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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. Mollie

    Yes I am talking to the demo/libtards on here and everywhere. Don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that. Guess I just wanted to not anger some of you on here. But yes I do. On behalf of my sick son and all the others that have worked hard and needed help and have been left standing (mothers or fathers or both), fighting for your rights and the rights of your children like me. Something is wrong when a government meant to help those in need help the ones who don't need it and give freely to them, and the poor and hungry and sick in body suffer. Get angry with me but I have the same oppinions as you just different. My oppinion counts as much as the rest. Whether you like it or not. More voices should raise to the injustices this so called NEW government has turned into. I would die for this country and my fellow citizens therein. But not its government...

    April 1, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  2. Rickote

    What a freaking beatiful country I came to live! Certainly, I should go back to Europe to pay my taxes there.

    So just the people that are in the biggest need and overwhelmly victims of proverty and we deny a minimum benefict. Why? Because they have beeen poor and had not chance for education! So yo must be poorer now... die poor! I don't want to see ya!

    These are the so publishied american values? Good job!

    I came here to do my postgraduate studies and I loved the education system, I also loved to do research for this country, but after 8 Bush years and still hearing things like this, not sure if is worthy. Being here just for the education system, may be not!

    April 1, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  3. Jeanne Gardner

    I absolutely agree. no handout to individuals on drugs. I also think that no hand out should go to people who are just spending it on alcohol. Anyone who takes one cent of help and spends it on any recreational vice should be cut off completely. It's ridiculous what industries spend on drug testing yet people who overdrink, call in sick, do poorly at work are just carried on as everyone's expense. If you have an alcohol or drug problem you do not belong on the public dole you belong in rehab if you want to get better or on the streets if you choose to be a bum.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  4. don

    NO FREAKIN' DOUBT.... check ALL the knuckleheads making these laws first... i absolutlely know from experience, that the worst users, the ones that are in charge, tend to get rid of part time or occasional users, even "recreational"... to keep their position safe. For Example,
    look at the chief of polices' record in the town that i live...
    austin, mn
    go figure 😛

    April 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  5. Brenda

    It seems when times are bad we go after the poor, I think it's a ploy to take our eyes off the real problems in this Country, we can bail out AIG and the auto industry, let them waste millions of the tax payers dollars giving the CEO's bonuses , fly to Washington in their private jets ,but let the working man get laid off from his job, lose his home, no food to eat and to top it off some politian is sitting in his cozy office making up rules about a piss test for him to take that we as tax payers have to pay for again, and does the guy who wants to put this into law, take a drug test? If not let him lead the way...

    April 1, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  6. Bob

    People complain we spend to much money and keep taxes high. So we want to pay for test of 5% of the population? And why? I know plenty of stoners who make a good living, plenty of coke users too. And if the loose their job it won't be because of drugs, they know when to party and when not to, so why deny them unemployment because the prefer a Sat night party over a Sunday morning sermon? Maybe somebody wants to a test for religious people to make sure tax money does not end being spent on Bibles. Why does the government want to increase my taxes to tell people who they should live? All people need to look for work and document it. If you are so messed up you can't work, you are going to keep a journal of your job activities or even have job activities. This is stupid. Just damn stupid.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  7. Tonia

    I think that it is a GREAT idea. I fell sorry for the people who have lost their jobs. But for the ones of us still working- we have to be drug free – so I think that if the tax payers are having to fund food stamps, unemployment, etc.. then the people receiving benefits should be drug free, too.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  8. Tommygunn

    Yeah! let's test all the politicians and fat cat business execs after lunch...bawwahhahahaha! :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    April 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  9. Al

    I think most of you are getting stuck on if it's a good idea to drug test people getting welfare or unemployment. I say the answer no they should not be tested. in fact there should not be ANY drug testing. Not to get a job, health ins.,life ins. or for any other reason. Drug testing is a wast of time and your money. It will only weed out a few pot heads. The more hard core drug users the coke, meth, crack and most other drugs will almost never get caught with a drug test. Remember the drug testing industry and the companies that make products to beat drug tests are multi billion dollar industries that will lobby for more testing any way they can. Drug testing is wrong it's an invasion of privacy I don't think this is what Ronald had in mind when he started all this.
    If we test people to get welfare and unemployment all we will have done is create criminals what other choice will they have??

