Drug Testing Welfare Recipients in Florida, Fair or Not? Pros and Cons (Updated 10-9-2013) [54*317]

My Position

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FOLLOW MY HUBS, especially the political ones, I hope that you have come away with a pretty good idea of my Progressive credentials and principled but nevertheless pragmatic view toward social and political issues. I think I have expressed what I think about gun control, for it; hunting, against it; helping the poor, for it; and Obama Care, for it. What about this issue; requiring people who receive public benefits to get and pass a drug test before qualifying for the benefits. I am "all-in" for it.

And it is not because I own an alcohol and drug testing company ... with an office in Florida, lol. I really do think this is the right thing to do.

GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT - 45th Governor of Florida
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT - 45th Governor of Florida | Source

The Florida Law

THIS new law is fairly simple and straight-forward; it is a version of a similar law which was struck down by a federal court in Michigan in 2003 and requires recipients to pay for the tests before qualifying for benefits and periodically after they receive them. Beginning July 1, if you fail a drug test, you will be denied benefits for a year. If you fail it a second time you would have to wait three years before you can apply again.

In two-parent households, both adults would be tested. If there are children, benefits could be awarded to a third-party recipient, who must also be drug tested. The law will not affect the federal food stamp program. If the recipient passes the test, they get their money back. While Florida officials estimate the cost of test to be $10.00, they are probably smoking the same stuff the law wants to test for; you can get the collection done for $10 by someone who probably doesn't know what they are doing, but you still have to pay for the laboratory cost and medical review officer costs, total collection costs probably run between $37 to $65 for a legitimate collection that passes Federal Department of Transportation muster and audit.

UPDATE-2/10/2013: As expected, the law was challenged in federal court by the ACLU and, as a result, a stay was issued about a year ago; it is still in effect. Gov. RIck Scott appealed that temporary injunction and oral arguments were heard Nov 11, 2012; a ruling is expected soon.

In addition, Florida passed a ;aw in 2012 allowing the drug testing law of it state workers, that also was challenged by the ACLU where a stay was also issued. Oral arguments are expected March 11, 2013.

I recently learned that the private Jesuit Prep high school in Missouri will start drug testing all of its students using hair testing. Currently, drug testing the general population of high school students hasn't been tested, but testing those trying out for extra-curricular activities has been found Constitutional; it was noted then that minors "rights to privacy" are less than those of an adults. However, the Santa Clarita Valley school district in California is trying out a new program called CADRE, Comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Reduction and Education. Here, parents voluntarily enroll their children in a high school or middle school-run drug testing program. This has not been tested in court yet, but I suspect it has legs.


The Pros and the Cons

THERE is very little I like about Governor Rick Scott, the Tea Party poster child of the State of Florida who won the governorship in 2010. His political positions on most everything make me shudder and wonder how he got elected. I am pretty certain he is going to be a one-term Governer. Having said all of that, I strongly believe he is right on this issue.

Examples of the PROs being bandied about in the news media, some of which I buy, some of which I don't., are:

Governor Scott - " ... it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction. This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars." "Republicans said the measure was needed because if taxpayers are screened at their place of employment, so should welfare recipients." "is that drug tests will root out welfare recipients who are using public dollars to buy drugs." Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party, said the law could have several benefits, including forcing addicts to confront their problem. It would also serve taxpayers.“If it separates an addict from public assistance then it’s a benefit to everybody, including the children of the addict, the thought of us giving tax dollars to someone who has a substance abuse problem is absurd.

Examples of some CONs are:

American Civil Liberties Union and Others - "The bill is an invasion privacy."

Howard Simon, executive Director of the ACLU of Florida - "The wasteful program created by this law subjects Floridians who are impacted by the economic downturn, as well as their families, to a humiliating search of their urine and body fluids without cause or even suspicion of drug abuse, searching the bodily fluids of those in need of assistance is a scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound policy. Today, that unsound policy is Florida law."

During debate about the law, critics pointed to a pilot testing program in Florida that was shut down in 2001 after it showed no significant difference in drug use between welfare recipients and the population at large.

State Rep. Gwen Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach, said "the new law could hurt families by delaying welfare money they rely upon". She noted," a potential welfare recipient, lacking cash, must pay for their own drug test. How are you going to have money for that?”

The only argument on the CON side I find somewhat compelling is the last one. $40 can be a lot of money to those who legitimately don't have much at all, drugs or no drugs; of course, I care about the ones that don't have drugs. I know for a fact that negative drug results can be turned around in less than 72 hours, it happens most of the time for my clients. It doesn't have to be any different here. However, the State is putting this out for competitive bid rather than let the recipients find their own facility, which will probably leave mu company out in the cold, I do know this, the kind of companies, and the one that Governor Scott, Solantic, has in trust while he is Governor, that will probably will be bidding for this work are not known for their quick turnaround. Couple that with whatever program the State puts in place to refund the money and the recipient may be waiting a while. HavingI said that though, it is not enough to sway me.

The rest of the CONs are hogwash, in my opinion. Drug testing is ubiquitous, inside of government and outside; how can it be an invasion of privacy any more?? It started back in 1988 when the Federal Department of Transportation, after being granted the authority by Congress, adopted regulations to subject people employed in "safety-sensitive" positions in the transportation industry. That is a lot of people who lost their "right to privacy" in one fell swoop. I believe the latest group, at least that I remember without researching it, are high school students who want to join extracurricular activities sponsored by their school. The Supreme Court found in the school districts favor to allow drug testing the students. Public and Private employers all over the country require pre-employment drug tests and many private companies require random drug tests in the States that allow them and sometimes Unit Sweeps, when we come in and test the whole company. I simply cannot see how a right to privacy issue can be raised unless a specific person is being targeted. It just doesn't pass the reasonableness test.

One of the CONs is that a trial run many years ago in Florida showed that drug use in the welfare population is no different than in the general population. While that surprised the heck out of me (I hate being biased and that relieves me of being burdened by one more stereotype), I am pleased to know that. However, I still have to say, big Whoopee! What difference does it make. The point of any drug test is to reduce drug use ... period. In 1988, the use of drugs in the transportation industry probably wasn't any higher than in the general population, except for maybe amphetamines, but there I go with the stereotyping again; in any case, that didn't stop DOT from implementing its regulations and with good effect, I might add. (I might write a Hub on that.)

There is nothing humiliating about a drug test today at all; saying that is simple hyperbole and Mr. Simon knows it. Drug tests are done by the hundreds of thousands a day, it seems. My company alone does about 100,000 collections a year and we are a small, but very good, company in the drug collection industry. Further, drug testing is definitely a scientifically robust policy; it has been for decades. The science behind the laboratory analysis is rock solid.

