0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
In a move that was quickly contested by
Democrats, Republicans on May 15 attempted to add another controversial
policy to John Kasich’s mid-biennium budget review: drug testing for
by German Lopez
at 01:48 PM | Permalink
Test program would be active in three counties for two years
In a move that is now being
contested by Democrats, Republicans have pushed for a pilot program to make
drug testing a requirement for welfare recipients.
The program will be active in
three counties for two years. It would require anyone suspected of using drugs
to submit to and pay for a drug test. Those who pass would be reimbursed for
the drug test, and those who fail would not get welfare benefits for at least
Republicans claimed the move will
save the state money.
A drug testing program in Florida actually cost the state
money. In Florida, the state government’s program had a net loss of $45,780
after it reimbursed all falsely accused welfare recipients of their drug tests.
Only 108 people out of the 4,086 accused, or 2.9 percent, tested positive, and
most tested positive for marijuana, according to The Miami Herald.
One Senate Democrat told The Columbus Dispatch that
if welfare recipients are to be tested, so should corporations that receive
public funds because there is “no evidence” that poor people have higher rates
of drug abuse.
That claim is supported by the limited research in the area.
One study by California’s Healthy Kids Survey in 2007 found affluent kids have
higher rates of drug use than poor kids. Another study by the National
Institutes of Health in 1996 found that welfare recipients are not more likely
to do drugs than the rest of the population and non-welfare recipients.
The ACLU sued Florida over its
program in October, leading to a temporary stop on drug testing. The
organization has repeatedly argued drug-testing laws violate the Fourth
Amendment, which protects all citizens against “unreasonable searches.”
Another drug-testing law in
Michigan was struck down by the courts in 2003.
But states have not been fazed by
questions of constitutionality. Dozens of states have introduced legislation
requiring drug testing in the past year, and a drug-testing law was passed in
Georgia in April.