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March 31st, 2009
09:05 AM ET

Drug testing for benefits

Lawmakers want food stamps and unemployment recipients to take random drug tests. CNN's Christine Romans reports.
Lawmakers want food stamps and unemployment recipients to take random drug tests. CNN's Christine Romans reports.

Everyone has heard about a random drug test to get your job.

How about a drug test to get an unemployment check?

A urine test for food stamps?

The number of Americans collecting jobless checks is at a record, and lawmakers in a number of states want to tie some strings to those benefits.

WATCH

What do you think? Is this a good idea?


Filed under: Business
soundoff (867 Responses)
  1. Ken Y.

    Hey Mark, don't go giving up your guns and you will be fine, don't be afraid to protect yourself, that is your right, we'll kill the lousy humans off. Be a man, what kind of a comment was that. get some testicular fortitude before it's too late!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  2. Dean

    Not for unemployment. For free handouts yes. Food stamps and wellfare are not a given right for all you that think it's a right. And for all you bleeding hearts that say it will only make kids go hungry. To bad, the parents need to get their stuff together.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  3. BMI

    If drug addiction is a disease, which I don't think it is, it is one that is volunteered for. I go to work every day clean of any substances or drugs. I see no reason that everyone else can't o the same. I agree with this proposed bill. It should've been done long ago. If you need government assistance, then you should be willing to do whatever is needed to get it. The monies that would be denied to constant abusers that refuse to change their habits so they can eat and pay their power bill, would be able to pay for care for their children that suffer due to those habits. People have to want to help themselves and work for what they get. Stop standing there with your hand out and a sad look on your face and do something to improve your life yourself!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  4. jym

    i am a former addict.i am currently on medcations for bi-polar,no would that count? come on lets specify "which" drugs we want to get tests for!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  5. larry

    How many AIG ,,,Bank of America...GM.....need I go on? CEO and employees get tested?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  6. Steve from Idaho

    I think every member of Congress should be tested for drugs. As an empirical observer of the mess Congress has created they must be on something. Every Police Officer, Mayor and citizen should be drug tested so as not to discriminate against the poor or the unemployed. 99% of the unemployed were not responsible for the failure of the Auto Companies to "get a clue" that they should produce cheaper, more gas efficient vehicles 20 years ago. The unemployed Bank & Loan "rank and file" had nothing to do with Wall Street's collapse. Drug test the CEO's and Management of our failing monetary institutions. Let those who are responsible be resposible. And lastly, Drug Test those who would advocate mandatory drug testing opon others. There are so many Americans "hooked" on prescription drugs it's unbelievable. If you're rich you can be addicted without consequence, if you're poor your addiction is a "crime against society". Drug prevention is vital to a healthy society but not in the form of selective discrimination.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  7. dave

    I agree witk LEP. Seems like a bad way to spend funds. Spend it on drug abuse prevention. While we are drug testing those unforunate enough to have lost their jobs we better drug test all the retirees recieving social security too. Better yet why not drug test every American citizen that way we know no government money goes to someone who uses drugs. By the way if you are a hardcore drug addict you probably cant hold a job long enough to qualify for unemployment compensation so whats the worry. Keep in mind that the government has no problem taking money from recrerational drug users in the form of taxes from their paychecks. What happened to privacy. Ridiculous!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  8. Ken Y.

    If you do drug testing you would get about 95% of people off welfare, they would stop having unwanted children and would be responsible (maybe) citizens. Most people on welfare had a child just to get free money and food and we all know it is true, admit it!, poor unwanted offspring, makes me wanna puke!. I say just end welfare of anykind and go back to the 1800's, to hell with our complacency with our freedom.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  9. R Cross

    Do these lawmakers take drug tests? We could save so much more money, if that is the concern testing these nut jobs

    April 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  10. Bendover

    Do you drug test people when they pay TAXES so they can collect unemployment when laid off?? NO, you don't. Right...so now you don't want to pay unemployment benefits to those who paid TAXES for it... Typical Corporate, Insurance co. and Goverment BS rules. YOU PAY FOR IT BUT, NEVER COLLECT FOR WHAT YOU PAID FOR!
    I've paid Taxes for almost 40 years now, How about you? You think you'll retire someday? Only if you were a Senator, Congressman, or President. The rest of us will die trying!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  11. Bradley

    I agree with ryan, what does testing people for drugs have to do with unemployment benefits? Isn't it the government that gives methadone to recovering addicts? This is absolutely idiotic, they'll spend more money testing these people than they would just giving them money, and what will the jobless "users" do after they lose their benefits, live on the streets, beg for change, commit a crime and be committed to a jail, where guess what, they live on taxpayers dime... at a whooping $22,650 per year!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  12. Gail

    I am unemployed and getting benifts that by the way I have earned...who cares if I'm on drugs...does wine count. To be looking for work in this economy should have extras tagged on to the check for medication to help you just get up in the morning and face the day. And as for Congress, let's random check them on drugs, paying taxes, prostitution, etc...they are so perfect aren't they.

