Welfare is a socioeconomic program that aims to help people in need with finding a job and becoming self-sufficient. Recently, several states issued new legislation to make drug testing mandatory for all welfare recipients, which caused debates on its benefits. While the supporters of this intervention claim that it can reduce drug abuse and help people with employment issues, those who oppose it argue that it violates the Fourth Amendment and sets additional costs.
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The prudent use of the welfare program is the main benefit of compulsory drug testing. According to Newell, many people who receive welfare services tend to abuse it by buying drugs instead of using it for their families, nutrition, and other necessary issues (220). For taxpayers, it is unfair that their money are used by drug addicts instead of their direct purpose. From this point of view, one can suggest that drug testing would decrease the inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars and improve the social stability of welfare recipients. However, more research seems to be necessary to compare the potential benefits and costs of the program.
Another argument for introducing the proposed procedure is its advantage is identifying people with drug abuse and helping them to quit. The evidence shows that persons with low or no income are more likely to use illicit items and, therefore, the early identification of such cases is critical. The current costs of drug abuse in the US are estimated at $ 200 billion, and testing can facilitate this healthcare burden (Wincup 1035). Accordingly, the advocates of compulsory testing argue that it would increase the costs in a long-term period.
Drug abuse is closely associated with employment challenges since addiction prevents a person from understanding his or her work attitudes. In addition, many employers justifiably require drug testing while hiring (Olney 115). In addition, more requirements to remain a welfare recipient are likely to discourage a person from its long-term use. There is a precedent in the American job market of making drug testing one of the essential procedures of the pre-employment process. For example, state and federal employees are obliged to this test. Most importantly, there are anti-discrimination policies that regulate employment in case the test is positive. Such people can also receive a job offer with some reasonable accommodations.
The assumption that mandatory drug testing can promote the existing injustices is the counterargument used by the opponents of this legislation. It is considered that the current US context is not sufficient to ensure moral obligations and avoid discrimination in terms of testing (Pérez-Muñoz 920). However, it is possible to assume that at least partial implementation of the procedure should be done to monitor its outcomes and adjust testing in the future. In particular, if the additional study would clarify that the extensive testing of all applicants is costly, it is possible to focus on those who are suspected of drug abuse.
To conclude, mandatory drug testing should be implemented in the US to help people with drug abuse and ensure that taxpayer money are allocated to the assistance of socially and economically disadvantaged persons. Among other benefits, it is possible to note the positive impact on revealing the barriers to finding a job and discouraging long-term welfare use. The precedent of drug testing in the US job market shows that this initiative can be effective.
Newell, Walker. “Tax Dollars Earmarked for Drugs? The Policy and Constitutionality of Drug Testing Welfare Recipients.” Columbia Human Rights Law Review, vol. 43, no. 1, 2011, p. 215-254. EBSCO, Web.
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Olney, Sue. “Should Love Conquer Evidence in Policy‐Making? Challenges in Implementing Random Drug‐Testing of Welfare Recipients in Australia.” Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 77, no. 1, 2018, pp. 114–119. EBSCO, Web.
Pérez-Muñoz, Cristian. “What Is Wrong with Testing Welfare Recipients for Drug Use?” Political Studies, vol. 65, no. 4, 2017, pp. 912–929. EBSCO, Web.
Wincup, Emma. “Thoroughfares, Crossroads and Cul-De-Sacs: Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients.” International Journal of Drug Policy, vol. 25, no. 5, 2014, pp. 1031-1037. EBSCO, Web.