drug test those on government assistance

If a citizen is on government assistance, do we have the right to expect certain standards from that individual? Isn’t the idea of state assistance to help an individual through a hard time?

If someone chooses to abuse illegal drugs while recieving money from the state, I don’t believe that person should continue to get assistance. Rep. Mark Kirkeby plans to propose legislation to require those on assistance to take a drug test.

His bill will be “pretty identical” to one Kirkeby brought in 2011. If passed, state officials would have the discretion to demand that a welfare recipient take a drug test. A positive test would make that person ineligible for aid for a year, while refusing to take the test would mean a six-month ban.

“Why in God’s green pastures would we ever allow $1 of tax-supported assistance to go to an individual that is using illegal drugs?” Venner said.

There are many good people on government assistance who have fallen on hard times. That is one of the reasons Kirkeby’s legislation is on the right track. Those who are simply taking advantage of the generosity of the taxpayers should not be allowed to abuse the system. Let’s help the people who need it and stop helping those that take advantage of well intended programs.

53 Replies to “drug test those on government assistance”

  1. katzy

    I have no problem with food stamps being used for people who truly need them. But I do have a problem with food stamps being used for things like pop. When I bought pop recently and looked at the cash register, up popped the info that this item was eligible for food stamp usage. What??? Food stamps should be for only necessities, not luxuries, and pop is definitely not a necessity for a healthy diet. Tighten this up too while they are at it!

    1. my opinion

      Katzy-I totally agree with you! With food stamps, people can buy pretty much anything. I have been in line behind a couple using food stamps for pop, chips, beef jerky, and nacho cheese dip in a can! I do not have a problem helping people with food purchases, but there should be limits on what can be purchased.

      1. Bill Fleming

        So, we’ve gone from not giving people assistance if they
        are sick with a drug addiction, to not giving them money for food if you don’t agree with their food choices. Anything else abusive and degrading you folks want to do to poor people?

          1. BF

            Most of the people receiving food stamps have jobs.

            Try this: Before you or anyone you know get to take your tax deduction for interest on your mortgage, you have to take a drug test or eat only the foods outlined in Schedule B. Same goes for your churches tax exemptions. Pee in a cup and eat the right chow, or no deduction.

            1. BF

              Want the cops and the firemen to protect your house? Better be eating the right foods and be free of addiction. That goes for alcohol too. Why in the world should even one of our tax dollars have to go to support a bunch of drunks?

                1. BF

                  Nope. Just pointing up the hypocrisy. I don’t drink. Period. So does that mean I should resent having my tax dollars go to benefit those who do? Of course not.

                  1. Really?

                    I see what BF is saying, however that is taking it to the extreme. We all suspect there is abuse going on in the welfare system and often the welfare money is not spent on “healthy” choices. At some point someone needs to say “hold on” lets take a look at what is really going on.

                    1. Bill Fleming

                      Absolutely let’s look at what’s really going on. No argument there. Substance abuse and addiction in SD is a huge problem. But we won’t get anywhere by turning our backs on those who are suffering and make them suffer even more.

  2. Hooyah!

    We require our SD National Guard to be drug free to risk their lives on our behalf, I don’t see a problem with requiring people getting a hand up to ensure they are not using it for illegal drugs.

  3. JWH@Aberdeen

    I agree that we should test those getting assistance should be tested for using illegal drugs, but could someone tell me the difference if they are getting stoned on drugs or on leagal alcohal. In my opinion they should be tested for both.

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  4. Pierre man

    I think all of our Ag. Producers who receive Federal Farm payments should be required to drug testing also, after all isnt that Govt. assistance?

  5. Anonymous

    The concept has great value. Now what do we do with the duds that have children that will be neglected even more. I also vote for a little cut to males receiving assistance and 2 cuts for the female population getting assistance.

    1. anon

      How about rather than shelling out more welfare money, we use that money on some sort of long-range birth control (do they still do those shots that are supposed to last for several years). I realize that might sound harsh, but part of the problem with welfare is that we continue to have people who can’t take care of themselves having more babies who have no choice to become dependant on the system. It’s a downward cycle that is only compounding with time.

      1. Anonymous

        That sounds great in theory, but you will have a hell of a time telling a person what they can and cannot do with their own body. There are federal laws protecting Medicaid patients from sterilization (and a 30 day wait after they consent to it) just to prove the MD is not forcing them in to anything!

  6. Spartan76

    Let’s see. New hires in most companies now days have to pass a pre-employment drug screen for the right to work at this company. I have to pass a drug screen for a job at which the government taxes you at a near confiscatory rate inorder to give it away to people who are supposedly needy. All the needy need do is wait until my tax money is transferred electronically to a debit card or bank account and they can start spending my (and yours) tax money that was earned by being drug free any way they choose, without the worry of having to prove they are drug free themselves. Yeah I want to see them have to prove they are drug free to receive government assistance.

