Should People Submit to Drug Testing to Receive Government Assistance?
© by Jennifer McLeod writing as jenjen0703, all rights reserved.
Drug testing is a mandatory action for most people seeking employment. According to The Ledger.com, 84% of employers are drug testing their employees, despite the costs. Some companies only perform drug tests on new employees and for work-related injuries. Other companies require random and regular drug testing of their employees.
So, if we working Americans have to pass drug tests to work and pay taxes to support the unemployed, then why aren't those people required to pass drug tests in order to receive government assistance?
Why Are We Drug Tested?
Drug testing is a safety issue for most companies, as well as a cost-effective option. According to Pre-Employment Drug Screening.com, drug use can contribute to tardiness, high turnover rates, absenteeism, attitude problems, stealing, less productivity, crime, and violence.
Do some of these drug-related issues involve those who do not work and receive any type of supplemental income or financial assistance from their state in which they reside? Absolutely! Actually, I would think that the crime rates would be higher for unemployed Americans who are using illegal drugs versus employed Americans. Social Security benefits do not pay well, and supporting a family off that amount is next to impossible.
Do you think people receiving government assistance should be required to pass a drug test?
In 2001-2003, I was self-employed as a medical transcriptionist. One particular doctor that I worked for was a psychiatrist who performed psychiatric evaluations on clients who were in the process of applying for Social Security benefits.
I do not want to quote statistics, as I do not have an actual count before me, and specific information is confidential regarding patients. However, I will say that I was moderately surprised when I discovered how many Social Security applicants had previous issues with alcoholism and drug addiction.
I also discovered that many of these applicants also had previous issues regarding their children being removed from the home because the parents had gotten into trouble for illicit drug use. So, we have drug-addicted parents, who through no fault but their own, messed up their lives and lost their children, yet still expect the government to support them while they sit home using illicit drugs.
This is discouraging for many folks, such as myself. I work extremely hard at my job, and to know that people can draw free money for doing nothing bothers me. Maybe some of us employed folks who are paying for your income would like a break for awhile, too.
The previous comment does not apply to those disabled and retired folks who truly do need the money. There are many individuals who are in desperate need of financial assistance, through no fault of their own. Should they be given minimal assistance because of the rest of the beneficiaries who are abusing the Social Security system?
Who's Jumping On Board?
In 2011, according to the N.Y. Times, policy makers from three dozen states proposed law changes that would implement drug testing for those individuals who applied for food assistance, unemployment benefits, welfare, job training, and public housing.
To prevent abuse and misuse of the Social Security Administration, states such as Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri have already implemented mandatory drug testing for applicants of government assistance.
In Florida, the state requires the applicants to pay for their own drug tests, causing enrollment to shrink to its "lowest levels since the start of the recession" (N.Y. Times, October 10, 2011).
Could You Be Next?
Right now, there are thousands of people probably laughing at this article because they have managed to obtain their Medical Marijuana Card. Those who have their medical card are allowed to smoke cannabis without risking legal charges or interference from state Child Protective Services when it comes to their children.
However, it is also a fact that federal law does not support the Medical Marijuana Card, and employers can still terminate your employment if you were to fail a drug test, even if you have your medical card.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, a Walmart employee was fired for cannabis usage, despite the fact that he had his medical card. John Casias had his medical card because of sinus caner and an inoperable brain tumor. Traditional painkillers, alone, did not ease his pain.
If you have your medical card and fail an employment-related drug test, your employer can still terminate your employment.