    Well, maybe I can get a job in this new "testing for drugs" division. Where do I apply.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  13. J from Delaware

    What a stupid idea. We've wasted entirely too much money on the War on Drugs.

    Legalize pot and we'll have more money from tax revenues than we know what to do with.

    Also, these drug tests will ONLY hamper benefits for pot smokers.
    That stays in your urine for up to a month.

    Everything else is two weeks or less.

    Cocaine – 2 to 4 days...

    Opiates – 24 hours to 2 days

    You're only messing with potheads with a law like this and these people aren't criminals....just passive, calm folks who like junk food and TV.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  14. Jon

    This is a great idea if people had to take a drug test for welfare and unemployment then there would be a lot less abuse of the system and more money saved.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  15. Teresa

    um,I wonder how many children will go hungry when food stamps are not provided to their mother who just smoked a joint? I work every day & pay tax's , I do not think this is the answer

    April 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  16. chris

    many jobs currently require pre-employment drug screening. If you are doing drugs, you have made yourself inelligible for these occupations ....if you don't have the personal responsibilty to quit doing drugs and get a job then the gubmint shouldn't keep subsizing your behavior. period.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Amy

    Absolutely – you should also be required to pass a drug test as part of the approval process for government subsidized housing.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  18. Teresa

    um,I wonder how many children will go hungry when food stamps are not provided to their mother who just smoked a joint? I work every day & pay tax's , I don<.t think this is the answer

    April 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  19. Raed

    Who are we to tell ANYONE how to spend their money? Get off your high horses and check in with reality people.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  20. susan

    Yes, please test people before providing benefits. The state of Oregon is enabling my daughter to buy drugs and neglect her child by not testing her for substance abuse. My daughter receives benefits for her child, yet they are homeless, living with whomever will take them in for a few days. The money she gets goes straight to drugs. She relies on food stamps and WIC for baby formula, etc and one of her sisters feels sorry for the baby and helps her out. If she was denied benefits she would likley give the baby over to family members who could provide a healthy, safe environment. Who knows? Maybe my daughter would get help if her supply of free money came to an end? At any rate, I am sure she would let the baby go if she wasn't gettig any money for her.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  21. heather

    Test them for alcohol and tobacco while your at it!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  22. MIKE

    Maybe if the free lunch wasn't free, people would try a little harder to go back to work. This would keep them more honest than not testing, although there are always ways to beat the test...

    April 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  23. Tom

    Hard drugs, fine. But in my opinion, marijuana is not a drug. Are they going to test for alcohol next?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  24. Darrell

    Yes. I have to drug test ever so often to keep my job. Everyone requesting government hand outs should drug test and pass before recieving any money.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  25. Tony

    Its ridicoulus the amount of punches the poor have to take I say NO drug testing,if you wanna drug test some people how about all the Wall St people who have screwed this country!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  26. tammy

    what about the people who have a prescription for medical marijuana will they be denied food also

    if you are on food stamps you only get food not money why should they deny food to anyone who needs it

    god forbid that any of you need help someday

    April 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  27. up north

    Give up, you won't hammer citizens into submission with your "war on drugs"... it doesn't work. If you want to solve the problem, fund the treatment required for those who are addicted and want the help. You people have pissed away billions fighting something that you cannot win... take the criminal element out of it and you will solve a pile of your other crime related issues.... oh, but no, you would rather build more prisons. Not gonna help...

    April 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  28. michael

    Sure, Marijuana is benign, but if you're unemployed you shouldn't be smoking it, you should be looking for a job!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  29. Louise

    Many of those on food stamps either work at low paying jobs or did work and paid taxes too. Those on umemployment paid for it. So to call it a "hand out" is not right. If you want to call it a hand out then what do you call the billions of dollars that's going to the already rich. I agree with Angie, then drug test ( correction – randomly) drug test all those who received part of the stimulus package! I'm more worried about all the billions of dollars being pocketed by the CEO's and politicians than the scraps the poorest get.
    People with money can be drug addicts too.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  30. pharmacist

    Random drug tests for those who receive aid is a great idea, but who is going to foot the bill? Those of us who still have a job will have to. I already barely make enough each month to cover costs as a student, at this point I really think we need to get everyone a job first then start trying to "fix" the system.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  31. Qnh Bsm

    This appears to be yet another attempt to violate Amendments IV and V of the Constitution of the United States of America, in regards to unreasonable search and due process.

