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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. JEN

    I think that its a great idea! If they have money to be on drugs they have money to go and by food! I mean, I know many people who actually need the money and dont use drugs but the government wont give them anything b/c they think they make enough to survive. I say we get those freeloaders a drug test. I just went to the public aid office with a friend and these people roll up in their big cars with rims and walk in wearing babyphat and holding coach purses, and to top it off they smell like they've been smoking sumthing before they got there.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  2. Annie

    I too believe ANYONE receiving money from the government should be subject to drug screening. ANYONE! Yes, that goes for elected officials as well. How many mayors and governers have we seen in the paper caught with drugs? And these people are the ones making the laws for the majority. Come on people, this is a no brainer. But it should not just be for unemployment and welfar. It should be for SSI and police and mayors and all across the board.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  3. Dan

    Even more importantly, with some of the idiotic legislation being now being written, all of congress should be forced to submit to drug and alcohol testing.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  4. tommy

    if someone is on unemployment how are they getting the money to buy the drugs????? our tax dollars are........

    April 1, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  5. JMR

    Thank God someone has finally got the sense to test people before they get a check.
    I have to get a drug test for employment and I'm glad, finally, that people who sit on their asses (and there are quite a few) and collect a welfare check are going to have to prove my tax dollars aren't being spent on drugs or alcohol.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Sharon

    So, if you don't use drugs you'll have nothing to worry about. However, for those that are/have been to lazy to find a job and want government welfare, prove that you're actually doing something to better yourself, and not wasting money on alchohol and drugs!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  7. S. Anderson

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I am sick of people sucking up $$ they don't deserve. You have to take a drug test to get and keep a job, why then shouldn't you have to take one to get tax dollars from those who are working! They said right in the article that it would be for any kind of assistance; welfare, unemployment, etc.

    A violation of rights?!?!?! You have got to be kidding me!! It's a violation of my rights as a tax payer that I am forced to support others who refuse to help themselves. These programs are in place for people to get back on their feet, drugs won't help anyone get back on their feet!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  8. Theo

    So he may know a few folks like that, but that does not mean the majority of those who are looking need to pay to keep the drug testing companies in business. I think he must have stock in these types of drug testing companies so he is pushing it so him and his cronies can make a few $$$$. The benefits do not last forever, and if the person has a serious issue, is will be obvious to a case worker just by their appearan'ce (loss of weight, can't focus, behaviour, can't keep or remember appointments), then those people need to be addressed. It would be cheaper that way and big brother needs to go back to work search logs, with names and addresses as proof of work search, then it can be fairly determined if that is the problem. I think the truth of the matter is there is not enough jobs with technology and outsourcing. People are going to have to be more creative.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  9. Mac

    YES! Drug testing should be required to draw public money for any reason.

    Habitual users of public tax dollars, lifelong welfare community included, should not be funded "ad infinitum" by people that work for a living. They most certainly should not receive public money to purchase drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.

    You can spot these leeches a mile away. They want someone to provide for their every need while they take no responsibility for anything and don't even provide food for their children. They can buy drugs, alcohol and cigarettes though. They can usually be found at home when the people that are paying for them are at work.

    I know you liberals will be all in arms over truthful comments like these, but you created this problem and are too blind and or stupid, to see the truth. You are the problem with society today. I wish you could all go live in France.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Jeff

    This is a ridiculous idea. Do we as other people with diseases to be tested? Also, are we going to ask all of the people on corporate welfare to start getting tested? That will go over well on Wall Street.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  11. James

    Okay, what is the big issue? Are we really that upset that in order to receive FREE food, FREE insurance, and FREE babysitting assistance you would potentially have to obey the laws of the society within which you live? Give me a break, if a person can not afford to buy food, pay for insurance, or pay for babysitting while they are looking for a job then HOW ARE THEY PAYING FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS?

    There are certainly millions of people who need help getting back on their feet in this economy. I do not think it is too much for me to ask that the money I very happily pay in taxes be used to assist those who are actually trying to get out of their rut. And to be very deliberately kept from those who want to sit around and get high.

    To the person who is using illegal drugs and has an issue with being tested to receive aid, I say stop spending your money on drugs and start buying food for you and your family.

    With regards to unemployment, that at least can be debated because those who are unemployed and receiving that help at least theoretically paid into the system. On the other hand, how hard are they looking for a job when most any employer requires a drug test?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  12. Brian

    As another comment, make all the illegal drugs legal and tax the hell out of them. This will help with theeconomic problems, and them the IRS can go after the illegal trafficers with all their resources.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  13. nann

    A drug test for employment? This is not justice! I think an intelligence test should be given to politicians. Please throw in a lie detector test, also.

    Unemployment benefits are for the the unemployed. perhaps it is time for some politicians to be unemployed.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  14. m.w.

