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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. trish

    are you kidding me? What next? your spending our tax dollars on nonsense as it is..Just one more freedom being taken away by big brother who thinks he know best. You can't even agree all together to pass a dam bill. Get a life and deal with more important issues such as the economy and health care.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  2. Mike

    I have to agree with Ellie, but maybe the first time you test positive you get a warning and some of your benefits reduced. One idea is have people pick up the ditch on the way to pick up thier welfare.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  3. Angie

    Yes I think drug testing should be mandated...In every way....If the working man/woman has to have them to keep their job and benefits then it's only right for people drawing any kind of assistance. If the government would start cracking down on the welfare system, maybe the ones who truly deserve it wil finally get a chance to survive.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  4. mr walter

    Without question, you want my hard earned money, then be prepared to take a drug test for it.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  5. kim

    Yes, I wish I would of came up with that idea, drug test for
    all benefits, unemployement, welfare, foodstamps, wic, New Drivers Lic. thats one way to cut down the drugs on the street,
    and create jobs for the testers and paper trail.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  6. Sinclair77

    This could be done the same time we check their SS numbers validity.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  7. LaughingNinja

    Alcohol testing should be included since alcohol is a drug in liquid form. But, I don't agree. Anyone getting Unemployment has paid into the system like every one else and should be entitled to the insurance.

    What, only drug free people should be able to collect on home owners insurance?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  8. LAMAN MORENO

    Y SURE THEY SHOULD. IT WOULD SAVE THE GOVERNMENT SO MUCH MORE MONEY FOR RESOURCES SUCH AS EDUCATION,AND GOVERNMENT FUNDED PROJECTS FOR THOSE WHO ARE DRUG FREE. EXSPECIALYSINCE THE POVERTY STRICONED COMMUNITY HAS A HIGH CRIME RATE AND DRUG RATE I THINK IT WILL ULTIMATEY REDUCE CRIME. THAT MEANS MAKING THE COMUNITIES A BETTER PLACEFOR OUR KIDS TO GROW UP IN. OH AND BY THE WAY I HAVE TO BE DRUG FREE TO RETAIN MY JOB AND BENIFITS SO SHOULD THEY.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  9. Chris

    When every elected politician, bureaucrat, and any others who receive taxpayer (government) checks have agreed to be tested, then include the poor saps who have worked and have had the misfortune to be laid off. Has anyone tested Craig Blair (either an IQ test or a drug test)?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  10. Iven

    I don,t think we should exclude alchohol when we start talking drug testing and to be fair all those in people that are in office should stand up and commite to a screening in good faith i some times wonder what kind of drugs there on?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  11. Mandy

    The food stamps provision is concerning. A good amount of food stamp dollars go to children. How are you to discern what portion goes to kids? If the total payout is reduced, the likelihood is that the dollars will be stretched to feed the whole family resulting in decreased nutrition for all.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  12. Geoa

    I think a drug test makes sense. What if someone gets fired because they were high on the job? Do we then reward them, give them money, and let them continue to support the black market? Get clean, get a job .. or a government check if getting a job is legitimately impossible.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  13. Nancy

    NO! I'm am a drug-free working adult so will not be impacted by the bill, but my vote is decidedly NO. How about we include a test for alcohol use in the past several days? Or have all applying for unemployement be required a GPS to verify they are in town and have visited possible places of employment? This is a direct violation of privacy.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  14. James B

    Sure lets drug test. As long as your also going to breathalize or blood test that same person for alcohol. Don't want them using that government hand-out on booze. Why is it when drug testing is brought up we always leave out the f**king drunks? What if they aren't on un-employment and go into work hammered? The real problem isn't that people are getting high and drunk it is that we have a problem with what they do in their personal life. It's BS as far as I am concerned and just another attempt by the reefer madness propagandist to further their hate filled agenda. I manage a liquor store and I will tell you in these hard times and a majority of my customers on unemployment the problem isn't they are doing drugs its they are getting a 18pk of beer everyday on your money. Think about that for a second, because I can't tell you to put that in your pipe and smoke it. Your too drunk to realize all of the cannabis smoking drug addicts your so afriad of all still have all of their jobs; hint they more than likely just cooked you lunch or brought you your drink.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  15. Sinclair77

    This needs to happen NOW. I have been places, done things, seen things, and quit things over my 51 years to know that this is WAY overdue. What are the arguements against it?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  16. Gus

