Should Washington State Drug Test Welfare Recipients?
It's drawing a lot of comments, and become a polarizing topic across the country. But apparently a lot of folks in Eastern Washington are in favor of the idea, especially since favorable positive results are being seen in another state that has started such a program.
A new law in North Carolina now requires drug testing screening for welfare recipients, and this last week legislators presented the results of the initial round of testing.
The law was actually enacted in 2013 despite a veto from Governor Pat McCrory. After months of setting up and getting the program ready, it went into effect the last five months of 2015. Recipients in what is called The Work First program are randomly selected for screening. Of the reported 7,600 applicants about two percent were recommended to testing.
Work First is a program that provides short term cash benefits, job training and assistance to families. Some 70 people failed to show up for their test and had their benefits shut off. They are also discontinued for a failed test.
Of the 89 who were tested, 21 came back positive. 12 of these cases qualified for a reduced benefit, because children were involved, and the state didn't want to jeopardize their situation.
The reason for the seemingly low testing numbers is due to an extensive screening process done by Carolina Department of Social and Health Services workers. Rather than randomly test people or all the participants, many of whom do not show any signs of potential drug use, the screening process filters the test candidates down to those who are most likely to require a test.
Previous known drug users or those convicted for drugs are also tested. As for the public's approval of the program, consider that despite a veto by the governor, the legislature over rode that veto and passed the law at the insistence of the public.