    What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home should be of no interest to the government.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  32. Mary

    This is a brilliant idea. I'm sure there will be a lot of people complaining about personal freedom and rights, but what a concept. Holding back taxpayer money from people who are spending money on illegal substances. ..

    Someone else suggested that more money and effort should be put into drug enforcement. How much more can the government spend? Eliminate the demand for drugs and you won't need the expense for enforement.

    This is a great idea that will force some people to get help.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  33. billy bong thornton

    all those who support this measure are asking for more and more gov't controll over their lives. So what if the person does drugs, does that mean they have no right to eat? 60 days to clean up and retest is not long enough, even long term pot smokers COULD still have THC in their systems after 60 days. Then you look at all the other harder drugs out there, some of which can be found in trace amounts in users blood for a much longer period of time. This bill is poorly thought out, much like most of the ones we see today, a cogressman has a district with RAMPANT meth use and he wants to attach the whole country to his problem. you want it sponsor it on a state level, for your crack and meth addled virginians. I dont want it where i live, and i guarantee people who live in medical marijuana states, some of whom use marijuana while on disability to increase quality of life, how will their disabilty payments be affected. Unemployment insurance is as the man above stated, insurance, i have it because i contributed to it, it should not be able to have contingincies put upon it in particular. you wanna save money on welfare, go after the nadya sulemans of this world, whos 14 kids will be subsidized for a period of 18+years. the people who relentlessly take on foster children because the more they have, the more money the gov't sends them in the mail. your picking on the wrong people....gap toothed meth addicted west virginians, I have lived in 14 states, among them West Virginia:( and Hawaii:) both of these had BY FAR the largest "hard drug" problem. so i see it as logical these people would jump on (though it will never go through in hawaii) the bandwagon, but to lump the rest of the us in there is uncalled for. fix your state before you worry about the country.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  34. Brian

    Drugs and unemployment go together HAND IN HAND. If unemployed people have nothing to be ashamed of, then they should have no problem submitting to a drug test . Privacy gone? Come on... tax payer money should not be spent on drugs... If anything, still give them food stamps but not cash.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  35. Jason

    I think it's a great Idea. I have to take a drug test before I get paid, I think if you want to get paid with my tax dollars then you need to take one too.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  36. Cheryl

    First, unemployment insurance is not "doled out public assistance". It is an insurance program which has already been paid through the company payroll when the employee was still working.

    Although I fundamentally believe that those accepting other forms of public assistance have no right to squander monies on illegal drugs, my fear is that any children involved will be even more negatively affected if their parent(s) are unable to receive foodstamps, etc.

    Anymore, it is almost impossible to get a decent job without passing a drug test. It stands to reason that those who would fail a random test in order to get benefits/assistance would be considered unemployable.

    Considering all the privacy issues and what not, there's got to be a better solution than this. An innocent drug-free person can conceivably fail a drug test depending on thier own body chemistry, diet, any legal medications they take or even by passive inhalation (think about a concert atmosphere).

    April 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  37. Bob

    This is crazy....

    If you want this type of testing then I want all Americans to be tested. This includes elected officials in all 3 branches of the government that get tax payer entitlements, like there Golden parachute benefits
    Anyone receiveing tax payer monies with the stimulus program should be drug tested and not just for the illegal drugs but for the prescription drugs that they use. Alcohol and nictoine too.
    This guy saying to make people job ready. Well guess what there are alot of people out there right now that are job ready and lots of kids out of college that are job ready.
    But there are no jobs... Does this guy have any understanding of whats going on here in this country? How did this guy get elected?
    Wake of American people... These are the people we keep electing to office. Clueless to whats really happening...