    April 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  10. vicki

    YES !!!! I feel anyone getting goverment help should be tested for drugs. It holds the individual responsible. That is the problem with this goverment. They never hold people responsible. We pay for people who choose not to get an education, we pay people that choose to have numerous children when they are already getting goverment help and we pay people to not have to work. This is a true story, a family from Pennsylvania moved to the state I live and honestly told my family that they chose to move to this state for better benefits. Both husband and wife with four children DO NOT WORK>

    April 1, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  11. Amoreena

    I think that anyone who is receiving any type of check from the government should have to endure the same tests that I have to, in order to keep my job. Not only are we submitted to "random" drug and alchohol tests, we are also required to disclose any prescription drugs that are prescribed by a doctor. You cannot return to work if the company decides that the meds your doctor prescribed might impare your performance. The company calls it "unable to accommodate" . I call it a violation of the HIPAA rules. The company has no right to know what meds, and thus, what diseases a person is seeing their doctor for. I've digressed, but if I have to put up with this, to keep my 40 hour+ a week job that I've had for 24 years, why shouldn't the folks who are "on the dole" do the same?

    April 1, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  12. GreyTheory

    Anyone want to take odds the company that makes the drug test kits just happens to be within the Congressman's district?
    ..anyone?

    April 1, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  13. Paul

    I think it’s an invasion of privacy. How far do we want Big Brother to go? If a person has, say… a root canal and tests positive, and then he must go to all the trouble of proving it was a legal prescription medication and in the mean time the poor fellow needs money to live. Be careful how far you wish to push the victim.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  14. Diana

    Most certainly drug tests should be required for government handouts! Why should I as a taxpayer be required to pay for someone's drug habit? I already pay for their housing and healthcare through public housing, Section 8 and Medicaid.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  15. JP

    Drug abuse is a personal tragedy. Drug testing as a requirement for unemployment benefits is an invasion of privacy with much wider-ranging implications. Mr Blair should not only be ashamed of himself, but should know better.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  16. Arteu

    I disagree with drug testing for government benefits, unless we are willing to let people opt-out of unemployment insurance, medicare and other such involuntary insurance. If people using drugs can't get benefits, then they should not be forced to pay into the fund. I expect that would probably lead to large numbers of people opting out of the program, draining it of funding.

    It would also make it more difficult and time consuming for people to get their benefits. Drug tests have to be sent off to a lab and processed. Someone would also have to pay for the drug tests, which could get expensive when we're considering testing so many people.

    I question the notion that people who use drugs are leaches on the system. I've been using pot for over 10 years and have been employed almost the entire time. I do advanced technical work and it has never interfered with my ability to do my job. I've never had to draw unemployment, or any other kind of government assistance.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  17. Peter

    Horrible idea. Rather than arguing against giving tax payer money to jobless people in the first place, I'll give an example of how this proposed statute will backfire. Most of the people getting unemployment benefits are probably good law abiding citizens who are just having a streak of bad luck. But for the sake of argument, lets say that a jobless meth addict is using his unemployment check to buy dope. Now, the meth addict has to be drug tested for his unemployment check, is found to have drugs in his system, and is cut off of welfare. The addict still has a habit to support, but now you've made him desperate. He can neither get a job without being drug tested, nor can he get welfare anymore. Chances are, the addict will resort to crime to feed his habit. Whether that be robbery, burglary, or prostitution, is of no consequence; the moral of the story is, this proposed statute WILL without a doubt cause an increase in violent crime. Aside from that, should we make sure people receiving welfare do not smoke or drink alcohol also? If not, why not? Isn't blowing tax dollars on cigarettes and beer just as bad as blowing it on any other mind altering substance? Where do you draw the line? Why does someone you don't know get to decide what to do with you're money? Listen people, I've been saying this for a while now, but we're not going to solve all of our problems by looking to the government; the government does not solve problems – it makes problems worse.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  18. carollyree

