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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. laura murray

    so it's impossible to get back to work if you're on drugs... really? even pot? but it's not impossible to get back to work if you drink every night??? typical right-wing irrational thinking...

    this is the typical scapegoating of the most vulnerable that goes during a recession.. let's hope the WV legislature has more sense than to pass this oppressive and unfair law.

    AND: what about forcing CEOs of cos. and banks bailed out by the govt to also take drug tests?? - and should anybody who is a habitual drinker get govt benfits, govt bailouts??? and what about legislators? should they also take drug tests, since their salaries come from the govt? Would Mr. Blair be willing to take random drug tests himself, I wonder...

    April 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  2. Jango Davis

    Let's see, West Virgina State Law makers get government checks, so I say let's mandate random drug tests for every W.V. state law maker...after all, how can you be a state law maker, someone responsible for legislating laws of the land, if you're doing drugs!?!

    Craig is a fool, because he knows if politicians were forced to give random drug tests they fail. Besides, people on unemployment don't vote in the same numbers as the employed, so Craig thinks he can score political points off teh backs of poor, political disenfranchised people.

    Mr. Craig, you sir are a political opportunist of the very worst kind.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  3. WBanks

    Look, my husband and I work our you know what off to provide for our 4 children and struggle constantly. We do not get food stamps and such. How ever we do know of people who have absolutly nothing wrong with them, sit on thier buts collect a few hundred a month in cash and 6 or 8 hundred $ in food stamps and go sell them so they have money to get high because they have nothing better to do. Oh and lets not forget my favorit "life is just to hard I need this to cope". Give me a break. As far as the kids having what they need be it clothing, food etc. They aren't getting it either way now are they. Yes the crime end of it does worry me. But at the same time I am just so sick of seeing most of us struggle while these guys get a free ride at our exspense. I say bring it on at least try it for a while and see how it works out.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  4. Betty Raye

    I think we should start with vetting all American poloticians like Obama did before placing them in his cabinet. We should check their criminal records, such as check kiting, misusing government credit cards (how can you fill up your auto with gas twice within several hoours?), placing public officials on SSA for retirement benefits, taking away their perks (why does a Representative need to travel to foreign countries on my dime when they cau use their vacation time?) and checking them for drug and alcohol abuse. Everyone sitting in Washington or in the State Capitols should be required to be tested.

    Only then we can test everyone else. After all they are our "leaders". They should lead by showing us the way not buy telling us what they want to do to others.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  5. l king

    what happens to the children whos parents lose there benifits?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  6. Ang

    First thing – drug addiction is not a disease – it's a choice.

    Yes, they should be tested!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Joshua

    We should also start monitoring their internet and email traffic to make sure that they aren't wasting tax dollars on internet porn and to make sure they are not terrorists. Anyone who is against this idea is obviously a pedophile and a commie.

    Just out of curiosity, what should do we do with all of the newly homeless and starving pedophile commies? Maybe a camp of some kind. It would probably be good to send their children to a special reeducation program of some kind as well.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  8. San Antonio

    It's a GREAT idea! I work for a staffing agency that REQUIRES a drug screen for all employees put to work. If they fail a drug test, then we can't put them to work and they keep collecting unemployment. Why should we pay for their drug use?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  9. Be_O_Be

    The state of Ohio requires that any contractor that wants to apply to bid on any state funded job must have an approved drug program in place.
    25% of total employees are subject to random drug test , from the owners to janitors, mandatory annual refresher course,4 hrs. If you fail a drug test you are terminated from the job, you pay to be retested, 179.00 per test, and when you test clean you are reinstated, subject to random testing anytime for one year.
    You are also required to carry an OSHA 10(10hr yearly training) or OSHA 40(40hrs one time training) if supervisory.
    You are required to carry a state fire alarm license.
    Because of the size of our trucks we have CDL's, zero tolerance.

    I do this just to go to work every day and no less than 33% goes to some guy named FICA.

    Any State or Federal funds should be subject to these same standards that the working class have to meet.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  10. Alex

    So wait, some people insist the government to stay out of their private lives by refusing to take a drug test, yet demand to receive the benefits that said governments provide?

    Yeah, that argument didn't work on my parents either when I asked for the car keys without agreeing to be home by curfew as a teenager.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  11. Lisa

    I think this is a great idea, aside from adding the unemployed into it. Alcoholism and drug addition may be a disease, but it is one where the person has a CHOICE. Cancer patients can't just get up from their beds and decide one day that they no longer want to have cancer. I know some recovering addicts and it's a very difficult choice but not impossible.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  12. level-headed

    Yes. Just as we now place a burden of responsibility on any business using tax dollars, I believe we should extend that down to the individual. Why should people who work support behaviors that do not help individuals help themselves. I am all for helping those who cannopt help themselves and I believe we start by helping them to get or remain healthy, become self-sufficient and productive.
    I know some see this as horrible treatment of the unfortunate but I think people can elarn to be fortunate for the good of them and the rest of us.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  13. DFinFL

    Okay, so pot smokers will be denied the benefits that they paid taxes to support but alcoholics, crack heads, coke freaks and criminals are home free.

