Drug Testing for Assistance

At least 13 states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.) Some apply to all applicants; others include specific language that there is a reason to believe the person is engaging in illegal drug activity or has a substance use disorder; others require a specific screening process.



The national drug use rate is 9.4 percent. In these states, however, the rate of positive drug tests to total welfare applicants ranges from 0.002% to 8.3%, but all except one have a rate below 1%. Meanwhile, they’ve collectively spent nearly $1 million on the effort, and millions more may have to be spent in coming years.



No drug testing for welfare recipients and unemployment recipients.


Huffington Post – States Continue Welfare Drug Tests Despite Underwhelming Results

Think Progress – What 7 States Discovered After Spending More Than $1 Million Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Star Telegram – Law designed to drug test unemployed Texans still not in place

Texas Tribune -Law Designed to Drug Test Unemployed Texans Still Not in Place

Texas Tribune -Law Designed to Drug Test Unemployed Texans Still Not in Place

CPPP – Drug Testing TANF Recipients Costs More than It Saves

Salon – 5 reasons drug testing welfare recipients is profoundly stupid

Time – Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is a Waste of Taxpayer Money

Forbes – The Sham Of Drug Testing For Benefits: Walker, Scott And Political Pandering

New York TImes – No Savings Are Found From Welfare Drug Tests

Mandatory Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits and TANF is Costly and Ineffective

ACLU – Drug Testing of Public Assistance Recipients as a Condition of Eligibility

Governor of South Dakota: Drug testing for welfare ‘somewhat insulting’

Think Progress – South Dakota Lawmaker Wants To Drug Test All Welfare Applicants And Make Them Pay For It

Think Progress – West Virginia Will Drug Test Poor People Who Need Welfare

The Guardian – Michigan’s drug-testing welfare program has yielded zero positive results so far



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