    I think this is an excellent idea. I had to pass a drug test to obtain my employment. If I couldn't pass the test, I couldn't get paid. Why shouldn't people seeking welfare and government assistance be required to? I work for a state government and I see everyday how drug users abuse "the system". Besides, shouldn't people have to obey government laws in order to be eligible for government benefits? I would be interested to see the statistics regarding the correlation of people on assistance and drug use.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  19. David NH

    Lisa at 8:29 1 April is correct – the agency saddled with implementing the random drug testing will have to budget a lot of funds – I suspect about $150 per test. But perhaps it will save giving out money even more! All classes of individuals have “wealth” and the trick is using what you have wisely. To waste “personal” money on drugs, rather than obtaining something beneficial to you or your family is wrong – and should not be rewarded with public assistance. It is a good idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  20. Debbie

    What does using drugs and being hungry have incommon? People aren't on aid because that is where they want to be. What is going on in these hateful minds? Why not give poor people a break?
    Debbie

    April 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  21. spencer

    As a home inspector I see mothers who barely can meet the requirements now imposed to get their or should I say their kids food stamps. Why? Are they too lazy, too sorry, on drugs or just plain don’t care. Well let me tell you, have enough small children look into your eyes hungry and living without the very basics we take for granted and you won’t care what the answer is. Walk in my shoes, see the side of life you can easily ignore or defend with all your harsh comments. Talk is cheap and seems to be easily than ever. The greatest country in the world with the proudest people is allowing children to go to sleep hungry tonight. Address the children and you will solve the problem. They are the answer.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  22. Helene

    This has got to be the most stupid waste of brain power and money that I've heard of. A drug test ranges between $45 and $70. the percentage of folks who will be caught, is small which means each positive result will actually cost thousands of dollars because of the larger percentage of negative tests. Quite frankly it sounds like a republican vanity move. And to tie drug testing to unemployment comp. is just insulting. Those who are on unemployment, have worked for it and had the tax taken out of their wages when they were working. Count me out on this one.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  23. Linda Leong

    All I have to say is how dare the person that thought this up!!!! What ever happened to compassion for people who are down on their luck. Think about this way, what about the guy who has worked nonstop for the past 20 years, pay all of his taxes and now because of the economic downturn has lost his job. He is already feeling about two inches tall and now you want to hold his unemployment check until he is humiliated more by subjecting to a drug test. My opinion the guy who thought this up should be fired!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  24. capnmike

    Hey, while we are at it, how about checking the length of your hair? Or if you have washed behind your ears? Or if you are a member of some cult or political group that is out of favor?
    Wotinhell ever happened to American Freedom? It was chipped away by hordes of nosy bureaucrats "for our own good" and finally destroyed by idiots like Craig Blair.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  25. rick

    this is obviously an aprils fools joke, no politician would be this dumb. Do you think drug testing is cheap?

    April 1, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  26. Mark D

    this is a great idea. what better way to make sure our tax dollars are not being used to buy drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  27. Mollie