    On the other hand, the political cretins that dreamed up this publicity stunt must have been smoking something and, therefore, will be denied the unemployment benefits that they paid taxes for.

    ..

    April 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  14. Jamie

    I say yes to the drug testing. I was laid off back in Jan. and just got called back to work, and I have to take a drug test before I'm allowed to start back. I think that anyone working in government jobs along with anyone who is receiving assistance should be required to take drug tests. Anyone who fails shouldn't be allowed on it. I for one am tired of being told that I can't have assistance because I would've made too much on unemployment, but someone who is hooked on meth and other drugs can walk in and simply get any type of assistance they need. While me as a tax payer is floating the bill. If we would make people start taking responsibilty for their actions then maybe this country wouldn't be in the shape that it is in. So I for one say YES to drug testing.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  15. Angie

    I support random drug testing for people who the tax payers have to keep up. If we have to pay for their health care, and prescriptions, and food, then they should only get the bare necessities and should not be allowed to take prescription drugs to "get high". Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic and most of the drug abusers and dealers are using governement benefits to pay for the doctor visits and the drugs themselves then they turn around and make a large profit by selling the drugs on the streets. Drugs ruin lives and families, even prescription drugs. If people need help with health care and prescriptions they should only be able to get the necessities, not the highly sought out pain pills, and other narcotics that can be sold on the streets for a profit. I have personally experienced what drug addiction can do to a family and it is not fun, and it affects every aspect of your life.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  16. Chuck

    This is Absurd The amount of money that would be spent on this is mind boggling. Add to that at any head shop you can get fake urine for $25 and pass any stupid test they throw at you. So who's this really benefiting? Not the people. And no I'm not willing to spend my tax dollars so a politician can catch a few potheads and look good in the process. There are more important things to spend money on right now.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  17. Donna Field

    I'll support this law. I took a drug test prior to being hired at my present company, as most companies require these days. Why not make the same rules for unemployment (..which many 'in the system' already SEE as a full time job). I think it would actually fix the system, and give the people who really DESERVE unemployment the money.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  18. Mr. Reasonable

    I would like to know how this is in any way a violation of anyone's rights! I get tested all the time; I work for the gov't...but guess what I HAVE A JOB! I went out and got my job and now I don't need gov't assistance.

    I know a lot of people are on unemployment right now; they probably deserve it and really need it. But if the peopel that were put out of work because of the "Big Bankers" stupidity are now all on drugs than they have more problems to deal with than not getting gov't assistance.

    The people that were put out of work by companies like AIG, Merryl Lynch, or any other huge conglomorate, are most likely searching for a job right now, and they'll probably get one. Its the people that soak up welfare for years without every truly trying to get a job that are the ones at stake; why not hold them accountable for their actions??

    And again, how is this a violation of our rights? Are they asking you to give up your religion or freedom of speech? Are they asking you to lay down your firearms or give up any other freedoms? NO! they're telling you that if you want the gov't handouts then you have to be drug free; it's kind of like saying "if you want a paycheck then you can't commit a crime" not too unreasonable if you ask me

    April 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  19. Paul

    Who's going to pay for expensive drug testing? Oh right, the taxpayers!

    It's not a handout people, it's called insurance. You pay for it every week you are employed and receiving a paycheck from your job. It's NOT a handout!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  20. Carol Townsend

    My husband is 54 and has worked since he was 16. I have worked at the same place for 30 years and now that he can't work because of lung cancer he cannot get any help. He would be glad to give a urine specimen in order to get food stamps. We are STILL waiting to hear from Social Security Disability.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  21. Justin

    In the movie Religulous, Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) gets trapped into saying "you don't have to pass an IQ test to be Senator." Apparently the same holds true for state legislature. What Mr. Blair either don't know or doesn't seem to care about is that there's no basis for his argument. His tactic is a classic case of non sequitur, which is a common fallacy is argument meaning he is making an assumption based on correlation, not causation. It may be true that many people on the unemployment line use drugs, but are the drugs the reason they're on the unemployment line? There are many very successful people in this country and around the world who use drugs, and there are many people on the unemployment line who do not. This alone suggests that the drugs aren't to blame, otherwise everyone who used drugs would be unemployed and everyone who does not will be successful. In addition to his flawed argument, there's this little problem of the constitution. The fourth amendment guarantees that someone's home or person cannot be searched without a warrant issued on the base of probable cause. Random drug screening inherently lacks probable cause, it's RANDOM. Since his initial argument lacks anything remotely close to probable cause, this bill would be a direct violation of our Constitutional rights. And whether you believe his argument or not, the Bill of Rights is in place for a reason, and after the last 8 years of limited civil rights, it's about time we as Americans force our government to find solutions to our problems that also do not violate our personal freedoms.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  22. ACommentator

    Why stop with government benefits? Why not require a drug test for admission to an emergency room...checking into a hotel or motel...voting...getting a driver's license, business license, or entering into a business or real-estate contract...getting a library card, getting married...or any of the endless array of everyday activities in which government regulation or involvement exists. In fact, why not require drug testing in order to pay taxes or file a W-2 or 1040? And while we're at it, why stop at just one "illegal" activity....why not require everyone to have paid all their traffic tickets, back taxes, unpaid federally backed loans, parking tickets &etc. before being 'allowed' to perform any of the aforementioned activities? Why limit ourselves to a namby-pamby incremental construction of a Police State, when we can simply 'go the whole hog' and immediately implement the full apparatus of Totalitarianism and have done with it?