    I applaud these lawmakers. Why should the working person be subjected to drug tests who pays the taxes for the ones on unemployment to receive the benefits without being tested.
    If you are a doper, you don't deserve benefits.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  17. vic

    First off, I agree with everyone that says, we as working taxpayers, have contributed to unemployment benefits. How dare a political figure think that those who have lost their jobs should be subjected to this kind of treatment. Get rid of the drug problem first and how does he plan on handling a positive result from persons that are on prescription medications that will show positive on a drug test? Maybe the folks in Congress should start thinking about cleaning up their act instead of pushing all the problems on the working class who have made this country what it used to be before the politicans wrecked this country. The politicans greed, overspending and failure to police their corrupt buddies. companies need to clean up their own yard first. Give the laid-off working class people what they have paid into and deserve. How about stopping the off-shoring that politicians have allowed for years with the companies. Drug test those people before you give out our hard earned money. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THE WORKING CLASS CITIZENS.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  18. Rich t

    first of all money is taken out of my check for unemployment insurance who the hell is this guy to say i will not get my unemployment check if i fail some drug test if i get laid off as far as im concerned after 25 years working and never collected if something does happen with my job i deserve those benefits no matter what these politicians have nothing better to do but to make up stupid laws i wonder how many of these politicians have done some things we cant mention they got the skeletins in their closet too

    April 1, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  19. Janice

    No. Money needs to be put into social services to make sure the children of drug users are provided for and for treatment of those with adictions.

    No benefits = more crimes to obtain money for drugs..

    April 1, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  20. E

    YES!!! I think everyone should be tested if they are going to recieve a check from the gov't. Personally I think all companies should require drug testing for employees. All in and all drug related problems cost our gov't billions of dollars annually.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  21. rick bensco

    It sounds a lot like Fascism. What next? If you drive on interstate highways using what taxpayer built , should you be required to the same random drug tests? How about all public employees? They live off the public dole we should also include them in the random drug tests. Surely all elected officials live off the public money the should also be subject to random drug tests. Plus we should have the right to look at their medical records if some of the drugs are prescribed by doctors. Hell how about all the country ever one uses something public money has paid for in the course of a day. Let us test them all.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  22. Gary

    No they should be the criteria for benefits, but the idea to test and then outreach to help rehabilitate is a good one.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  23. CHELLE

    I'VE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR YEARS!!!!!!!! I HAVE TO PASS A DRUG TEST TO WORK SO. WHY NOT MAKE PEOPLE WHO NEED THE GOVERNMENTS HELP DO THE SAME? IT'S MY DRUG FREE DOLLARS PAYING THEIR WAY IN LIFE. AND FOR CHILDREN GOING HUNGRY WELL MAYBE THIS WILL MAKE THESE PARENTS WHO MAKES WELFARE A JOB AND SELL THERE FOOD STAMPS FOR DRUGS CLEAN THEIR ACT UP. AND IF THEY CAN'T WELL THEN THEY DON'T DESERVE TO BE PARENTS.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  24. Adam

    Even if you accept the ridiculous premise that taking drugs means you are not looking for a job, it's totally unethical and illegal to deny someone benefits as a result. Everyone who receives an unemployment check does so because they held a job and were laid off. If they were fired for incompetency or any other negative reason, or quit, they are not eligible. Furthermore, while they were employed, they paid into the unemployment insurance system. If you want to refund the money they paid, that's fine. Otherwise, this is taking a questionable and often disturbing moral crusade against drug use and bringing it into an area that is totally separate.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  25. Margarette Bates

    Drug test shoulb be a great idea. Please ,Please, Please. We will see more children with bright future and less users of illegal drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  26. Erin

    Patricia- Just to let you know- I work with those children whose parents are collecting those checks EVERY SINGLE DAY-something can be done the minute people address the issue and stop running from it- don't think we aren't thinking about the reprocussions but, on the other hand , why should we- the parents obviously haven't!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  27. Mark

    I have never once used illegal drugs in my lifetime, and I'm on government assistance. I can also tell you odds are greater than not that I'd fail any random drug screening. What? Why? BECAUSE I TAKE PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION FOR A DISABILITY – the reason I need to be on assistance in the first place, and am unable to work. My medicine is considered to be a controlled substance, and I'm not permitted to fill it more than 2 days in advance. if this law were passed, than anyone in a similar situation would be denied medicaid/medicare for no other reason than they were taking their prescription drugs that were the sole reason they were on medicaid/medicare. Doctors can tell you about this – thats probably why the article and politician made sure not to quote the numourous prescription drugs out there for severe impairments (particularly neurological ones such as epilepsy/fibromyalgia/etc) that cause people to fail drug screenings a majority of the time even though they are drug free

