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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. Doc

    Amen. I can't agree more.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  2. Rob Koz

    Whoever thinks drug addiction is a disease apparently has come up with another excuse to be irresponsible for ones actions. But that's typical of the US. We reward piss poor behavior. You can thank the libtards for coming up with this idea. Look at what California has become because of it.

    NOT doing drug tests on anyone that recieves taxpayer funds is a slap in the face to all that work hard and are productive and responsible members of society.

    The word for the day is "RESPONSIBILITY" ---> Learn it.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  3. Yvette

    I think that's a good idea there are to many people not working and living off the system we go to work just to susport their drug habbit I see it so many time's I saw it with my own husband he would lie to me saying he was looking for a job and to find out he was really on general relief and strung out on herion so I divorced him and he's in his forty's and still doing the same thing never had a job just live's on all of us so yea they need to stop giving our tax money to the wrong people

    April 1, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  4. Ms.Deborah D. Evans

    For those who have worked for many years, should have the right to there unemployment benefits they earn it. We need to worry about the corporate greed !

    April 1, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  5. Mike

    What about the politicians who we pay to govern our nation? I think they shoudl be first in line to be tested for drugs and alcohol. I don't want some drunken senator from Massachusetts deciding if my tax dollars should be spent to drug test people so they're insurance claim can be denied. If I pay my homeowners insurance premium every month and then my house burns down while I'm at the bar, does that mean they don't have to pay up becasue I'm an alchoholic?

    April 1, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  6. Raceya

    Wow, pretty hot topic huh?

    On one hand, how many people have never had a good job, or kept a good job because they could not pass a drug screening? Sure what people do on there own time is not everyone’s business, but does it still not carry consequences if it is illegal? A majority of the working class are required to submit to drug screens as a condition of employment and do so willing because it is important to them to have that job. These are the people who pay the taxes that finance the welfare system as we know it today.

    On the other hand what about the children of the welfare recipients in question? They are the ones who have to pay for their parents indiscretions. How should that be handled? If their parents were the responsible people their children need them to be they would be in the above paragraph and thus see things a lot differently. That is the part that really bothers me.

    I really agree with the subject of random drug testing for welfare (not unemployment) in general, but it's the ramifications of creating such a policy that needs to be thought out before consideration of such an idea. The average taxpayer deserves to know that if their tax money is given to people unable to work it is done so with some degree of accountability. At the same time America's youth deserves the thoughtfulness of a country even if they're not receiving the same luxury from their parents.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  7. tina

    For cash assistance checks that arent relative to unemployment...definitely. for someone who was working and got laid off for company downsizing....maybe not immediately but probably eventually if they arent able to support themselves in reasonable period of time....

    April 1, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  8. Vince Hamblin

    IF YOU THINK DRUG OR ALCOHOL ADDICTION IS A DISEASE,THAN YOU ARE SICKER THAN YOUR OWN THOUGHTS. ITS A SPIRITUAL ILLNESS A LOSS OF ONES SELF. SELF INDUCED BY SELFISH AND SELF CENTERNESS. SEEK SOMETHING GREATER THAN YOUR SELF,NOT DRUGS AND ALCOHOL. STOP BLAMING AND TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR FOR YOUR OWN LIFE. STOP BEING A VICTOM ITS ONLY AND EXCUSE AND IT MAKES US RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS. I AM TIRED OF HELPING PEOPLE WHO DO NOT WANT TO HELP THEM SELFS. DRUG AND ALCOHOL TEST EVERYONE ON HAND OUT. AMERICA THE GREAT ENABLER!!!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  9. Laurie

    I think this is one of the best idea's our government has come up with thus far. I'm not afraid to say that I have, and know people who have, tried "drugs" in our lives. I even know people who are consistantly on a high from pot – but none of these people, nor myself, need government assistance. If I did need it, I would assume it is because I've done something in my life that I shouldn't have, or that I should stop doing. The continued use of government funds for drugs is insane. There are children out there whos parents use this money for all the wrong reasons, and THEY are suffering. Why should it matter to any mother who is trying to very seriously take care of her children, that she must take a drug test? this is a MINIMAL step to have to take to receive assistance...why anyone would refuse is incredable. If youre on drugs, you do NOT deserve my hard earned money, and if you are clean, you should have no problem to the testing. It's not unethical, its ingenious. I can only hope Illinois takes on this stance, as the social classes are always at odds with one another over who's money is being used where and why. This should put fear into the people who are using the system, and be one more defferment of their actions. THANK GOD something is being done!

    April 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  10. rhamern

    I have always though this was a good idea, after all if you are trying to get a job most employers require drug testing, therefore to get benifits you should be able to prove you are able and willing to get a job. One of these requirments should be a drug screening. And this comes from me an ocassional Marijuana smoker who always has a job.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  11. Scott

    Best idea I have heard in a long, long time! Why should we the taxpayers subsidize and pay for someone else's illegal drug habits??? All states should do this!

    April 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  12. m summers

    absolutely, if you want my tax dollars, you better be drug free. Why should I work as a registered nurse and you sit home and do drugs?

    April 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  13. Denise Redsteer

    when the congress adn senate begin taking drug tests, then they can mandate drug testing for welfare recipients...

