Free Argumentative Essay About Drug Testing And Welfare Benefits
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Twelve states in the United States have passed laws regarding screening or drug testing for all applicants of welfare benefits. The states include Missouri, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas, Arizona, and Mississippi. The legislations have varying requirements. Some require a particular screening process; others apply to all applicants while others contain specific language that seemingly points to a belief that many applicants are engaged in illegal drug use. Drug abuse issues have occupied discussions involving public assistance policies for long now. More states have proposed laws that would essentially make drug testing mandatory for recipients of public welfare benefits (Duncan and Brooks, 2000).Moreover, the welfare legislation bars states from offering welfare assistance, in the form of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, to people who are convicted of crimes of possessing, distributing, or using outlawed drugs. Drug abuse reduces the chances of a person finding or holding jobs thus limiting the transition of the individual from a welfare beneficiary to an employee or self-employed. From this background, it is my position that drug testing should be a necessary requirement in order for people to receive welfare benefits.
At all instances, taxpayers’ money should serve the purpose it is intended for. Issuing welfare benefits to people who end up supporting the drug habit of a person is just unreasonable. The welfare program should be used to serve the purpose of enabling people to get back on the path of self-sufficiency. Drugs inhibit people from achieving self-sufficiency (Metsch and Brooks, 2005). Sometimes welfare beneficiaries can resort to selling the welfare in order to obtain their drugs fix. This is essentially throwing taxpayers’ money down the drain.
Secondly, the screening and drug testing will be crucial in identifying people who are choked on drug abuse. People engaged in drug abuse can be best helped by being enrolled in rehabilitation facilities so they can be guided on the path self-sufficiency. Essentially, welfare exists so as to help get back on their feet (Guthrie, 1990). This rehabilitation is a crucial step in helping people ditch destructive habits. Once they overcome this, they will be able to utilize the welfare benefits to lift themselves up.
Another reason that should necessitate drug testing of welfare beneficiaries is for purposes examine the reasons that are making them needy. Drug use is one of the things that can make people lazy ultimately degenerating into useless members of the society. The drug abusers will not be motivated to go out and search for jobs because they will not see the need to look for jobs when welfare benefits exist. Drug testing will ensure that they are denied the benefits and are helped to drop drug use and make their lives more meaningful.
Lastly, testing for drug use can help establish the reasons why people stay jobless for far too long. People who abuse drugs normally have poor employment records thus they tend to depend on welfare support for their survival. These people should be guided in finding jobs that can sustain them for the long haul. Moreover, the drug testing can help in unraveling the needs of the recipients and the opportunities that can put them on the self-sufficiency path (Guthrie, 1990).
The making of drug testing a mandatory requirement in order to receive welfare benefits is a violation of the basic civil liberties. The Fourth Amendment of United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches, specifically those that are sanctioned by the judiciary through issuance of a search warrant. If so, then it is necessary that those who are issued with driving licenses, voter registration cards, and Social Security benefits area also tested for illegal drug use. As much as there is a high correlation between poverty and illegal drug use, this does not constitute the sole cause of poverty. It can be argued that welfare programs exist in order to help the poorest in the population (Duncan and Brooks, 2000). Issuance of welfare benefits should not be used to punish the drug users; instead they should be given the welfare benefits and supported to overcome the substance abuse.
The legislations to incorporate drug testing of welfare beneficiaries, before they are issued with the benefits, have gained momentum across the states, and many are adapting them. Drug testing should be included as a requirement for one to receive welfare benefits. This is necessary so as to avoid wastage of taxpayers’ money, to help identify people hooked to drug abuse, and to examine the reasons behind the joblessness and poverty among people. To take advantage of these opportunities, it necessary the drug testing is done before issuance of welfare benefits. However, these legislations should be structured in such a manner that conforms to the constitutional requirements (Guthrie, 1990).
Allard, P. (2002). Life sentences: Denying welfare benefits to women convicted of drug offenses. Washington, DC: Sentencing Project.
Duncan, G. J., & Brooks‐Gunn, J. (2000). Family poverty, welfare reform, and child development. Child development, 71(1), 188-196.
Guthrie, P. M. (1990). Drug Testing and Welfare: Taking the Drug War to Unconstitutional Limits. Ind. LJ, 66, 579.
Pollack, H. A., Danziger, S., Jayakody, R., & Seefeldt, K. S. (2002). Drug testing welfare recipients—false positives, false negatives, unanticipated opportunities. Women's Health Issues, 12(1), 23-31.
Metsch, L. R., & Pollack, H. A. (2005). Welfare reform and substance abuse. Milbank Quarterly, 83(1), 65-99.
Montoya, I. D., Bell, D. C., Atkinson, J. S., Nagy, C. W., & Whitsett, D. D. (2002). Mental health, drug use, and the transition from welfare to work. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 29(2), 144-156.
Jayakody, R., Danziger, S., & Pollack, H. (2000). Welfare reform, substance use, and mental health. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 25(4), 623-652.
Roy, K. (1999). Low-income single fathers in an African American community and the requirements of welfare reform. Journal of Family Issues, 20(4), 432-457.
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