    Those advocating this testing deserve, at best, rotten eggs and tomatoes...and the contempt and fear of their fellow citizens, who they propose be the victims of the limitless arbitrary government power they suggest.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  23. Mik

    What would a politician know about getting laid off, they never worked a day in their life. They drink like fish at lavish parties on tax payer money, and do prescription drugs. And besides they don't pay unemployment taxes. He's nuts!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  24. Rafael

    Can't believe that it hasn't been mandatory already.

    Yes we need a drug testing policy for anyone who receives tax payer $: that includes politicians.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  25. Darcy

    I think it is about time, there is a reason that some of these people can't get or hold jobs. I am about sick of standing in line with my meager grocery purchase and watching the able bodied men and women making large purchases with my tax dollars. Most of these people have several children they are breeding (with the same mentality) to get bigger assistance checks, what other "job" gives you a raise for having more kids? As to the people who say "So what if they are smoking a little pot?" if they have enough money for even "a little pot" they are getting too much assistance, spend the pot money for their groceries like the rest of us who work.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  26. Louis

    I hate to say it to all you people who think that you have to pass a drug test to get a job most places, but the simple fact is that it is not really true. Only low paying jobs require drug tests. You dont have to take a drug test to be a Lawyer, or to be a scientist, (in most fields), or a computer programmer, or hell, even President of the United States. I'll bet none of those AIG executives who crashed our economy and got so much of our tax money had to take drug tests. But be damned if you dont have to take one to bag groceries at Wal-mart.

    I have worked hard my entire life, i am an IT consultant, and have never had to take a drug test for any job that pays over $12/hour. I have a $75,000/year job that I did not drug test for. I smoke pot every day when i get home, but never at or before work. I have paid my taxes, I have worked hard for everything I have. Now you are going to tell me that if I get laid off I don't deserve unemployment because i smoke pot to relax at the end of the day?

    Sounds to me like I should just stop paying my taxes, since the programs that my taxes pay for could no longer apply to me.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  27. JEREMY

    Yes I agree to many people are getting a free ride..

    April 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  28. Sharon Cruea

    Absolutely. I have been saying that for years. It is about time.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  29. Julie

    This is a wonderful idea! If people are going to sit at home and use drugs instead of actively trying to get a job, then they do not deserve to do so on my tax dollar. We are essentially funding their habit because how else are they paying for the drugs? That money could be put towards people who are trying to do something with their lives!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  30. danny

    The only people that they will catch are pot smokers because that drug stays in your system much longer than other drugs (more than 10X longer). The vast majority of people who smoke pot on a regular basis are just as capable of working and performing well at a variety jobs as they would be otherwise. This is just another example of a politician attempting to capitilize on the naivete of the American public in order to increase their reputation.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  31. Alyssa

    I think it is a wonderful idea. I am lucky enough to have a job to go to every day... but I have some good friends whom are not so lucky. I love these people sincerely, but that does not mean i love all aspects of them and their actions. I'll tell you about one in particular.

    Lets call him James. James has been unemployed off-and-on for the last 2 years. He collects unemployment benefits on a weekly basis. Since his unemployment, his drug habit has worsened. It started off with just pot and alcohol, but has since moved on to cocaine and extacy. And pot. And alcohol. Scary stuff. I have a feeling that at least part of the reason his problem has escalated is because of all the free time he has on his hands. And the lack of self-worth due to his excess of wasted time (ie:lack of a job). But unfortunately, this free time and joblessness is only perpetuated by the drugs. Drugs are a catalyst for the continuance of life as he knows it– they make time bearable and even fun, so he feels no need to go out and find constructive work. In essance, unemployment benefits perpetuate his unemployment.

    Let me ask you– why would he find work? What motivation is there? The government provides him with the money (and time!) to snort , drink, smoke and pop whatever he so chooses. The government is literally funding the $20 bills he snorts coke through. Sick.

    Why should any person be allowed to receive unemployment benefits to pay for any non-neccessity? Call me crazy, but I don't even think unemployment benefits should be based on your prior income at all. It should be based on need. Electricity averaged annually, grocery bills averaged annually, rent, fixed bills, ect. and very little (if any) more should be allotted.
    So, long stroy short... I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Politician (which is a rare statement for me to make) on this issue. I only wish they implement it in my state as well.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  32. RS

    I am generally not in favor of random drug testing, but if someone is using cocaine, meth, opiates, or other highly addictive substances (except nicotine) it is much less likely he or she is looking for work or is capable of keeping a job if they find one. Marijuana, on the other hand, is probably not worth worrying about.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  33. Paul

    Enough already. The problem isn't drugs it's the economy. Stop wasting money on frivolous legislation, besides what about the individuals that have perscriptions for medical marijuana? Wait lets give them oxycotin.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  34. Christina

    I support drug testing for people getting welfare. I am so tired of seeing someone checking out of a grocery store with a Link card wearing $200 pants, $200 pair of shoes, etc. while I have a job and spend $25 dollars on pants AND shoes because I can't afford such a luxury.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  35. Renae

    I had to take a drug test to get my job, so I can pay my taxes, so other people don't have to work if they don't want to. I would much rather my tax dollars go to drug testing the freeloaders and make it where they HAVE TO get out and MAKE money than for the govt to do what they do now, which is pretty much just hand it out...

