Why Testing Welfare Recipients for Drugs Isn't Helping America

A twenty-year-old debate whether welfare recipients should undergo drug testing continues to make headlines.

Here's the basic premise behind the argument: People who accept public money to help them out through a rough patch have an obligation to do the right thing with the money, and the state has an obligation to make sure its money isn't wasted or misspent. Some people who are in trouble with addiction problems might be helped by having someone find out that they have a problem.

With that said, there is no real evidence that drug testing should be tested for those on welfare. In fact, testing welfare recipients for drugs isn't solving the current social and economic problems we're having in America. Here's why:

Drug Testing Welfare Recipients is Unconstitutional

Who in fact, really benefits from drug testing? Florida Governor Rick Scott claimed that drug use was considerably higher in welfare recipients, but in this article, drug use was 2% compared to 9.4% in the population at large. To employ drug tests is discrimination, if based solely on the fact that the tested population are the poor.

Instead of looking at the root causes of poverty, unemployment and drug abuse, this new proposal is in fact, keeping social classes down. There's very little social mobility in America anymore. Drug tests are not yielding the results that Rick Scott would have expected. The percentage of welfare recipients who undergo drug testing is less than the percentage of people who take drugs overall in the nation.

Testing Welfare Recipients for Drugs is a Giant Waste of Money

Drug testing isn't also helping America's pocketbook. In fact, it's become a giant waste of money. For the Republican party who pushed drug testing in the first place. In Missouri, the state spent $336,297 on drug testing for 38,970 welfare applicants in December-January 2014 only to find a grand total of 48 applicants who tested positively for drugs.

The assumption here is that people who are on welfare are also doing drugs are not actively looking for a job and wanting to work.

But the idea that there is a correlation between somebody doing a substance and then not wanting to work doesn't make sense.

In short, we're shaming the people who are on welfare.