Should Welfare Recipients be Tested for Drugs – Yes

Welfare recipients generally come in two varieties: honest families who have hit upon hard times, and dishonest individuals who are working the system. The USA is a wealthy nation and able to provide for those who are unable to provide for themselves. The disabled, the destitute, the young, and the uneducated can go to agencies for assistance. This is one benefit of living in an affluent nation. At the same time, our welfare system has become a quagmire of abuses, misused funds, poor lifestyle choices and warped belief systems. Mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients would eliminate a large portion of the abuses which keep it from being an effective means of regaining self-sufficiency.

Abuse of the welfare system can take many forms, the most common of which appears to be generational. Children raised in welfare recipient families are often taught how to “work” the system, that it is their “right” to do so. Children raised by chronic drug users are at increased risk. Not only are the children not being taught basic morals or academic skills, they are neglected and brutalized by their caretakers, often as a result of chronic drug use. Money that should be spent on food and shelter are spent on drug addictions. 

There must be a differentiation between recreational and chronic drug use. Recreational drug users recognize their responsibilities and treat occasional drug use in the same way as a night out for a few drinks. If they must choose between food and shelter for their children or drugs for entertainment, they take care of their children. Drug addicts are unable to make this distinction and will always choose drugs over behaving responsibly. In addition, once the drugs are ingested, poor decision-making has adverse affects in many areas of their lives and in the lives of their children. Welfare benefits should be spent on education and training, food and shelter. Rather than learning to support themselves, chronic drug users abuse the welfare system and only compound their own and society’s problems. 

Millions of Americans are required to submit to drug tests each year. Employees are required to prove they are drug free to be hired and to keep their jobs. When injured on the job, employees are required to pass a drug and alcohol test to prove they were not intoxicated at the time of injury before they can receive benefits to help them through recovery. Drivers who appear suspicious must submit to drug and alcohol tests. Professional athletes, police officers, and members of the military are all subject to drug tests. These tests are fair and reasonable to protect members of our society and to prevent abuse. This rule should apply to individuals on public assistance. Perhaps we should require our politicians to do the same.

It is an honorable thing for those who are able, to help those in genuine need. It is wrong that hard working, taxpaying American citizens are forced, at IRS gunpoint, to support a system that gives chronic drug users a free ride. Many taxpayers are unable to buy themselves a home or a car while welfare recipients are spending their benefits on expensive cars and drugs. Many recipient drug users discover they can make “easy” money by joining the ever-growing illegal drug industry. More often than not, you can drive through poor neighborhoods and see able-bodied men and women just lounging around instead of working.

By testing for drug use, the welfare system would be able to weed out abusers, thereby having more resources for those in genuine need. It would also help to identify those individuals who are in need of rehabilitation services. Testing for drug abuse would return the welfare system to true charity: helping individuals return to self-sufficiency.