    Ok...Let me see here. I have read some of the blogs here and i simply have to laugh at some of them. See my son has had cancer twice in the last 2 years. Thank God he is in remission right now. But goes to the doctor all the time. I had to FIGHT DHS to get him back on Tenncare here in Tennessee so he could get treatment. Even though they new he had cancer. I was turned down for unemployment benefits cause I couldn't get a job. (we spent 17 months in hospital out of 24). I don't get child support and they try to kick me off that program saying I wanted it when I didn't. I got no stimulous check cause I was short $300.00 of the minimum amount allowed. He draws SSI and they said we were taken care of between August-Oct of 08. Now I got to pay them $800.00 back. When I was in the hospital with NO HELP! I was getting $160.00 in food stamps. Then I got a letter last week saying they were raising them to $250.00 because of the $800.00 I have to pay back. But then yesturday I got a letter stating I was getting A RAISE to $215.00 because of the stimulous Obama passed. Thats a joke considering the letter I got from them the week before. NOW I must take a DRUG TEST??? Rediculous... If I was living in low income and had 5 kids I could understand or had a lazy husband which I have had I could understand. But I worked for 8 years straight and think I should get the benefits I paid taxes to get in a emergency. Heck with all these people who want this. I shouldn't have to do a drug test. Even though I know it would be negative. Seems all these politicians, president Obama, (haha), can stick their laws where the sun don't shine. First stem cells, then tobacco, now this. What a joke our government has become. I promise you and mark my words, all our freedoms are fixing to be taken. You voted you live with...But I will not go down without a fight. The president CAN afford all the emenities he wants. (cigs, alcohol, FOOD, GAS and so forth). His rich but with the rest of them can get what the want. Maybe they should come down to our level. And I am not talking to you demo/libtards. Yes, it makes me mad. My son is still suffering. Right beside me. So, gee thanks...

    April 1, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  28. Garrick K. Packard

    Yes! Drug testing! We should also test everyone who thinks they are drug-free for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and all those prescription drugs (vicodin, valium, zoloft, ambien). Oh no no no. We will only test for the "BAD" ones, right? I can't believe it's the 21st century and anyone still believes that some drugs should be illegal, much less that someone should have the right to test people for them.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  29. David Sautner

    IFF every politician in America is required to be monitored every minute of their time in office for ANY alcohol, tobacco, illicit sex, or drug use and that by engaging in any of these activities loses their citizenship then I would consent to taking a drug test. Pass a law that states that every politician in America should absolutely be required, while in an elected office, to completely abstain from all/any alcohol consumption and should also be restricted to having sex purely for reproduction purposes and not for pleasure, ever!, then I will concede that it is fair for me to have to take a drug test to recieve jobless benefits.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  30. Dave in DC

    I f we're going to test those are receiving public assistance then i believe we should also add all elected official to that list.

    It seems they forget from were there power comes from.

    Instead of us fearing what politicians will do to us, lets make them fear us.

    These crackpot need to start responding to us. I don't believe one person elected anybody to go in and start chipping away at our privacy.

    Enough already.

    April 1, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  31. Roy

    Drug testing those receiving public assistance is the best idea I have heard in years. Unemployment is NOT public assistance, it is a insurance premium that the employer pays for, NOT the employee, drug testing those who receive unemployment checks is not the question.

    The question is those getting welfare checks or any government check, everyone receiving a government check should be open to random testing. There is NOT a chance is he.. that such legislation would get through Congress. Can anyone really believe that our congressmen would pass such a law...if so you have been living in a void for too long.

    As for using someone's urine other then your own. This has been tried for years....those running these test know all the ways this is done..it won't work, unless your tester is a complete idiot.

    If you take away someone welfare check, then our soup kitchens, free food pantries would be overwhelmed with very hungry pot heads, even more so then it is already.

    It's called drug addiction for a reason...it's not a disease. !!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  32. colleen kane

    Ryan get off the weed, I tired of paying for welfare and food stamps for losers!!!!!!!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  33. Helena Durichen

    As a Canadian, I have to say I am shocked by this idea of drug testing for benefits. I thought that America was a land of the free. Lol.
    That sort of bill comes up in Canada every once in awhile. But, here, in this supposedly 'socialist' country, according to some Americans, public opinion spake out against it as basically a violation of human rights.
    You see, if your criteria is that you require this based upon it's the public dime paying these benefits, then you must go all the way to the logical consequence. Please. The public dime pays for some or any of doctors, nurses, teachers, public lawyers, transit drivers, AIG executives, public broadcasting employees, library employees, all the branches of city workers...road crews, pavers, receptionists at city hall, ALL ON THE PUBLIC DIME...You simply MUST drug test them all. To be fair. To be equitable. To be American. Otherwise, I guess you are saying "Some people are created more equal than others".
    Which would be sad. And scary.
    H. Durichen