  7. anooner

    Glad to see some threads renewed. I was starting to worry that DWC had died also. As far as drug testing for welfare recipients, My guess is this is primarily about food stamps. I’d rather see food stamps limited to certain staple items. No more bartering crab legs for newports and such. Drug testing though, is a bit of a slippery slope. Where do we draw the line? medicare, Soc. Sec. disability benefits? Plus what are the costs of administering the program? What about people with prescriptions for what are otherwise controlled substances? I hope the sponsors of this bill are also ready to vote for an increase in funding for the DOC and DSS (Child Protection Services).

  8. Arrowhead

    In hard economic times we can be throwing money down the tube or allowing people who have no responsibiliy in society to be dragging us down.

  9. Anonymous

    Liberals just want to give money to people and don’t expect anything in return. I’m done flushing my country down the drain.

    1. Les

      They want to give my money without expecting anything in return. I’m all for helping anyone who needs help, I’d just like to sort the wheat from the chaff.

      1. Les

        Where did I say I didn’t want equity there Flem? I specially like the unearned credits, kind of tells it like it is huh?

  10. troy jones

    Why do we have to be so polarized?

    Can’t we agree on the following:

    1) Welfare is supposed to provide minimal sustenance for people who are having problems as a transition to self-sufficiency. Drug abuse is an impediment to obtaining self-sufficiency. Drug testing is routine for many jobs and thus works against becoming self-sufficient. Wouldn’t it be good if we helped these people regain independence and dignity by using both “carrots and stick” to get them drug free?

    2) Denying welfare to drug users affects their children and spouse who are in many ways struggling with the consequences of the drug abuse. Do we really need to pile on?

    3) We already have so many things working against marriage, have many examples of people getting divorced or living together so as not to affect government benefits. Do we want to add another reason for divorce (getting help for sustenance for the family)?

    I think Kirkeby’s intent is great (accountability) and removing impediments to the ultimate goal of welfare (support until one becomes self-sufficient). Drug use is a major impediment. I also think sometimes it is time for “tough love” as pandering doesn’t help in the long-term.

    However, somehow there has to be some acknowledgement that drug use is an addiction. The person probably lost their job because of the drug use (either testing or performance).

    My suggestion is to have some type of “carrot and stick.” If a person has a positive drug test they have two choices:

    1) Forego public assistance
    2) Become drug free within a reasonable point of time. If they don’t, turn over the drug results to law enforcement.

    Pretending drug abuse doesn’t harm severely does everyone a disservice, especially those who need assistance the most.

    A couple of people said something about alcohol. Like it or not, it is legal. Second, it isn’t nearly as debilitating (yes, in some but the percentage is significantly less than drugs). Maybe once we get the drug use limitations right, we can figure out a way to incorporate alcohol abuse for those for whom it is a problem (ie related to their firing or DUI’s?).

  11. Bob Ellis

    Bill Fleming says “Absolutely let?s look at what?s really going on. No argument there. Substance abuse and addiction in SD is a huge problem. But we won?t get anywhere by turning our backs on those who are suffering and make them suffer even more.”

    That’s EXACTLY what you’re advocating here: turning our backs on drug users and allowing them to suffer even more. If a government worker has reason to believe a welfare recipient is using drugs, instead of ignoring (a) that individual’s continuing personal problem–which is likely contributing if not causing the financial need in the first place, (b) the threat their drug use poses to the welfare of the individual’s family, and (c) the injustice of forcing the taxpayers to subsidize a drug habit, they should submit to a drug test in exchange for continuing to receive the fruits of another person’s labor.

    But of course the liberal’s definition of “compassion” (which is to ignore or even laud self-destructive behavior) is so much easier than doing the all-around most responsible thing.

  12. katzy

    A note to BF about his statement “, to not giving them money for food if you don?t agree with their food choices. Anything else abusive and degrading you folks want to do to poor people?”

    Ridiculous! I don’t have a problem with food stamps for nutritious foods for those having a problem feeding their families. Pop, chips, etc do nothing to add sustenance to a diet and should not be part of food stamps. If a person wants to buy them, fine, but don’t expect me to pay for it! And if Bill wants to spin this as abuse and degradation, go for it. Even Michelle Obama wants people to eat healthier, and buying crap like this on the taxpayer dime does not accomplish this.

    I personally love my Mt Dew, and occasional chips and chocolate candy. But I realize they are junk food and not good for me, and I pay for them myself.

    1. BF

      So Katzy, would you support giving people a tax break if they buy only healthy foods? Or an extra tax on foods that aren’t good for you? Or a law that says you can only get a tax deduction on your health expenses if you eat the right foods?