Demographic (2009)
% Who Used in Last 30 Days 
White 
8.8 
Black/African American 
9.6 
Native American/Alaskan Native 
18.3 
Asian
3.7
Latino/Hispanic
7.9
Two or Races
14.3
12-17
10.0
18-25
21.2
26-up
6.3
Male
10.8
Female
6.6
INDUSTRY (combined 2002-2004)
% WHO USED IN LAST 30 DAYS 
 
Hotel and Food Service 
16.9 
 
Construction 
13.7 
 
Arts, Entertainment, Recreation
11.6 
 
Information
11.3
 
Management, Admin, Remediation
10.9
 
Retail
9.4
 
Other Services
8.8
 
Wholesale
8.5
 
Professional, Scientific, Technical
8.0
 
Real Estate
7.5
 
Mining
7.3
 
Finance/Insurance
6.8
 
Manufacturing
6.5
 
Transportation/Warehousing
6.2
 
Agriculture, Forestry, Hunting
6.2
 
Health Care
6.1
 
Public Administration
4.1
 
Education
4.0
 
Utilities
3.8
 

My Take on Why It Drug Testing is a Good Idea

DRUG USE IN AMERICA IS UBIQUITOUS! It is everywhere in our colleges, it infects our high and middle, or as I know them junior high, schools, and even touches our elementary schools. DOT requires drug testing in the transportation industry because of the threat that drug use was found to pose there. For the same reason, private businesses, including mine, require drug tests; We prevented one cocaine user from joining our ranks this way because of our testing and, as you would think, it is pretty important for a drug collection company not to employ users.

Government surveys estimate 8.3% of Americans over the age of 12 have used illicit drugs of one sort or another in the last 30 days; that is over 20 million people! Further:

  • Of full-time employees, 8.3%use illicit drugs
  • Of part-time employees, 9.4%use illicit drugs
  • Of unemployed persons, 18.5% use illicit drugs

You also might find the two tables to right interesting and maybe a bit surprising, they were for me as they deflated a couple of stereotypes, such as the how close the rates of drug use of whites and blacks are to each other. I was pleased to see the rates in the Transportation industry down to 6.5% after being up to 11.5% in 1988 just before the implementation of mandatory drug testing.

A final piece of information I would like to present before getting into my reasoning is from a November 1999 discussion paper called "Current and Former Welfare Recipients: How Do They Differ?" by Pamela J. Loprest and Sheila R. Zedlewski of the Urban Institute. THey report that of current welfare recipients 21% are employed and the other 79% are in some stage of unemployment. such as in school or looking for work.

Putting Some Things Together

FIRST, let me state categorically that drug testing will deter drug use! All you have to do is look at the results from when the Department of Transportation implemented an industry-wide program of random drug testing; it effective cut drug use rate almost in half, from 11.5% in 1988 down to 6.2% in 2004!! Very impressive. One of our railroad clients decided to increase the random testing rates for alcohol from 50% (DOT requires only 10%) to 100% and three months later, their positive alcohol rate dropped to zero. We know it won't stay there but it will be nice while it lasts.

Next, let me point out that other data I read supports what the Florida pilot program found in that drug use among the welfare population is roughly the same as it is amongst the general population. In other words, drug use in the demographics I presented in the last section doesn't change whether you are looking at a population of people on welfare or of people not on welfare. Why that is used as an reason not to test, I don't know. The reasoning for using this line of reasoning is flawed, don't you see. It makes one huge assumption that simply is not true; the demographic make-up of the welfare population and the general population are the same ... they definitely are not.

I will focus on only one difference, the percentage of unemployed. In the general population, depending on how you measure it, it runs between 9% and around 20% today. In the welfare population, it runs around 89%; quite a difference! That is very significant because drug use amongst the unemployed at 18.5% is double that of drug use amongst the employed. I don't care how the Democrats want to cut it, and I consider myself firmly in their camp right now, drug use is endemic among those on welfare; that is one of the few things the Tea Party and Conservative have right and it must be reduced before it totally corrupts our society.

There are only three fundamental arguments the Progressives and Liberals make against instituting this program: 1) it violates a persons right to privacy, 2) it is ineffective, and 3) it will harm the children. I have already discussed each earlier but to summarize. When it comes to receiving benefits, public safety, workplace safety, private or public sponsored activities, and the like, a persons right to privacy is not inviolate. The Right to Privacy only becomes inviolate when government attempts to impose such a requirement on each and every American without some nexus to an external reason. Drug test has been proven effective time and time again, that is why I am in business and doing very well, thank you. Safeguards, as is the case with this Florida law, can be built in to protect the children.

To my way of thinking, for Democrats to pick this issue to fall on their sword over for the sake of principal is like the Conservatives falling on their sword over protecting millionaires and billionaires from tax increases; it is based on faulty logic, a misreading of the Constitution, and a dearth of pragmatism.

Putting this drug testing program into place is not only the right thing to do, it is the humane thing to do! Just think of all the lives that will be made better because of it as the rate of drug use drops and drop it will, I would bet the bank on it.

In closing, let me take this flight of fancy. Suppose each State made it a requirement to get a drug test to get a drivers license, a hair test so you can look back in time, and every time the license comes up for renewal. Do you think that would result in a significant drop in drug usage in America? I think it would. If it did, then there would be a drop in demand for drugs in general which would slow down the supply of drugs and reduce the demand at the source. Drug dealers would start going out ot business or kill themselves off fighting for the remaining business. Now, what if all States finally decided to do the right thing and start a random drug testing program at each high school and junior high? I suspect that would pass muster in the Supreme Court; drug testing students for extra-curricular activities already has. Can you just imagine the turmoil that would result up and down the drug supply chain; brings a grin to my lips.

Drug testing works folks, let's take advantage of it!!


Your Thoughts on Drug Testing Welfare Benefit Recipients

Do you think it is a good idea and legal to drug test recipients of welfare benefits?

See results without voting

DEMOGRAPHIC Q #1

Do you consider yourself more closely aligned with the:

See results without voting

DEMOGRAPHIC Q #2

Are you a;

See results without voting

UPDATE

UPDATED 12/8/2011: I RECENTLY HEARD that a Florida judge suspended the drug testing program. I will research and bring more info shortly. I was wondering why I wasn't getting any more people into my office.

UPDATED 3/20/2012: Governor Scott signed into law on March 19, 2012, a requirement that state agencies randomly test up to 10 percent of their workers once every three months. This is similar to an executive order he signed last year but, according a Politfact report, backed away from, except for prison guards, pending the outcome of a suit that the ACLU and government workers union filed. The ACLU says they plan to file suit regarding this law as well.

UPDATED 5/1/2012: My poll currently has 76 votes, the best of all of my polls to-date, which allows me to say something statistically meaningful about the results. The standard measure for these types of "horse race" polls is a Confidence Interval or "Margin of Error" (at the 95% level of confidence). The question, then, is this, "Can I say, after just 76 votes, that 72% in favor of drug testing welfare recipients is statistically bigger than the 22% who don't believe we should?" Looking at the numbers, that would seem like a silly question, but, with only 76 votes, it isn't so silly. Even if the percentages had been 57% in favor and 37,% against, a whopping 20-point difference, I couldn't tell you with a 95% level of confidence, that total population results wouldn't end up being 50/50. However, with the 72/22-split we do have at the moment, my margin of error is plus or minus 19%, meaning the percentage in favor could be as low as 51% and the percentage opposed could be as high as 41%. Clearly, those in Hubland, who like to vote in these polls, favor drug testing welfare recipients.

Just to give full disclosure, however, this poll is not a properly selected random sample where I can be pretty certain of a normal distribution. My sample is from a population who likes to vote in these polls and I don't really know for sure if it is biased in one direction or another. I do know, nevertheless, that as my sample size increases, it tends to matter less unless there is a major bias at work, and I doubt that there is.