    April 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  38. Hannah

    It's pretty simple, if you do illegal drugs then you shouldn't get the benefits. If you test positive for a prescription drug then you should have a prescription for that drug. This isn't a privacy issue, it's about what is right and what is wrong!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  39. Buffalo Girl

    I think it is a great idea! (especially in NY state) If I have to have a drug test to be employed then anyone who recieves benefits should as well. I think this should exclude employment benefits because those benefits are not forever as welfare and food stamps are. What I don't understand is why everybody thinks it would be a cost burden to administer. The savings from lifetime welfare/foodstamp recipients that are chronic users and collect these benefits (and I know there are thousands in Buffalo alone) would far outweigh any costs that they feel are incurred.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  40. terry

    I think it's a great Idea, but let's implement mandatory drug testing (and publication of results) for all the Congress and Senate. Hell we have a right to know what are elected officials are using.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  41. Erik

    I think it is great! I have been taking drug tests for years at multiple jobs. Why should anyone get my tax money that isn't even fit get a job? I think it has been too long that people using drugs have been receiving these benefits!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  42. Mark Zalewski

    And once the druggies have zero income whre will they turn for money? They'll stick a gun in your face or mine and ask us for our wallets, I'd prefer they get their handouts from the Gov.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  43. Mike

    It's difficult to attach boundaries to this sort of thing as the definition of 'drug' starts to get less defined with every passing day. The suggestion by a previous poster that drug addiction is a 'disease' is a perfect example of how unclear peoples' notions of pathology or natural affliction really are. In my opinion, labelling a chemical dependency a disease is just as accurate as suggesting that getting fat from eating too much fast food or failing to pass a test in school as a result of not studying is not as a result of the choices an individual makes and was instead unwillingly forced upon them through some natural and external force.

    Admittedly, this whole concept isn't as clear cut as some people may believe it to be. For example, desperation fuels crime and violence so those that can not collect government money will try and find alternative means to fund their habits. Still, funds saved from ineligible people could be put into law enforcement programs providing others with jobs in turn. There's always a potential solution to the problems that arise. We just need to have enough forethought to consider these issues and come up with a reasonable and potentially viable solution before engaging in knee-jerk reactions to problems that are currently in our face.

    Ultimately, our society places far too much value on the notion of being 'humane' and being compassionate of others' circumstances regardless of what actions brought them to that point. The 'right' to live is a notion that I do not support. A manufacturing worker whose only fault was to get laid off as a result of economic pressure deserves to have the blow cushioned by the government while they search for a solution. An addict that spends all of their money on cocaine does not. Proving that social welfare payments are not being put towards narcotics does not seem unreasonable. Alcohol and drugs are not required to find a job. Vice is not required to be happy.

    Put the onus back on the individual to guide their life to better things. The government is not a substitute for mommy and daddy.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  44. Duane

    What we are talking about here is the difference between addicts and users...a user knows that Drugs/alcohol/cigs are a luxury items and quit when the money runs out and because they know the test to get rehired is coming. If you are an addict you are an addict and need to get help not welfare. Why should the good honest working people have to pay for someones addiction. I say test us before you pay us a TEMPORARY BENEFIT. No more handouts to to addicts and loser looking for a free life.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  45. al

    Who is going to pay for it? Will you also have to be tested for alcohol use? There are far more drunks than drug abusers. No one seems to want to test them. Maybe we should label drug addiction a disease like the insurance companies forced on us for drunks so that they can jack their premiums up even further.

    I am in favor of people being responsible but this is just to much of an intrusion. This is worse than drug testing for a ob

    April 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  46. Joe

    Let's see, you just got laid off. Now your elected official want to kick you while you are down by having you take a drug test to prove you don't use them. Why is this even being discussed? This is just a smoke screen from a politician trying to place blame on the poor guy who lost his job. How low can people go to destroy anyone who may find themselves in financial trouble. This type of over kill makes me sick.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  47. Holly

    I am all for this idea. So many employers today drug test as part of the hiring process. If a person on unemployment is using drugs it lessen their chance of getting a job and getting off unemployment. It isn't fair that those of us who are working, paying taxes, and not doing drugs have our tax dollars pay for someone else to buy and use drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  48. Denny

    This is ALMOST a good solution. I'm all for right to privacy, and don't think companies and government should have a say in what I do with my free time at home; HOWEVER drugs cost money, and we are giving these people money, therefore we are buying drugs with taxpayer money and that is unacceptable. The real solution would be to implement this, but then take the money that they would normally turn around and buy drugs with, and mandate that it be put toward a stay at a treatment facility. If all that's found is marijuana or psychedelics (drugs that don't really warrant a "treatment"), then maybe a one-month suspension to recoup the cost of whatever was spent in their acquisition just to be fair to the American people, and make them think twice about doing it again.

    Of course, drug tests are not hard to beat unless someone actually watches the discharge like a military or parole officer, which would be an incredible invasion of privacy to the average joe on welfare.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  49. John

    Do it!

    This idea has no negative side except for drug users and addicts. In fact, recipients of this aid money will benefit because they will have a better public image. (Let's face it, it's embarrassing to take this aid)

    The testing should include everyone though – not just people on unemployment benefits, but all people benefiting from tax dollars, such as the AIG executive management team, federal employees and elected officials paid a salary.