    April 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  28. SK

    Some of the arguments here are ridiculous. I was laid off from a job last year and unfortunately had to collect unemployment for a short time while actively, and I stress ACTIVELY, looking for a new job. When I was offered a new position working for government I was required to take a drug test. I passed and now have a great job. So what should have happened if I hadn't? Should the government have continued to pay for my lifestyle because I couldn't say no to drugs long enough to become gainfully employed?
    Lastly, I have too often seen welfare recipients sell or trade their funds to others in order to obtain drugs. People complain that "the children will go hungry" and "these people will have no money for utilities" but let me tell you that plenty of assistance recipients will come strolling into the local convenient store around 11:30 am, high as a kite, while their children are at school, receiving free breakfasts and lunches that mine don't qualify for even a discount on, and blow $75 on chips, pop, candy, etc... Seems like the children are going hungry either way. I do feel bad for the children, but where do we stop?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  29. Jonathan

    This is a stupid idea. First, it is an invasion of privacy. Our private lives are not the governments business. The money for the jobless benefits is primarily tax dollars that we all pay into the system. Also, the costs to randomly test all those getting jobless benefits is quite high compared with the few that would actually get caught by a test. Finally, most people who are using drugs will just buy a product to beat the test or simply stop using drugs until their unemployment runs out and then just go right back to the drugs. It is a stupid idea and a clear waste of money under the attempt to save money. Stupid!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  30. LOU LOU

    What is the problem? All of you would dont think this is a grand idea must be druggies. I have seen too many children of people on government assistance go dressed in shabby clothes, no shoes wrotten teeth, filthy, and God knows they cant help themselves. While at the same times the parents are high, stink like cigarette smoke wear nice clothes, drive fine autos. YES if you are going to recieve a free hand out because you can make more money sitting at home, having babies that you sometimes give away so someone else can get an extra check, you bet drug test. I had to take a drug test to get a job , didnt think it interfered with my freedom, this is american we are all free to make decisions, make a bad one and you pay for it, no free money . There is too much Free Money now.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  31. Tracy

    Yes, I think it should happen. My husband is a union sheet metal worker and he has random drug testing and when working on a goverment building they have to test before working. So, he has to test to pay the taxes that fund food stamps. Only seems fair. I realize it would make things harder for kids, and people are going to cheat.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  32. Beth

    This will just make things worse. If someone had a drug problem when they were employed, losing unemployment benefits after a job loss isn't necessarily going to stop the drug problem. Addiction is real and for some people it is a hole they can't get out of on their own. Are we going to stand at the top of the hole and kick them down again, or reach down and try to help them up? I see this causing more deaths.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm |
  33. Eric

    Why stop there? Let's require those who apply for any benefits to wear a symbol on their clothes, so we know they are recieving benefits. Also anyone recieving benefits cannot own a weapon, marry interracially, or associate with those who recieve no benefits. We can make special stores that people have to go to in order to use their food stamps...It will be great! All of America's problems would be solved. (If you read this far you are an idiot)

    April 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm |
  34. John

    I would like to see all Doctors that accepts Medicare, and Medicad be audited and they may not be the right word. Just, see how many are milking the system. The problem in our world is so, so much larger than someone somking a little weed. Give me a dam break. All Gov. officals turn a blind eye toward our real problems. They want you to buy a new car, how in the hlll can you when you don't have a job.

    I see my boogie man coming down the road. Like one person stated. You can run but you can't hide. This is all a well planned event to happen to everyone. It is just a matter of time until your number will be up. I"m 62 and have been on disability for about 7 yrs. I would gladly take a drug test if I pass pay me for the time and trouble. I paid in this system all my life and it is not welfare. Unemployment you pay into that and it is your money....come on folks we will all wake up someday and remeber the very day. We all should tell them that we are mad as hell and we aren't going to take this anymore.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm |
  35. Lori

    This is a stupid expensive idea. Drug testing is not free - someone has to pay for it. Who will pay? Former employer? Unemployed person? Taxpayer? If they worked and earned the right to unemployment benefits, then they should get the benefits. Period.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm |
  36. Tony

    "I find it amazing that the supporters of drug testing have not expressed any concern whatsoever that children could be harmed in the middle of all this moralizing.

