to fish" concept. It is implemented in most states already though.
    At this moment, our nation has high unemployment & is in a very deep economic pit. So, it is only natural that we have higher numbers in our welfare systems. Those numbers will go down again when the economic situation levels out & employment goes back up.
  • stl.sha... Grammar... 2012/04/30 04:12:52
    stl.shamrock
    I wasn't trying to refute Kdog's reply, per se. His response was valid to a degree, as was mine. I believe people who receive money from the government should follow the government's rules (ie: don't use drugs). The big question is: does the government have the right to test people for no reason? No, they really don't. But, in the spirit of fairness, would it be fair if I were sitting at home smoking pot and getting a check from the government when others are working for a living and being forced to random drug tests? I would say it's not.

    Notice how I didn't say everyone, or even a large percentage of people on welfare, are doing drugs? I don't that they are, but there are a few people who abuse the system. "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

    The funny thing is, I'm against the government meddling in the lives of citizens but, there's not a black or white answer to the problem. It's either all or nothing. Knot_Rich, who posted below me, has a possible solution. At least, it makes more sense than just "random" testing.
  • Grammar... stl.sha... 2012/04/30 10:14:25
    Grammar Freak
    But fair isn't really the point is it? I mean, most of life is not fair. We cannot change that fact.
    The Constitution is, however, very important & I don't think there is an amount of money that is worth usurping it.

    Consider this: There are so many already wealthy individuals who receive governemnt subsidies, grants, various tax write-offs & loopholes, etc. & are never asked to take a test. They fleece our nation of far larger, much more substantial sums than some poor schmucks who don't have a pot to piss in. Why is our dander raised so high when someone poor puts his fingers in our pockets but the wealthy have their whole hand, up to their elbow in some cases, & we don't bat an eye?

    Look, there is going to be a certain amount of abuse of every system. It's to be expected. Yes, we have to be as frugal about things as possible & most of the real problems could be all but eliminated by simply following the rules/regulations that already exist. I don't think more rules or more programs need to be established.
    However, I look at it like this: A poor person is legitimately poor. He/she has nothing somewhere he/she is trying to hide. There is something that is somehow justified about a poor person wanting something from me. However a wealthy person, who is in need of nothing, w...&

    &
    But fair isn't really the point is it? I mean, most of life is not fair. We cannot change that fact.
    The Constitution is, however, very important & I don't think there is an amount of money that is worth usurping it.

    Consider this: There are so many already wealthy individuals who receive governemnt subsidies, grants, various tax write-offs & loopholes, etc. & are never asked to take a test. They fleece our nation of far larger, much more substantial sums than some poor schmucks who don't have a pot to piss in. Why is our dander raised so high when someone poor puts his fingers in our pockets but the wealthy have their whole hand, up to their elbow in some cases, & we don't bat an eye?

    Look, there is going to be a certain amount of abuse of every system. It's to be expected. Yes, we have to be as frugal about things as possible & most of the real problems could be all but eliminated by simply following the rules/regulations that already exist. I don't think more rules or more programs need to be established.
    However, I look at it like this: A poor person is legitimately poor. He/she has nothing somewhere he/she is trying to hide. There is something that is somehow justified about a poor person wanting something from me. However a wealthy person, who is in need of nothing, who puts his/her hands in my wallet, is somehow somewhere below the rank of a nit that lives off a maggot. Why would I focus my energy on the poor person who receives a pittance, literally paltry sum from government while so many incredibly wealthy people receive huge, unbelievably large sums from government. This is a deliberate diversion of our attention from the real issues of actual waste & corruption in our government.

    I don't recall anyone important saying anything about giving charity or forgiveness to the wealthy. However, I've heard that there have been a couple of quite important figures who have said things about being charitable to the poor & to children.
    (more)
  • stl.sha... Grammar... 2012/04/30 20:20:38
    stl.shamrock
    I agree with you completely when you asked, "Why is our dander raised so high when someone poor puts his fingers in our pockets but the wealthy have their whole hand, up to their elbow in some cases, & we don't bat an eye?" We should all be up in arms over how money gets distributed from the government. Maybe that should a topic of debate on here and in our personal lives, as well. But, the original question was about people on welfare, so that was the direction I took on my answer.

    If there was a question about rich people being forced to be tested before getting government bailouts. I would have said, "There's no reason for multi-billion dollar companies to be receiving bailouts." Would I get a bailout if I started a own small company and it failed? Probably not. I don't pay lobbyists to sway politicians or donate enough to anyone's campaign fund for that to happen.

    Personally, I don't agree with "welfare" as it stands. There are plenty of people in my area that use organizations for assistance. There's: Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, Section 8 (housing), Operation Threshold (housing & utilities assistance), Jesse-Cosby (rent / deposit assistance), and several churches have assistance programs. If given the choice, I'd stop paying taxes to help fund welfare and d...