UPDATED 2/26/2013: The unanimous decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals turned down Gov. Scott's appeal of a 2011 decision by an Orlando district court to enjoin the Florida's drug testing law for recipients of state welfare on the grounds that it violates the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. The Appeals Court ruling also applies to a nearly identical bill signed last year by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. This decision cuts to the heart of a Republican-led efforts to conflate poverty and unemployment with drug abuse and sends a message to other states that the suspicionless testing laws will not stand. It is unknown at this time of Florida will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

UPDATED 5/23/2013: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt Gov. Scott's attempt to randomly drug test all state employees a fatal blow. Florida had appealed last year's ruling by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro who tossed out Scott's executive order, saying random drug tests of the state's 85,000 state workers violated the U.S. Constitution's 4th Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches. The problem is, the judges order included ALL state employees, e.g., police, firemen, etc. The Appeals Court took exception to that part and sent the case to Judge Ungaro to reconsider the broad sweep the ruling. Florida may appeal this further.

UPDATED 6/21/2013: It has been suggested in some of the comments that drug testing, if applied to this cohort of people, then everybody should be drug tested. Today I heard a Democratic Representative, not sure who or what state he represented, talking about the Farm Bill that failed to pass the previous night. One of the three reasons it didn't get enough Democratic support to overcome the Tea Party refusal to go along with the bill is that Speaker Boehner, in order to get Right-wing support, allowed an amendment to be included which required drug testing Food Stamp recipients and other individuals helped normally helped by this bill. The Representative made the point that if they are going to test these people receiving government assistance, then so should those receiving Corporate Welfare in the form of subsidies, direct and indirect, as well as tax breaks. Makes sense to me.

UPDATED 10/8/2013: Heard on the Michael Smerconish program on Sirius/XM POTUS radio this morning: A business owner calling in from upstate NY has a microchip manufacturing plant with $20/hr, entry-level, HS-diploma only required jobs to fill ... and he can't. The only detractor from the job is the hours aren't standard hours but all the employees would have to do is monitor the health of clean room equipment to make sure the manufacturing environment was staying clean. Why can't he get employees? The the lack of a diploma, the hours, and/or they can't pass a standard 5-panel pre-employment drug test. $20/hr! go figure.

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Comments 54 comments

tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

If I gotta pay their bills the least they can do is get tested ! And in fact maybe put able bodied welfare recipients to work repairing our infrastructure.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I personally do not go to the doctor - I have not been to one in ... I honestly cannot remember in how long. With that in mind, I would not let anyone poke me with anything; I would not give away any bodily fluids of any kind, etc.

From your article I understand that Americans have been peeing in tubes with an audience for quite some time: "test the whole company" - I'm thinking cattle here lol ... that's ... I don't know - I'm speechless (or word-less).

This is just a crazy European talking though, so pay no attention to me.

I have never done a drug test and I will never do one - personal choice.

Interesting read. Cheers!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

You and I seem to have very similar life views. I am for/against many of the things that you listed at the beginning. You provide some interesting things to consider in your hub and do a great job of presenting the pros and the cons. I am in FULL agreement with you on this issue. I work in a very low income school district (in Michigan by the way). Most of my families are on some sort of government assistance. I understand that the cost of the test would be a stretch for them but I still feel it's a necessary evil. Privacy invasion? Too bad. There are many jobs in the world, and sports teams as you pointed out, olympics, etc. that require drug testing. It is a matter of keeping others safe. I think your idea about the drivers license is great too.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Tony - Your two points weigh-in as well, drug-free people tend to have more movtivation to find and keep work.

Mr. Happy - I commend you for your good health. Just for clarity, although I understand your view, drug tests in America are rarely done by blood draw, are directly observed only in the military or under special circumstances, such as evidence of cheating, directly observed, instead it is almost always peeing in a cup in private, not even the collector watches.

Thank you, Cardelean. I was sort of blown away with the degree of unemployment among those drawing welfare and the disparity between the employed and unemployed.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Mr. Esoteric, I obviously know very little about this, or about anything that has to do with tests, doctors and such.

My apology if I sound completely outrageous. I am trying to learn things.

What would a recipient of social assistance do once he or she is cut-off from their support for testing positive?

Do they just find a dumpster to live in ( I know those are fairly good - there is even food in them sometimes) ...

Thank you for your kind words regarding my health: I have a great personal doctor: my immune system.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Not outrageous at all, Mr. Happy. Actually, after the Conservatives passed welfare reform in the late 1990's and President Clinton signed it into law, people can get assistance for only three years before they are cut off. There is a lot of free assistance to help people train for and to find work and get off the welfare treadmill.

This law doesn't start until July 1 and everybody is on notice now; the test is a urine test which, for everything but THC, only goes back a few days. THC can be detected back up to a couple of weeks if it is heavy use. So people have a choice to make right now.

There is also provisions in the law to provide for free, I think, drug treatment programs should the user choose to use it. If they successfully complete it, they can reapply. Also, other provisions of the law protect any children that may be involved by providing for a third party to receive the childrens assisance for them.

America also has a very large underground society of homeless (bums, in another time) whose ranks have been swelled by families dislocated from our financial meltdown. There is a large private and religious support system to try to help these individuals out. For those who refuse this assistance, yes, some do, they do live out of dumpsters, which, if they no where to look, is often well stock with editable food that is escess and not scrap.

I used to have a beautiful immune system for most of my 63 years; very few colds, a rare flu, not even a broken bone; those are still true. But, I hope you haven't done what I did and mistreat it like let it get to 250 lbs at 5'11"; I am down to 200 lb now. It started falling apart at about 56. It started out with an enlarged prostate, which was fortunate really because it allowed my Dr. to catch my prostate cancer before it was too late in 2007 when I had a successful prostecomy. In 2008, diabetes II visited me along with previously diagnosed but poorly treated high blood pressure. I also have Alzheimers on two sides of my family early, self-diagnosed (always dangerous, lol) symptoms. Now my Russian born Dr. has me rock solid in all those things she can control and is treating me for what she thinks may be early signs of Alzeimers.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I pray for everyone who is battling illnesses. I wish good health onto this world and I wish good health for Mother Earth as well.

May Wakan Tanka walk with You Mr. Esoteric.

(I understand your position regarding the drug-testing. Do I agree? It's not important now. Thank you for explaining. I'm off to the forest. Cheers!)


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Enjoy the forrest My. Happy.


Jed Fisher profile image

Jed Fisher 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I'm horrified to find out, welfare recipients have not been getting tested for all these years, that this is something new, and just who in their right mind would oppose drug testing for welfare recipients?

Thank you for bringing this to light. I say test them all, nationwide. Drug testing gets results.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for your comment Jed. Yep, only one other State tried, Michigan, and a federal court shot their law down, so they dropped it; I am not sure why. Other States try non-testing protocols but I don't know how successful those are.


GNelson profile image

GNelson 5 years ago from Florida

I live in Florida. Every day I take a walk and see homeless people. I also see homeless families - you know the kind with kids. I talk to them and hear there stories and know that any one of us could join their ranks under the right circumstances. Gov. Scott has no clue how he affects these people.

