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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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Opinions

  • Ozymandias Rdtourist 2012/06/12 22:29:56
    Ozymandias
    That goes for people that are born rich. It's easier also to shun and condemn people that are less fortunate than you than it is to show a little compassion and understand where they're coming from just as it's easier to preach the Ten Commandments and claim you're a good little Christian who found Jesus than it is to read the Old Testament and live by the Ten Commandments. What's your point?
  • Rdtourist Ozymandias 2012/07/10 16:14:21 (edited)
    Rdtourist
    I would really have loved to try growing up rich, my family was far from it, we were all strivers though and worked long and hard to better our station, I guess that is evil from your point of view. Doing well or better than the drifters in life through stint of effort is WRONG to you, it appears by your compass that EVERYONE should have a wonderful outcome, no matter how much the investment in sweat.

    I busted butt for all the time I was in school and later on when I was in service, taking the "easy" route rarely, if ever, gets anything other than mere existence as a result.

    EDIT: spelling
  • Ozymandias Rdtourist 2012/07/10 16:42:04
    Ozymandias
    There's nothing wrong with striving. All I'm stating is the rich aren't the only ones that work hard. You and the rest of them seem to think poor people are there by choice and have no motivation or ambition.
  • Pinball Wizard 2012/04/25 00:30:10
    Pinball Wizard
    +2
    Temp agencies make you pee in a cup so, I don't see any problem with that. Every three months I go to the local hospital, for blood draw because I was found to have enlarged red blood cells.The last four tubes were sent to the Mayo Clinic.Be two weeks to get those results.
  • Knot_Rich Pinball... 2012/05/06 04:09:37
    Knot_Rich
    You're correct, even temp agencies require a drug test before sending you off to a potential job. While laid off for a year I went through my share of drug tests at temp agencies, even for short term jobs. Now, if I have to pee in a bottle to earn the money to pay the taxes (my share) to give to these people, shouldn't I have to right to at least expect they pass a drug test to get it for doing nothing? If I had to pass drug testing for even temporary jobs, aren't these people making themselves unqualified for jobs that are, or may become, available? How can someone clain that the people are on welfare because they have "no job opportunities" when they, by personal choice (personal responsibility) are making themselves unemployable?
  • BOOGIE-WOOGIE-MUSIC-MAN-ROC... 2012/04/25 00:03:21
    BOOGIE-WOOGIE-MUSIC-MAN-ROCK-N-R
    +4
    I know of people who buy drugs while their babies go without

    Everybody seems to be concerned
    over the constitutional rights of the adults

    What ever happened to sanity!!!!
  • MegaFortunateSon 2012/04/24 22:22:20
    MegaFortunateSon
    +2
    Sounds like communism to me.
  • jay 2012/04/24 22:10:28
    jay
    +4
    100% agree. Contrary to most liberals welfare is not a right it is a privlege for people who need it. You are spending the money on dope get a job.
  • Faith ~American Patriot~ 2012/04/24 21:45:55
    Faith ~American Patriot~
    +5
    Absolutely. If you want free money, you should have to take a drug test.
  • dawn 2012/04/24 21:34:40
    dawn
    +2
    Of course they should be tested. They expect the taxpayer to support them, they should at least be not loaded and look for a job!
  • Markie 2012/04/24 21:24:36
    Markie
    Drug test all you want, I think you should start with all the federal employees. How about the military guys lead the way!

    Test positive and you are retired. We win because the size of the military and welfare will shrink.
  • Randice Markie 2012/04/25 02:20:35
    Randice
    +2
    You must not be military. As a veteran, we had urinalysis's all the time...
  • Markie Randice 2012/04/25 14:24:57
    Markie
    I am not military, lets go on to the congresss!
  • Randice Markie 2012/04/25 16:33:41
    Randice
    +3
    I think Congress should be drug tested.. I think that'd be a pretty quick way to get rid of the libs. Good suggestion.
  • Markie Randice 2012/04/25 18:31:25
    Markie
    I think it is a good way to get the conservatives to think straight. Get them loaded because their policy's suck when straight.