    This could go a long way toward drying up demand for drugs in this country. Sure, it wouldn't completely solve the problem, but it would put a big dent in it.

    It would even have effects on the violence in Mexico, as cartels' sources of funding would be reduced.

    Do it now!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  50. Preston

    The government should decriminalize Pot and tax it. Studies have shown that it would generate over 10Billion per year. Making it illegal only fosters crime.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  51. LB

    Of course they should be tested. If they resist then no state aid. Why should I pay to continue someone's drug addiction? Those that argue against this have some questionable morals and personally, I am tired of paying for people to be scum.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  52. Mickey

    Bravo! What a great idea. Why should our hard-earned tax dollars go to support those with drug habits. Can't afford groceries, but they can find a way to buy drugs? Come on! We have to stop enabling. People need to be held accountable for their actions. Bottom line.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  53. Ben

    Legalize pot and then we could afford to pay these benefits, fix health care, fix our infrastructure, get assistance for those who want to get off drugs, and on and on and on...

    April 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  54. j armstrong

    You have to be drug tested when you apply for a job. What is the difference? If you are getting food stamps you should not have enough money to buy drugs. Makes sense to me.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  55. Vince

    Let me get this straight, I have to take a drug test to get and keep the job so that the government may tax me to give to those who take drugs and receive the benefits. That seems a little bit backwards to me. We should require drug tests for benefits. Our tax dollars should be spent helping those who need it for food, not drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  56. Ashley

    I think that random drug testing for benefits is a wonderful idea. When I was Active Duty AF I had to do the infamous "squat and pee".....and honorable citizens of this country that HAVE jobs that are REQUIRED to random drug test. Heck....I DO! And I work for a very high profile security company! Why should potential low lifes get benefits that up-standing citizens have worked hard to receive??? This country has become a country of "hand-outs' and I think it's about time we let all the druggies know that if you are going to be part of OUR country, you HAVE to prove that you are willing to GIVE if you are going to TAKE........

    April 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  57. Andy Alvarado

    Yet another way of avoiding the real problem than attempting to resolve the real issue. Drug abuse has been an ongoing problem ever since man discovered that he could get "high." Just because someone is down on their luck because they lost their job means that they are going to get hooked on drugs? So "big brother" is going to try to drug test them before they go spend it on getting high? Give me a break! I would support this bill if they had lost their job due to drugs but then again, whats to stop them then too! If someone is hooked on drugs, they don't need the governments unemployment check, or food stamps to get high. They will find a way to somehow. Please start to think reasonably by attempting to resolve the real issue of addiction from the root cause rather than trying to cut down the whole tree!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  58. Monty

    While well intentioned, this is rediculous. Unemployment INSURANCE is not a handout, it is INSURANCE that all taxpayers pay including working drug users, in the even they become unemployed, just as all taxpayers pay into Social Security and Medicare . Are we also going to require drug tests in order to collect on Social Security benefits or Medicare? Why don't private insurers also require drug tests before they pay out on your auto or health insurance policies? Afterall, the members covered by those policies pay rates based on risk and claims. I'll bet that would be popular.

    I'm not a drug user, but the whole idea of restircting beneits to someone after they have paid into the system is contrary to the intention of the system. I'm no fan of government regulated socialism as I have paid far more into it that I will ever receive, but you don't go changing the rules after the game has started.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  59. Greg

    It's my money that I've paid into the system. If I need it there should be no strings attached.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  60. Legend

    Yes drug addiction is a disease it is also illegal. Comparing drug use and cancer is not even right, you can’t say yes or no to cancer. The state offers so much money to help these people get back on their feet and they don’t want to, why should we have to pay for people to sit home and not work, and pay their bills when they can work. Who cares about your privacy, STOP USING DRUGS and work. Mr and Mrs Politicians? So tell everyone what is the real problem? I hope it gets passed; it will be expensive at first but cheaper for all in the long run.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  61. Dustin

    sorry and i meant DFS.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  62. jared

    well if they are using drugs and they dont have jobs then they must not be spending their money wisely... and my tax dollers arnt going to pay for other peoples addictions... i gotta pay for my own addictions let them do the same

    April 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  63. Dustin

    I agree. However, It would have to be blood/hair test. People would just use someone elses urine. Yes, those tests are more expensive then the latter. However, they would lower costs by not giving so many druggies a free ride. And to those who say its a Disease. If they where to check into a drug detox facility they would be fed there while getting assistance. So they wouldn't need much assistance in that area unless there are kids involved. In that case DHS should be involved in making sure those kids are being taken care of. If the parent cant take care of themselves they don't need to be trying to take care of little ones.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  64. L.A. Amador