    Not one of them seems concerned that children might be harmed when their parents end up homeless and without money."

    Are you kidding me?!?!? Do you really think those kids are iving great lives with drug addicted or alcoholic parents? Maybe this (drug testing) is one way for drugged out/alcoholic parents to get a clue...

    I'm amazed at the writer of this garbage, please think before you post!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  37. Chuck

    Since drugs are illegal I think we should take it a step further. Want a drivers license? Pee! Want to vote? Pee! Want your 401k? Pee! I mean gimme a break! What country do you people live in? I totally understand any employer requesting a pre-employment drug screen or random testing but do you really want the government in the bathroom with you watching you pee into a cup?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  38. bernie sanderson

    i think this is one of the best ideas the goverment has come up with yet!! only one thing i would address though is the fact that our country is an addicted society. we want what we want when we want it – period. our society is based on a self-centered quick fix solution for life. we need to bring back drug inpatient treatment facilities and get more public information going for alcoholic programs – Alcoholics Anonymous – and addiction programs – Narcotics Anonymous . there IS a difference between alcoholism and drug addiction (which includes alcohol as a drug). but back to the issue, i believe that anyone applying for welfare, food stamps or unemployment should not have a problem with random drug testing! if they don't have a
    "problem" then they would have nothing to hide. especially applicants applying for welfare and food stamps! come on– been there, done that!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  39. Sara

    YES YES YES, absolutely! I work for social services and I have been thinking that something like this needs to be implemented for a LONG time. Working with families relying on food stamps, unemployment, and welfare benefits to live often have drug issues which severely impact their lives (and especially their children's lives) (yes I understand not everybody has this problem), BUT I think taxes need to go towards funding a program, such as an A&D treatment program, requiring those who fail drug screens to pass before regaining gov't assistance.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  40. sierracorp

    as a corp. that requires drug/alcohol testing for all new applicants, and testing for all OSHA recordables, I believe this is the way to enforce job safety. We all have to think about our fellow workers. As a taxpayer, the same level of controls should be applied. Fail a drug/alcohol test there is no employment. Fail at test when my tax dollars are

    April 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  41. Ryan

    A lot of you people wanting this to happen because they are receiving public money are pretty clueless. So basically you're saying that these people who have been paying into unemployment taxes along with their employer have to now drug test, which comes out of the public money pot in order to receive the money they've been paying alread, specifically for an occasion like this?

    I'm sick and tired of people sticking their noses in other people's lives. If someone wants to smoke pot, then fine. It hurts NO one else other than themselves. You could argue the same thing with other drugs too considering all of the violence that is drug related is drug DEALER related and not drug USER related.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  42. bob

    Hello All!
    Any politician that wants tax paying americans to submit to a drug test as a requirement to recieve should have their balls cut off. This is a gutless proposal that only creates animosity among hard working Americans. We should not let politicians decide what requirements are needed in order to recieve assistance especially if we have served in the military, worked and paid local, state or federal taxes. Just think about what this politician is suggesting and then ask your son or daughter if they are on drugs. If they have a job and get laid off chances are they wont be eligible for unemployement benefits under his rules, or what about uncle joe who is a Viet Nam vet using a prescribed narcotic for an injury he recieved during the war. He would loose his VA benefits until such time he could prove that he is not a drug addict. The list goes on and so does these crack pot politicians that come up with these stupid ideas. So lets make it a requirement that all politicians be given a rectal exam to find out just how big an ass hole really is.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  43. MillardF

    I like mandatory drug testing! But let's test the politicians first. They're a lot more likely to be spending cash on expensive street drugs than are the unemployed.

    One look at their work product proves that most of them are high!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  44. amaunet

    Absolutely!
    Pee in a cup to get benefits. They make you do it to get a job, so you should not be a druggie anyway if you are SERIOUSLY looking for a job while you spend my hard earned tax dollars to make ends meet in the mean time.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  45. ian

    these laws are a waste of time, money, and energy for legislatures. Laws like this has been and will be overturned by appellate courts. Individual liberty is at stake. This law violates due process. There is a slippery slope problem here as well. If drug testing begins at unemployment benefits, where will it lead to? randomly drug testing tax benefit recipients? Drug testing our children every day when they enter school? the list goes on.
    this law will be overturned if passed.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  46. Jim Wery

    What a great idea!!! If you want a welfare check (govt.ck) then take a drug test! I did for 27 years in the military. What's the big deal ? You play you pay! Less crime ,less dope consumption, less unwanted children, less addiction, family values are higher by setting an example of not doing drugs! I don't see any fault in this at all. Why should the tax payers pay for someone's addiction. Feed the needy, help the poor but don't perpetuate the habbit of social addiction. Pretty SIMPLE RIGHT?????