    &
    I agree with you completely when you asked, "Why is our dander raised so high when someone poor puts his fingers in our pockets but the wealthy have their whole hand, up to their elbow in some cases, & we don't bat an eye?" We should all be up in arms over how money gets distributed from the government. Maybe that should a topic of debate on here and in our personal lives, as well. But, the original question was about people on welfare, so that was the direction I took on my answer.

    If there was a question about rich people being forced to be tested before getting government bailouts. I would have said, "There's no reason for multi-billion dollar companies to be receiving bailouts." Would I get a bailout if I started a own small company and it failed? Probably not. I don't pay lobbyists to sway politicians or donate enough to anyone's campaign fund for that to happen.

    Personally, I don't agree with "welfare" as it stands. There are plenty of people in my area that use organizations for assistance. There's: Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, Section 8 (housing), Operation Threshold (housing & utilities assistance), Jesse-Cosby (rent / deposit assistance), and several churches have assistance programs. If given the choice, I'd stop paying taxes to help fund welfare and donate that money to local organizations. I stayed at Salvation Army when I first moved here. I was moving home but, my truck broke down and I got stranded in a strange state. They helped me with a place to stay, food, and to get a job. As soon as I got my own place and had a few extra dollars, I donated it back to the Salvation Army and still do.

    When I was staying at the SA, if someone came up and they were drunk or high, they were refused a bed. The beds, and other resources, were used for people trying to get back on their feet. I took it upon myself to get my life straight so someone else could have the same chance I had. That, to me, is the key. People acting responsibly for themselves and others.

    You also stated, "The Constitution is, however, very important & I don't think there is an amount of money that is worth usurping it." Again, I agree with you. But, here's the rub: if the Constitution is our basis for our laws, which it was, then why do we have welfare in the first place? And since we have to Constitutional right to hand out welfare, then the same would go for corporations, as well. Right?
    (more)
  • Grammar... stl.sha... 2012/04/30 22:52:12 (edited)
  • stl.sha... Grammar... 2012/05/01 01:11:36 (edited)
    stl.shamrock
    +1
    I'll keep this rather short...

    It's not often that I find a line of thought on here that not only makes sense, but also goes against the grain of most people's logic. When I do, it makes me happy to see it.

    Should be compound the problem by testing people on welfare? I guess we shouldn't. You were right when you asked, "Should we should add an unconstitutional act on top of another one?" It makes sense and logic is one of the few things I can't argue against.

    You, sir, have won this debate. Congrats! heh heh.

    (edited for spelling)
  • Grammar... stl.sha... 2012/05/01 17:20:35
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    Well, it wasn't a matter of "winning" per se.
    But I deeply respect your ability to see the logic behind the reasoning to be against the testing of welfare recipients & your willingness to say so.
  • stl.sha... Grammar... 2012/05/01 17:31:41
    stl.shamrock
    How can I expect others to see my logic if I refuse to attempt to see theirs? Thanks again for the debate.
  • Grammar... stl.sha... 2012/05/01 17:55:05
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    That's right.
    We all have to remember that.
    You're welcome & thank you, too.

    Now, I have a riot to go to.
    ;-)
    (some things about living in Germany are really fun!)
  • Knot_Rich Kdog McPot 2012/04/26 14:58:26
    Knot_Rich
    +3
    Zero brains? It seems you're a bit off the track with the 4th, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. We're not talking about a unreasonable search here, simply a requirement to receive TAXPAYERS money. You are subject to alcohol and drug testing when using public roads you know, even RANDOM stops. But I say the government doesn't need to spend a buck on the testing. It's simple, when collecting unemployment, people are supposed to be seeking work, and after a certain period of time (different per state) have to begin submitting names of places they applied to. Most offices send people out to places to apply, they should simply require the company to return the result. If an applicant fails to get the job because of failing the drug test (and you know most jobs do require them) then the person is not prepared to be employed, thus not eligible to collect unemployment. One of the conditions of collecting unemployment is that the applicant be ready and able to start a new job. It's not even a change in law, simply enforcing the existing rules.
  • Grammar... Knot_Rich 2012/04/29 20:34:31
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    I am not so certain that it is constitutionally legal for law enforcement to conduct searches at roadside checkpoints, etc.
    That's an interesting question. I haven't read about it being tested in the Supreme Court.
    The way I understand it from loads of studying it, there simply has to be some sort of reason for the search. So, if a person causes an accident or somehow injures someone/thing else, there is cause to search him/her. Up to that time, there isn't.