It is worderful how businessman/governor Scott is against all business regulation and for for any regulations for individuals.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for the comment GNelson and agree with all you said. I am proud to be firmly entrenched in the Progressive camp for most of my life but nevertheless, to the astonishment of so many Conservatives, as firmly believe that individuals and businesses should be responsible for their own actions and suffer the consequences for bad behavior. That is a maxim that knows no philosophical boundary, really, it is just that the Conservatives have taken that as a mantra and the Progressives and Liberals have let them.

I fully support Gov Scott's drug program and, at the same time, hope to hell he becomes the first Florida governor ever recalled from office. The drug testing, when you think about it, can only benefit those drawing welfare in long run.


cooldad profile image

cooldad 5 years ago from Florida

Great hub, well said. I am a Florida resident, I don't care for Scott at all, but he's right on with this issue. I think it's great, even if he profits from it. One of my main issues with Scott is why would anyone that rich want to be in public office??? He should be living on an island somewhere counting his money.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"I was reading your comments that you made on My Esoteric's article on drug testing for welfare recipients. Just wanted to say that I agree with you, and I am happy to see people who are compassionate around, since it seems there is so much in the way of judgmental attitudes and such. I think welfare drug testing is absolutely wrong for so many reasons that I won't necessarily get into, but I appreciated the comment about the need to possibly dumpster dive once denied due to drug use. =)

I mean seriously, what if a parent lights up a joint every now and then? Does this mean their children should have to suffer because the state cut them off? Does this make them unfit parents? I don't think so. I do think there are people out there that hurt their children with drug use (my dad sure did) but I believe this is an extreme way of going about things.

Anyway, I've said my piece... =) Cheers!"

This is an email I received today Mr. Esoteric. I am not saying who it was because as I checked your blog again - I do not see this person to have commented here. Obviously he/she was afraid of the wrath of judgmental people so, the name will remain hidden. If people were less mean, people such as this person might have engaged into a conversation.

So, I guess we're back to this conversation. I do speak for others - or so it seems anyway. I will try to keep the ego in check.

So, let's say I am on welfare and I have kids (none of it is true but lets just say for the argument's sake). If I have a friend that comes over and lights a joint out of which I take a few puffs, like Bill Clinton or Obama for example - is that worth cutting off the food from my children's mouths? Is that a good reason to send people on the street? Is that justifiable?

To Mr. Fisher now. "I say test them all" - that sounds like you're testing rats or mice or something. Get a hold of yourself Sir! We're all the same once you peel-off your skin.

I suppose I am not in my right mind to be opposing drug-testing. You know what ... I will agree for drug testing if every social service person also goes on drug testing. So, all politicians, social workers, cops, paramedics and so on. Get all of them to test for drugs and I will be fine with it.

It's when you select just one portion of the population to do such tests on that I have a problem with it. It's morally wrong! But hey, I'm crazy and out of my mind so I guess you will just ignore what I have to say.


Lea Williams 5 years ago

Mr. Happy makes some excellent points. ;)


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

First, I want to scold a bit: Please y'all, voting is anonymous, please express your opinion this way whether you comment or not. Thank you :-)

Cooldad: Couldn't agree more other than your point regarding why rich people wanting to serve in public office. Now, let me say first, I truly suspect Scott's motives for being in office and I rue the fact that he and I share the same name, it is my middle name but I have had much longer than he, lol. But, by and large, I think most people who want to serve in public office, rich or poor, do so because they really want to try to make a positive difference for their constituancy, at least to start with. That is also the reason a lot of people serve as civil servants, it certainly isn't the high regard we are held in.

To be honest, I am reasonably well off, with a partnership in a small company that is bumping right along and retired twice from the military and the federal civil service plus I am learning how to trade options in the stock market. I say all of that so I can tell you that I would jump at the chance to serve my country again in a role where I believe my talents could make a difference if it was done in a way that wouldn't hurt my company, and, compensation wouldn't really play much of role.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I agree with Lea, Mr. Happy, you and your unnamed writer do make good points, the extreme on both sides of the political spectrum but more so on the socially conservative right are very judgemental; it comes with the conservative religious belief system. Myself, I am moderately socially progressive. Even so, I believe people need to held responsible for their actions. That includes when a person receives assistance from the society they live in.

That said, I am not even close to being a black and white person, I know there is a lot of gray in the world and that needs to be taken into account. You may take comfort, as I pointed out earlier in a response, is that

- if you are busted on a test, your children are not endangered, they can be provided for;

- you can to if you enter a program, I believe.

- you are not tested everytime you receive assistance, just the first time and annually thereafter, I think

- if you use in the scenario you gave and get caught, you are one of the unluckiest people in the world because of the odds of you going to get tested while there are drugs still in your system at detectable levels is pretty small unless you used the day or two before; if you did, they you are pretty dumb.

- in the State of Florida, virtually ALL State workers receive Pre-employment drug tests, anybody in a safety-sensitive job gets randomly tested and I think that included the police and fire department.

- In America, about the only segment of society that doesn't have an active drug testing program of some description are your hotel and resturant service workers, professional services like lawyers and accountants, Information Technology services, and, believe it or not, most federal workers; I was never tested in my 25 years of service and I worked at some pretty high levels at one time or another.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for starting to follow me Lea, I hope you like what I write.


Lea Williams 5 years ago

Hello My Esoteric :)

First of all I wanted to ask you about this statement "if you are busted on a test, your children are not endangered, they can be provided for" ... can you please expound on that?

Also, as far as entering a program, this is great if you are a heroin addict or something (and a heroin addict probably isn't going to take good care of their children at any rate) but what if you are a marijuana user? Yes there are some heavy users and they would benefit from cutting back or quitting altogether, but there are those who use it in moderation or on rare occasions, and I really don't think they should have to go to rehab. Remember that marijuana generally stays in the system longer than most drugs, so they might test positive for it even if they haven't used it prior to testing. And just because it is illegal does not make it dangerous. There are many who use it for medical reasons, and just because they happen to be unlucky enough to live in a state which has not enacted medical marijuana laws now they are put into a group with hard core addicts? This does not seem right. Another issue I see with this is alcoholism. Do these tests screen for alcohol? Because alcoholics rarely make good parents.

As for employment drug tests, yes they may be screened prior to employment, but are they screened at any time thereafter? (Apart from safety-sensitive workers). I think that yearly would be fair, or whatever is equal to what welfare recipients would get.

I also thought I would mention that welfare is not all it is cracked up to be. Some seem to think it means you get a check every month for doing absolutely nothing, which may still be the case in some places, but it is not in my state of Illinois. While I do not receive welfare, I do happen to know what welfare recipients must do to get it here. You must work full time (or close to full time, I do not remember) at a non-profit agency, and for this you receive somehwere in the ballpark of $300 or so. Again, I don't remember the specific amount. This amount is for an entire month. All adults in the household must do this, so if there are two people, they both must do it, yet they still only receive that one amount. The reason why I know this is because my husband was laid off after the economy went kaput, and then after that developed a kidney issue, and was out of work long enough for his unemployment benefits to run out. I have been going to school for quite some time, and since I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, working and school together has not been an option for me, so I did not have a job (though I would have gotten one at that point if I had been able to find one). So we found this out while trying to see what our options were for bringing in some income until one of us could find a job. Needless to say, we passed, since if we had done this, it would have been much harder to find a job, what with so much of our time going into working at a non-profit for slave wages.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Mr. Esoteric, I appreciate your comments.