    April 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  47. ldk

    I see a lot of bums around the city here in DC. Many of them are dressed nicely with new sneakers and smoking cigarettes. I think to myself if they can afford all that then surely they can find some sort of job. I'll apply the same logic here. Illegal drugs are expensive. If someone can afford them then they obviously have money. Why should they receive our hard earned tax dollars to buy more? As a government worker I gladly submit to my urine test. I gave up my right to privacy when I raised my right hand.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  48. TS

    yes, i think if your spending your money on drugs then no help! this privacy excuse is bulls***! if you want help & you're doing the "right thing", you wouldn't worry about a random drug test. personal freedom is fine if you don't have a hand out.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  49. Beth who works in West Virginia

    I fully support drug testing for anyone who receives food stamps or government assistance. Those of us who work have to have drug tests so why shouldn't someone accepting public assistance be drug tested? Public assistance is supported by the taxes of people who work! In West Virginia we have a terrible problem with drug addiction and the chronic illnesses that accompany drug addiction, such as Hepatitis C and AIDS. Drug testing those who apply for food stamps and public assistance may be one intervention that could help curb this public health problem (nothing else is working)

    April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  50. babu

    I say, let’s do it!
    People should lead drug free, responsible life to get hand-outs.
    This will definitely discourage drug use.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  51. Chip Dellinger

    I support this kind of bill. Abuse of social programs is rampage. Adding responsibility makes sense. The cost of administering this requirement would surely be offset by the money saved by eliminating the abuse. It is time for America to help those in need, and stop enabling those who can choose to wrongly take advantage of our disfunctional government. Fixing the government is a completely different issue...

    April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  52. Glen Harvey

    Number one: Not all private business require drug testing. Usually it is a pre-employment screen and never done again. The ones who must submit are employees under federal regulations like DOT.

    Number 2: What about alcohol. How many people do you know in private industry who drink on the job, lunches etc. How many come in still drunk from the night before from drinking

    Number 3: Pot which is fat soluble does not leave the body for at least a month where the more dangerous stuff alcohol and meth leave within 72 hours and can easily be hidden. So what you will catch is anyone smoking POT, big deal...

    Yes we need to do something to stop the abuse of the system. How about removing the deadbeats off social security who maybe addicts but for some reason can't work right. What about the earned income credit where you get more back than you put in. Now thats a real problem.

    Of course we can't legalize pot, what would law enforcement have to do.

    Just wait until we become a fully integrated third world country. Good luck.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  53. Tommy

    This is a worthless grandstand by WV lawmakers. Not only is this logistically impractical and expensive, it is unlikely to pass even the lightest constitutional scrutiny. They know that.
    Unemployment insurance is just that, insurance. Premiums have been paid, legal binding claims have been made, and denying those claims based on newly-imposed conditions would also constitute a breach of contract and thousands of lawsuits to that effect.
    This is not a viable solution, and neither have lawmakers successfully made the case that there is a widespread problem requiring legislation to address it.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  54. c w dobson

    yes by all means,,, worked for human services for 32 years,, there is a dire and demanding demand to institute drug tests–and other requirements.
    really does not matter however , as some liberal knee jerk jerk federal judge will invalidate this– been there , seen this many times over six generations of welfare families .

    April 1, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  55. Ken

    I TOTALLY agree with drug testing, and I'm unemployed and collecting benies right now, the only difference is I'm not stoned and sitting around not doing anything about it and sucking off of our government like most drug users would be.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  56. beacon

    I think it"s a great idea, However should"NT the people who pay the politicians salary ( taxpayers) demand that congress and the senate as well as the president and his staff do the same??