    April 1, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  14. Cody

    JERI,

    IN ALL CAPS: I DO REMEMBER FREEDOM. I GAURANTEE I'VE FOUGHT LONGER AND HARDER FOR IT THAN YOU. I'VE BEEN SHOT THREE TIMES FOR OUR FREEDOM. I'VE KILLED FOR OUR FREEDOM. I THINK THAT IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO TEST FOR DRUGS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. IF SOMEONE IS BREAKING THE LAW, THEY DON'T DESERVE ANYTHING EXCEPT PUNISHMENT. IF A PERSON IS HONEST, WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO HIDE? GROW UP, AND QUIT BEING INSULTED BY STUPIDITY. KEEP A JOB, OR TAKE THE DRUG TEST. IT IS NOT A SLIGHT TO YOUR HONOR, JUST A PRECAUTION. ALL OF YOU WHO ARE AGAINST IT NEED TO MAN (OR WOMAN) UP, STOP BREAKING THE LAW, AND DO THE RIGHT THING. I WOULD ALMOST GO SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT IF A PERSON IS AGAINST THIS LAW, THEN EITHER THEY, OR SOMEONE THEY CARE ABOUT, IS BREAKING THE RULES. GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

    April 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  15. RJ

    Welfare yes, unemployment....ummmm, no! I used to smoke cigs till Michigan`s price for a pack is up to $7.00, and most of that cost is tax in one form or another. No More! Is it even legal to charge more in tax than what the product costs to begin with????? Repub`s way of getting out of paying their share!

    April 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  16. John

    America, where you have to drop your pants to get a job–and now even if you don't have one. Amerika. The free.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  17. eric

    I am for the legalization of marijuana, but that being said, I think it is a great idea to test people before allowing them to receive my tax money. I have seen too many people that make a career of living off of the system and spending money on dope and booze, they should be tested for alcohol as well.. if you are doped up and drunk, you obviously aren't looking for a job and shouldn't be entitled to free money just because you are addicted to narcotics and alcohol, if you want to get high, get a job and spend your money on it, not mine, thats my job.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  18. Trish

    I'm all for it. I see way too many people that are collecting food stamps and Welfare because they're too busy getting trashed to work. Meanwhile, people who are trying to improve their situations are suffering.

    And LoriD, most of these kids are already being neglected or abused. Many times, the parents trade their food stamps for cash to buy drugs and alcohol, and then end up going to food banks to get food.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  19. Kevin

    This a Ridiculous...Leave it to some corporate business owner to get out of paying for umemployment. (Craig Blair -Republican religious freak – "lawmaker")..does he and all who supports this, know that these people (unemployed) contributed to the insurance? I am not for drugs, but drug testing for unemployment? Great.. Now not only we have a large unemployment rate, now we have druggys who need money, now will rob banks, homes, commit murderous acts, and so-forth. The economy is tough right now, and I honestly think things will turn around. Please, all of you, KNOCK this so-called bill down. It's not right and is fueled only by the elite and the religious right wing....They are only trying to persuade the working class of employed and unemployment. Thank you. Kevin

    April 1, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  20. Carol

    Even thought I agree with why drug testing is a good idea it is only a fix to a larger problem and spending more money to catch these people is useless. There are checks and balances in place to prevent people from receiving benefits who do not deserve them but they get them anyway. The system is broken.

    I personally believe we need to do away with welfare and food stamps. I don't want to hear "but...what about the children...". I should not have to support them either because their parents either cannot or will not.

    One woman earlier in post was complaining about her son's dead beat father. Be as that may, you still had a child that YOU could not afford and are receiving a measly $43 a month. Measly as it may be to you, you are receiving it FREE so be grateful for what you get.

    This is the mentality of Americans and what is wrong with Americans, entitlement. NO ONE is entitled to anything except opportunity. Whether we take advantage of opportunity is up to each individual. Education and vocational skills are available if we make the correct decision instead of the easy one.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  21. Ursala

    Yes, there should be drug tests. I know first hand that most people on welfare do smoke weed. I think that is the perfect way to weed out the "lifers" and those are using the programs as it was designed to be used.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  22. Debbie

    People on unemployment have already paid into the system. One has nothing to do with the other. If we should drug test anyone it should be members of Congress. That is where the waste of money is coming from. Plus, members of

    April 1, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  23. Chris Becker

    I think what supporters of this bill fail to realize is the fact that the people who are considered "unemployed" and are receiving unemployment are not at all the same as the people who are on other government assistance. That is to say that people who are unemployed are required (at least in Oregon) to be constantly looking for work. Most people on unemployment WANT to go back to work. Most are ashamed to be on any form of government assistance, although it should not be something to be ashamed of.

    People on Section-8 or welfare are usually on it for as long as possible. They're not looking for jobs or required to be looking.

    All of the supporters that I've read about here seem to equate "getting high" with "leeching from the system". They seem to believe that if someone is on unemployment that they do not want to work, are not looking for a job, are lazy, a druggie, or are somehow 2nd class citizens.

    There are MILLIONS of people on unemployment currently. Those people ALL had jobs in the past 2 years. All of them. A person has to apply and qualify for unemployment. Also, unemployment only lasts 6 months, and pays out at about 80%, (or less), of what you made. It's definitely not something that would sustain anyone indefinitely. Once benefits are exhausted the person must return to work for no less than 6 months to be able to qualify again.

    While this cycle could be repeated, after the second time benefits would be guaranteed to be much lower, and would continue to decline for that person, due to the means by which the state of Oregon calculates their payouts.