I suppose we do work on luck as well: "if you use in the scenario you gave and get caught, you are one of the unluckiest people in the world" - considering I did not give an impossible/unrealistic circumstance ... we should all pray for luck, I guess.

This is my main problem as I stated it before, only some people are tested and some are not like, "most federal workers; I was never tested in my 25 years of service and I worked at some pretty high levels at one time or another."

So, the people that are in charge of governing our countries; those who are representing us, who spent our tax money and so on ... they do not need to be tested.

It's okay for Bush the Second to have been a cocaine addict, a drunk and a failure in business and education yet, still become president while for smoking a joint one can lose their financial assistance.

There was a case here (in Canada) not too long ago about an MP (Member of Parliament) who was caught drinking and driving with cocaine and I am not sure if marijuana also on him ... he got a slap on the wrist for drinking and driving - I do not even think he lost his license as most people would. The unfairness is too much for me to accept.

Put all congressmen and members of parliament through drug-tests and I might agree with them. Again, as long as we go and pick just some portions of our society to do drug tests on, that is just not morally right.

When do you think we can get Mr. Weiner in for a drug test, I think he might need one? Then, we can move on to Hillary, Mr. Boehner and so on.


cooldad profile image

cooldad 5 years ago from Florida

I think maybe this could be a marijuana issue. Would people who oppose this drug testing change their stance if marijuana were excluded from the test? Personally, I have no problem with people who smoke pot. I used to smoke quite a bit and it never really affected my life negatively.

Now, I don't think anyone should use cocaine, meth, heroin, ect. Just throwing that out there. Any thoughts?


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for whoever just voted and thank you Lea, Mr. Happy, amd Cooldad for asking great questions and making such astute opinions. This is an area I have a lot of experience in and have thought a lot about. Somewhere, in another hub, I said I am a Libra, and take the idea of balance, fairness, and justice very seriously; that is the way I try to approach most problems and issues, this one is no different; I am also a pragmatist, just so you know.

Lea, there are provisions in the law that if a single parent is positive or both parents are positive, then a third party, who must also be tested and pass, may receive the help designed for the children.

Unfortunately, I can't be very sympatheic for the case of excluding pot, even though I am for its legalization. Here is why; the individual has contral of when they get tested. If the person does not have a pot problem, then they can lay off the week or so for the THC to clear their system(; it is not unusual for someone to come into one of our offices and pay for their own tests until they come out clean before they go take a pre-employment test. I had one guy come into my VA office once a week for two-months before all the pot left his system; eithe he was a REALLY heavy user or he kept using between tests, lol; pot generally own stays around for no longer than 30 days, if that.) If they have a problem, then they won't be able to quit, and they should be caught. You do bring up a real issue that I don't have an answer for with your medical mariajuana scenario other than to say these people use with the understanding they are breaking the law and use willing to suffer the consequences if they get caught.

You are preaching to the chior regarding testing for alcohol and the same time. My rational of showing up with pot in your system applies several times over showing up with alcohol still in your system; to me that is close to saying you are an alcoholic like my mother was, my father was, and I am.

Pre-emploment drug tests, normally without alcohol, is ubiquitous in the US. After that, it depends. In the military, I think, and the Department of Transportation, meaning truck/bus drivers, railroad workers, aviation workers, coast guard, transit workers, etc do random post-accident, suspicion, and reasonble cause drug AND alcohol testing. Many companies who are not required to also do these additional tests and more start every year. Many school districts have started testing students who go out for extra-curricular activities; some want to start random testing the general student population (that will go to Supreme Court) Bottom line, it is getting harder and harder to live in the United States without being drug tested at some point in their life.

There are few things on the Conservative agenda that I agree with, but changing what had been a good welfare idea that had gone wrong was one that I did agree with. Each state implements the different parts of the welfare program differently and then there are the federal parts, like food stamps which isn't impacted by this Florida law.

Mr. Happy - I think that was my point about my federal worker example; there is no reason in the world that I can think of why people who physically work in the Pentagon, any one of our military bases, or major federal buildings, even if they aren't working in a security related job, shouldn't be under some sort of random drug testing program.

Boy, what a concept, drug testing our Congressmen, what havoc that would cause, lol. - never happen. Getting caught, is a different thing. First time on cocaine may or may not get jail time, depends on the State, being a Congress doesn't get you a "get out jail free card" any more in almost all jurisdictions down here.

I am no fan of President Bush II, he rates being one of the worst Presidents in America's history, but he had every right to be President because he overcame every one of those selfimposed handicaps and was up-front about it while running. That is a very different thing than a person forgoing, not losing, welfare help because they couldn't manage their drug use in such a way as to be clean at the they chose to take the drug test. I might have a different answer if the potential recipient didn't know when the test would be. Pot rarely gets you in jail. I think there is one exception, Texas, if I am not mistaken, a parking ticket gets you 30-days there, lol

Weiner needs something for sure!

Cooldad - Personally, I am for legalization of all drugs. I do not believe use should or possession of certain amounts should be a crime, period. I do believe the sale, but not the transfer, transport over a certain quantity, unlicenced manufacture, unlicenced production, and unlincenced growth of identified drugs should be a crime with severe penalties. Government should be responsible for the acquisition and distribution process as well as help provide assistance for getting off drugs.

My main reasons are economic and crime reduction. Given that will never happen, I think pot ought to be legalized for economic and philosophical reasons.


jane 5 years ago

I have no problem with drug testing, but only if they test everyone from the President of the USA all the way down to the welfare recipients. if you test one, then test them all, and no one in government can own or have interest in the company doing the testing, no bribing allowed.......


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for reading my hub and commenting Jane. While they obviously don't do that in Federal or State governments, as I said, they never tested me, which surprised me given some of the things I worked on, I strongly suspect the President does get tested, at least a pre-employment test. I am even more confident that those who work around him that hold any sort of top security clearance also get drug-tested. While I am not sure that is true of Congressman, in general, I bet those on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees do as do their staffs.

Does anybody reading this know for sure?

Also, I do know for sure that many of the agencies do drug testing, some, like the FAA, because they have to by Federal Law, others because they choose to; I know because I seen solicitations for bids come my way.


George 4 years ago

Drug tests are REQUIRED to get a job. Why should they not be required to receive welfare?

Or are we taxpayers going to fund their drug use too?


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for reading and commenting George, I appreciate. I don't think drug testing is required for all jobs, just many of them. Also, since the welfare receipients are already supporting their drug habit, if they have one, then the welfare money isn't technically "funding" their drug habit.

I just don't want to give my tax dollars to people using drugs, without the histronics and emotion attached to the reasoning.


Peyton Walker profile image

Peyton Walker 4 years ago

A Con to this that has not gotten too much mention in this article is the cost benefit analysis. 96% of welfare reciepients passed their drug screen in Florida. Which means only 4% did not, at that rate taxpayers are paying more on the tests than they are saving. Also, drug screens might curb drug use, but they for sure increase the profits for companies like Vale and other masking agents. Which work. Let's also not forget the main drug that gets tested for and people fail for is marijuana, because it stays in the system for 30 days as oppose to 72 hours for most other illicit drugs. For these reasons I'm quite uncertain about this practice, even though in theory it sounds nice.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Peyton, I appreciate your comment, it has been awhile since I have had one even though this is my most popular hub.