    AS USUAL it's BLAME THE VICITM. People that have paid into unemployment don't need this added expense!! What about the CEO's of the banks. HMMM maybe they should be drug tested AND Alcohol use should be included!!! Enough of the Representatives in this country!!! They need to be drug/Alcohol tested AND have their tax information checked CHECKED ANNUALLY!! I will not tolerate any of my representaitves/Governor suggesting this!!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  15. Kim

    I know several drug addicts that are on welfare and food stamps. They use most of the assistance they get buying drugs. Whether it's a check or selling their food stamps. I would love to see the money cut off so they would be forced to clean up their act or be miserable. They get jobs every so often and then when they get laid off they don't use the unemployment to make ends meet, they use it to buy drugs and lay around all day trying to figure out where to get their next fix. Then when the money runs out they lay around for the next check to come in. Once the unemployment runs out they get another job or start stealing to support their habit. I don't take drugs and if I was laid off I would not be offended at all to be tested to receive my check.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  16. vuduchld

    To hear some of the comments on here is laughable. Ray in NJ is one. I was unemployed and underemployed in 1997 and did not find a job in my field until 2001. Was I depressed? Sure as heck was! But did not take a drug nor a drink. I went out there sold, cars, telemarketing, almost any job I could find to sustain me. I even slept on people's couches, doing what I had to do to survive. And guess what people, I could have gotten food stamps but didn't!! I am presently unemployed again and have to go back out there, but I more prepared than before. I have NEVER failed a drug test, my hard work put money into the system for me to get that money if I'm unemployed. I worked for a company that drug tested randomly, not in a pee cup, but using a swab with a company rep looking at me doing it. When is this madness going to stop.
    I was just laid off several days ago and for some jerk politician to come on the scene with an silly idea like this is sick. It is not about who is doing what drugs, it is about putting honest people who have played by the rules BACK TO WORK. I'm sick and of people like this coming up and treating everyone as if they are already guilty before proven innocent. Like I said in a previous post if he and others on the hill will submit to MANDATORY drug, alcohol and cigarette testing EVERYDAY FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES then I'll support the bill. If not, go back to the hills and be the hillbilly you are because we sure as heck don't need an idiot like you solving our nations REAL problems!!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  17. Brian Kelly

    I believe that it should be a requirement to pass a drug test before you get any benefits. Once you get benefits, you should be subject to random screenings. There are many jobs out there that require periodic drug screening to keep your job, so I do not see the problem with the screenings to get the unemployment benefits.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  18. Henry P Testa

    If you want to solve the problems of America, All politicians should be drug tested. They all get paid with tax payers money. GTH

    April 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  19. Robin

    If I have to pass a drug screen to get employment, the same should be for those that my tax dollars are assisting. Why should I work, so they can lay around and do drugs? There are programs for those that are addicted and become a productive citizen. As long as the money comes with no attachments, they live it up until the next check comes. The kids are suffering anyway,drug test or not, because they aren't using the funds to feed them anyway. Welfare and Food Stamps were not designed to be a way of life. It was designed to help people during difficult times. I know people that have been receiving assistance since they were childern themselves. I was a training instructor and I had one of my trainees quit work. She told me that she could draw more money from the government than she could make. She had 4 kids, all different fathers, lived in low income housing, WIC and food stamps. Then there I stood working everyday so I can keep people up with that mentality. Drug testing is a good first step. I think that every workplace needs to be Drug Free Workplace and everyone that is receiving government assistance should abide by the same rules. You will never stop everyone, but it is a start.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  20. AB

    ABSOLUTELY; do the test and pass it. Every day Millions of people in this country have to take and pass a drug test just to get or keep their jobs. And oh, thats while actually working for their "employment benefits".

    April 1, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  21. Gary

    If they are want us to test then congress should also have random drug testing. Aren't they getting our money also!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  22. sean

    Yeah, more drug testing! States should randomly and without suspicion drug test all welfare recipients. Oh wait, Michigan tried this in Marchwinski v. Howard (2003) and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said it violated the Fourth Amendment. Hmmm, well how about you start drug testing politicians then since they are the ones that write this legislation. Oh wait, Georgia tried that in Chandler v. Miller (1996) and the U.S. Supreme Court struck the law down saying it violated the Fourth Amendment. ARG, that darn Fourth Amendment is getting in the way of everything. Let's see what former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis thinks:

    "It is … immaterial that the intrusion was in aid of law enforcement. Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."—Justice Louis Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States in 1928

    Alright, but what does he know, the guy sat on a bench back in the 1920's and things have definitely changed. Luckily there is case law that allows for drug testing of some classes as well, see: Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' !profanity!'n (1989), National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab (1989), Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995). All of these cases dealt with different groups of people and the court weighed privacy interests against public interest in different capacities.

    With regards to Constitutional law a private company does not have to worry about the Bill of Rights when employing someone. The Government, however, does have to worry about those pesky Amendments when employing someone. It looks like the only opinion that will matter is that of the 9 Justices that end up hearing this case. I'm sure a whole slew of defense attorney's will make out pretty good in billable hours and media recognition.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  23. KMK

    This is a great policy idea. If the most arduous thing that an unemployment check recipient has to do is pass a drug test to receive handouts, I think its still a fair deal for them. What else are they doing?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  24. Dan

    Do it.

    Test them all.

    If you want someone to call insensitive, I'm right here. I don't want my tax dollars supporting those who pop positive on drug tests. I don't care who goes hungry. If you don't have the personal integrity to curb your habit so you can collect money that's not yours, to feed your family/pay your rent/whatever, then you don't deserve to feed your family/pay your rent/whatever. It's as simple as that.

    While I agree with the notion that marijuana causes less damage then other inhibitants such as Alcahol, it's not the point on the debate. It's illegal. Want it changed? Lobby it. That's not what we're talking about here.