    The fact of the matter is that unemployment is a crutch... a band-aid... it's a short term solution to a person losing their job, usually by no means of their own. If a person has been fired, such as for drug use, or for any other "for cause" reason, etc, that person does NOT qualify for unemployment benefits (again, in Oregon).

    It's a safety net that our country uses to keep people from becoming homeless and hungry overnight. If unemployment didn't exist, think of the millions MORE people who would be homeless, forclosed, hungry, starving, or even dead. Think of the HUGE surge in crime that would follow ending these benefits. Also, once someone who is unemployed loses everything else, their house, family, clothes, everything, it is almost impossible for that person to go on and return to the workforce after such devastating losses. Closing it off to anyone for any reason besides being FIRED is the first step to ending the program completely.

    Another point I'd like to share is the fact that unemployment is not up because drug use is up, nor because we as Americans are becoming fat and lazy. We all know why unemployment is up, and while yes, the government is paying out record amounts to unemployment beneficiaries, it's because there are NO JOBS.

    The government needs to pull it's head out of Wall Street's rear end, and concentrate on bringing JOBS back to the US. The plain as day fact of the matter is that whether people are on drugs, fat, ugly, lazy, white, black, hispanic, asian, or whatever, if they are able to find a job and hold down a job (when there are jobs to be had), then what they do in their free time, or with part of their money, is their own business.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  24. Tom

    Having been a pot smoker for 45 years, with a college degree, a great marriage, two fine kids, and not one but two very successful careers let me ask this: Are we talking about weed here or we talking about real drugs like cocaine, meth, heroin, oh and alcohol? For smoking pot and having a real life it comes down to one word. Like many things... moderation. Over those 45 years I can't say I have ever known anyone who was actually addicted to pot. I know a lot of people who didn't know when to quit but that was true with a lot of things in their lives. Now the truly addictive stuff is just that. Addictive and we should do whatever we can to keep it out of the hands of decent people. Pot ,on the other hand, is a weed. Much like nicotine but not addictive. I'm not saying we should make it legal to sell, Import, or anything having to do with the exchange of money. That can lead to evil things. Just let me grow a couple of plants, trade buds with my friends, and go on living a decent life. Me, my doctor, several attorneys, a judge, and a whole lot of professors I know would be eternally grateful. Oh. And not one day in those 45 years have I ever been addicted.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  25. Alana

    Carol's comment: "...The war on drugs has been a failure because we go after the dealer and not the addict." Cafferty's: War on drugs is insane & the two page article in Parade this past Sunday by the Democratic senator who wants to take a look at our failed prison system draw a different picture.
    We do go after dealers & we definitely go after the addicts. But selling drugs is a business; meaning, there is a supply and a demand. The demand in the US is far greater than that of any country in the world & there are upwards of 40% of people (addicts) who have simple possesion charges in prison & the drugs continue to flow into the country & the money continues to flow out.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  26. olivia spencer

    Sheer idiocy.
    You lost your job and all of a sudden that makes you a drug using suspect as you try to hold it together & collect unemployment insurance.
    If you get a new job & your employer requires a drug test that's soon enough.
    this idiot of course must be a repug. God , can they get any stupider?
    Do they have any compassion? do they ever have a " there but for the grace of God , go I " moments ?
    They are so nasty.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  27. E.

    What a ridiculous bunch of nonsense. It would be difficult to think of a bigger waste of time and money. Is the theory that drug users cannot or will not get a job. What about drunks? Are they going to test for alcohol? Why just drugs? Because they are illegal? At that point you have to ask 'Why are drugs illegal?'. Any answer you can think of would have to apply to alcohol and to a lesser extent cigarettes. We could keep a lot more murderers and sexual predators in prison longer if cells weren't being taken up by drug users. The war on drugs is a joke.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  28. BG

    So we want to drug test people who are trying to get jobs, but so quickly give billions of dollars to corporations failing under greed... Makes sense.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  29. bateman

    I work my tail off every day, for some of the laziest, republican habitual liars in Oklahoma. I make them rich so they can flaunt their lifestyles, travel and keep up their McMansions. I mention this because they would probably be in favor of a ridiculous measure like this.

    My point is, I smoke marijuana once or twice a week to blow off some steam, relieve anxiety and try to forget about the greedy white people that run my company and this country for a few hours. It puts me in a good mood. I tend to think about the bigger picture in this life, become introspective and work on improving myself.

    This notion that drug users can be lumped into one big ugly category with junkies and crackheads is complete rubbish. I have a bachelor's degree, I work hard to support my family, pay my taxes, am active in the community, etc.

    If I were to be let go tomorrow and was forced into mandatory urine testing to get the benefits that I PAID INTO, I'd feel personally violated, and cheated. This is totally unfair and just another example of the "culture warriors" trying to impose their will on the rest of us.

    There is nothing wrong with marijuana people, if you think so, then you've been sold on the propaganda. I'm sick and tired of marijuana smokers being ridiculed by the ultra-hypocritical right wing in this country.