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  34. jason z

    Not for unemployment, but for welfare yes, but more importantly wf should last only a short time anyways and NO kids

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  35. Sheila

    I don't care what anybody has to say about how drugs are an addiction that does not mean I want to pay for some low life to take them. I have met few on drugs who care to reform or work.. So why should those who are working pay for them to be lazy and high?
    If you want to pay for that then more power to you drive out to worst part of you rtown and start dishing out your own money but let the rest of us keep our money. Do you really think all the money they get goes to what they need? If you do then you are funny and more than welcome to come by my house, I will load you up and take you for a ride so you can see how the kids of drug heads live. I know some who have no fridge for food, let alone the food, some who don't spend a dime buying clothes or needs for their kids. So what exactly am I paying for? If they are gonna get help then it should be in the things they need such as food, clothes , electrictiy, etc. They should never recieve cash.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  36. Steve

    I had to take a drug test for my most recent job. Why not have folks who are on food stamp do the same thing. Sounds fair to me.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  37. colleen kane

    becky get with the program, most people are drug tested that have a job......DAH!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  38. Bianca

    I absolutely support this idea. If I have to pass drug tests to earn the money going to support the people who are on welfare/ food stamps they should be held to the same standard to recieve the benefits. They should be tested before they recieve benefits as well as randomly throughout as suggested. I also believe there needs to be harsher restrictions on the length of time one can remain on welfare/ food stamps and there needs to be a more accurate way to track whether or not people are actively searching for a job. There are too many people out there who are abusing the system leaving little left for those who really need the benefits. As far as drug addiction goes, there are classes and such avaiable via community centers, help lines, etc. If they really want help they have to take the first step. I should not have a hand in supporting their bad life choices.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  39. Joe from MO

    April Fool-America under Obama is not Socialistic

    April 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  40. Texas Home Boy

    I guess we can tell whom does drugs on this blog board. Of course they need to be tested before they recieve anything. I must keep clean to keep my 100,000 a year job (which I have been at for the last 18 years starting from the bottom and working my way up) and pay for there un-employment checks. Right to privacy, please, spoken like a true hard working american. I guess I can sue my company for drug testing me. The US is turning into Nigeria and Obama and his cabinet are making it worse. Texas will soon susceed from the US when Osama tries to take our guns. I am glad Gov. Perry turned down the extra un-employment money. That's how we roll in Texas.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  41. steven

    Drug tests are an invasion of privacy. What about tests for alcoholics?
    I have seen roaring drunks get jobs over hard working people that smoke a little weed once in awhile.

    I thought you were innocent till proven quilty? not the other way around!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  42. Dufus

    All Legislators should be required to submit to alcohol abuse asessment and absolute sobriety laws, no less than the people they regulate / serve.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  43. Becky

    Absolutely. However, I also believe that lawmakers should also undergo random drug tests. Their poor decisions cost all us more than unemployment and food stamps.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  44. Chris Moore

    Is it possible that our government has a good idea? I know a guy I grew up with that got into guns and drugs and did served a prison sentance for it. Before he got out, he was provided with food stamps, cash, and full medical benefits.

    I have another freind, who is a single mom that has never collected unemployment, or DSHS, and she works two jobs, both of which do not provide medical benefits. She recently had a medical condidtion where she had to miss 6 weeks of work, and when she went to the state for help after paying taxes and being a contributing member of society for several years, was declined any assistance by the State of Washington.

    Tell me, how does this make any sence? Commit a crime, get hooked up. Work and don't commit a crime, and be sent packing............Do we really have our priorities straight???

    April 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  45. Max

    This is a completely ridiculous idea. Drug tests are astronomically expensive. The average cost of a drug test is $42 per person – compare that to the $21 an adult receives in food stamps per week. Does that make any sense at all? All this does it further oppress poverty stricken people who don't know any better.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  46. Ron Felton

    For years I have had to pass a drug screen to work at my job and earn the money I pay in taxes. I seems to me that if I have to pass a drug screen to earn it then others should be required to pass a drug screen to spend it.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  47. Viki

    I would have no problem with drug testing with one caveat – that those making the laws would accept the fact that addiction is a disease, not a choice, and support treatment programs that could help these people. A good treatment center costs a minimum of $12,000, and it often takes more than one stay. Where are they supposed to come up with that kind of money . . . for many, even when they have a job? It's time to stop condemning and start helping. There but by the grace of God . . .

