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Drug Testing + Food Stamps = Hungry Kids

By April 2, 2009

In this time of high unemployment and high need, I was surprised to see articles discussing mandatory drug testing for those who are on welfare.

I've spent many years working with families that are struggling and there are two huge problems with this proposal. First, if you test people who are applying for aid and someone comes up positive, then what? The only way someone who is addicted to drugs is going to get clean is through a treatment program. I also know that there are not enough addiction treatment programs for people now - what would we do if we identified more addicts?

Secondly, what about the kids - young children and teens alike, who rely on mom's food stamps or dad's cash assistance (TANF)? If someone tests positive, who is going to help these kids? Teens need food to grow, think, learn and develop. What is to be done for them?

Have an opinion? Vote in my poll on this important issue.
April 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(1) ibs says:

I completely agree that welfare benefits should not be contingent on drug testing. Addictions are difficult to treat – punishment such as withholding benefits will not be effective and would only make things more difficult for addicts and their family members.

April 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm
(2) Adrienne says:

I think this is a horrible idea! I know that a lot of people hate the idea of giving money to people who are buying illegal drugs, but you’re exactly right that the children would suffer – and they’re likely suffering already.

Also, once drug users find out that they have to be tested, they’ll stop asking for help all together, and that means that their children are more likely to fall through the cracks, having never been evaluated as “at risk” because their parents are essentially hiding from the system.

April 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm
(3) DHR says:

C.P.S. can just come in and review the situation. Kids don’t need to be in a drug addict’s home. After the parents clean up their act, then the kids can go back. Hopefully they can stay with a responsible family member in the meantime. Why should we taxpayers fund bad behavior. If you do nothing, then you leave the child you are supposedly protecting in a drug abusers household, likely at the child’s detriment.

Who knows, eventually this may decrease the amount of cash headed south of the border into the drug cartel’s coffers.

April 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm
(4) teenhealth says:

DHR – Yes, Child Protective Services can come in, but the problem is that there aren’t enough CPS workers and there aren’t enough treatment programs for addicts. We would need to put more effort into rehabilitation if this would be put in place. If drug testing went hand in hand with more treatment, my attitude would be different on the issue.

May 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm
(5) Fay says:

I hear what you are saying about the matter, but, if the parent/parents is selling their food stamps to get drugs, then, what are the teens eating?

July 28, 2009 at 10:22 am
(6) GML says:

I see both sides of the issue. I have seen way too many people trading their food stamps or even their food for money for drugs, cigarettes and alchohol while their kids go hungry. An addicts first thought is not to make sure their children are fed.

As a clerk in a convience store I saw them them buy food, trade it for for money for gas and cigarettes and then tell their toddlers to shut up because, “They aren’t getting nothing to eat.”

Working as a delivery man people would stop me in parking lots offering to sell me $20 of meat for $5 so they could get a beer and some smokes while their kids beat each other up in the alley behind the store.

In college people came and dug through the trash because they used their food stamps to feed their addictions.

I had a friend growing up that had to come to my house to eat or steal from the store because his parents traded their stamps away and would only get enough food for them to eat for a week or so.

Addicts shouldn’t raise children, period. However, we do not currently have the infrastructure to handle this problem. If you are going to start denying food to addicted persons then you’d better have a program for their kids. A SAFE, clean location for the kids to go while their parents get help. If their parents won’t be helped then there had better be a plan to help the kids.

I’d be fine with a military school where they have to serve at least 2 years when they get done to pay their country back. Its sounds communist but it beats starving in the streets.

July 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm
(7) Leah says:

What about people who smoke marijuana? I know tons of people, many of which are some of the most responsible people I know (with and without children) who smoke pot and yet they’d be denied food stamps or welfare because of what they do? The problem with ALL drug testing is they lump everything into one category. I know its been said time and time again, but drug testing is obviously flawed when it comes to that issue.

Besides, everyone is talking about the “addict” scum who sells their food stamps to get $ for their fix, but what about the poor sucker who indulges responsibly every once and awhile and then gets tested at a bad time. WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

September 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm
(8) Carol says:

Leah, you are calling a pot smoker responsible? That is funny to me beings that it is illegal in the first place unless you have a script for it and then the drug test wouldn’t matter would it? If it is that important to get and likewise keep your benifits then do not smoke pot…just like getting a job these days you don’t do drugs if you want a decent job…it is a simple effrontal cortex (executive brain) decision.

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