    April 1, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  36. laura murray

    so it's impossible to get back to work if you're on drugs... really? even pot? but it's not impossible to get back to work if you drink every night??? typical right-wing irrational thinking...

    this is the typical scapegoating of the most vulnerable that goes during a recession.. let's hope the WV legislature has more sense than to pass this oppressive and unfair law.

    AND: what about forcing CEOs of cos. and banks bailed out by the govt to also take drug tests??

    April 1, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  37. Sami

    ****It goes without saying that the above should be allowed as long as you are not hurting anyone else.****

    The problem is that it IS hurting someone else, ME!! (and a lot of poeple like me!!!)

    I have to work two jobs to support myself, I have been doing that since I was 16. No one has EVER given me a handout.,...but I have to pay the government money so they can reappropriate it to someone who chooses not work?

    You dont think this is harmful to me? It doesn't occur to you that perhaps if I didnt have to pay some much money to the govemnet (to suport someone elses crack habit) then maybe I would have to work so many hours a week? Perhaps I could supoprt myself without a second job? Even a fraction of the thousands of dollars I pay to the government every year in taxes would be helpful. Maybe you should revist the idea of "hurting" someone else. If you think it doesn hurt me to have to work so hard, you are dead wrong!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  38. FRANKY DE JESUS

    I agree 100% on the drug testing , if I had to take one to get my job the people appling for unemployment and food stamps need to do the samethiing I'm a taxpayer since the age of 16 years old I don't need to be supporting someone who is using illegal drugs with my tax money. Use my tax money to help the homeless kids and not to provide money to drug users I'm not going to support someone elses bad habits. Franky De Jesus age 52.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  39. Melissa

    I agree with David, up there, on the fact that Americans are completely ignorning the addiction mentality that exists. We've forgotten how to accept responsibility and take blame for ourselves. Americans also seem to love to stick their noses into other people's business–rather than tending to their own. I'm an American, and I like to mind my own business, not tell someone else what to do in their private time.

    This is just ridiculous, this suggestion to drug test for unemployment–for any type of government benefits. I took a drug test for one job as an adult, one, and after that, I decided it was just too big an invasion of privacy–I do not use street drugs, but it's the principle of the thing. After that, I would only work for companies who would take me on my business reputation and skill, not on my urine.

    We have to draw a line somewhere and say, "No more!" And mean it.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  40. Ken

    The question is "Should there be drug testing to obtain benefits?" You have all written too long of an explanation. The easy and correct answer is unequivocally YES. Period. Right on Amanda. From a retired U.S. Naval Officer.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  41. N.J. of Wisconsin

    Of course they should. I thought they were doing this already. I don't want my tax money going to pay for someone's drug habit. I've seen too many people buying beer with food stamps in my day!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  42. Charles

    Hallelujah!! It's about time someone openly said that welfare is going to buy people more drugs. I've said for years that we should start drug testing before handing out government assistance. The welfare system in this country is horribly misaligned! People need to be responsible for their actions; if they can't get a job because they're on drugs than why should I pay for them?? I say YES, please start testing people for drugs before handing them any assistance. Those that truly need it will pass, and those that are merely abusing the system will soon learn that nothing is free!

    Thank you Sir, I commend You!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  43. Nicholas C.

    No. Have you never heard of invasion of privacy? No big surprise he's a republican. Haven't they ruined the country enough already?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  44. Daveym

    I'm also one for drug testing prior to receiving government benefits, as this comes out my MY tax dollars and as a member of the public I have interest in making sure it doesn't go to further a habit. There have to be consequences to running a habit while on my dime. I also agree that there has to be adequate support to break habits offered along with reduced or denied benefits, or this will not work.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  45. Paul

    Just to add, I think it's incredibly sad the way some people come off here with this "all about me" attitude. MY TAX DOLLARS! MY COMMUNITY! ME ME ME ME ME!

    You act as if a person smokes pot at a party on the weekend they don't deserve their GOD GIVEN rights as an American. People can waste just as much money on booze as they can on any type of illegal drug, and do more damage to themselves and their families in the process.

    It's a truly, truly pathetic attitude and I feel sorry if you're that much of a selfish and simple minded person.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  46. Norom

    I think that our elected officials need to be subjected to drug testing.
    They are getting our tax dollars too.

    Some of you would change your tune if you were to be laid off and
    have to collect unemployment, wouldn't you?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  47. Rex

    While we're at it why not cut off funds to smokers,those that are obese,and folks that have other lifestyle diseases like type II diabetis. Come on Craig let's get real.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  48. Chris

    As a fully employed recreational drug user for the past 30 years and never missed a day of work, does this mean that I do not have to pay into the "system" since I will be denied benefits owed? Fair is fair.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  49. PJ

    So you've worked at a job for 20 to 30 years, you get laid off because your employer is going bankrupt, and you are in your 50's or 60's. Now to get your unemployment benefits (which you can not live on) you have to pee in to a cup. Wow, I hope "those people" who want drug testing never lose their jobs and have the indigity of going through the unemployment system and have to pee in a cup just to get a third of what they use to get.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  50. susan

    If they can afford cigarettes now ($50 a carton), they can afford food..
    I quit smoking cos it got too expensive for me last year and I didnt get a hand-out to help with food so i could buy them. Why should my tax money support ANY addiction,whether it be drugs,alcohol or tobacco??
    I think NOT!!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  51. Wayne, Everett, WA

    For government benefits, okay.