          1. BF

            We all pay into programs that provide citizens with a safety net. It’s part of the social contract. Social security, medicare, unemployment, etc. Most of the people using those benefits have paid into the system.

            Would you want Social Security payments and Medicare contingent on whether or not you had an addiction problem or ate the right foods? There is no difference whatsoever. We are all entitled to equal protection under the law as per the 14th Amendment, regardless of our lifestyles and/or health problems. No exceptions.

            1. BF

              People don’t give up their Constitutional rights just because they receive a government benefit. Do you want your kids to be subject to random drug testing just because they attend public schools? Do you want them expelled because they don’t eat the foods you think they should?

              1. Anonymous

                Where in the constitution does it say that Mountain Dew is a civil liberty? And where does it say that food stamps are free money to purchase junk?? IT DOESN’T!! It is not a blank check! Some education on diet would go a long ways!

  13. katzy

    Just saw a news story that the obesity epidemic is still raging in the US and we all need to get healthier. It would seem a good place to start, since the govt is interested in changing this, would be for govt subsidies to be going for healthy food choices, not junk food. Just an idea.

    1. BF

      I agree we need to address the health problems.

      I don’t agree that we should violate people’s human rights to do it.

      If the people we’re talking about were arrested for drug posession and put in jail, we as a society would still feed them.

      The food wouldn’t be especially nutritious, and the addiction therapy would most likely be hopelessly inadequate.

      But we would of course make sure they were fed.

      The idea of taking people’s food away because they have an addiction problem is draconian in my opinion, Bob Ellis’s holier-than-thou protestations notwithstanding.

      And further, I submt that mine is not a “liberal” position, but rather a human rights position. Ellis should check and see if “human rights” is on his SD Republican litmus tests. If it’s not, it should be… especially if the party still wants to lay claim to being “the party of Lincoln.”

      1. E

        Nobody is denying FOOD to people, just maybe some regulations on which type of food….ie Doritos, pop and doughnuts. Please, someone, teach these people about diet and nutrition or we will be paying for their poor health in the future. I am more than happy to have my money help someone in need, but when I am standing behind someone at the convenience store(2 blocks from the grocery store) who is purchasing Milk, family size Doritos, A candy bar, doughnuts, a bottle of soda and bug juice for the four year old child with her at 8am with SD EBT card something has to give! I would never buy groceries at the convenience store at a 50% increase in cost! It is irresponsible!

      2. Bob Ellis

        I know it’s a shame to break through the haze of your liberal fantasy world, but confiscation of other people’s property for distribution to people who haven’t earned it, as well as subsidizing recreational drug use, has never been a part of any rational person’s defintion of “human rights,” “the Republican Party,” “the party of Lincoln,” “the U.S. Constitution,” or any moral code whatsoever. If welfare recipients suspected of using recreational drugs don’t want to take a drug test, they can simply say no…to the test and to taxpayer largess. You really should try thinking ethically and logically for a change; you might find it incredibly exhilarating.

  14. BF

    “…confiscation of other people?s property for distribution to people who haven?t earned it”. That’s what all taxation is. And congress has the power to tax. In fact, that’s what the freeing of the slaves was, Ellis, the coinfiscation of property (another’s liberty.)

    And guess what, you don’t have to “earn” it. You have the same rights under the social contract as any other citizen by virtue of citizenship

    No one “earns” their rights to use the roads, go to public school, be protected by the police or receive public assistance when they need it. Your mind is full of self-righteous, bigoted garbage, Ellis. You need a brain enema.

    1. Bob Ellis

      No, that is socialism. Proper, constitutional taxation is authorized by Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and provides for the general benefit of all Americans, not to the specific benefit of Americans who have not earned such specific benefits.

      Freeing of the slaves? Longing for the good ole days of your Democrat Party before your “property” was set free by a Republican president and a Republican congress? Dream on.

      Contrary to your fantasies, yes, Americans do earn the right to enjoy the fruits of their labors. They do NOT earn any “right” to enjoy the fruits of another person’s labor, especially against the other person’s will.

      You seriously need to empty your own head of your self-righteous, Marxist, bigoted garbage. Maybe then you could appreciate what a unique and wonderful thing the founders did when they set up our free country.

  15. Elais

    I would suggest that every state congresscritter take a drug test right now to prove that they have the right to our tax dollars. Have them all pee into a cup to prove that they aren’t drug-infested, alcohol-ridden people we think they are. It doesn’t matter if in reality, they are all decent, hard-working people. We need to be sure that the few rotten apples aren’t spoiling the entire barrel.

    Screwing over everyone to nail a few is the American Way after all.