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Research Paper Drug Testing Welfare

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What is my position on drug testing welfare recipients to receive their benefits

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Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients

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There is an ongoing debate over whether or not welfare recipients should be drug tested to receive the benefits. Both sides of the argument have merit. Those who oppose the idea of drug testing say that it is unconstitutional and violates the Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, they claim that this law stereotypes and discriminates against those from low socioeconomic demographics, implying that because they are poor, they must be drug addicts. However, those who support the law note that its intended purpose is to ensure that taxpayer money is not being squandered on people who only plan to abuse this assistance. Only nine states so far have instituted drug testing of candidates for welfare assistance. This drug testing has proven to be…show more content…

In addition to the requirement for employment as a condition for a continuance of benefits, “states have proposed drug testing of applicants and recipients of public welfare benefits since federal welfare reform in 1996” (Finzel, 2014). While some states test recipients based upon suspicion of drug use, others choose to test all applicants.
In 1999, Michigan was the first state to implement a suspicionless drug testing policy as a condition for receiving welfare benefits. A district court struck down the policy on the Fourth Amendment grounds, and the Sixth Circuit court ultimately divided, upholding the district court’s injunction and putting a temporary stop to the policy. However, the constitutional issues remain undecided. (Goetzl, 2013, p. 1539)
Currently, politicians from twenty-four states have proposed legislation to institute drug testing as a condition for welfare determination, but only nine have formally approved it. Those states are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah (Finzel, 2014).
Supporters of this and similar legislation have proposed that applicants for welfare pay for the drug testing themselves. If test results are negative for drug use, the welfare applicant is fully reimbursed. The cost for drug testing varies, generally ranging from $30 to $40. Proponents of drug testing further propose that making the applicants pay for their

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