    But unemployment INSURANCE is not a government benefit, it's insurance, and should not and can not be made conditional after-the-fact.

    Extended unemployment takes effect when the insurance runs out, and is a government benefit, so I could go along with making that conditional.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  52. Jessica

    yes, I think EVERYONE who applies for government benefits/funding should be drug tested. There are too many of us out there working day to day to support these people who just lie around doing drugs and living off our tax dollars. Something needs to be done in order to stop them.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  53. Vlad

    It cost money to test first of all and also i wonder why nobody give me tests when i pay my taxes when i work but as soon as it time to give me back 1/1000 of what i pay they will spend money on testing and not on helping me.... politicians trying to save money by spending it again. what a stupid idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  54. Beth

    Um hello? Many jobs require a drug test, so if one is getting hand outs from the gov (and therefore NOT WORKING) they should be held the same standards as those that are no matter the cause (health, injury, laid off, etc.)

    April 1, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  55. jimmy

    every day at work i am faced with the possibilty of a drug test therefore ;i stay clean and drug employers arte the ones who contribute to the unemployment benefits in most states it only makes sense people filing claims should stay drug free also instead of not working 'drawing a check' and sitting around getting high at taxpayer expense i say zero tolerance test them all

    April 1, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  56. Sami

    ***I’d prefer they get their handouts from the Gov.****

    The problem is that the government is us, the hardworking people who pay taxes so the lazy, uneducated, welfare lifestyle is allowed to continue.

    I'd prefer they get jobs and support themselves, just like I do so I dont have to support myself and them! GET A JOB

    (Before people get into an uproar, I KNOW that there are people who are prevented from working due to illness, injury, or disability, and I WANT them to have acces to beneifts. That is different than thsoe who choose to live that way as a life style, or those who are being supported in their abandonment of employment thorugh their choice to do drugs instead of work. There are DESERVING poor and there are the UNDESERVING poor. If you choose to smoke crack instead of choosing to work, I should not have to support that by my hard work that generates tax dollars that are then freely given to crack heads! Again, one could not ever be a crack head without making the choice to smoke crack.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  57. Chris

    Yeah, and if you're not Christian you shouldn't get money too becuase that would be funding terrorists. We'll give em a test to see if they know the 12 days of Christmas and if they fail, they 2 weeks to learn it and become Christian.

    Yeah, and if you don't like country music you shouldn't get money too because that's just unAmerican. We'll give em a test to see how many NASCAR drivers they can name. If they fail, they have one month to learn them.

    Yeah, and if you have all your teeth, you don't get any money beause you must be from out of state.

    Yeah, and if your sister.......

    You get my point.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  58. james

    i think its a great idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  59. K.M. Capu

    What's the big deal. You have nothing to fear if you don't take drugs. The program needs to be tied in with an immediate admission to a rehab program. I rather have a world of working ex-drug users rather than one filled with the havoc that is caused by illicit drug-taking individuals. It's about time.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  60. Charles Rey

    I'll support this when a similiar measure is past requiring all politicians to do the same.
    "Yes congressman, just pee in this cup and then you can be seated in the house, provided you pass."

    April 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  61. Patti

    If I have to be drug tested to get a job then those collecting unemloyment benefits should be tested as well

    April 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  62. Jeremy

    I would support this as well. There is not one logical reason not to do this. I think we seem to give out to much money to help people that the taxpayers can't keep up with so we borrow from China. Rather see that this money is not wasted on meth addicts and crackheads. Drug use is a choice, unfortunately paying taxes isn't but these drug users raen't paying taxes just trying to reep the benefits from the sweat of hard working americans. If somebody is holding a job, not asking for goverment help and doing drugs, well that is their porogative but at least I'm not paying for them.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  63. Wade

    I am not sure about unemployment, but i do believe that if you are on welfare that you should be tested.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  64. Amanda

    To the people that are protesting that this is a violation of privacy and people's rights: IF ONE IS ABUSING THE RIGHT TO BE HERE, ARE YOU STILL ENTITLED TO PRIVACY???? And to call DRUG ADDICTION A DISEASE? WTF??? How do you even get such a distorted idea? Get your heads out of your asses. Your ignorance, let alone the topic of discussion, just boils my blood. That's ludicrous! If the law should enable any employer to drug test anyone, how is it any different for the government to require testing in lieu of receiving taxpayer dollars in the form of free benefits? This country has become so extreme and bent on “helping the people” that we have lost what it means to even be called ‘we the people’. The government needs to weigh the needs here. Take away all this excess privacy that everyone has become so bent on to the point of ABUSE and maybe people will start holding themselves accountable dammit! No sympathy from me… nope.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  65. Abe

    Listen up liberals,....it's not against privacy rights or civil liberties and it’s not a disease either, it’s a choice to be on drugs. I have a right to know if my tax dollars are going to people who have enough money to buy drugs but not enough to pay their own bills. My tax dollars should not be wasted on people who get wasted with other people’s money. Period. This is common sense which is why you don't understand it.