    Keep drinking beer you morons!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  30. roger mofle

    If the poor and unemployed are required to do piss tests to get food stamps and unemployment benefits, only because they are getting federal cash, everyone else getting fed cash should have to do it too.
    AIG, Wall Street, all the banks, all the auto workers and everyone on fed payroll should have to do it too. The executive, judicial, and legislative branches should have to be under this rule too.
    I think the guys giving my money to the rich are all on drugs or they would come up w/a good plan.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  31. Kimmi

    Absolutely!! I sent my congressman an e-mail about this 2 months ago. It makes me angry how many people are in my community that are completely able to work. They chose not to and collect well over $500 a month in foodstamps. They spend it on drugs. It's not fair to the taxpayers to support their habits and take care of them. They don't get jobs because they can't pass a drug test. As long as there's no rules they'll continue to stay at home and get high while continue to support them.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  32. Ty1on

    Drug testing for state aid.....HELL YES. I get piss tested to get a job ...randoms during my job... and if I get hurt piss tested again. About time someone stood up and said enough. If anyone looked in to it... I bet 1/3 to 1/2 of all the money giving out goes to the drug dealers in this country ...alcohol included.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  33. Rene

    So you need public assistance but you can some how find the money to purchase drugs (and cigarettes)? Chose those addictions over feeding your kids? Come on ... I have random drug testing to maintain my job/pay check, it is only logical that someone should have to pass a drug test to get government assistance. Why shouldnt somone on assistance have to prove that they are a law abiding citizen who actually has a financial need?

    April 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  34. Jay

    As long as every State and US senator and representative gets tested also.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  35. Joe

    No drug testing. Waste of money and adds more to the already thick tape. Less government is better.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  36. Gloria

    If you have to take a drug test in order to GET a job, you should have to take a drug test to obtain unemployment benefits. I don't mind seeing my tax dollars help someone through a legitimately hard time, but I don't want to be funding their low-life drug habits... the values of which get exemplified and bred into their children so we must face yet another generation of "live off the system" junkies.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  37. Jay

    I'm with Brian. Why punish people for smoking pot in the same manner they would be punished for shooting heroine? This testing would be incredibly expensive when you factor in testing supplies, wages for the "testers", records keeping,facilities for testing etc. it would end up costing more than the unemployment benefits they receive. Also, if people are so concerned that their tax money is going to support drug users, perhaps they should also ask that ALL goverment workers be drug tested since our wages pay their salaries. This would be like placing a small bandaid on a gaping wound, there's just no point to it.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  38. Will

    If it weren't for marijuana laws, I would agree with this, but considering that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, I cannot say I support drug testing while unemployed alcoholics are still free to blow money on booze.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  39. james jackson of davenport iowa

    you don't need a drag test to pay taxes so why do you need one to benefit from them. this is plan and simple illegal Search and seizure.
    then what are they going to do with this info. norml.org by the way i will pass the test

    April 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  40. JD

    Hell yes they should be drug tested! If you get laid off then fine we should help cover the gap until you get back on your feet. But if you are spending the unemployment on drugs then you aren't doing anything to get yourself going again. I have many relatives that get welfare, food stamps and just stop doing anything productive at work until they get fired so they can collect unemployment. For many this has become a lifelong cyle and some are third generation welfare addicts living off the govt. They haven't changed their situation because they is no forcing function. Most of the people who don't want drug testing for unemployment probably don't pay taxes so why should they care how tax money is spent? That is the problem. When taxes are paid by only the small portion of a society that is most productive then there is no incentive to improve your situation. By the way Bill, don't take tax money and I have no reason to ask you to prove you don't do drugs. Seems that most of you whiners about this proposal have forgotten that this country wasn't founded on what is the government going to do for me but rather what can I do for myself. Personal responsibility is the key. You want to feed at the govt trough for the rest of your life then prepare to give up something for it. You want to be free then get off your ass, clean yourself up (including no drugs) and work. If you don't care for yourself enough to not poison your body then why should we care. Personal responsibility.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  41. CAROL LASETER

    This is really incredible. My husband who has worked for the same company now for 37 years and has been accident free all those years (so has never been drug tested) and has contributing into un-employment as well. He is having to claim every other week as he is only working every other week for now. The money that he gets for his claim was paid by him and his employer...not tax payers! It is not all like welfare! it is awful enought to be in that system...who are you going to pay to keep track of these tests they can not keep up as it is!!!!

    No you would have no right to ask him for that test!!! Besides the war on drugs was lost a very long time ago...what keep throwing money at it!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  42. Julie S

    For as many people that are taking advantage of our system (and us hard working people are geting screwed) absolutely they should be tested to receive government assistance. Otherwise they will milk it forever...gee, why should they get off their lazy butt and get a job when the government will take care of them.....

    April 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  43. Alana

    I am 23yrs old & I know of several students/employees that have used or do use drugs. Even though we may be against such use, these habits/addictions have not stopped any of them from obtaining employment; although it may have gotten some of them fired. If a person wants to find employment & has to take a drug test/screen, one will either continue use & find a way not to be caught or simply stop using until they find a job. People need to let personal views of drug use fall by the wayside & focus on more unpretentious issues.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  44. Derrell

    I think it's time that government officials are subjected to random drug testing. It is a common practice upon entering a new job and keeping one. It's time they follow what their constituents do.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  45. Jim Griffin

    My opinion is that politicians are more likely to be stealing public money and taking illegal drugs so I'm in favor of continuous drug tests and financial audits for all politicians no matter their level, from city, county, state to federal.