    I agree with David's post...March 31st, 9:18 AM.
    Is this an April Fool's joke? Guess what...if we started testing for drugs before benefits can be released–there would be no benefits released!
    Yes because this is America-the land of opportunity! When will the government back off of micro managing Americans lives? The ones who need support right now MORE THAN EVER have maybe turned to some sort of sedation for the first time in their lives!
    Mr. Republican of West Virginia-whose side are you on?
    I might suggest that you get evaluated for an imbalance in your brain chemistry..your cognitive is falling short...if you legalize the lesser drugs-you take the taboo out of the picture. Don't know if there is enough of a collective enlightened mind set for this to happen in my lifetime...but I still have hope!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  65. Mark

    I will tell you what Bob, How in heck are our tax dollars supporting peoples drug habits??You are like all these other idiots that want to do nothing more than rape the constitution!!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  66. Randall

    This is long over due. It is past time that the general populace stopped seeing these handouts from working Americans as a right and as teh priveledge that it is. While I am sympathetic to the people that have lst their jobs, the company I work for had to do layoffs, and I can say it was not the best employees that were let go.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  67. Mark Zalewski

    Yes, drug testing should be required for ANY government check, just like the one the Congressman cashes when HE gets paid. So long as all members of the House and Senate agree to be tested I'm fine with that, if he's jus ttrying to pass legislation that applies to "those people" then to heck with him.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  68. AMY

    I AGREE THAT SOME PEOPLE THINK IT MAY GET WORSE AS FAR AS CRIME GOES BUT I THINK IT IS REDICULIOUS THAT I WORK 2 JOBS AND KNOW PEOPLE THAT MAKE MORE MONEY THAN I DO AND SIT ON THERE A** ALLDAY AND DO DRUGS!!
    I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SUPPORT LAZY PEOPLE!~ ITS HARD ENOUGH TO SUPPORT MYSELF~ I THOUGHT THEY SHOULD DO THAT A LONG TIME AGO!!
    I HOPE THEY DO IT!!
    IF PEOPLE HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THAT BUT I THINK MORE THAN HALF JUST LIKE SITTING BACK WAITING FOR THERE CHECKS EVERY MONTH~

    April 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  69. pass republican party

    i think if you belong to republican party, you must take a drug test, maybe that why they keep came out with stupid bills. maybe they are drungs themselves.. you my consired that idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  70. Amy

    I can understand both sides of the story. Drug addiction is a disease. But one with treatment. I've work with the comminity for years and have seen people trade food stamp money for drugs while thier children strave. Did no one notice that if the test was postive that they would be given aid for 60 days and then tested again. We should help those who are addicted but not by paying thier bills. The government should have more programs to help people cope with addiction. When my family member needed rehab it was too expensive.....We were on our own. All the while we were trying to get enought money for rehab He was receiving foodstamps. They should have been cut off because he was choosing to buy beer instead of food.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  71. Matt

    I think they should legalize marijuana and the other non-addictive drugs. Keep hard drugs like extasy, heroin, coke, crack, pills, etc scheduled as they are. With that being said, I think drug testing is a GREAT idea for people trying to claim benefits like unemployment and food stamps. People need to learn how to be responsible again!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  72. Doug

    ABSOLUTELY they should be drug tested. Also, LEP has a fantastic point. All elected officials should be drug tested too, Period. Like many other people, my job has random drug screenings at anytime. Elected officials should have the SAME POLICY as the people who voted for them! Would you want a president who is on drugs? NO!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  73. Jim

    I have to take a drug test to work at my job and people who "live" on welfare and the tax dollars my job provides can get that money with no strings....it just doesn't make sense. If they can afford the drugs, they do not need federal or state assistance!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  74. Dario

    Whats next - you will have to go to church to get your unemployement or welfare check? You can't work while you are drunk so I guess they should test for that too. Don't forget about tobacco, its illegal to smoke that in public as well now so should test for that. But wait, there are lobbyist to feed the pockets of the lawmakers for those two. I would rather give tax money to someone who smokes marijuana in their home than a drunk or smoker who puts my life in danger in public

    April 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  75. Melissa

    They absolutely should have to take a drug test and pass BEFORE receiving a single DIME from government aid. I know so many people (from High school, etc.) that are drug addicted and leach off of the system. They will get clean and sober and attempt to get jobs, but it's so easy to fall back to their old ways when they know someone else will pay for their food and help care(day care vouchers)/pay for their children. I think it's outrageous that these people will go cash their unemployment checks and immediately purchase drugs with the money.