    If there are unintended consequences then so be it. I would also take it a step further and say no more buying Doritos, soda pop, or candy with food stamps. If you and your kids are truly needy then you need bread, milk, and eggs. …..Sorry,.....when you get off the public dole then you can buy your own potato chips and pot. In fact, I see this all the time. People go down to the public assistance office with their Hondas with 24 inch rims, children in tow with cell phones, game boys, and nice clothes and walk out with money to pay the rent, food stamps, utility assistance etc….I want to know if any of these people are on drugs. Yes!....gov’t workers and politician need testing too…For those of you saying it will make things worse, go fly a kite. You can give your hard earned money to these sub-human leaches. You people are morons. Your bleeding heart postings give new meaning to the statement “criminals have more rights and benefits than you do” I mean listen to yourselves. You can pay your taxes, go to church, work really hard, and at the end of the day, a crack head…according to these people….are entitled to your hard earned money…RUBISH!! This is the most ignorant, repugnant, mucked up thing I have heard of and it needs to stop!. I recoil from this type of thinking.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  66. Valerie

    Although, I do agree that drug testing before recieving any type of assistance should be necessary, it frightens me to think of the children that may go huingry because their parents WILL spend money on their habit before buying groceries. It has been a crutch for many years to many addicts or users. However, the scare of regular ( I do think they should be done regularly and on surprise) might help some people clean up their act.
    Who all should get drug testing? That is the big question. Are we gonna test the 85 year old woman in the nursing home that recieves disanilty? Where do we draw the line on cutting tax dollars for this?
    If you get medicaid or diability, lets make sure that your prescription drugs are cleared on those test.
    We all know there are RX abusers, so how are we going to keep up with all those doctors prescriptions and dosages. That would be alot of information thath the government doesnt need to kow about myself. What my doctors prescribes me is my business, but if it will keep users from abusing the system, I guess we all must make sacrifices. After all, that is what this is all about.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  67. Sami

    Lori,

    You state that drug addiction is a disease. I would like to point that one could NEVER become a drug addict without making the CHOICE to do drugs. it's pretty simple!!

    For example, I have chosen NOT to smoke crack. Based on my CHOICE to not smoke crack, I save myself from the risk of becoming a crack addict. If one chooses to smoke crack, then they CHOOSE to place themselves at risk of adiction. Addiction is a "disease" (notice I put that in quotes) that is 100% preventable,; dont do drugs and you wont be a drug addict. Saying drug addiction is a disease allows drug users to abandon responsibility for their choices. Drug adiction is a result of choice, it is not the result of a disease!!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  68. vuduchld

    I AM FOR MANDATORY DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING OF BLAIR AND ANYONE ELSE WHO SUPPORTS THIS SILLY BILL. IF THEY DON'T SUBMIT TO THE TESTING EVERY SINGLE DAY, THEN NO DEAL. IT IS TIME FOR THESE PHONY POLITICIANS TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  69. joseph

    West Virginia a state full of Christian revivialist, snake handlers, and bible toting right wingers. So what can one expect of the state legislature that substitutes the bible for the constitution, and christianity for democracy.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  70. mm

    GOOD JOB.. I am tired of working every day , just so the government can take my money and give it to people who DON'T work . just sit home and make babies, run to the club, and get high all day....( WITH OUR MONEY.)

    April 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  71. Maxwell

    Everyone needs some motivator in their lives to get themselves off drugs. A lot of people wait until they hit rock bottom and realize getting clean is the only option. Maybe having to get clean to make rent, or realizing if you don't get clean you will lose the source of income (welfare) you use to buy your drugs will motivate some people to get themselves clean, get their lives turned around, and start giving back to society instead of being a drain on it.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  72. Shelly

    I have been talking about this for years! I work in a place of business where the mothers on benefits are drug addicted and tend to take advantage of the system. Never mind the kids are underfed...her drug screen is positive. It has to stop somewhere and I believe this is the perfect place to start.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  73. Cody

    Wow.

    Not terribly difficult to identify drug users by their posts. I think this idea is a good start. It is irrelevant how many "babies will go hungry" and it is certainly not a violation of these individuals' civil rights. They chose to break federal law when they began using illegal narcotics. They have no rights. Random drug testing will act as an amazing deterrent to drug use. Further to this, I think that if someone tests positive, they should be tried according to the possession or usage laws of their states. I am not an ignorant redneck; I am not cold hearted. I simply believe that people should obey the law. If a man or woman is supporting their children based off of unemployment benefits or welfare, they should certainly not have enough money to afford an expensive drug habit.

    Despite Thoreau's doubtless drug induced musings, it is not up to us to choose which laws we obey. The laws exist for a reason, and, like them or not, I obey every one and I think every one else should as well. Let me reiterate, if a person violates the law in so flagrant a fashion, they are undeserving of any legal rights. To break the law and then hide behind it is a double standard. That is unacceptable.