    I am against drug testing for those applying for benefits.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  46. greg

    And the govt continues to grow, I wonder how much all those drug tests cost? and what does it have to do with anything? another way to blow money.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  47. Alana

    I am 23yrs old & I know of several students/employees that have used or do use drugs. Even though we may be against such use, these habits/addictions have not stopped any of them from obtaining employment; although it may have gotten some of them fired. If a person want to find employment & has to take a drug test/screen, one will either continue use & find a way not to be caught or simply stop using until they find a job. People to need to let personal views fall by the wayside & focus on more unpretencious issues.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  48. Anna

    I thoroughly support this bill. I have been on unemployment due to my workplace temporarily shutting down, and I would not have minded having been drug tested.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  49. Marcus

    To all the people supportive of this measure:

    Think about this: People who are collecting unemployment have technically already paid for this "insurance" by paying their taxes when they were working. Unemployment funding comes from us the taxpayers. This person is just needing the money to get by from week to week. Why assume that this person who at one time had a job, and then got laid off now is suddenly someone who can't be trusted and must be randomly drug tested? Unemployment benefits only extend to a year currently anyway. This just seems like another place where the government is sticking its nose in where it doesn't belong.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  50. jlttbb

    I can not believe the comments. I can not believe that some of you believe that using MY MONEY to buy drugs is okay. It is NOT about privacy. it is not about being unconstitutional, it is about MY tax money paying for drugs. Oh yea!!! if your parents are on drugs and you as a child get taken away and put in the system and stay in the system....guess what...you now get to go to college for FREE! Yes that is correct on MY tax dollars, but we think that is fine....My children will come out of college with $40,000 in debt due to the fact that my children have parents that stayed married, work two jobs, and PAY TAXES!!!!!

    IMAGINE THE CONCEPT!!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  51. Carol

    One poster commented on this being a "free country". They need to realize that NOTHING is free....someone, somewhere, is paying for it. Addiction is a psychological condition and not a disease. The war on drugs has been a failure because we go after the dealer and not the addict. You take one dealer off the street and three more take their place. If there are consequences to an individuals drug abuse, just maybe that will be the motivation to getting help. I believe in drug testing.... I don't want someone working next to me that is drug or alcohol impared. If I am giving 100% then the guy next to me better be giving the same. You can't treat a problem until it is identified and random testing is the best way to do that. Whether it is jobless checks, welfare, food stamps or whatever....show me, a tax payer, that you are doing everything possible to insure that you are a viable candidate for employment. You do that and I will have no problem with you getting any form of public assistance you qualify for.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  52. Kyleen

    That's a great idea! Everyone else has already said what I was going to...

    April 1, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  53. Michael

    I think that the use of drugs prohibits a person from obtaining gainful employment, especially when many employers require successful passage of a drug screening as a condition of hire. I think that requiring a drug test for those collecting my tax dollars in the form of unemployment is a good idea so they are as prepared for the workplace as possible.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  54. Greg

    Also, another thing, if you see someone abusing unemployment or welfare, REPORT THEM. Don't go off complaining and asking politicians to end the programs. They do a lot of good, I know many people that got on welfare for a short time (usually to escape abusive situations) and are now college grads paying more in taxes than they ever got from welfare, some are paying more in taxes than 10,000 welfare recipients. Stop trying to throw out the baby because you don’t like the dirty bathwater.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  55. harriet francis

    wonderful idea. it's rampant in georgia. makes me sick to have to support this. their should be a 2 yr. limit on welfare to start with

    April 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  56. bill

    You don't go far enough. everyone should be tested every day. implant a tester when your born and we'll know what youdo!!!
    I hope the next test will weed out the cancer people, then we can sterilize them and end cancer.
    Drug testing is a slippery slope.
    where do you stop. Some of you say "I don't do drugs so it's ok to test people. Giving up your right to your own body fluids is"1984, the beginning" You bullying types are just sheep afraid to think for yourselves. So when they come for your vice, be it alcohol, guns , or cigs all I can say is baa baa baa!!!!!!

    just implant a tester in everyone

    April 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  57. Jo

    I think it's a great idea. There are way too many people out there having their "fun" and living off the government at the same time. While the people who really need the assistance and are hard working people, get denied. i don't think anyone should get a "free ride" especially those who don't deserve it.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  58. NoMorePrivacy

    I think all random drug testing should be banned. I know many people, including myself, that enjoy illegal drugs on our own PERSONAL time. I can only speak for the people I know, but they do not ever work under the influence of drugs. We are responsible adults, we excel at work, pay our bills, own houses (not a single foreclosure amongst us), have families (with great relationships), and make a contribution to society. If a business wants to drug test because they have reason to believe an employee may be under the influence at that exact moment, and is a danger to himself or others, then so be it. Different drugs effect people in different ways. Perhaps this person does need help. As others have stated, drugs are in your system for different amounts of time...well beyond the actual effects of the drug. Just because someone tests positive, does not mean they are under the influence at that exact moment.

    All this being said, drug testing to gain un-employment benefits is BS. Benefits are granted because you have lost your job due to no fault of your own. NO FAULT OF YOUR OWN! Therefore, that person is entitled to benefits, regardless of any other factor.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  59. Bob

    Here's a thought for you..

    If the government wants to restrict access to these unemployment insurance benefits.. why not give all Americans the RIGHT to contribute or not to this fund? It seems only fair.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  60. hre

    Oh, and by the way, for any of you who think that it would be harmful to take away welfare and food stamps.......too bad!! If these 'addicts' are fighting an 'addiction', the government is NOT taking away the tax payer programs to help them recover. As Napoleon Dynamite would say "you're such an idiot!".