Yes, those are two popular Cons, and both play into my strong suit. I was a professional cost analyst for my civil service career and, as I think I mentioned in the hub, I am now engaged in the business of drug testing, with my office being in FL, although I have offices and collectors nationwide.

Yes, I suspect you are right, those who make masking products do make a lot of money because people think they can beat the system. For women, rather than men, it is a bit easier, for physical reasons, but in all cases, if they go to a reputable collection site and a reputable lab and medical review officer is used, it is used it is pretty hard to beat a drug test. That is why companies voluntarily spend billions of dollars annually drug testing their employees, either with just pre-employment tests or with random testing.

There are many things that can "mask" your 4% number (I can't remember if I discussed this in my hub). First, had the program gone on long enough before it was suspended to produce a valid number? Second, was it adjusted upward to account for those who would not show up because there was a drug test in place now? In the general non-working population you will see in another hub I have that drug use is around 19%, if I am remembering correctly.

Further, did you multiply the payments by six, because that is how many would not be paid before the next possible test, and that assumes the recipient ever comes back? Then, did you add in the cost savings to society from each person who actually quits using drugs from this program? As I hope you can see, there are lot's of things a professional cost analyst would consider when calculating whether the $40 cost is worth it.

Yes, you are certainly correct regarding marijuana and the other four drugs they test for. Nevertheless, it is still illegal although I am guessing you believe it should be legalized, just as I have for the last 50 years. But, so long as it is illegal, the purchase and use of it require the user, by necessity, interact with the low-life of society which can, and often do, lead to larger problems.

(Which, by the way, would be a HUGE money saver if they legalized it. Not only would it bring in money from taxes, it would save costs in our justice system, reduce crime, REALLY piss off the drug lords and reduce their numbers and, ultimates, violence, etc. But, of course, conservatives, but not Libertarians, and Christian fundamentalists remain blind to all of this.) Sorry for the digression.


Peyton Walker profile image

Peyton Walker 4 years ago

3 things)

1)You say it is hard to pass a drug test. I say it is easier than you think. Knowing tons of people who have done so for jobs and probation.

2)More importantly, the focus is on illicit drugs when it should be on alcohol, in my opinion.

3)http://m.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/08/florida-welf...


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Yep, it is difficult, but not impossible, if you have an experienced collector and a good lab. If you go to a clinic like Labcorp or Quest or other such places, I have my doubts, but if you come to a place whose main business is collecting, then it gets much harder to physically beat a test. The only easy way is to insert a clean sample inside your body, we can't check there. But we are trained to look. We have people remove all outer garments and empty all pockets. We can't pat them down, but we do inspect them for obvious bulges. We also sanitize the facility they use and have them wash their hands.

As to altering the sample, we check the tempurature of the sample and, if it is out of range and it is a DOT test, we do a direct observation test; we watch them pee into the cup (gender on gender, btw). If it isn't DOT, then we follow company protocol. Then, when the sample gets to the lab, all sorts of tests are run looking for known altering agents, including drinking too much water.

There is a multimillion dollar battle going on between Congress, industry, and the labs to make illegal, produce masking agents, and find counter-measures on a daily basis.

As I said, it is difficult, but not impossible.

As to alcohol, it is part of the DOT and many company authority drug abatement programs. Most use a breath test machine but some use urine testing for it. Not sure why, the breath test is just as effective and catches them on the spot.


handymanbill profile image

handymanbill 4 years ago from western pennsylvania

I think that testing Welfare recipients is fair and should be done. I have personally known many people on welfare that sell there food stamp for cash to buy drugs. The going price is 50.00 for 100 in stamps. This should not happen. Its to buy food to feed themselves and there children. Not for cash.


daskittlez69 profile image

daskittlez69 4 years ago from midwest

They should do it, but is shouldn't be done with urine samples. They should test their hair.


Jade0215 4 years ago

They definitely do need to start drug testing. A lot of people that are on food stamps where I'm at are doing some sort of drugs and obviously the expense of those could be used for hundreds of dollars worth of food and it's not fair that they're receiving extra money for food when they're wasting it all on their addiction when others genuinely need it.


daskittlez69 profile image

daskittlez69 4 years ago from midwest

It is disgusting. There are a lot of people that cannot get things like food stamps or Medicare and they desperately need it. Then there are others that do not need it. And they completely abuse the system.


EuroNinila profile image

EuroNinila 4 years ago from NYC BABY

Definetely fair because that's where our tax money is going to! Great hub !


screaming 4 years ago

I'm on the fence one way or the other. Coming of this recession, many folks who never needed welfare are finding themselves in need of it. And to ask a person to spend, more like $75.00 for the test is really kind of ridiculous. If they can't afford food, how can they afford the test? The Florida and Georgia governors don't realize the extra burden being put on folks already in need. If employment improved where those new welfare folks could get their jobs back or another, I'm all for it. This to me is insult after injury to folks who are in this situation, no fault of their own.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thank you all who recently posted comments; I am not sure what peaked everybody's interest all of the sudden, but I am sure happy it did. Great comments all.

Screaming, while some in FL are that high, I think most are more in the $55 - $60 range. My office got paid $40, if I remember correctly, and the company who got the contract with the State and hired us, as well as others around the State, got $15 or $20 per test. If the donor was negative, they got their money back in the end.


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

The whole idea of drug testing welfare reciepnts is full of holes. To be honest right now I feel that the "scariest" drugs out there are the bath salts, the "fake" marijauna and all the other household products people abuse to get high in some fashion. Will this not make true addicts more apt to turn to "fake" drugs?

On a side note I must say that EVERY drug addict I have ever met can pass a drug test with little to no notice. I mean it isn't rocket science and it's scary to say the least.

So do I oppose it or agree with it? I'm not sure but I know that it will cost more money that society does not have. Where will the money come from? Will America as a whole "save" enough money by not giving welfare to drug addicts to pay for the cost of drug testing?

I get it, were all about "if I have to take a drug test then so should ______". BUT I'm not sure how beneficial it will be in the long run.

If you have any friends who are addicts or partake even in occasional drug use ask them if they can pass a drug test. I assure you they are crafty enough to figure it out. I'll be interested to see how this "saves" money or deters drug use over the long haul.

Another thing to think about is how many more people are we going to have to employ to get this program implemented and followed? How backlogged will they eventually come (like every other government agency?). I don't know about this....... but none the less I'll watch it, wait and find out like everyone else.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I appreciate you stopping by and leaving us your toughts, Rfordin. To answer your last question first, "not many". The drug testing industry is huge, my company is just a tiny piece of it. All Florida did was let a contract out to a couple of Third Party Administrators who contacted a bunch clinic based testing facilities around FL to get pricing and sign them up, my little office was one of them. Now, my company is nationwide as well, but we serve a different kind of client, railroads, airlines, and such, so we didn't bid on this contract, but, since I had an office here, why not get some business.

I is a LOT harder to beat a drug test a competent testing facility and where the specimen is tested at a competent lab, than you think. It is a multimillon dollar cat-and-mouse game going on between the crooks trying to produce products to defeat the system (it is notw illegal to do so) and those trying to detect it.

You hit the nail on the head though in talking about "designer" drugs. The world is about to get overwhelmed by them and the laws are just now starting to address the issue.

As to is it worth it", business thinks so. They voluntarily spend billions of dollars annually on detection and prevention because it saves them an order of magnitude more in related personnel costs.