    Finally, if ANYONE ever tries by force to take my hard earned money to support an illegal habit, I will tear off their arm and beat them to death with it. I am not using hyperbole. If Drug use was more severely punished and not glorified by different media, (id est, some TV and movies) then perhaps it wouldn't be such an epidemic. Americans need to grow up and take responsibility for their actions, as opposed to looking for a handout and complaining when the United States tries to enforce its laws to their detriment.

    Seriously people, it is not that hard to not get high or drunk or smoke your salary away. Get a job, and stop complaining. If you can't find a job, join the Army.

    God bless America.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  74. RobRyan,

    I wonder what the real reason for this is. If it is because some of the programs are tax funded I may see some reasoning. However, shouldn't all monies given out that are tax dollars be tied in to drug testing as well? Shouldn't all people getting tax dollars be tested? This should include all cops, city/state/federal employee, elected individuals, teachers, the whole bunch.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  75. Kingpin

    Only when ALL recipients of government money are tested. Everyone at AIG, Merrill Lynch, GM...

    How about we ask EVERY member of Congress to also prove that they are drug free?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  76. FedUpWithGrubbers

    This is a fantastic idea. In NYC, public assistance is a handout, not a hand up as it should be. Kids are fed breakfast, lunch and dinner by the public schools (even during winter/ summer breaks), as lazy mamma who won't cook collects food stamps. She sells, say $100 worth of food stamps for $50 cash, then uses the cash for things like drugs.
    For jobless benefits, who cares – get tested. If you don't use drugs then you have anything to hide or worry about.
    For welfare, etc, you should aALSO be given a physical. If you are able bodied, be put to work, even if it's to mop the floors of the housing project you live in. The local governments would save a bundle of taxpayer dollars to put to better use like improving our school systems (which would hopefully reduce the amount of people on the toll in the furture.)

    April 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  77. Fed Up

    Yes we should test. If we have to be tested to work at our jobs...they shoud too. What makes them exempt? I don't feel like paying for someone to have a good time on my hard earned dollar. Same goes for anyone receiveing a "Bail Out", test them too.

    I couldnt agree more that this statement from 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 2:40 pm |
  78. Jeri

    WHY DON'T WE JUST TEST EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN THE WHOLE US of A .. NOT ONLY IN SCHOOLS, OR AT WORK, LET'S DO IT IN THAT HOME... OR IN THAT CAR...OR IN THAT CHURCH, OR THAT DUDE WALKING DOWN THE STREET OR RIDING A BIKE ON PUBLIC ROADS...HECK ANY ROAD!

    EVERYONE IS BAD, EVERYONE IS SUSPECT.

    WE DON'T TRUST YOU...WE GOTTA INSPECT YOU!!!

    RIGHTS? NOT ANY MORE.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  79. Tom

    This is an awesome idea!!!!!!!!!! I f***ing love it.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  80. Stephanie

    i think its good idea, if you have a job and you want to buy drugs then great thats your choice its your own money that you worked hard for but i dont think i should have to pay for your drug money, this money is supposes to be given on a short-term basis but in most cases its not because wouldnt everyone stay at home and just do drugs if you could get free money every month we are giving ppl fish instead of teaching them to fish, maybe this will help

    April 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  81. James

    I absolutely agree with this policy. The purpose of welfare and unemployment benefits is to help people get back on their feet so they can contribute to the economy again.

    Why should we be giving our hard earned money to people so they can waste it on illegal drugs?

    The benefits of this plan may not be immediately visible, but in the long run, as Obama is so supportive of, I think it will be beneficial both to the economy as well as encouraging people to get off their couch and do something for the greater good.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  82. Steve M

    NO!! I want the government out of my mind, my home and my body. I will do as I please with all of them as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence – "...Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...". It goes without saying that the above should be allowed as long as you are not hurting anyone else. And take your whining about destruction of families, homes, etc. somewhere else. The violence and destruction mentioned are all due to the prohibition of drugs, not the usage. When drugs are legal and regulated and people know that they are pure and come with instructions for how much to use you will see all the negative aspects of drug use fall by the wayside. How do I know? Because it's hard to believe the the current situation could get any worse. Throwing more money away by instituting widespread drug testing is NOT how I want my tax dollars spent.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  83. BMI

    As for the invasion of privacy, if you want privacy, then don't ask for help. If you want help, you must forgo the right of privacy to get that help in order to put a stop to drug users getting a check for nothing but having children and getting high.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  84. vuduchld

    This proposal is a prime example of someone who is completely clueless. First of all, I am a recent unemployed person who has passed EVERY drug test given. And that is the point, people who have lost their jobs have been drug tested, randomly drug tested, that is why they were employed in the first place, putting money into the system just in case they became unemployed.!! Most people on public assistance are not the bleary eyed dug user Blair and others of his ilk make them out to be.
    This is an individual who should be thrown out of office because he does not have any credible answers to solve our nations problems. This is another do-nothing knee jerk response we see over and over again from a bunch of jerks in office and I'm sick and tired of it!! So I tell you what Blair and the others who so desperately want this bill passed. The requirement for you and the others who support this bill is to have all of you undergo MANDATORY drug testing everyday FOR THE REST OF YOUR MISERABLE LIVES!! If you and your supporters submit to that then I'll support the bill.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  85. Paul

    Another example of big brother getting in your face on an issue they have NO right to. For those saying it's "my tax money", why do you think people pay unemployment in their paychecks every week?? So that when they lose their jobs they can get support for a short while!