    The issue, is this would encourage those who draw from a public coffer, to actually start back on the straight and narrow. And to those who get shut out because they couldn't control themselves enough to collect OTHER PEOPLES MONEY: too friggin bad. Looks like they're going hungry.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  25. arik

    Interesting.
    But didn't the supposed drug users had to hold a job before they lost it and had to go on unemployment? Wouldn't that make them WORKING people?
    So it was fine that they maybe did drugs when they were working and paying taxes, but it is somehow became wrong when they now are to collect what is due to them by right.
    What is wrong with this picture?
    And please lets not forget that unemployment is NOT the same as welfare.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  26. Jise

    What does testing people for drugs have to do with benefits? Since some people feel that this is a good idea? How about just scrapping the whole principle of freedom and equality in our country (Land of the free)? It's not going to make things better, it is'nt going to unify people, it will only segregate people, all the while making things worst in a this time of economic crisis. You really want to know where your tax dollars are going? Think bigger. Do your part. Pay YOUR taxes. Instead of pointing the finger at the unfortunate. Everytime we pay taxes, we are funding the the system that makes it possible for poverty to exist in the first place. So don't sit around crying and trying to point the finger at the people that have a little less, that are applying for benefits, foodstamps etc....The same way we should'nt turn around and point the finger at the extremely wealthy. We're funding all of it.
    Drug test?! Stupid idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  27. Sean

    terrible idea. this will only hurt marijuana users, because any other drug is out of you within 3 or 4 days.

    and lets face it, marijuana is NOT a bad thing. if you disagree, well, then read a book because you need to be educated.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  28. Sasha_Kayente

    This idea is not only costly but crazy!! It's bad enough that people are down on their luck. This would be a kick in the butt. Take it from someone who was unemployed for over two years just three years ago. You already feel bad that you don't have a job. Now ... you gotta pee in a cup? It's a humiliating situtation enough without having to add more stipulations.

    DUH?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  29. liz

    i have had to go on welfare before and when i went into the office there was a girl walking out of the office talking on the phone and she said "ok i got my money i'm gonna stop by to pick up my weed".. yes anyone who wants money from the gov should be drug tested.. maybe if we stop handing money to people who are just going to turn around and use it for drugs we might be able to help people who really need it...

    April 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  30. Richard

    I am subjected to random drug testing at my job. Considering that these benifits come from my tax dollars and the fact that my employment is contingent upon passing those tests then I believe the people applying for these benifits must also be subject to the same testing. If I have to pass in order to get paid then shouldn't they?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  31. Smarteam

    Why not test for the biggest drug of all, Alchol. How many deaths are attributed to this drug and it's legal. How much money is wasted on this by alcholism? I think Craig Blair should be tested for this one. How many lost days of work are attributed to this? How many car accidents? Send me a verifiable death attributed to marijuana. Send me the same number of deaths as caused by alchol and I'll give you a billion dollars. How about gambling addiction? How do you test for that Mr. Rocket scientist Blair? How many people take their unemployment and go right to the casino? What about smoking cigarettes? Their $10.00 a pack. This must be some political rhetoric to get you elected. It's always a safe platform, drug abuse. What about the mental abuse you give us Mr. Blair? Please, give me a break.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  32. Art

    I drive a truck, I don't do drugs and I am required to submit to random testing at any time. If I have to submit because of a license then anyone who gets any federal or state money should have to do the same.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  33. G

    I HAVE A FRIEND WHO RECEVES TCA FOOD STAMPS AND GETS ALOT MORE FROM THE STATE DOSENT WORK OR TRY TO SEELS HER FOOD STAMPS TO GO OUT DRINKING AND PARTING AND NOT SUPPORTING HER 2 KIDS SO YES DRUG TEST

    April 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  34. Fran

    I agree that drug testing would cut benefits. If these people can afford to buy or steal to pay for drugs, tax payers should not be paying for their benefits. Previous comments made, Employees pay for unemployment taxes (false) Employers pay this tax. People could use other peoples urine (false) If tested in a lab Temperatures are taken to compare with urine. Let's start to do something to prevent fraud in state given benefits. College Students whose parents have money, in order to pay tuition for school, in VA are given food stamps. While someone else is working two jobs at Burger King does not qualify. What's right about that?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  35. Cassie

    Fabulous Idea! I've been saying it for months. This is not a violation of your rights.... Just recently a friend of mine had to stay in a woman' s shelter that in turn gave her assistance in paying her rent once she was out. She told me stories of how some of the women in this place were always high on pills and sharing pills with eachother. They all got food stamps, but guess what they did with them, traded it for cash to buy more pills. All along I'm thinking I'm bearly making ends meet and these people are spending my tax dollars to get high. I'm all for supporting people who are going through a rough time in their life (my friend) but not those who are going to just blow it on ILLEAGAL drugs.

    And the last time I checked I put in the hours to make the money that is taken by the government and I'd rather see it go to something worth while. Whether you are addicted or you just like it, its illeagal and if most Americans have to abide by the law to work and pay those taxes, then those benefiting from American tax dollars should have to abide by the law as well.

    I wonder how many of these unemployed people turn down a job because they do random drug testing???

    April 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  36. rayswife

    Since cocaine is considered a rich mans drug and weed is something any fool can get in the corner, the fool is who we are likely to catch because he cant afford coke. BUT if we volunteer, and I am sure I can round some up, stand outside congress with pee cups and ask for a daily dose we will be called inhuman, our backgrounds will be checked, families will be harrased, be charged with treason, have the city's finest arrest us and be placed on the terrorist watch list. Now what is the difference between the citizen of the United States and members of congress who would like citizens tested?.....I thought so.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  37. Bob

    I have no poblem with drug screening to get federal assistance. A few people above have mentioned that it is a disease. But it's a CUREABLE disease. Putting the '60-days-to-cleanup' in effect will allow people to have a choice.