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

Ok so run with the designer drugs....how will we detect the abuse of these drugs? Will we then institute a drug test that tests for bleach, household chemcicals, other strange things that "normal" people would never think of ingesting? It just seems time consuming, absurd and impossible in my book to cover all the bases and actually make this "work" in our favor.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

If you are talking about bleach and other adulterants like that, those are part of the detection process already, just as loading yourself up with too much water to dilute the specimen and bringing someone else's sample. For the latter method to work, you have to do it just right; hide it so we can't see it, keep the tempurature in the right range until you pour it into the cup, hope to hell whoever gave it to you was clean to begin with and is of the correct sex, so on and so forth.

As for the new drugs themselves, that is a much harder nut to crack. Right now, all they test for is pot, narcotics, speed, PCP, and coke; the five found on the DOT panel. They are in the process of expanding that, however.


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

Now that's interesting, I did not know that they are able to tell Susie's urine apart from Max's urine. I also did not know that they test for other additives other then the "normal" urine proteins. Very interesting information. Thank you!


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Yeah, when the specimen hits the lab, there is a battery of tests that are run looking for all known adulterants including such simple things as sex and too much water in the urine (which could be normal and only causes a retest rather than a presumed positive result). As collectors, we have the donors empty their pockets, take off any outer garments and hats, check the wallets, secure purses and the like, and look for any specious bulges.


Bimothy Slangwell profile image

Bimothy Slangwell 4 years ago from Florida

I love to comment on this subject, I have a little insight I believe because I work for the agency in Florida who have a hand in individuals being approved for TANF.

I've also been on the other side of the spectrum where I needed assistance (didn't know I was eligible however). Some of the people I associate with receive food stamps and/or TANF. I also was a case manager for persons applying for and receiving TANF.

Well to start, last I heard, this legislation has been cancelled. The finding was that it is nothing but a waste of time.

A program designed and championed by the same types who will decry that the "government should stay out of our lives" on one hand. Then on this hand demand and howl at the government interjecting itself into someone else life. Hypocrisy at its finest!

In my seven years of working with the customers, I can think of MAYBE one individual that WANTED to just sit home and collect cash assistance. Something was mentally unstable with that customer, as proofed by her also being approved for disability.

No one else has dreams of sitting home on their couch and watching soap operas anymore. Those days are long gone (if they ever existed) as most customers are happy to get out the house and away from the kids!

Perhaps I will continue educating some of the misinformed later, but for now I'll direct my attention more fully to this hub.

People who you fear are abusing the TANF (cash assistance) do not have the patience and follow-thru to. The requirements are too demanding for someone strung out on drugs. The requirements include volunteering a minimum of 30 hours per week to the State of Florida.

How many of you knew that?

What Meth or Crack head is going to have the responsibility to adhere to that requirement? The answer to this is a big fat ZERO!


Mitch Alan profile image

Mitch Alan 4 years ago from South Jersey

I believe testing for illegal drug use and citizenship should both be manditory for anyone seeking to acquire money or other financial assistence at the tax payers expence. I have no problem with any employer doing the same, as they are the entity paying the employee.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for your information Bimothy and no, I didn't know that about TANF, that is a good requirement. Is that waived if they have some subsistance level or less paying job, or do they not qualify then?

The program is not cancelled, just waiting for a court decision.

I think you are talking about hard core drug users who don't have the sticking power to see the process through, but, the Department of Transportation and business in general do find drug testing to be very beneficial in terms of safety in the former case and very cost effective in the latter case.

You can review the stats above but full-time workers drug use rate is 8%, part-time workers is 9%, and unemployed is 18%; which group do your clients fall in? It is interesting to note, btw, that the Transportation/Warehousing industry average is 6.2% where the Transportation Industry (25% or 50% for drugs, 10% for alcohol) is heavily tested and the Warehousing is not; I believe the Transportation side is actually down in the 3% range, but would have to check.


Bimothy Slangwell profile image

Bimothy Slangwell 4 years ago from Florida

I'm new to Hubpages, so I'm still trying to get accustomed to the layout of the posts. It seems to be confusing, it doesn't help when you're trying to respond to someone.

I actually performed the orientation everyone applying for TANF is required to complete. I held the assistant supervisor position in the applicant process for about two years I believe. It's amazing how I've forgotten alot of my spill.

The main point I made to individuals was that it really wasn't worth it to accept TANF. Which it isn't! A family of 3 would have a maximum of $303 dollars per month they could receive. Hardly anyone received the maximum. Most of my customers with a household of 3 would get $258.

Now what partying and drugs are they going to be able to splurge on? None that I can think of.

I will touch on another loophole of the suspended policy which made it basically worthless. If the applicant was found to test positive for drugs....they would STILL get benefits! The only requirement was to find a person (usually a sister or friend) to accept the benefits for them and supposedly distribute it for them.

That's right, if Ms. SmokeaJoint was busted, all she would have to do is ask her friend Ms. PartyAllNight to accept her benefits for her and give her the card.

I want to touch on the attitude we have toward some people who are receiving welfare. In my orientations I've had a WIDE variety! They range from those who are victims of generational poverty, to those who were just fired/layed off from management level jobs. More than a couple IT guys, and one who even began crying because he felt shame for needing assistance.

Anyone of us are a lot closer to needing assistance than we may think. So be careful how you stereotype these individuals, as your burden will be heavier on your shoulders when YOU may get sick or injured and then need he assistance. YOU will then be the person in line at the supermarket (who I see alot) whipping out the EBT card and pretending like you don't know what it is.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I think you are saying you prefer the comments arranged so that the newest is on the bottom? I wish they would put the comment box where the last comment is; I suppose I should change it back. I didn't like scrolling all the way to the bottom, but then, I don't like scrolling all the way to the top to see what I am responding to either.

Remember, Ms. Partyallnight has to pass the drug test as well. I didn't realize the assistance was that low; are they allowed to earn other income as well to supplement?

Also, if I remember correctly, if they go to counselling, they can qualify on their own again.

I think this last recession proves your point about being a hearbeat away from needing assistance yourself. The Reagan recession almost put me there, but the government came to the rescue with an actual job that turned into a 21 year career.


Angel198625 profile image

Angel198625 4 years ago

I, personally, agree with this law. There are parents out there that are selling all of their foodstamps and getting high instead of feeding their children. This law might be the motivation needed to quit using welfare to support their habits, and actually use it to help out their family. *I am not saying that all welfare recipients are drug users. I personally have been on welfare. I just know that some people do use the assistance they receive for this, and strongly disagree with it.*


tempestmichael 4 years ago

to the people here who support prohibition/this law.

20 years from now prohibition is going to over without a doubt,

you're going to look back at all of this and you're going to have to live with how brutally incompassionate you were to people who were sick with addictions.

When you've had a friend end their life after being made a martyr over and over again instead of being given help only to have that suicide blamed on their mental illness instead of the hatred and intolerance that put them in prison,

come talk to me about just and unjust law.

When you've seen a child violently ripped away from loving parents or vice versa over a small amount of personal marijuana while alcohol is perfectly legal and it causes people to become wife/child beaters,

come talk to me.

When you've had a girlfriend raped by a dealer when ending prohibition would take away these bastards business,

talk to me about right and wrong.