    I'll continue researching that point. It is definitely an interesting one.
    However, I very much applaud the remainder of your post. That is, indeed, the biggest problem with our system as a whole. Those we hire to run it seem more interested in expanding it instead of making it more efficiently/effectively.
  • Knot_Rich Grammar... 2012/05/01 13:57:36
    Knot_Rich
    I forget the cases, but the Supreme Court has upheld random roadside checkpoints several times. It goes with this thing that driving is a priviledge, not a right, so police have the power to set up checkpoints to insure you have the proper documentation and are not DUI, as long as they stop everyone and aren't "profiling". Now, a 'search" is different, you are correct, they do not have the right to "search" your vehicle, unless they have reasonable reason, like you left your bong or that open bottle of JD lay on the back seat. Stuff like that will usually get their attention.
  • Grammar... Knot_Rich 2012/05/01 17:24:36
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    How did you know that I am a big JD fan?
    Mmmmmmm.
    Problem is, the next day the cursing of whomever dubbed him a "gentleman" is profound.
  • Knot_Rich Grammar... 2012/05/04 02:49:13
    Knot_Rich
    +1
    A fan myself, which is why it was first to come to mind. Actually my preference is Gentleman Jack, it just don't get any better'n that, but unfortunately I live on a JD budget. Fortunately for me my family knows my favorite gift and I get some for Christmas.
  • Grammar... Knot_Rich 2012/05/04 17:13:54
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    Yeah, I got a bottle for Christmas too.

    T'was a lovely thing to have around... for tea, for coffee, for just plain shots.
    mmmm.
  • ThinkAboutIt! 2012/04/25 03:08:27
  • Maria R 2012/04/25 03:00:32
    Maria R
    +2
    It's about time!
  • ehrhornp 2012/04/25 02:56:41
    ehrhornp
    +3
    This is just another imaginary threat put forth by the waco right. Typical of the right to spend lots of money to bust a small percentage of welfare people using drugs. So much for fiscal responsibility. Call it fiscal stupidity.
  • ThinkAb... ehrhornp 2012/04/25 03:05:28
    ThinkAboutIt!
    Don't you get tired of being wrong all the time!?
  • ehrhornp ThinkAb... 2012/04/25 03:09:11
    ehrhornp
    +3
    But I am not. I was right about GW being an idiot, I was also right about Obama being a moderate. Now why are yo so scared of imaginary threats? Studies have shown that people on welfare use drugs far less than the population as a whole. But you phony conservatives think nothing of wasting money. Pathetic. Please don't call yourself conservative.
  • VERYwis... ehrhornp 2012/04/25 20:28:01
    VERYwiseguy
    Welfare money can't support a drug habit just an alcohol habit.
  • ehrhornp VERYwis... 2012/04/25 20:29:14
    ehrhornp
    +2
    How so? Alcohol is a drug and is therefore a potential drug habit.
  • VERYwis... ehrhornp 2012/04/25 20:46:22
    VERYwiseguy
    So test for that too.Imo all drug testing is dumb.
  • ehrhornp VERYwis... 2012/04/26 16:29:18
    ehrhornp
    I just find it amazing that people would call for government expenditures for another imaginary threat. Nothing like keeping tight control on people. Well first they control the welfare because they are desperate and cannot complain. But then they will seek to control the middle class so more wealth can be transferred from them to the rich.
  • uncle r... ehrhornp 2012/04/28 12:56:48
    uncle remus
    +1
    this whole proposal,stinks of the same sort of "cronyism" that got drug testing implemented in the first place, if implemented nation wide this latest piss of an idea, would be a wind fall of new profits for a multi billion dollar industry.....is it just by coincidence that the drug testing association(DATIA) is based out of D.C.? ...kinda odd the scumbags figured out how to use your piss against ya and make billions...... wahoooo
  • Randice 2012/04/25 02:21:52
    Randice
    +1
    Absolutely they should. If they are receiving taxpayer's money then they should be tested to ensure the money taken is not going towards anything illegal.
  • Jim Lewis 2012/04/25 02:07:23
    Jim Lewis
    +3
    drug test and spot test, if your rims on your car are bigger than my tv, no more governmental support, if you cant pass a drug test, done did

    the only thing that it does hurt is the helpless kids in the families that will no longer get support and the scumbag parents wont support them as they did on governmental checks

    i have the opportunity to use food stamps but would rather struggle than be a welfare handout case
  • Michaelene Jim Lewis 2012/04/25 12:14:13
    Michaelene
    Good for you. Your pirde is worth more than a handout.
  • JustTheFacts 2012/04/25 01:58:59
    JustTheFacts
    +1
    Absolutely!

    If you want tax payer money you have to be responsible. The problem with that concept is.......????
  • wtw 2012/04/25 01:58:35
    wtw
    +3
    Yes they should do a drug test because in order to be employed which they are suppose to be aspiring to be, it requires being drug free!
  • Ozymandias 2012/04/25 01:49:22
  • Rdtourist Ozymandias 2012/04/25 20:23:44
    Rdtourist
    Damn right they are "eeking" an existence, the fear of working or improving is far easier than the right word, EKE as in eking out an existance while striving to get an education or learning a trade. Novel concepts, learning a trade instead of hanging with the dudes, be they black, white or indifferent.
  • Ozymandias Rdtourist 2012/04/25 20:29:42
  • Rdtourist Ozymandias 2012/06/12 14:39:41
    Rdtourist
    Nowhere did I say the word LAZY, that is your imagination running rampant. What I said is it is EASIER to not strive to improve than to bust butt to get ahead.

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