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  57. lee

    These knee-jerk reactionary brainfarts are really getting out of hand. Why are lawmakers wasting their time (and by proxy our time) tackling such trivial problems as recreational drug use rather than the larger issues facing this country. Hmmm, better yet lets drug test executives before we hand over billions of dollars worth of taxpayer money to them. Right after that, let’s start drug testing the law makers who are coming up with such frivolous pursuits.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  58. ALAN

    yes drug tests should be mandatory, I had to take drug tests to get my job to pay the taxes that support the system, I am well aware that not all recipeints are users, so if you do not use do not be alarmes but think of those that are and the amount of money spent on them that could be spent on creating new jobs by lowreing the taxes that citizens and employers have to pay out.
    ABSOLUTELY TEST AWAY !

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  59. Kathi

    Finally, we are coming to our senses. This should have been put into place a long time ago.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  60. Taxpayer

    More Republican 'big-government'. I'm sending my resume to Barack to see if I can get a job with the new UDTA, Unemployed Drug Testing Administration. I'm thinking that something in the $100K range for my skills as a budget analyst. Benefits should be around $30K and a travel allowance, to keep tabs on the multitude of labs around the country, of $20K. The taxpayers probably want us to do a good job so there should be 10-12 of us. Oh yeah, I'll need a smart phone and a laptop too. So, yeah, I support this bill, you can count on me to root out and burn all of those druggies just like a blunt. And could you send me a reference letter so that I can get this gig?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  61. John

    Unemployment is insurance people have paid for in the form of unemployment taxes. The proposal to test unemployment recipents is typical Republican grandstanding. Unemployment Insurance is a contract and failure to pay would be breach.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  62. Lisa

    ABSOLUTELY! It makes no sense at all that there is no form of accountability or responsibility on the part of those people receiving welfare, food stamps or WIC. Reports show that there is a high percentage of people that have collected some form of welfare for upwards of fifteen years, and in some cases women who just keep having babies in order to stay on welfare.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  63. jaiden

    only if there are also drug tests for lawmakers.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  64. Jim

    I think its an outstanding Idea to do random drug testing for people asking for unemployment, welfare or any other free money. I admit there are people who need the help and deserve the unemployment but I see a lot of people that would rather sit on their tale and do drugs than work. Maybe this idea could get rid of some of the dead weight.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  65. Tony

    Hey, in my opinion, if people who are unemployed can afford street drugs, then they don't need my tax dollars. Check away! Best idea I've heard of in years!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  66. Yvonne

    THANK GOD someone heard my view on this. If I have to take and pass a drug test to be employed, you're damn right those accepting welfare and unemployment should have to pass a drug test to receive the benefits. I'm tired of my tax dollars supporting those who stay home STONED and collect welfare.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  67. Christine

    For the people talking about pot smokers becoming alcoholics so their children don't end up in the street you are STUPID! If you are doing any drugs or alcohol you are not putting your childrens interest first! To me that's not a good parent! You shouldn't have custody then! That is whats wrong with society! There are too many of those thinkers raising kids who later have big issues! People need to stop and think !

    April 1, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  68. Julie

    Yes, I believe we should drug test for unemployment, food stamps, welfare etc. Most americans today have to submit to a drug test to gain employment and alot have to submit to random testing once employed. So let's face it, if you want to go anywhere in the job market you have to grow up and give up drugs. So if one is looking to be employed then they need to put themselves in a position to be employable.. Hence no drugs. Insteade of asking should we drug test people for them to get social services ask why should we not? Sure people will come out and say what I do on my time does not affect my job well it does if they say we won't employ YOU if YOU DO DRUGS. Envasion of privacy one of our constitutial rights, maybe but these companys then are the ones paying for workmans comp. we you get hurt on the job, pay for your medical insurance, give you access to counseling services etc.. They have a huge liability if they employ someone who is doing drugs. Not to mention it is illegal. Which is a whole different debate. Yes, I vote to drug test those who request food stamps and welfare maybe then they will reall try hard to find a job and work.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  69. Amy

    I say YES! This is government assistance, and if people can AFFORD to spend money on drugs, they should not be getting my dime for food. Also, government assistance is a PRIVILEGE, not a RIGHT... and citizens should show their RESPECT for a government who sustains them by OBEYING THE LAW. And as far as addiction being a disease goes.... true, but one of the biggest problems with this country today is the general lack of ACCOUNTABILITY accross the board! There is NOTHING WRONG with holding these people accountable when they are lining up at our doors demanding handouts!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  70. Ellie

    I think it is a good idea to have anyone using public assistance take a drug test. People who are working and applying for many jobs are also required to take a drug test. I don't see the difference.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  71. RALPH Bautista