    Either cleanup or loose your benefits. It's a choice that people will have to make. Drugs, or government help... you have a choice.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  38. Becky

    I believe if you are on unemployment you should not have to be drug tested.. you have been employed and paid taxes and will pay taxes on your unemployment benefit then add in that you are not working right now probably not by choice.

    On the flip side of the coin.. if you are recieving welfare benefits because you are not working and the taxpayers are paying your way then you should be tested regularly and at random. Why should I work to pay for you to sit home and do drugs? Maybe I'd like to stay home a day because I'm really sick but I can't afford to do that.

    There are people out there that really need a hand and can't get it because the career welfare families keep the system drained of funds.

    The test should be done with hair samples though because apparently a standard urine test can be beat pretty easily these days.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  39. MARY

    I RECIEVE FOOD STAMPS AND WORK A FULL TIME JOB. I AM ALL FOR GETTING DRUG TESTED BRING IT ON. I AM AN HONOST HARD WORKING SINGLE MOTHER WHO IF THE FATHER OF MY CHILD WOULD PAY CHILD SUPPORT NOT NEED A HAND OUT AS YOU CALL IT HOWEVER THE MEESLY 43 DOLLARS A MONTH I GET IN FOOD STAMPS CERTANILY DOSE NO JUSTICE FOR MY FRIDGE IT JUST BARLEY FEEDS MY SON AND THATS ALL THAT MATTERS. MABY EVERYONE SHOULDNT BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE POEPLE ON FOODSTAMPS I IF A HAD A CHOICE I WOULDNT BE ON THEM BUT THEN MY SONE DOSENT EAT SO WHAT DO YOU THINK I LIKE GETTING HAND OUTS NO ITS TOTALY DISGRACEFULL AND HUMMILATING TO ME BUT LIKE I SAID MY SON HAS TO EAT AND I DONT DO DRUGS SO BRING IT ON DRUG TEST ME EVERY WEEK IF YOU MUST I DONT CARE

    April 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  40. FedUpWithGrubbers

    Yes unemployment INSURANCE is different, however this entire article specifically addresses ALL public assistance including unemployment. Welfare, food stamps, etc.. IS paid for with tax dollars. You would call people selfish for not wating their tax dollars wasted and instead wanting something like drug testing applied to benefits for welfare, really??? I should be called selfish because I get mad that I feed my family spaghetti once a week because it is inexpensive ($2.50 for a family of four) while lifelong welfare recipients use tax dollars for dime bags??? That's four nights dinner for my family!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  41. Stan

    Sure, let's go ahead and waste somemore money on something that doesn't work. If drug testing worked why does drug use go up every year? Seems like another program invented to invade the rights of law abiding folks while making money for someone. Imagine how much millions of tests would cost?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  42. Dou

    It's amazing how many of you think it's okay to use drugs and get assistance from the government. Some say address the issue of addiction, guess what...there are programs for that too but people cannot be forced into them. The fact of the matter is there are people that genuinely need the help but there are more scamming the system. Maybe we should have a say in how our tax dollars are allocated. You can give it to the druggie who would rather get their fix than feed their kids, I will give mine to the family that adopts the kids from the drug addicts.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  43. Norma

    If someone has money for drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. then they don't need any assistance from the government. They can use that money for living expenses and food. Now is the time to learn to prioritize.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  44. ashew

    Addiction IS a disease.
    Sure, it's not a contagious disease, like the flu, but reasearch and statistics support notions of there maybe being a hereditary component to it.
    The same a dditction that makes someone a crackhead is the same addiction which causes a person to have gambling problems or spend money exessively.
    Addiction is simply what happens when people are unwilling to live life on lifes terms.
    I agree that drug testing would be useful for directing recipients of welfare benefits to treatment options, but anything other than that would be cruel and unfair. If legislators are trying to save money, why not curtail the spending by doing something about our blossoming prison system instead of curtailing the underfunding services which barely keep people going day to day? I say MORE money should be given to the people instead of corporations in the bed with our nations policy makers.
    Yes to adressing our nations problems with fisical responsibility.
    Yes to adressing our nations problem with all variations of addiction.
    No to targeting already oppressed minorities.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  45. Tim

    The main problem with expanding the use of drug testing is the risk of false positives. Some foods can trigger a false positive as well as some medications. Losing a job due to drug testing is one thing but being forced to live on the street until your test results are contested is another issue.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  46. Kevin

    This is such a no brainer. If you can afford to buy drugs you don't need assistance from me (the taxpayer) to get your fix. Your benefits are designed to provide food, shelter and clothing. Not a nickel bag or rock. Anyone on illegal drugs or abusing legal forms (including alcohol) don't deserve a dime of my money or any other taxpayers. Unfortunately, you have just elected a president that is electable only if the scurge of society votes for him. Drop the pipe and get a job. You probably would not have lost your job in the first place if you were clean. If you would have put the money back each week you spent on drugs you would have had a nice security net to fall back on in these hard times.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  47. b

    this is just ridiculous.. i agree w a previous statement that said something along the lines of..... if this was implemented it would just deny certain people benefits and leave out the real problems like ALCOHOLICS, ecstacy users, crack users, coke heads etc.. there are no tests for alcoholics and any generic drug test wouldnt catch any of the others mentioned either..