    I am all for people who have lost their job due to unforunate circumstances or people who are trying their best but just don't make enough money to survive receiving government aid. But I do not want to continue to pay taxes that ultimately enable drug addicts, when I'm struggling to pay my own bills.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  76. John

    If we are truly interested in having a "free" country, we should always err on the side of freedom. This is just more of the same right wing ideology that has got us to where we are today. If we are going to "send a message", let's send the message that we want our freedom from these kinds of right wing "messages" that are clearly meant to punish people instead of helping them.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  77. Kay

    I agree with the bill. Why should people getting assistance be allowed to sit on their couch and smoke a joint and collect money? Is that considered a job? I come to work everyday so that I can earn my paycheck while others sit back and spend the money that they do not deserve. If I were to go on unemployment due to leaving a job then I would not be against taking a drug test in order to get that check that I need to pay bills. Why would a person who is using the assistance now be against this? Possibly because they are the drug users and if they have to take a drug test then they themselves might get their free ride taken away from them?

    April 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  78. Sam

    I totally agree. I have to work my tail off...taking constant randoms while I see the endless people where i am from getting all those free checks..and guess what? They also sale drugs. I'm tired of hearing the "disease" thing as an excuse. If you are dependent-go get help like other "diseased" people do. I seriously doubt funding your habit is going to help you. I believe NA teaches you that using your disease as a "crutch" is a no-no. I think they should have done this years ago. Believe it or not – some of your "fellow americans" are worthless.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  79. Mark

    Who are these stupid @#&*@# IDIOTS that are comming up this communistic bull????!!!! I think we need to start drug -testing all of these stupid politicians and then after about a week we probably will not hear another word about it !! What tripe!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  80. Amanda

    To many people in American work the system and the only problem is that they can't get clean. Drug testing should be required for any assistance. Apparently some people haven't met the worse of the worse. People that will sell their food stamps to buy drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  81. Holly

    This will not solve the problem, plus it undermines the very principals our nation is founded upon. So now these people won’t have unemployment benefits or food stamps – so they’ll use other means to get the money they need to live on. Get real and get a better idea!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  82. Jason

    Calling drug addiction a disease only serves to enable those who are addicted. "I can't help it, it's a disease."

    There is no congenital defect that causes you to shoot up. There is no involuntary reflex that makes people snort cocaine. And I'm pretty suire no one has ever had an outbreak of pot.

    The sooner people learn to take responsibility for their actions, the sooner they'll break free of the "disease."

    April 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  83. Britnie

    Maybe we should test them for cigarettes and alcohol too. A person can EASILY spend $100/week on these items. Oh wait, but it's not illegal, so that makes it okay.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  84. Chuckjones

    Let's seem them start with testing bailed out bankers who got $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, per the NY Comptroller's office (as reported in Vanity Fair). Add in the AIG execs who got their bonuses. The media should be tested because they must be on drugs for failing to report on the bankers's bonuses (all we hear about is AIG and their mere $165 million in bonuses). And let's test Obama while we're at it – he admitted to using coke when he was younger. The entire Congress should be tested – they must have been stoned when they failed to read the so-called stimulus package. Or maybe they were drunk with glee when they approved 9000 of their earmarks.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  85. CT

    A VERY smakk fraction of our spending goes toward unemployment and welfare. Adding drug testing will increase spending and place a burden on underserving people to catch , what a few underserving. Geez, can't we worry about corporate greed? Besides most people receiving benefits are white children. Research shows that the same percentage of people use drugs whether employed or not,. Get over it, this is simply a scapegoat for the high and moral to find ways to legally rip off people and divert attention from the really evil things that our tax dollars go to.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  86. howard

    I think the idea of drug testing is a good idea. If someone tests positive, they should enrolled in mandatory rehab. As long as they make progress in kicking their addiction, the welfare/unemployment/food stamps should continue. Failure to progress would result in a loss of benefits, possible prosecution, and finally the possibility their children would become wards of the state.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  87. elle marie

    Assistance to drug addicts does exist- in the form of publicly funded rehab programs. And you're, right, it is a disease. It's something that people can't help. So why would you put money in the hands of an addict who can't help but go spend it on drugs? Personally I don't see any reason for my hard earned money to go straight into the hands of drug addicts. They should do on-site hair or blood testing to avoid people bringing in their friends' urine. This is a friggin' GREAT idea!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  88. chris

    If someone is truly dealing with an addiction then that should be identified and treated in kind, and that person should be treated with the same respect and receive the same rights as anyone else.