    As long as people do not take responsibility for them selves,which has ben going on for ages,i deman that someone take charge.Some one has to do it,be state or goverment.When you give up your responsibilities you loose all rights to any thing.It sounds harsh. but its true.The offender makes other people responsible for them,so they tow the line,until they do for them selves.Yes, i do have mercy them, but its a must do thing.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  72. Opinionated

    Of course this is a brilliant idea! It said random drug testing. Now,I haven't read the entire article but what sounds so bad about that. Because guess what,a lot of that goes on.It makes totaly sense. If we're giving you resources and trying to help you get back on your feet,let us at least know that you're trying to help yourself also. Should go national.Very good idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  73. Jim

    Yes, I think any benefits should require a drug test.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  74. Donna

    Yeah, right after all the banks and Wall Street bail out losers get tested....

    April 1, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  75. chas

    Okay. Let's test cigarette users, alcohol users, diabetics for sugar content,
    Put devices in people so they can't gamble my tax money away.....hey...let's just regulate every right we have...let's allow cameras in our bedrooms so the feds can see if we fake orgasms...or use condoms..or have sex out of wedlock..after all...do we want to pay taxes to help disadvantaged people raise their children to be lawful productive citizens.....why not just pay double the taxes it takes to house them as prisoners. WE NEED NEW LEADERS PERIOD. FORWARD THINKERS.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  76. Michael Allan

    I am an unemployed engineer and still have my tax bill to pay which went up by the way. This is insane; the costs out way the end result. Why aren't they busy stopping the drugs? That's the root cause! Stop the drugs stop the problem! I am a Republican and this makes me outraged. Again; my party and stupid politics? When are they going to get it?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  77. Calli

    I this this is a fantastic idea! There are way too many people who take advantage of the system and have no intention of finding employment. While this still isn't going to stop people from taking advantage of the system, at least it's a step in teh right direction. I wish this would become a federal requirement.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  78. Cathy

    Great idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  79. T. Harrell

    Lawmakers will always want to restrict the rights of some segment of the population. If not by prohibitions, then by loopholes and earmarks or new tax regulation. Why? Because that's what they SELL to special interests to maintain their power.

    What we need desperately are far fewer laws and certainly no prohibition against drugs. Citizens should not be duped into prohibition as improving society. It only makes things worse: higher taxes, special interests, crime syndicates, etc. 40 years of drug wars, just like 40 years of any other kind of war, results in net losses.

    Instead of 'get tough' laws, how about 'get responsible' freedoms. That will revive our national character. Less laws = more stability and freedom.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  80. Chris

    Absolutley! A great deal of us who work for a living have random urinalysis. Matter of fact I am an active duty Marine and had a test yesterday. No big deal at all because I do not use drugs. I would like to know the same for those I am helping with my tax dollars.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  81. chuck

    Just another display of bigotry meant to pander for votes.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  82. Ronald Pies MD

    Will members of Congress need to have random drug screening in order to receive their health care benefits or pay checks? Someone really ought to do some testing in those hallowed halls, given this proposal.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  83. barnabas

    no drug testing for unemployment benefits workers earned it, those on welfare should be tested.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  84. Patricia

    I find it amazing that the supporters of drug testing have not expressed any concern whatsoever that children could be harmed in the middle of all this moralizing.

    Not one of them seems concerned that children might be harmed when their parents end up homeless and without money.

    That shows exactly what the War on Drugs is really about. We are visiting the bitter hateful soul of the War on Drugs right here and now..

    The same people who don't worry about the consequences to the children also aren't worried about alcohol at all.

    They want to give alcoholics will get a free pass, while putting the children of the pot smokers out in the street where I guess they're supposed to beg for spare change.

    So drug users out there - time to switch to booze, I guess, if you don't want to end up homeless and see your children sleeping in the street.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  85. DJ

    Yes, everyone receiving government money, would be tested! Including the CEO's bailed out with taxpayer dollars. They're the ones with the SERIOUS drug habits; it takes serious money to pay for serious drugs (large, pure quantities purchased and used at great risk)!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  86. Sam

    I was laid off from my job so am collecting unemployment while looking for another job. Do any of you so called "employed people" know how hard it is right now to find a job? I paid unemployment taxes the entire time I was working. I am not taking "your hard earned money" for my unemployment. I EARNED IT. I don't even qualify for food stamps. So get off your soap box about how drugged out people are taking your "hard earned money and sitting around getting high while you are out there earning a living" and be grateful that you have a job.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  87. doncinvegas

    People are already going through a difficult time being unemployed, so let's give them a little more to stress out over...give me a break...