    April 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  48. Diane Saile

    I thought states have laws about medical marijuana? Do these people have to suffer or have a choice of getting needed money in the case of unemployment? The narrow minded selfish people in this world are exactly our problem. Instead of helping our "neighbors" in need people are only looking for me, me, me. It sickens me. So many people who "claim" they are christians, I believe are violating their very own beliefs with these attitudes. Think about that! Greed is the root of all evil is the truest statement I have ever heard. Greed from wallstreet to mainstreet is why we are where we are today. Wake up and get the message people or is society actually this stupid?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  49. Melissa

    Paul–thank you. It seems that a large amount of the people posting here have no clue about what unemployment compensation is.

    And you fools that think anyone who argues to the contrary is a drug addict, gods! How narrow is your vision? That's the typical thinking these days in this country, unfortunately, if you dare to THINK for yourself, and go against the herd's opinion, you are automatically a drug-shooting, pill-popping, unpatriotic, terrorist...at the very least.

    Don't you people remember what this country is supposed to stand for? Or do you just not care any longer?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  50. Al

    No where in the Constitution or any law thereof says "We the people have the right to do as we want, when we want." You people complain when our leaders act in such a way, yet preach it when it tide swings in your favor. There is no inherent right that allows you to consume a banned substances no matter how safe it is. You can argue the substance should not be banned, but that is a different debate.

    No one has the inherent right to receive government funds solely because they are a citizen of this country. This money is for honest, hard working individuals get through tough times in their lives (TEMPORARY unemployment). Keyword is temporary. I do not consider a two year drug or alcohol induced bender as "temporary." People addicted to any type of drug or alcohol who are incapable of holding steady employment will not benefit from these funds. 60 days is plenty of time to show you are working towards becoming drug/alcohol-free, productive citizen. This is not an IQ test one must pass, it's a basic test of commitment. Do you want to improve your situation or not?

    There is no doubt in my mind that the majority of individuals using these funds (less so now thanks to the current economy) are fully capable of working, they just choose not to.There is no incentive to work when someone else is paying your bills for the next XX months...

    April 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  51. tony from STL

    Oh!!! it kills me. These republicants are always against govenment interference except when they deem it needed. Face it republicants your not against big government your just want it to suit your needs.

    Jeeeeez, can't he spend some time working that we have suiable regulations so the rich don't ruin the system with their greed?

    Naw... to busy telling individuals what to do with their bodies.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  52. Mike

    Just another example of people who know nothing about drugs, don't understand the differences, and are looking for some connection that does not exist. Perhpas if we tested for any LEGAL drug with psychotropic effects, we could save even MORE money, to the benefit of no one. Perhaps the South should join the 2oth Century. the 21st is simply out of reach.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  53. luis demelo

    yes,i think it is a good idea.
    i know someone who gets state benefits,
    never held a job in his life and all he does is drugs.
    it makes me sick.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  54. JeffM

    Test them! I know of many people in their 20's -40's that collect all kinds of support. Most are capable of work(atleast physically), but always have a fridge full of beer and a bag of pot or whatever. Not fair to us working people who do not get to sleep all day and stay up all night...thanks to their free money and benefits. They think that they are above working at Lowes or a food place. This is a lazy society in general. Geez, my parents raised 4 kids in the 60's & 70's with low paying jobs and we got by. Now every kid has to have a cell phone and top-notch computer, $500 gaming consoles, etc. Anyways, most people that WORK need to pass a drug test, so why shouldn't freeloaders milking the system have to do the same?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  55. Chris

    Drug addition in the US is getting worse each day – it's a political issue but not really that hard to solve. Anyone who says that it will be too expensive to address is irrational – that's like saying that it's too expensive to eat healthy – it's actually more expensive in the long run to not eat healthy. 3 things that we should do right away to provide immediate benefit to our citizens and the economy: 1) Close north and south borders hard, 2) Mandatory drug testing for anyone receiving taxpayer assistance and 3) Rehab assistance for all who fail drug testing. Failure to see and address this now means continued increase in crime, cost and health – those afflicted with drug addiction have the most to gain from such a program.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  56. Jeannetta

    Absolutely!! It's bad enough we have the people who already have a lot of money mishandling our money. I work hard to make a living, why should I support someone's drug habit. The way it's laid out is very fair, it offers them help to get their life together and on track, how can they say no to that kind of opportunity.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  57. Helen Garland

    NO! This is an invasion of privacy. And unwarranted. While working, the worker pays into unemployment as do employers. Once laid off, someone claiming benefits has EARNED them. What a lame and ILLEGAL idea. Are you going to drug test everyone who claims any insurance benefit for which they PAID PREMIUMS? If not, then this is bogus and just the sort of crud you would expect from an idiot from West Virginia.

    Maybe welfare and food stamps, but not employment benefits. You can't treat laid off workers like criminals by default. Many people are out of work through no fault of their own and don't deserve to be further beaten down and demeaned by such hair brained schemes as this. What a horrible idea! Concentrate on restoring jobs outsourced to places like India instead of concentrating on further harrassing Americans.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  58. Mark

    Will some please buy me a one way ticket to Amsterdam!That will be one less taxpaying american who enjoys weed out of this God forsaken @#$%#$@ country!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  59. Roy

    I think this is the best idea ever! I live next to crackheads that do nothing but sit all over everyone else's property during the day, and then cause a public nuisance every other night. not sure what (if any) employment they have, but I know they collect money from somewhere because I hear them talking about it. I think EVERYONE should be tested when collecting any kind of welfare or unemployment. Costs too much?? Think of all the jobs you'd be creating by requiring the tests. Isn't that what this administration is all about?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  60. Joey