    HOWEVER — someone who is collecting unemployment and/or welfare benefits and using drugs as recreation should not be tolerated. If an individual has reached a point in their life where they need to cash assistance checks but still have money to purchase drugs for recreational use they have no business collecting assistance. They should not only be tested before receiving benefits but also randomly, and if caught using be required to pay back any assistance they received.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  89. Tom

    I believe that drug testing people in public housing, getting welfare benefits should be tested. It will as a deterrent for people to get out of these situation and off the public dole. Drug addiction is NOT a disease – PUH-LEEZE. People choose to take drugs or not to take drugs. What did that crack addict "catch" his addiction from someone. While chemical dependancy is a TERRIBLE thing no amount of "treatment" or counciling will save a person. People have to make a DECISON to clean up and get on with life. Social Services can help a person make this change but not until they are ready. Testing welfare receipants may help them decide to get off the drugs or at a minimum get off the dole to they can continue to "hit the bong".

    That said unemployment is another story. I do not see the connection to testing unemployment receipants. Unemployment is not Welfare. If you have worked long enough to get benefits (even if you worked under the influence of drugs) you should not be denied them.

    just my .02

    April 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  90. LoriD

    This is insane! Do they realize how many children will go hungry?!
    There is no compasion left in this country. It is also a violation of peoples rights.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  91. KM

    Most jobs out there now require drug screenings to begin with. Government jobs, private companies, and public giving drug tests and extensive background tests are the norm! I personally do not want my tax dollars to go support someone's habbit. Why should someone get to sit around and get high using my money while I am working hard? The bottom line is that drugs ARE ILLEGAL and they shouldn't be doing them anyway. Why should we reward illegal and bad behavior? They can spend their own money THEY EARN on getting high, but not mine.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  92. Brian

    So what do you catch? Pot smokers. The lightest and most benign of any substance used by man to relax.

    Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, they are out of your system within a day or so.
    Pot is about 30.

    Get it through your redneck heads that pot isn't the problem. Insane laws equating weed with heroin are!

    Let's daily test these fat cats for alcohol use on the job. Testing done after lunch! Who's the bigger threat?

    April 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  93. Bob

    Why should we use our hard earned tax dollars to support people's drug habits!? I say, let's do it!

    April 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  94. LEP

    When all elected officials have too- then maybe.

    Right to privacy – gone.

    April 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  95. Lori

    Drug Addisction is a DISEASE... So let me see if I got this right.. Instead of offering assistance to these people they want to make it so that they cant eat or pay there electric bill? This will only make things worse such as crime going up.
    So why not do the same to ppl who have cancer as thats a disease also. Go find something more productive to do with your time Mr and Mrs Politicians.. STOP wasting our money and get to the real problems .. this will not make any difference it will only makes things worse.

    April 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  96. Sherry

    I would also support a bill that would require drug testing before benefits, or should we say "handouts" are given to anyone. The working public are required to do this before gaining employment with most companies, so why should we be expected to help support someone who chooses to sit around and "get high"??

    March 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  97. Chuck

    I would support any bill to require testing for Drugs before any form of public assistance is doled out. Most businesses require potential employees to be tested for drugs and if they are found using drugs their application is dismissed. Why not the same with those receieving public money. Money the employed pay into the Gov't as taxes used for these pregrams. I am not for reducing any public assistance including unemployment insurance but. It would certainly save State and the Fed's a lot of money in Hand Outs to those using drugsand it might help to curtail the use of illegal drugs.

    March 31, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  98. nancy

    DUH! Good grief, Ryan, do you read what you post? It's a suggestion for ANYONE getting a government check to drug test before benefits will be doled out. I think it should be taken one step further ~~ anyone working for the government, and receiving a government paycheck should also be tested. Just an idea.

    I'm sure also, that it would be hard to implement. "Some" folks would simply use someone else's urine.

    March 31, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  99. David

    So let's spend more money to fight drugs. When are we going to start addressing the addiction mentality of Americans. This will create less demand and that is cheaper than fighting this endless war against drugs. Besides, doctors and drug companies are bigger 'pushers'than the 'illegal' dealer. Let's start by getting our priorities straight, what will it take for Americans to learn?

    March 31, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  100. Ryan

    What do using drugs and being on unemployment have to go with each other? This will only make things worse, when we clearly need things to be better.

    March 31, 2009 at 9:10 am |
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