    April 1, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  61. Betty

    NO! NO! NO! for unemployment benefits. These are folks who, through no fault, choice or even action of their own, have been thrown out of work. They're not on the dole. They're receiving what is their due, what their employers have paid premiums for - it's not charity and they shouldn't be treated like deadbeats. In fact, only the people who operate heavy machinery or drive or fly vehicles or planes carrying large numbers of people should be subject to any drug testing - as a condition of employment or anything else. The Supreme Court is wrong to have upheld drug testing - if requiring someone to pee in a cup isn't unreasonable search and seizure - and self incrimination - what is. And no, I do not and never have done drugs!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  62. Beth

    I'd have to say no to that one Big Brother.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  63. Brandon

    This is a fantastic idea. As a taxpayer I don't mind helping out the people less fortunate in our country but I do not want to be supporting abuse, recklessness, and laziness. I think a minimum requirement of being drug free to collect aid should be mandatory in all 50 states.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  64. kathy

    If people have worked and the employer paid into unemployment then they deserve to get unemployment benefits, people wouldn't be losing jobs if the good ol boys of the republican party hadn't put us into this economic mess people would still have their jobs, but all the crooked ceo's and the politicians put us in this position and because of their greed you want to keep money away from the little guy, get real, people need to eat and live somewhere, we don't see any of the ceo's giving money back that they stole, maybe they should have drug testing done on them also!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  65. Alex

    Hey! While we're at it, why don't we start testing people who drive on public roads, or people who visit national parks and national museums.

    How about testing the state of North Dakota because they just received federal assistance for their floods?

    Heck, we might as well test everyone receiving Social Security checks too!

    notwithmytaxdollars.com is unconstitutional!!!

    As tax-paying Americans, we all have a right to privacy. Stay out of my pee!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  66. JohnQ

    Better yet, allow working folks who volunteer to be tested a tax credit or insurance discount.. Not a bailout or cope out, rather a no doubt !!!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  67. Greg

    We should also test them for beer and cigarettes. Why not search their house for beer, cigarettes and drugs? Full strip-searches! Dehumanize them and treat them like children. If they have the gall to temporarily need help to get back on their feet then we have to make sure to remove any scrap of self respect they may have left. It’s not like it would ever happen to any of us, right? It must be completely their fault they are in trouble, so they don't deserve respect. And I don't care if it will cost a ton of money and do absolutely zero good, I'd rather spend 10 million on drug tests then potentially give out 1 million to dirty, animalistic, marijuana & cigarette smoking alcoholics.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  68. Lonnie

    I think there are a lot of people who get benefits that really do not deserve them. I am tired of working hard and coming home only to see people who live in my area just hanging out drinking, smoking and other things. I think overall if they tested people and you must pass to get benefits we would pay less out and would stop capable people taking advantage of us hard working people.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  69. timsm

    This is insane. America is changing and evolving. Our independent nature will endure this form guilt before innocence [UK], Censoring, finger pointing, persecution, dictatorial big brotherhood insecurity by these self righteous temporary law makers. Seams like a smoke screen for another control freak to get hell bent with power. Where's he from again, Virginia? We are innocent until we've broken the law and only then we will be judged on the severity of the alleged crime and proven guilt by a prosecution from our peers. Any drug testing is wrong unless there is an accident and some one is hurt or killed or a law is broken.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  70. scooby doo

    YES – THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE LOOOONG AGO!!

    April 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  71. angie

    I think it's a great idea for Welfare and Food Stamp benefits. I don't think I'd go so far as institute something like this for Unemployment, though. The people collecting unemployment paid into that system for years and years, sometimes decades, and are entitled to the benefit. Their employers paid into it, too. They are not generally the 'slackers' and drugs are unlikely to be much of a problem with that group who were so productive and working before being laid off. Welfare recipient's, on the other hand, are habitual slackers and most likely to be using drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  72. Lois

    Employers pay for unemployment insurance and people have worked for years to earn them in their time of need. The government is just looking for any excuse to get of their obligations to their citizens because they have misused the funds – and believe me the government has misused our funds more than Wall Street. Any idiot can see that. How about drug testing the CEOs at the banks who are being given trillions of dollars, rather than condeming poor working people who are down on their luck through no fault of their own. Is this governor trying to say drug use has led to the mess in this country. No, my friend, it is greed and he sounds guiltier than anyone trying to keep money from people who have paid into the system and now need it – people who pay for his lifestyle (whatever that might be – I think that should be checked into also). I am sure his and his family's health insurance and pension has been paid for by the taxpayers also. He's just looking for a way to keep more for himself – more of what he has not earned.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  73. Jon

    Response to Lori.....How dare you compare druggies to people with cancer. Drug addiction is a disease??? Please. This is only the medicalization of deviance so that those who have made the CHOICE to do drugs can blame someone else for their inadequacies. Besides....most of the people using drugs are not addicted yet. So this would be another way to discourage those that eventually will get addicted to stop before they become dependent on drugs AND public money. Stop making excuses for people who ruin their own lives and expect others to pick up the pieces.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  74. Bob

    A couple points it seems like everyone is missing:

    Just because you test positive for a drug test does not mean that you are buying your own. In fact, I'd say in most cases if people are out of a job, they are probably receiving their fix from their friends.. in which case governmental money is not being spent on drugs.