    Be well
  • Randice Markie 2012/04/26 02:08:29
    Randice
    Then, isn't the drug testing a little counterproductive for you?
  • Markie Randice 2012/04/26 16:21:29
    Markie
    +1
    Completely productive, when you start at the bottom, the least common denominator, you have no where to go but up!
  • D D Markie 2012/04/25 09:08:16
    D D
    +1
    The military do piss tests. A guy is assigned for "cock watch" to make sure nobody is cheating. I can say for sure they have been doing piss tests in the military since the 80's. Maybe earlier.
  • Markie D D 2012/04/25 14:25:54
    Markie
    Be well, I think we should test Congress.
  • Rdtourist Markie 2012/04/25 20:25:14
    Rdtourist
    RETIRED? More like dismissed under conditions other than honorable.
  • Knot_Rich Markie 2012/05/06 04:16:16
    Knot_Rich
    All public employees, from President to school custodians, should have random drug testing. If I have to pass a test to work to pay the taxes to pay their wages, then why shouldn't they have to pass drug tests to insure I'm getting my money's worth?
  • fascination 2012/04/24 21:11:46
    fascination
    +2
    No. These drug tests (1) are based on inaccurate stereotypes, as research has shown that, of both the general population and those receiving public aid, 8% test positive for drug abuse, (2) would spend more money testing applicant than denying the few, and (3) involve unconstitutional search of people who have done nothing more than seek help.
  • Faith ~... fascina... 2012/04/24 21:42:07
    Faith ~American Patriot~
    +5
    If you have money for drugs, you don't need money from the government. It is not unconstitutional, no one is forcing people to ask for assistance. It's the same as when someone applies for a job. If your potential employer requires a drug test you can either take it, or refuse the job, the choice is yours.
  • fascina... Faith ~... 2012/04/24 22:53:23
    fascination
    +2
    If an employer administers a drug test, that is in the name of a private business. If the government mandates a drug test for anyone who needs food, that's illegal search of a body without due cause. And, like I said, those who ask for public assistance are no more likely to use drugs, and due to the low percentage of drug-users, it would cost the government much more to test than to give.

    Also--I know that this isn't a popular opinion--but I think we should show compassion to all people, whether or not they are healthy and drug-free. People turn to drugs, most often, as a result of unfortunate circumstances and biological, physiological, and psychological vulnerability. That doesn't mean they deserve to starve. I don't think that they should be spending any money they have on drugs--that's not what I'm saying, by any means--but they shouldn't be so harshly discriminated against. It's a lifestyle that very few are familiar with and very few are in any position to judge. If they're hungry, don't interrogate, violate, and lecture them; feed them. That's the humane thing to do.
  • charles_1 fascina... 2012/04/24 23:40:28
    charles_1
    +1
    If someone uses the welfare money to buy drugs and overdoses isn't the government partially at fault for enabling the behavior? Being an enabler makes you responsible for the results. The testing is necessary to help drug addicts get the help they need. The taxpayer shouldn't be the enabler of such self destructive behavior. We need to show compassion and identify the drug addicts and get them off drugs.
  • fascina... charles_1 2012/04/25 03:14:33
    fascination
    +1
    They can't use "welfare money" to buy drugs. I'm sorry it's just a pet peeve. Let me clarify that it isn't called welfare, it's public assistance; and it's not money, it's food stamps. You can only spend them on necessities at grocery stores, from what I understand. What people are more concerned with is that people will spend their money on drugs which is why they need help paying for food. However, you're determined "in need" by your income, not by how much you have, so it's very unlikely that these people can afford drugs, with or without paying for food.

    I believe that the government should give money to rehabs to assist addicts. However, it is ethically wrong to stereotype the poor as druggies and unconstitutional to force them to take drug tests based on their socioeconomic standing. Unless there is a warrant or immediate cause, based on reasonable evidence of unlawful activity, the government cannot force anyone to take a drug test.

    Additionally, if it's self-destructive behavior, I don't believe it's the business of others. It would be nice if we could persuade all addicts to get help and be clean, but you cannot search someone without cause and send them to rehab.
  • D D fascina... 2012/04/25 09:16:04
    D D
    +1
    they sell their food stamps for cash. Usually it is less than how much the "stamps" actually are. These days it is a card. Sometimes the person who owns the card goes with the person that is giving them cash shopping and use the card when it is time to pay. Sometimes they hand the card to the person with the pin and they return it to them after use. That is how you get cash for "stamps". And welfare is just a cash check. You can use that cash for anything.
  • fascina... D D 2012/04/25 14:25:24
    fascination
    Okay, thank you for that information. So, there are ways around it so that you can get cash to pay for drugs, but it occurs fairly rarely, nevertheless.
  • charles_1 fascina... 2012/04/25 11:25:07
    charles_1
    +1
    They can sell the food stamps for cash, or sell the food for cash. It became my business when they started getting paid by the government. If it was private charity then it would be none of my business. As long as tax money is involved it is my business and I have as much say about it as anyone.

    I am not stereo typing them. If you don't have a job and can't support yourself my government has a duty to work to eliminate whatever is holding you back and get you a job and get you off all forms of public assistance. Drugs are part of the problem. The focus should be getting people off the tax dole and making them contribute to the system instead of free load off it.