    I agree with this idea completely. If someone has money to spend on drugs, they don't need to be taking from everyone else. Unemployment doesn't last forever, and what's the next step? Welfare.
    That's MY tax money paying for someone to sit around and get high. I don't think so. Get your life together instead of leeching off the rest of us who can handle our situations without acting like such a lame escape is "necessary" to "relax." Half of these addicts don't know what real suffering even is, and maybe if they put down their crack pipes and bongs, and read about the rest of the world, they'd realize how fortunate they are in the first place.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  61. Michelle from NJ

    I can't help be but disappointed with the government. There is a much greater need for meals on wheels and school funding then using the money to test people for drugs. Unemployment benefits are earned by the worker. Every pay period they deduct unemployment insurance from your paycheck without testing you for drugs. What gives them the right to drug test you to receive insurance benefits YOU EARNED! Let us not forget our liberties and use tax money for programs to assist people not attack them.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  62. Heidi

    I think this would be a great idea!! Even in New Hampshire!! I have seen too many people who get unemployment checks or assistance from the Government and then it goes to drugs and drinking!! Not good!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  63. ChuckB

    Very puritanical. In the midst of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, this guy wants those laid off to feel they have done something wrong. Bozo, get real; being laid off for the great majority of workers today is not their fault. They are the victims of the shenanigans of the gluttonous, soulless and amoral demons of capitalism who have destabilized the world in order to profit at the trough of speculative greed, and being laid off is not a sign of lack of character. The Wall Street speculators and CEOs need to take a drug test; we know they wouldn't pass the integrity test.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  64. Tom

    ITS ABOUT TIME. Hard working americans including govt employees are subject to drug testing at there place of employment. (random testing included) People receiving govt checks should be subject to the same testing. Its a bit of a hastle for the poeple that are clean, but lets weed out the ones that arent. I for one dont want my hard earrned tax dollars going to drug users.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  65. pat r

    Who does this guy think he is ? Our government has been throwing our money down the crapper for years. We need everyone in government drug tested.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  66. Michael

    I think this man has lost his mind the goverment allready tells us what we can and can not do the country is not free anymore they want more and more control of ourlives this is just another way to control us

    April 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  67. RAY IN NJ

    It is a commonly known fact that many laid-off people go into depression. One way many cope is through alcohol and drugs. Not that it is okay, it's just a fact. Now you want to drug test them, they fail, then you have a possible depressed person who sees NO way out. The next phase, then, is anger which may be manifest through violence against themselves or society. So, the net result of the politician's plan would end up costing America more by mandating police interaction/investigation, possible murders or suicides, and costly incarceration. Doesn't seem like a good fix to me!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  68. Kyle C.

    Of couse they should test. And I am a former user. If one want to get welfare benefits then they should be able to prove on demand that they are not using any cash that they might have to buy drugs. If a person has the means to buy drugs, which aren't cheap, they they should have the means to buy food and other necessities that are being requested through welfare

    April 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  69. Jeri

    CODY:

    DID YOU MISS THE PART WHERE EVERYONE WOULD BE TESTED FOR UNEMPLOYMNET INSURANCE BENEFITS?

    BEFORE 1990'S ONLY AVIATION/TRANSPORTATION RELATED JOBS HAD MANDATORY LAWS FOR TESTING BEFORE THE JOB OFFER AND THEN RANDOM TESTING THERE AFTER FOR PUBLIC SAFETY.

    SINCE THEN BEING TESTED EVERYWHERE ELSE FOR DRUGS BEFORE GETTING A JOB IS MERELY A TRADITION CREATED BY:

    INSURANCE COMPANIES,

    AND CORPORATE LAWYERS TO AFFORD THEM AN OUT... TO WEASEL OUT OF WORKERS COMP.

    I HAVE KNOWN PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT USERS UILTIMATELY BECOME LOSERS AFTER AN INCIDENT...SO A MYSTERIOUS TEST RESULT IS UNQUESTIONED PROOF?

    REAL DRUG USERS HAVE WAYS OF CHEATING THE TESTS, INNOCENT PEOPLE GET SCREWED AND ULTIMATELY THE WORK PLACE IS NOT ANY SAFER AND THOSE WHO WILL STEAL-CHEAT WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO BECAUSE THEY HAVE A GAMBELING PROBLEM OR SOME OTHER DEFECT.

    THE ONLY THING LOST IS AN HONEST PERSONS DIGNITY. BUT IT'S ONLY FREEDOM I'M TALKING ABOUT. REMEMBER FREEDOM? INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN BAD TO THE BONE IN A COURT OF LAW?

    I HAVE RELATIVES WHO DIED FOR YOUR FREEDOM.
    I DO NOT DO DRUGS.
    I WOULD HOWEVER, DIE FOR MY FREEDOM.

    YOU DUDE, CAN GO PISS IN A CUP FOR BIG BROTHER

    April 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  70. denny

    Our goverment should be drug tested all the time, their the crooks stealing money.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  71. Justin

    I can agree to an extent. #1 testing for addictive drugs that have a high potential to reduce your chances to obtaining and retaining employment. This would be drugs like crack, heroin, meth, and other drugs of that highly addictive and destructive nature. Threatening a drug addict with poverty will not help them however. A failed drug test should be a requirement that results in redirecting funds toward a drug treatment program with the added requirement to complete drug rehabilitation.

    #2 it should not be a condition for receiving benefits. It should be a condition for keeping benefits. After say 3-6 months of benefits a drug test may be required to continue benefits.

