Georgia’s Governor, Nathan Deal, officially passed a law in March that required anyone in the state approved for the State Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to submit to a drug screening test. Could drug testing for welfare become a new standard?
Drug Testing For Welfare
Although drug testing for welfare is only necessary if officials suspect the applicant on welfare to be using illegal drugs, this immediately stirred a controversial debate with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia over its legality because it is an “unreasonable search.” The bill entails that each approved person on welfare must purchase their own drug screen, and if they fail the screening, the state will deny the benefits that they applied for. However, the children under the adult’s benefits are still entitled but only if they are put under a new adult’s name.
This month, the Federal Government sparked a quick response, claiming this new bill regulating drug testing for welfare persons in Georgia is considered to be unconstitutional and that no state should be allowed to make a mandatory requirement like this. Officials also believe that this makes the registry for food benefits unjustly restrictive. Representative Greg Morris begs to differ, as he perceives the law as perfectly constitutional and agrees to move forward with it.
This is not the first attempt in the country trying to limit eligibility for state-funded benefits. Florida has previously tried to follow through with laws where drug testing for welfare is required for benefits under the Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, but has had no success. Almost a year ago, North Carolina backed out of an intended law to drug test people receiving money from the state because Governor Pat McCrory felt it would cost the state more in financing rather than help decrease it.
Disease Of Addiction
Even if there is potential to save on a state’s funding (which isn’t guaranteed anyway), is it really fair to deny a person food benefits for failing a drug test? It should not be dismissed that addiction is a disease, and unfortunately, a significant amount of addicts are on a restrictive income and could use food assistance from the state. Can you imagine being hungry without enough money for food and also addicted to a drug that you weren’t able to stop using on your own, but then denied money for food from the state because that drug was in your system? Of course not every person sees it quite like this, but at least for now, the government refuses to allow state officials to enforce laws that require drug screens for any state benefits.
What do you think?Tags: drug testing, SNAP, welfare