    April 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  48. Dan

    I agree with Nancy, I think it is a good idea to do drug testing is your going to get a check from the government. I agree too, it should go farther with including any government worker. Why should I or tax payers be paying money to people if they are using drugs.

    In my mind if you are against the drug testing you must have something to hide.....

    April 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  49. Therrin

    I have read a lot of peoples posts and there is a lot of talk about losing rights and freedoms blah, blah, blah in requiring pre-subsistance drug screening (Entitlement programs). I think these people stating these points are high. If you require any government assistance this should be required by all means. If you want the taxpayer ( which is a pretty small group these days) to pay for your less fortunate @@&. If all you people want to be socialist then move to Eorope and get the hell out of my country.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  50. Ellie

    It should absolutely NOT be required! People who are getting the benefits of unemployment PAID for those benefits while they were working. It's THEIR money! It's just an excuse to be stingy

    April 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  51. Caesar

    I bet all the unemployed potheads are raging over this idea

    but yeah I do think they should be tested before they can get govt. checks

    April 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  52. Paul W

    I think that anyone who expects to collect the money I have contributed to the public welfare system needs to pass a random drug test. If I have to remain drug free to earn the money for them they should be drug free to collect.

    Additionally I believe community service should be required of those that are able. Clean the roads, remove the grafitti, supervise the playground, something that gives a sense of ownership for the money.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  53. Rodney Sawyer

    I always think that it's ironic, that the people with the most disposable incomes are the most ardent supporters for drug testing for OTHER people. If you are unemployed or have little money, drugs are the least of your problems. This is somewhat akin to saying," sit up, beg, roll over", you DOG.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  54. Karen Root

    There is a signifigant difference between food stamps and unemployment insurance benefits. We contribute thru our own paychecks for our unemployment benefits. We are getting our own money back, if we lose our jobs. . Food stamps come from the US government, out of taxpayer resources, ( our neighbors). If you ask your neighbor for help, he has a right to impose conditions. If you're asking for your own money, no one has the right to impose such a condition on you. Karen in Kona

    April 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm |
  55. Roy

    Drug testing those receiving public assistance is the best idea I have heard in years. Unemployment is NOT public assistance, it is a insurance premium that the employer pays for, NOT the employee, drug testing those who receive unemployment checks is not the question.

    The question is those getting welfare checks or any government check, everyone receiving a government check should be open to random testing. There is NOT a chance is he.. that such legislation would get through Congress. Can anyone really believe that our congressmen would pass such a law...if so you have been living in a void for too long.

    As for using someone's urine other then your own. This has been tried for years....those running these test know all the ways this is done..it won't work, unless your tester is a complete idiot.

    If you take away someone welfare check, then our soup kitchens, free food pantries would be overwhelmed with very hungry pot heads, even more soon then it is already.

    It's called drug addiction for a reason...it's not a disease. !!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  56. Roger

    Though I am all for helping anyone that wants to try to help themselves I would be in total favor of this bill. I have a few friends that have fallen on hard times and wouldn't make it right now if not for government help. They live in a neighborhood that most people do receive some sort of help to pay their rent or help with there children. Problem is they notice that many, many spend these checks on things like drugs instead of there rent. Why help someone that has no want to help themselves?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  57. Robert Barrett

    Excellent idea!!! It should start yesterday!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  58. William

    It's about time someone is getting some sence in this nation.. Our tax dollars (I bet) have gone to subsidize the drug trade in a big way for way far to long now, and this as food stamps and welfare have just ended up in drug dealers pockets supported by we the tax payers allowed by our supposed representitive government to no end..