    #3 compensation for doing the drug test.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  72. Julie

    I for one, am sick and tired of paying taxes, and watching the lazy take my tax money, and spend it on drugs. I do think that unemployment is different......but come on....welfare??? food stamps???these are the people that should be getting tested for drugs, they are the ones asking for a hand out every month.
    I think we need a tea party!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  73. Margaret

    Before we vilify people who may or may not use substances at any time, nicotine and alcohol must also be criminalized. And as we all know this will never happen, beware of somehow equating receipt of public assistance in any form with rampant drug use. The net of self-righteous finger-pointing has a few holes.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  74. allstart

    Are you serious? Political grandstanding indeed. Does anybody know why Florida stopped random drug-testing of any kid that wanted to join an after-school activity? Because #1 they couldn't afford it and #2 the number of kids that were positive was minuscule!

    But hey, if you have to look in my urine to find something wrong with my performance, go for it...as long as anyone running for office, be it president or dog-catcher, also gets tested at random. As a matter of fact, if we REALLY want to fight the scourge of drug-addled citizens in this country I think everyone should be tested. Yeah, that's the ticket! Test everyone for everything!!! The more often the better. Then we can build more and bigger jails and throw all those commies/radicals/Talibans/extremists disguised as regular Americans in them.

    This could be BIG! Urine testing stations before you get on a plane, a train...maybe one for your car too! Let me work on this...mmm...wait... what was it I was working on?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  75. Marti

    Of course drug testing should not be required before receiving benefits, especially jobless benefits. The gentleman (Mr. Blair) states that it isn't possible to get a job if you're on drugs, yet, these people wouldn't be entitled to jobless benefits if, in my State anyway, they hadn't been full-time employed for at least the previous 29 weeks before discharge. And what program is going to pay for this new bureaucratic nightmare? Geez, lawmakers, what next? Mandatory colonoscopies?

    April 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  76. Bob Griffin

    Random drug testing of persons filing for unemployment benefits or food stamps or any assistance program is very much political theater or foolishness. The cost, the time consumption and the embarressment should be enough to stop the political grandstanding by some. I am one who had to go through the demeaning demand of getting a drug test to get, or keep, a job. Let's drug test the Congress first, because it seems evident that they must be on some type of hallucinogentic drug. NO-NO to drug testing, unless there are some outward signs of a problem. Grow up, America.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  77. Jim

    I say do it for unemployment benefits and also for welfare and food stamp programs...make it randomly scheduled drug tests and make them submit a sample in front of another person so there will be no cheating...and yes test for pot also...but it will probably never happen because of all the "bleeding heart liberals" in America today...you know, the "bleeding heart liberals" that are all for spending $$$ on social programs as long as it is YOUR money and not theirs...same issue with crime...they are ok with it happening to YOU, but if it happens to them they will squeal like a pig that something must be done!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  78. California

    Agree with WBanks, lots of folks who get unemployment spend their money on the drugs and the kids don't get any of the benefit, my neice is a prime example, kids she takes the benefits for but blows it all so she does not have to deal with reality. Something needs to change, so I can go along with having to test to get benefits...

    April 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  79. Dallas

    I think that the law should take unemployment out of the realm of drug testing and replace it with welfare. I am not saying all people who collect welfare and food stamps are drug users, but there are a lot of people who abuse both while abusing drugs. Both systems are getting out of hand and are not regulated enough to weed out those abusing it. If you do not think it is being abused, then you should ask MTV about how they taped ODB (Old Dirty Bastard), a rapper that made millions selling albums, was still collecting and cashing his welfare checks long after he began receiving royalty checks.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  80. Susan

    Does this idiot congressman think that we had 20+ year careers working for banks 2-3 months ago and suddenly became drug addicts? Maybe that's what they do in West Virginia (which might help to explain how he got elected in the first place), but it isn't what's going on in North Carolina! It's a waste of taxpayer dollars just reading this nonsense.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  81. Allison

    The generational dependence on public assistance in West Virginia is appalling. As someone who works with this population daily, I can say that many of them face alcohol and drug addiction, with some using their Medical cards to abuse prescription drugs as well. This measure could be a very effective way to help them recieve drug and alcohol addiction treatment, because, after all, we cannot help those whom we can't even identify. Unless they become involved in the court or public welfare system, there is a very good chance that their children, who deserve and need to be helped, will become part of the endless cycle of drug abuse and dependence on the public fisc. As taxpayers we deserve to be able to set conditions on where our tax dollars go.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  82. Jackie

    This crap about drug addiction being a DISEASE is just that... CRAP. I work my butt off and pay taxes for what? For some Baby Mamma to sit at home, smoke pot and make more babies so she doesn't have to go to work. I'm tired of people not taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. Whether they're hooked on illegal drugs or prescription drugs, excuses need to stop for these people and they need to be held accountable for their actions if they're going to have their hands out looking for help. They must help themselves first.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  83. donamel

    It’s appropriate only if all beneficiaries of entitlement programs are tested. This includes all employees of companies that receive any type of corporate welfare and/or government bailout money. An entitlement program is an entitlement program. I guess next they will want to drug test seniors who receive social security benefits. I just get tired of targeting the poor. They already receive disproportionately long sentences for drug infractions because they can’t afford a high-paid lawyer to plea bargain on their behalf. The point is that random drug testing should be fair and I don’t think it will happen. It never has.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  84. Paul

    Once again, they're NOT your TAX dollars. They're INSURANCE dollars. Get it straight before you spew your idiotic opinions!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  85. Jim Dodrill