    Get over yourselves!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  86. Barry

    You can't get unemployment unless you've already HAD a job, and since as several people have pointed out most jobs drug test anyway it makes this idea redundant. You can't even get unemployment if you were fired in most cases (not laid off – two different things), so what's the point of doing this?

    Welfare and unemployment are also two different things, and a lot of the people that have never worked are on SSI which I believe already performs random screenings.

    Also, who wants to pay for the testing? 'Cause believe it or not it costs money. Lots of money...

    April 1, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  87. Dudley Doright

    Haven’t we as a society determined that Drug Addiction and Alcoholism are, indeed, a disease? There is no question that genetics plays heavily into whether an individual is inclined to suffer from an addiction. This is 2009...such statutory exclusion will take us back to the days of the Scarlet Letter.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  88. todd

    While we're at it, let's drug test law makers. They have done some really stupid things over the years. Soberity is most important in people creating legislation. If it's good enough for the masses, it should be good enough for them. Put that in your bowl and smoke it!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  89. patrice solomon, Ph.D.

    absolutely, and I work for SSA

    April 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  90. Alex

    I support this idea wholeheartedly, and I did not realize that no such testing was currently in place.

    Anyone who finds the money to buy drugs clearly doesn't need help buying groceries, purchasing healthcare, or paying rent.

    I won't quarrel with a personal private decision to snort a line instead of eating breakfast (well, maybe I will a little). Your body, your choice. But don't expect me to finance your addiction by paying for your meal.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  91. carla

    I work for government and randomly get drug tested. There is a zero tolerance policy. You fail once and you're out. There is no second chance. I am all for helping people who need assisstance but if you want to buy drugs then buy them with your OWN hard earned money. Not taxpayers dollars! Maybe once these drug abusers get off welfare and are working for a living, they won't want to spend thier paychecks on weed and crack.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  92. Louise

    Not to mention, most of the wellfare recipients are single mothers that are trying to care for their children while the DEAD BEAT DADs are at the bars acting like they are single with no kids. Maybe, instead of treating these mothers even worse than society already has, maybe the money that it would cost for drug tests would be better spent actually going after these dead beat dads! These mothers have to jump thru hoops to get little help while the fathers don't have to do anything for their children to get help from the system. These mothers aren't living in luxary either, while the CEO's from AIG sure are!!!
    Why don't we test the CSEA workers that don't seem to be able to collect from all these men.
    This is just a distraction from the fact that billions of our tax dollars has gone to the rich!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  93. Scott

    So my company goes out of business and I get laid off . Now I have to get drug tested too just to get my benefits??? Screw that !!! Why doesn't the goverment just make money ILLEGAL...that way NO ONE can use it for drugs or alcohol or tobacco or anything else that might one day be considered "detrimental to society"

    April 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  94. chris

    I Think that is total "BS"!!! I work everyday and the goverment gets there taxes out of my pay check, Just becouse i smoke pot for anxiety does that make me a drug addict? NO! This is wrong we have no more freedom in this counrty. If i need goverment help i can't get it becouse of some $#@!% politian thinks he has a good idea look where Bush's good idea's got us! Decriminalize marijuana and start acting like a norml society.This is "NOT" right!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  95. Liz

    Best idea I've heard in a long time. DO IT!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  96. Lucy

    I'm about to lose my job due to funding cuts. I've worked at this institution 15+ years. Personnel told me I qualified for unemployment because it's not my fault I'm losing my job. I'm 54 and barely drink, much less use drugs. Why should I be subjected to a drug test to get benefits my taxes have paid for for years?!?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  97. jym

    April 1st, 2009 1:58 pm ET

    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.

    tipical anti addict talk! have you,ever been an "addict" no so maybe you should'nt comment on something you have nothing but an opinion about! i am a drug addict(in recovery) and firmly believe it to be a disease. its not like not studying for a test"!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  98. chris lee

    if you have money to buy drugs then you don't need money from the govt to support you.

    seen it all to many times, neighbor coming by wanting to borrow a bit of cash to buy food for his kids.

    should have bought them food first then if you have anything left bought your marlboros and coors lite.

    April 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  99. Dudley Doright

    This is simply another attempt by the right wing to wrest the benefits out of the hands of those that need them the most. It is absolutely absurd. Does not anyone else see this as being fraught with not only extremism, but ADA proscription? Haven't we as a society determined that Drug Addiction and Alcoholism are, indeed, a disease?

    April 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  100. TCJ

    You are missing the point. If they can test you for drugs, what else can they do. Where does it STOP. I thought we needed less GOV intervention...Now all the Republican's on this blog are screaming for the GOV to now pay for drug screening to attempt to stop spending.

    Wake up!!!! Get the GOV out of out of our private lives.

    If we do this, I think we need to have the Gov do random spot checks on gun owners.

    And maybe the cops should stop you for no reason

    April 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
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