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  88. larry colley

    the sooner the better, let's get these lifetime deadbeats off welfare!
    if I have to pass a drug test to stay employed to support these
    idiots, then they should be held to the same standards to
    receive these unearned benefits!! start today!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  89. Patrick

    I say take it one step further. Anyone getting any kind of government assistance should be subject to random drug testing. Make them observed tests (person administering the test watches you fill the bottle, to insure its YOUR urine). If a person drops dirty, then they are offered a one time deal, where the government gets them assistance with drug treatment. Complete the treatment, stay clean, and get assistance.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  90. RB

    Absolutely NO. If there is some reason to think someone is ABUSING drugs, then do test. If not, butt out. Much bigger problems than this.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  91. Steve

    Illegal drugs are....Well...Illegal.

    It would be the same as to check and see if one had a warrant for their arrest or being a possible escapee from prison to not receive these payments. Would it be ok for a prison escapee to receive them? Last I checked that was illegal as well.

    Nuff Said!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  92. Chuck

    Are you people high? Last time I checked, Unemployment was an insurance benefit, not a handout! It is insurance that unemployed workers have paid into, along with their company, with each paycheck, while they were working. Why, now that they are unemployed, through no fault of their own, should they be subjected to such an invasion of privacy? It's their money! Who cares what they spend it on? What's next? Are they going to be told that they can't play the Lottery? Go to movies? Go out to dinner? Because, we wouldn't want "them" having a good time with "your" money, right?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  93. Jessica

    As I was reading, I was shocked at the relative ignorance surrounding the fact that drugs and unemployment are related. In fact, the first comment I read was "what to drugs and unemployment have going together"?! Ok, lets say they are totally unrelated, then what's the fuss about? Let them test away. There shouldn't be any impact. HOWEVER, in my opinion, you are going to notice a difference. Quite frankly, since I am the one "signing" the unemployment checks being a tax payer, why should I being funding someone who is using that money towards drugs?! I think it's a fantastic idea. Create some accountability with where MY money is going.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  94. JakefromPa

    I believe that anyone receiving cash assistance from the welfare office should be subject to random sampling and/ or be required if evidence suggests doing so. The question is... who's going to pay for the testing, the suspected drug user? They can't afford to pay their rent let alone for testing. Who's going to pay for the staff it will require to do the testing, etc....etc....

    April 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  95. JT

    Why? I was smoking dope the whole time I was paying in. It shouldn't matter when it comes time to take it out. Rome's burning, and all Nero can do is fiddle...

    April 1, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  96. Erin

    I work way too hard for my money to have it go to those who are too lazy to get jobs or those who produce more kids than they can support. I believe they should be drug tested. If they are not using then they shouldn't have a problem peeing in that cup! And if they are using then the benefits should stop and they need to stop being supported by those of us who are law-abiding and hard-working LEGAL citizens!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  97. Jenn in Medical Legal CA

    This is the most insane idea ever!!! A lot of people who received these benefits are disabled persons who take prescription drugs. Are you going to test for only illegal drugs? and what happens to those of us who legally use medical marijuana? I don't yet have the need to apply for these benefits but have already had my hours cut back at work. What happens if the company I work for goes under like so many others have? Will I be denied benefits because I will test positive for THC.?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  98. Pete

    Yes test, test,test. No test no check or hel of any kind!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  99. Dan

    Why would I have to pass a drug test to get a legitimate paycheck and work 40 plus hours a week while some underachieving lamprey of society sucks my tax dollars into their own wallet (or that of their dealer)? This is a great idea to protect states, families, and our tax dollars. Our president is spending it faster than the Treasury can print it, so this is a prime example of checks and balances.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  100. Christine

    Listen Pablo I have gone without. I am one of 9 kids whose mother left me when I was 7yrs old. I was separated from my siblings for several years before my father regained custody because in those days fathers didn't have much rights. I also started working in 5th grade with a paper route which paid for school clothes etc. I also worked detassling corn, walking beans etc. So don't sit there and say that I didn't go without. You don't know me you jerk! It's been 27yrs since my mom left and I believe that I had a better life for it. If was a struggle sometimes but I knew that I could make my own choices when I became of age and doing drugs was not one of them!
    P.S. My family did get food stamps and it was should the way it was supposed to SHORT term and drug free! You need to get a clue!!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
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