If after reading you still support prohibition,

then you're a monster

and that's what you'll be remembered for in history.

You'll be remember for how brutally imcompassionate you were to others just for having addictions.

Same category as a homophobe, racist, sexist, etc.

A bigot.


Swift 23 months ago

The only problem I foresee is those who are on prescription medications which test positive for "drugs" For instance, I used to be on prescription ADHD medication. This medication will test me positive on amphetamines and even after I stopped taking it, I would still test positive for the amphetamines until the medication had cleared my entire system (which may be a very long time if I had been on it for a few years) another example is pain medications. Those who are disabled could be on pain medications like hydrocodone (Opiate) or oxycontin (narcotic). Obviously those who are disabled are more likely to test positive because they are more likely to be on medications which test positive. Now, how will they know I am taking prescriptions which would test me positive unless they knew my entire medical history. Would then then every time they did a test re-evaluate my need for disability? You know how much stress that is? Knowing at any time, my disability could be taken and I could be homeless and on the streets again, simply because someone did not see me "disabled enough" ? I've had a few jobs. And I'm still trying to get one. I do not want to be disabled. Many people do not. Do you think I can honestly live very well on $700 a month? You know why I was homeless?

Now if you want everyone off drugs who would test positive, are you ready to deal with severe psychiatric patients who cannot be on their meds because disability said they can't be on medications which test positive for drug use? People with seizures? Cough suppressants can cause false positives also. And if your disabled you can be more likely to or really are already sick. weakened immune system. How will you weed out false positives? How can we trust a lab to preform these tests. How do we know they will only SAY that we tested positive when we haven't simply because they don't "believe" we are "disabled enough."

There is a reason that the disabled tests are more often positive on drugs. Some of us need them to survive. Some of us are so depressed and tired of being treated worse then dirt and don't know how else to cope. The problem isn't needing to "weed us out" the problem is to provide us with a better means to provide for ourselves. And to educate people on our differences.

The one discrimination that transcends all is disability. Look at any nation. Look at WWII. We want to function. We want to work. And some of us can and do. But this abelist attitude is not one of acceptance or understanding. It is one of "you should be able to do this why can't you." It is a constant degradation on us. If you were always told you could do something when you cannot despite all your efforts, do you really think you would feel good about yourself? validated? Everyone wants to be respected and accepted.

I know you can walk. Come on man. Lets go for a walk! Everyone else can. Why can't you? your just not trying enough. I know you can walk, I just need to take away your money and force you to.

I know you can see me. Your not blind! Just open your eyes! Your not trying hard enough! Here I will take your walking cane and force you to open your eyes!

-Now try applying these to really any disabling disability and you will see my point.


Swift 23 months ago

On the homeless subject. There are SOME homelessness programs. Many of which require you to meet certain requirements. Usually on drugs, domestic abuse, chronically homeless (over 1yr) or have kids. Not for regular joes who just happened to loose their job. There are shelters but they are always over-packed and not everyone gets in. Nor are they safe. I never went to one because I knew people who had gone to them and been robbed and stabbed by another homeless person. Many of the homeless are disabled. Many disabled cannot afford the cost of living. Many do not have supportive families. Some youth are former foster care kids like me. Or people who have no one to turn to. Churches cannot do a whole lot either. Nobody trusts you enough to offer shelter very long. If they do, you are lucky. I've gone to food banks, but where can I cook? This limits what I can take. Why am I not skinny? Do you think I can cook healthy food? Do you think the free meals I got were healthy? Not usually. Full of carbs and fats. lots of pastas. Lots of pizzas.. Not the greatest diet to be on. Everyone Just assumes there are all these great programs. ha.. you think? try to be homeless for a week and tell me they are great and available to you. No one cares about you or gives a Sh*t. They hear it all and say, "uhhuh" and send you on your way. Did you know it's also illegal to be homeless? You can be aressted for sleeping on public and private property. So better find yourself some property that isn't either or! Otherwise hide so the police can't arest you on trespassing or beat you up for no reason because they can. Or shoot your dog because they think it's funny. In DC the cop who kept harassing us and threatened to shoot my service dog, later went to court because he and a number of other cops literally beat a homeless man to death because he was sleeping and homeless. No other reason. And they caught it on camera. Do you know how often that happens off camera? I don't. But I've heard enough stories. Not only of cops but also of regular people choosing to kill the homeless because the cops don't investigate. Your not considered a citizen. And no one gives a sh*t. Ask anyone who has ever truly been homeless. No I am not on drugs. But I could not afford my bills and apartment on $700 when the studios in my area on regular market are $500 a month. I was lucky. After 2yrs of homelessness I was able to secure project based section 8 housing. But It took a lot of work to get. One, we had to be considered chronically homeless for the list I was on. Two, I have to have a mental disability. Three, no owed money / eviction records. Four, explainable or no arrest records. I am lucky to never have been arrested for "trespassing" as my traveling buddy and I slept at Pershing park in DC and had permission from secret service to sleep on that property. The cop harassing us was park police who had no jurisdiction but decided to harass us anyway. The only reason we were not arrested in Maryland was because I had gone to the police station to ASK about a shelter. HAHA! they said there wasn't one but the nice lady cop said I could stay in this shopping center and they wouldn't bother us. On cinco de mayo some cops was out with a search dog looking for a guy who held someone up at gunpoint and found us in the woods. yea.. fun times. Oh and my buddy got robbed at knifepoint. HAHA sucks for him though. She only have 6 cents xD Lesson, don't rob the homeless. they are broke. LOL. Another reason you can be arrested (and it's considered a sex crime) is needing to toilet outside. At night nothing is open. And a lot of places in the big cities wont let you use their restrooms unless you buy something. So where are you to go?

Sorry for my long rants. -.- These are just things people do not get. And will not unless they are in such a position.


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My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

@Swift, thank you for you comments, questions, and insights. The drug testing process includes what is called an MRO, a Medical Review Officer who is a medical doctor that has gone through specialized training to interpret results from laboratories. One requirement is that for all "positive" tests, they contact the donor to ascertain just the facts you are worried about, whether the drug was legitimate and prescribed. If so, the "positive" result is reversed. (Now, if you are in a safety sensitive position, you still may not be able to perform that function if it is dangerous to do so, but the results can't be used for disciplinary action.)

I am surprised you would be testing positive more than a few days after quitting ADHD drug use as amphetamine metabolites clear the body quickly. It is THC that can stay around for a month after heavy use.

We aren't allowed to ask about medical history or what drugs anybody is on when we do drug collections, although frequently the donor's want to tell us. If they insist, we have them write it down on the back of their copy of the chain of custody form for future reference.

Keep in mind, the point of drug testing is to 1) keep people who operate dangerous equipment from doing so while on the effects of drugs and 2) reduce the amount of "illegal" drug use; all those uses you describe aren't illegal and are not the target of any drug program that I know of.

As to the "ableist" attitude some have in our society that you rail about, I totally agree with you; they are simply blind to reality. There are a few superhumans that are able to rise above huge barriers placed in front of them, whether they be physical or societal, but most simply aren't wired to be able to do so, at least without help. These "ableist" expect all humans (except themselves probably) to be superhuman.


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My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

No problem about your rants, @Swift, they were wonderfully illuminating. Thank you very much for sharing; your a very good writer as well.

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