    Let's say someone is buying their own drugs and then they get laid off... even if they immediately stop doing drugs, they would show up positive on the drug test to get benefits. Some "drug users" are upstanding citizens who hold high positions and ranks in companies, and have paid their taxes their entire life just like the next person. Many people would just as soon not file for benefits because they don't want a mark of a failed drug test to show up in their gov't file. What gives the government the right to deny the drug user money, when they have paid their equal share just like everyone else? Just because someone is a pot smoker doesn't mean they will do a bad job at work, or be an unreliable employee. It does not mean that they can't work. So to prevent people from receiving the money they earned like everyone else, at their time of most need is just plain wrong.

    I think the biggest problem people against this have is with pot. No one can deny that people who do "hard" drugs, and sit at home with numerous children on welfare waiting for the checks to come in are abusing our system. I think everyone can agree on that.

    I agree with the general principle of not wasting tax payer dollars, but I think that another method needs to be found instead of blanketing all drug users. I think if pot were separated from this bill that they'd find a LOT more people willing to agree to it.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  75. jlttbb

    Just an FYI!!!!!

    You can not use someone else's urine. The urine must be a certain temp. The new test does not even use urine it is a swipe in the mouth and is very reasonable. Why not drug test. Why should hard working Americans that get up and go to work day in and day out have to pay for people on unemployment using drugs or worse yet a person on welfare. I am tired of living with morals and raising our four children with morals so that others can reap the benefits of our family living within our means, staying married, (less money for our kids to go to college), going to work everyday and paying taxes. Would I love to stay at home and watch tv all day...SURE I WOULD. However, as an American, my duty is not sit back and wait for handouts....

    April 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  76. Betty

    Just wait, those of you who want to impose drug testing on unemployment benefits. Just wait until you lose YOUR job. Then you too can stay home and smoke weed! Seems like that's what the fuss is about.

    But you know what? You're wrong.

    I would LOVE to be working right now, but because I chose to stay home and raise my children, I faced discrimination when I tried to enter the workforce. I was old at 40. Never been able to crack that ceiling. I worked as a substitute teacher for 12 years. That was the only job I could get. The rest of the work force shunned me. Now I am trying to get a job again, and age discrimination is rampant. It's an epidemic that must be squashed. So, yeah. I smoke pot. It helps me cope with grim reality. What's wrong with that? Why don't you all go and change something about yourselves before demanding others change to meet your satisfaction.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  77. vuduchld

    The end comment by James has to be the most stupid comment I've read so far. Since I been unemployed a couple of days ago I have been looking for employment around the clock and guess what, I haven't even gone to the unemployment office yet! This is the kind of silliness that has to stop. Any politician who supports this bu t has no credible plan to get this economy moving again is a WORTHLESS politician. Let's face it, a monkey can come up with a idea like this. These issues are time wasters to get the public riled up because yes, even the most brain dead will support this. Are there people on drugs taking advantage of the system, YES!! Not in the numbers bottom feeders like Blair would have you believe. People who are unemployed have already been vetted by their companies, yes there may have been some who might have circumvented the system, but the MAJORITY of the people who are unemployed or on welfare are playing by the rules and for some inbred from West Virginny telling me that I have to pee in a cup to get a benefit I put money into from the start after already taking and passing previous random drug tests by my former employer is completely STUPID!!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  78. southerngirl

    Paul April 1st, 2009 3:27 pm ET
    Paul said:
    Once again, they’re NOT your TAX dollars. They’re INSURANCE dollars. Get it straight before you spew your idiotic opinions!

    Paul, if you bought car insurance and parked your car in a lake, would your insurance company pay? NO! Taking drugs disqualifies you from finding a job and unemployment insurance is paid to those who are actively seeking and are qualified for employment. Therefore, you should be disqualified for taking drugs!

    People that resort to name calling to make a point don't usually have much of a point to make. At a minimum, people turn them off and don't listen. Maybe you should lay off the drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  79. JohnQ

    I would prefer e-verify !

    April 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  80. Dan M

    Why were my company and myself forced to pay unemployment taxes without being informed that "we withhold the right to withdraw benefits if we screw up the country and run out of money"

    Gosh, had i know that I could have spent that unemployment Tax Ive been paying all my life to stimulate the economy.

    If these "drug addicts" ( i guess that makes every one who drinks more than once a month an alcoholic.) are so incapable of work, then why are they being offered unemployment?

    Oh yea, because they had jobs and paid into the system. I guess they must have picked up that habit since being laid off and now are incapable of working.

    If we keep giving money to people who need it we won't have enough to give to CEO's.... They can't get by on UI money.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  81. Jake

    Invasion of privacy and not cost effective. I guess the republicans can't do anything to help the economy except try to stop people collecting unemployment. Lets drug test and his wife. I am sure she is on prescription medication to have live with this idiot..
    One persons red glass of wine is another persons joint. Who really cares ..

    April 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  82. Sandy

    Excuse me, but IF they were using drugs and worked all this time, paying unemployment fees many for most of their working lives, etc., which enables him/her to claim unemployment checks in the first place, why is it of your concern to say they can't claim if they are still using?

    I firmly believe in the Constitution, the American way of life, God and Country.. I don't smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs. I've been taught to work hard for the money you make and respect other people and their rights.