    And I have news for you, the government can force anyone to take a drug test. They do not need a warrant. Ever heard of a sobriety check point. Refuse the test and you are presumed guilty. The supreme court ruled such checkpoints legal. So the government can screen anyone for drugs as long as they screen everyone at the check point. Just like they can search everyone in an airport.
  • fascina... charles_1 2012/04/25 14:29:01
    fascination
    I know everyone wants to control their money after the government collects it, but we just can't. My money has gone towards the military and towards a war I didn't think was ethical. My money has gone towards thousands of unnecessary deaths. Just be glad that, in this instance, it's going towards keeping people alive.
  • charles_1 fascina... 2012/04/25 22:30:02
    charles_1
    We have a duty to insist that the government controls the money. And I cannot be sure the money is going to good use unless they follow through with the proper controls. One of those controls is making sure people are not using the money to buy illegal drugs. If they have money for illegal drugs they don't need tax payer subsidies to help them anymore.
  • Rdtourist fascina... 2012/04/25 20:31:42
    Rdtourist
    +1
    Section 8 housing is as much part of public assistance as cash or stamps or in kind support, it is all part of the welfare state. If you take from a person or organization or the government instead of earning or paying for those items or services, you need to toe the line and act upstanding and correct/ Giving a person $750 a month in housing support is NOT cheap for the taxpayer who pays at least that amount for his own housing and PAYS TAXES on that money before paying the mortgage or landlord.
  • VERYwis... charles_1 2012/04/25 20:33:55
    VERYwiseguy
    So they pass a stupid test leave and OD it's no use the only drug that stays in your system for a long period is pot.
  • charles_1 VERYwis... 2012/04/25 22:44:36
    charles_1
    A random test where they call you up and tell you go pee in a cup now, or show up at your house with a cup, is sufficient for me. A chronic user is eventually going to get caught. And I don't care how inconvenient a random test is for someone. You're getting free money and we have a right to impose terms and I don't care whether the free loaders like the terms. I want the program much better controlled.
  • VERYwis... charles_1 2012/04/26 00:06:48
    VERYwiseguy
    I honestly think most people on welfare don't want to be and aren't just freeloading.
  • Faith ~... fascina... 2012/04/25 00:41:03
    Faith ~American Patriot~
    +2
    I'm not sure what part of this simple concept is so hard to grasp. If you want free food, you need to take a drug test. No one is forcing them to go in and get assistance, that is their choice. Funny how they have money for drugs but can't scrape up enough money for food. I work for my money, I work to make sure there is food on MY table, not some drug addicts. Perhaps if it was harder for them to get assistance, they would clean up their act. If they don't, that is their choice and as a result they will have to figure out a new way to get food.
  • Jim Lewis Faith ~... 2012/04/25 02:16:35 (edited)
    Jim Lewis
    +2
    100% agree, everyone thinks itl cost billion to drug test, thats y they should do it at random, and if caught you pay bacjk what is owed, the same way as unemployment runs their system, if you are caught with a job and collecting, you are expected to pay back what they paid you, they dont background check everyone that does it, hell i know a handful taht held jobs and got unemployment checks. but if they start spot checking at random itl keep a lotta people from trying it that dont need the aid

    i also know people that are able to work and collect welfare because its the easy thing to do, live in section 8 housing and do side jobs for cash, they seem to have enough for drugs, and the newest video game console out. these are the ones that hurt us

    i noticed someone put 8% failure rate up above so thats 80,000 people outta a million failing. 80,000 x 200 for food stamps alone is 16,000,000 dollars a month that the tax payers can be saving. im sure a simple spot check can save a lotta money

    yes ,there are those that need the food stamps and only smoke "weed" because its cheap, but if your doing good enough to roll joints our doing good enough to say " welcome to wal mart, do you need a cart"
  • Faith ~... Jim Lewis 2012/04/25 02:31:47
    Faith ~American Patriot~
    Exactly
  • VERYwis... Jim Lewis 2012/04/25 20:37:47
    VERYwiseguy
    I don't think welfare money gives you a penny extra to spend people that have all you state probably are selling drugs to do that.Btw weed is not cheap. lol
  • fascina... Faith ~... 2012/04/25 03:23:14
    fascination
    8% of the general population and 8% of aid applicants use drugs. Please don't stereotype them all as druggies who spend money on drugs and beg the government for food because they're irresponsible. For a large majority, that is not the case.

    No one is forcing them to ask for assistance. However, if you're in need and you can suck up your pride and ask for help, you should be given help. You should not be interrogated simply on the basis that you can't afford food.
    The unemployment rate is going down, but it's still relatively high. There aren't enough jobs. Most people on welfare are looking for jobs, but can't get them. They'd love to work for their food, but they're unable to in this economy.

    If this policy were implemented, you would be paying MORE money to make sure "drug addicts" DON'T have food on their table. Less money would go towards food for those who need and "deserve" it, so you'd be starving more than just the "druggies." I think it's simply not compassionate to take away from others due to discrimination.

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