Fast Focus 'Should drug testing be required for welfare recipients?' All or nothing

March 3, 2013 

There is little justification for lawmakers to use the nation's poor as the scapegoat for the country's economic and drug problems by proposing to link marijuana use to receiving public assistance benefits.

The assumption is that if you receive public assistance there is a high probability that you are a drug user and should pass a drug test to receive certain public benefits for which you otherwise qualify. But, like others in need, many fully employed professionals and responsible workers, comprising the "working poor," qualify for and receive public assistance to better care for themselves and their families.

Public assistance is not the only entitlement program that provides a safety net for qualifying citizens. Also included are those Individuals whose personal circumstances qualify them to apply for and receive unemployment compensation, veterans' benefits and Social Security. State and federal officials and workers who have a benefit package that includes paid vacation, medical leave, sabbaticals and retirement attached to their employment are welfare recipients. If these unearned benefits are called entitlements, the same government that pays?

If drug testing for public assistance benefits is used as a deterrent to drug use, then test all applicants for all entitlements.

-- DALLAS BARNES, Pasco

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