    Why are you trying to control everybody and everything – even a person's way of life.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  83. Susie

    People who use my Tax Dollars for their own "livelihood" should be drug tested, especially if you are on Welfare. If you have enough money to buy drugs, then you don't need my money to buy food, you made your priority straight.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  84. Betty

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  85. EGH46

    Of course drug testing is warrented if a person is going to get tax payer monies. We have the right to know the $ is being spent in an appropriate way instead of drugs. Who could argue otherwise? You have to be drug tested for a job don't you?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  86. URSA

    I think it is a great idea. People can party till dawn and cash and use up their unemployment cks while the kids go hungry. Drugs = lazy! Why work when you can lay around and collect free money.housing, food stamps. I think all the illeagles should go in the military and earn their right to live here before they start collecting free services. So sick of peaying taxes to pay for all the felons to have 3 square meals a day, clean clothes and tv. I say send them to Iraq!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  87. MJ

    You have to be tested before your application is reviewed for government employment, you have to be tested before most civilian employment applications are reviewed. Why not testing before benefits are given?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  88. Heather

    Thank God someone is finally considering this!!!!!! I have been saying this for years! Almost every single person I have met who is on welfare, food stamps, receiving housing assistance, or medical assistance is on drugs or drinks heavily. People downtown sell their food stamps for cash to feed their addictions. People get gift cards from the government to buy work clothes to help them find a job and then they sell them on the Internet for cash. The government needs to stop giving free stuff to people who use it to fuel their addictions. I fully support required drug testing for welfare, food stamps, medical assistance, and housing assistance.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  89. Brad

    How about testing for booze and tobacco. either one kills more than all illigale drugs combined. I do not want my tax money buying those items either!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  90. Irvine Worker

    I believe we all pay for unemployment taxes so saying these are mass taxpayer handouts is wrong. I think it's funny that others talk about the cartells in Mexico in perspective to this. OK how about we legalize drugs and steall the business from them. We are Americans and plus hasn't anyone heard of suppliments that help users pass tests or what if the user is a medicinal user with Rx from their doctor. Should we say these people don't have rights? Wow if you are for something like this go throw your self off a bridge.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  91. joe wilson

    Refined sugar kills more people each year than drugs!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  92. Brad

    Funny they do not rquire a test to deduct money for unemployment fund when I have a job. How about mandatory testing for congressman!

    April 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  93. Michael G.

    Sounds great in theory, but will have negative repercussions that politicians forget when they originate legislative pieces such as this to appeal to their voters. In face of large unemployment rates across the nation in a recession era, putting up a drug testing standard will cripple the economic recovery, even if by marginal amounts.

    Lets not forget that a sizable portion of the currently unemployed were no longer the stereotypical low-incoming lifestyle of drug abuse unemployed, but rather more middle class and lower-middle class families that are being affected. Many of whom, mind you, are facing the squeeze from an already tight economy, with housing troubles, credit card problems, etc. The average homeowner being just 30-90 days from homelessness after losing income, putting up drug tests as a qualifying factor may actually hurt those who are in a transitional period, but relies on this supplemental income to survive, as opposed to weeding out the druggies.

    The cost of the drug tests, the logistical practicality, and the negative repercussions are potentially more costly by net measurements. It does not make economic sense in this recession.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  94. BRobin

    I am not all that concerned about people being tested for drugs that are receiving benefits at tax payers expense. However I am very concerned about the children of these drug users. Once you test and find out that an individual is still using drugs beyond the sixty days the plan is to stop their benefits. What are the children of these unfit parents to do? Who is going to take care of them?

    April 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  95. Steve

    I think it should be a law and its hard to believe that someone could be upset by the proposal of the law. Common sense says we should not give assistance if people won't help themselves. This is just a part of the problem. Sure this does not fix the addiction issues but you have to start somewhere. I also think that there should be some type of amnesty or turn in reward system for corruption. Think of all the money the system could save if Social Security and Disability were not abused. You could offer some type of reward system to those that help stop this type of corruption. I know there would be some obstacles to figure out but lets stop the madness and help those who need it not just those who want it.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  96. chris

    Legalize marijuana then tax it just like cigarettes and alcohol. In my opinion, marijuana is far less dangerous. There would be a huge increase in tax revenue. Also, in my opinion, the number of crimes committed around the country would go down.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  97. Bruce Blevins

    I understand the problem with drug addicts and welfare cheats, but what you are advocating is deciding who is wothy of benefits and who is not. Should we give benefits to child abusers, drunks, gamblers, people who have too many children? People who are inherently lazy?, Depressed people? Can we devise a test for bankers and Wall Street wizards to make sure they will not buy a lake home with the bailout money? Is there a test for defense contractors to make sure they will not overcharge us? Can we test Congress to see if they are planning to give our tax money to their cronies? There is no limit to the number of sinkholes for our tax money. we will have to be pretty invasive to determine who deserves what.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  98. Teri

    I've got an idea, let's make every CEO, CFO, Pres, VP, etc. of every bailed out bank and investment firm take a drug test before getting bailed out or get corporate welfare. Does that sound reasonable? I'll bet a majority of them can't pass a drug test.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  99. Mike

    This is an interesting question...on one hand no taxpayer wants to see their hard earned money sent out the window to support someone's habit, but I think if testing is required it will open the door on abuse.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  100. Sherri

    Ok so the test is positive, benefits are gone. Now who feeds the kids? Surely, we are not suggesting kids go hungry because of stupid mistakes of parents.

    This man needs to look at the big picture; it may solve one problem but create even more issues. Removing benefits forces folks onto the streets or into a life of crime; at any rate the children pay the price.

    April 1, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
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