Drug testing those on welfare opens door for helping needy
Around the country, the government is finding a new way to make sure welfare money is being spent properly. Many states have decided to drug test those on welfare to make sure money is not being spent on drugs, instead being used properly.
According to The Huffington Post, the National Conference of State Legislatures said legislatures are looking at proposals to drug test welfare applicants in Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. This bill was advanced in the state Senate by lawmakers in February.
Supply chain and logistics sophomore Lacenia Calloway said she agrees with the idea of drug testing those on welfare.
“It is just fine to drug test people, because if they’re buying drugs then they don’t need to be on welfare,” Calloway said. “There has probably been so much reckless spending done by those on welfare. The way people spend welfare money should be watched, because you should not be allowed to just do anything with the money the program gives.”
The idea seems good and is a great way to make sure people are using funds the right way, but the results aren’t exactly what people may think. The Huffington Post reported that only 37 people out of more than 16,000 welfare applicants failed drug tests during six months of testing in Tennessee.
That is only a small percentage, but it is important to know how those on welfare are spending their money. The state should not being paying to keep up people’s drug habits.
Pre-business sophomore Miles Coleman weighed in on the pros and cons of testing those on welfare, saying that he believes drug testing welfare participants is a good and bad thing.
“On the good side, it’s making sure that welfare is not going towards people that will just abuse it, but on the downside, it is somewhat profiling to a certain degree,” Coleman said. “It’s like accusing that under-privileged people tend to use substance abuse, which welfare doesn’t technically pertain to substance abuse, so I’m thinking it is a way to keep people who need it from necessarily getting it just because of their habits.”
Like any new regulation, there are many pros and cons in the situation. Many families may suffer because of the new bill. Many kids will be left still in need and have to suffer due to their parents’ substance abuse.
The drug testing will be a way for the state to possibly cut back funding for the welfare program. The extra money could go to other programs that have been closed because of budget cuts.
According to Conservative Tribune, welfare payouts can take up about one-quarter to one-third of each state’s individual budget.
Welfare should be used for those who need desperately need help and not those who are looking for a way to keep up a deadly habit. There should be more restrictions on the welfare program, because people should not be dependent on welfare and do anything with that money.
Testing those on welfare could also be a way to save states’ money and allow money to be used for other useful projects.
According to SV Herald, when the law passed through the legislature, lawmakers estimated that it would save the state up to $1.7 million a year by taking people off welfare.
Of course, this will allow others waiting on the welfare list to have an opportunity to receive assistance. This is a chance for states to enforce rules that could really make a difference.
States have a responsibility to know who the people are that are using welfare and to know in what ways those people are using the assistance.
Drug testing is a start on making stricter rules for those on welfare. The welfare program has been abused by many people, and there should be more rules in place to make sure the funding is being used for those really in need.
Opinion columnist Faith Alford is a journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].