    It's an excellent idea. I proposed it to Ginny Brown-Waite (R,FL) several months ago but nothing ever got started. I have real problem with anyone receiving government help and the using it to support their habit. I see it all the time as I am in charge of seizing assets from criminals for a Sheriff,s office in Fla. I am working on a case right now where we seized cash and drugs from a multiple convicted "crack" user on probation and he is attempting to get it back by saying it is his welfare check, not proceeds of any crime. I have a problem with my tax dollar being used to support his drug habit, plain and simple.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  86. Greg

    People should absolutely have to pass a drug test to get benefits! I had to pass one to get a job.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  87. Bill

    Have we forgot were unemployment comes from. It's taken from your check every week.are how ever you are paid. The government started this telling the American people that if they by chance should lose there job they can draw on the money to help them get threw hard times. Unemployment is not welfare it's money that you pay in while you work.
    When the States and Federal government saw how much was going in and building up they decided to start spending it and told the people not to worry that when you need it we will make sure its put back. Guess what they lied again. They did the same with Social Security. You should not be drug tested to receive your own money. Would you want your bank to drug test you to get your money out of your savings account .
    If you want to drug test someone test the State and Federal government. Since most drugs test negative in 24 to 48 hour other then pot which takes 30 days. Give them daily blood test and test them for alcohol also. I don't want a drunk making decisions that effects are life's . Zero tolerance on alcohol when working. Just like most people deal with every day when they go to work. If they fail the test they get fired just like most americans.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  88. clay

    If I use drugs, I don't get to keep my job, why should drug users be allowed to have unemployment benefits. It's that simple.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  89. southerngirl

    HECK YES recipients of unemployment and other benefits should be drug tested. I am drug tested to earn the right to pay in the $ you receive, then you should be tested to receive the benefit. Just MAYBE if you weren't taking drugs, you could find a job! Just MAYBE this would give you incentive to clean up. Just MAYBE this would motivate you. Giving you $ to feed your drug habit doesn't seem to work. I'm sick and tired of what YOUR drug addiction takes away from my family and me.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  90. Angie

    Yes, test everyone who receives tax payer dollars whether they are a CEO or unemployed. Its wrong period to abuse drugs, or to sell drugs, but especially to profit from drugs that the tax payers pay for.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  91. pedro

    Pot, Pot , Pot
    Good grief since when has any pot smoker hurt any government agency, worker etc. Plus why the heck is a pot check needed while standing in the unemployment line.
    I say take the money from Blair's paycheck to pay for the testing. I don't want to waste my tax dollars on something as useless and stupid as testing the unemployed for drugs. Why not test the homeless and then if they fail the test just shoot em.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  92. Dave from WI

    I absolutely agree! I'm an unemployed software engineer at this time. Unemployment is for helping you maintain your life, not your dependencies! Only someone who is taking drugs would argue to the contrary.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  93. Gail

    Yes, well Ken since we are paying your benefits as a retired U.S. Naval Officer, then that throws you into the testing as well. We can't descriminate on who gets what benefits or why...if they are being paid by the government then they are all subject to the same standards.

    Now don't say that you earned those benefits because I did too. I got up every morning and worked everyday and put in 50 and 60 hour weeks but I still lost my job. I am intitled to those benifits just as you are and anyone else.

    I guess if this country goes bankrupt them maybe you will be in with the rest of us...how is that for a thought

    April 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  94. Jenny Mathis

    I think this is a wonderful idea. I use to work for a hotel corporate office and we tried to fight workers getting unemployment for failing drug tests but it was to no avail. They would still get unemployment even though they failed drug tests! Not right!

    I have also heard about people selling food stamps for cash (a lesser amount) to buy drugs. They take people to the store, buy their food, and then they get cash back.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  95. Brian

    Yes, testing should be a requirement. PERIOD !!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  96. Patrick

    I think testing for drugs before receiving government benefits is a superb idea. Drug testing was a requirement for me before being hired, why can't it be the same for those receiving my tax dollars?

    And why is that many of those who disagree with the testing immedately go to excuse of 'drug addicts need help instead of having their benefits taken away'? Do you really believe everyone who uses illegal drugs is an addict? That is preposterous.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  97. Brad

    ABSOLUTELY !!!!! Anyone that answers no to this question must be on drugs. I sure don't like the idea of my tax dollars going to pay for some who spends their unemployment money on marijuana or cocaine or some other drug and then goes to the store and pays for their groceries with their food stamps. And they should be checking every adult in the household. The way I see it if you can afford to pay for your drugs you obviously don't need assistance from us to survive. Go out and get a job. I think everyone on public assistance of any kind should be tested and more than just at the beginning. they should be required to get tested randomly 2-3 times a month that way they can't get clean for a week get their benefits, and then do it all over again.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  98. An Internist

    Absolutey! I don't want my tax dollars supporting people on mood or mind altering substances, that's why anyone on Prozac, Paxil, Elavil, Serzone, Zoloft, Trazadone, Ritalin, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Ultram or a Duragesic patch should be tested and become homeless if they cannot kick their 'habit'.

    Let he who's medicine chest is empty cast the first stone.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  99. Betty Raye

    "poloticians" should be politicians. "they cau" should be they can.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  100. steve

    Lori youre not very bright are you? How in any sane thought can you compare using drugs to Cancer? Are YOU on drugs?!!! Besides cancer caused by smoking cigarettes, people do not choose to get it. Everyday some idiot wakes up can chooses to put the pipe to their mouth or swallow that pill or shoot that heroin. Its disgusting and i do not have sympathy for those who do it. Because they chose to do so with a clear mind at one point they werent always drugaddicts, they chose to be!!

    April 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
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