    I am a truck driver, and I have to undergo various test in order to do my job safely. People of all walks depend on me to be safe, as does the children and the elderly in life. This is no different than a dad or a mother who has the same kinds of responsibilities and people depending on them also, yet are let down when they do drugs and use welfare and foodstamps to get by on. Why? It's because they can't get a job while dirty (on drugs) or having a bad history with the law on top of that, which is a result of these lifestyle choices made.

    It actually helped me in life to undergo drug test or rather alcohol test, because I use to drink, but now I have stopped altogether in order to keep a job in the trucking industry and a family. The only thing I use to do history wise though, is drink a little (socially) and that was before I became a truck driver, and now I don't even do that hardly anymore. I love it to, because it showed me all the hype I was living and how I was wrong once got away from it all way back in the day for doing it... I might drink on occassion maybe (doubtful), but I garantee you that if I did, it would be on a Satuday night when I don't have to go no where but to my bed from my couch. (smile)

    Bring on the drug test, because it has been far to long now in this nation, in doing the things that have been going on wholesale for far to long. Things in which kill while excuses are found always and sadly for it, especially when infact there is none.

    I see no harm in the test at all, because I am for helping people in life and not empowering them to hurt themselves on and on.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  59. John

    Too high to read all this. Off to the wealfare office!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  60. Sean

    If a court finds a citizen guilty of violating the law then that citizen is subject to criminal punishment. The Government must also follow the law, and that law is The U.S. Constitution and relevant State and Federal Case Law. If Rep. Blair gets his legislation passed it will end up in the court system to determine whether it is Constitutional (Thank you ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance). If the legislation is ultimately found to be violative of the Constitution then Rep. Blair should be subject to criminal punishment as he has violated the supreme law of the land in writing his law.

    If politicians are allowed to twist and contort laws to their liking and not be punished when a court strikes it down, then I will gladly continue to twist and contort statutes to my liking. Thus a perpetual continuation of people forming their own opinions of what every law means. Counter productive much?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  61. matthew lewis

    Blair is an idiot, if you drug test a million people that costs 30 million dollars at least of tax payer money. Besides one has nothing to do with another, to think that tax payer money pays his salary to come up with acenine ideas like this.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  62. Tim

    Will this include testing for alcohol abuse, which I'm sure many members of Congress are guilty of? Hypocrites.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  63. matt

    Yes! definitely, if they are receiving benefits from my hard work.... then as an employer I demand they at least have to pass a drug test.
    Why wasn't this thought of sooner?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  64. David Pennsylvania

    Drug-testing is a horrible idea. It's against the 4th & 5th Amendments for the government to do it. Taken to its logical conclusion, the government is creating a problem that does not need to be. Government often gives incentives to employers to drug-test, and employess who responsibly use marijuana, for example, for medical or recreational reasons are unnecessarily denied employment. Then, if cut off of social benefits and considered unemployable, the person is put at the mercy of the public welfare saftely net or worse yet, drug rehab Jesus freaks. If the person starves to death or otherwise dies because of lack of food & shelter because of refusing to enter a drug rehab racket, it's just another quasi-fascist way of marignalizing or killing off undesirables. Drug-testomg is the Inquisition of our time, especially the witch hunt on marijuana these days. The testing money could be better spent or reasonable drug policies that focus on people with real addiction problems. Employers and the public have the right to expect people will not report to work under the influence or drive or operate dangerous equipment under the influence. More of the same is not going to get the country out of the mess, and the U.S. is exporting its problem to Mexico and other countries because it can't produce its own amounts to feed its consumption, and it does not have the guts to manage its consumption with maintenance programs and the kind of rehab programs that allow addicts to be sober long enough in a day to work to pay their way through life, at least partially, kind of ease them back into full-time employment. Keep beating them until morale improves is not the way.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  65. Ben

    I bet this plan would cost more money to implement and waste a lot more tax money then it would save from taking unemployment benefits away from Americans that test positive on a drug test. If people are looking to save some of their hard earned money they don't need to look any further then the current drug war that is going on in America. A total failure and waste of resources.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  66. Steve

    Good idea! Drug testing is required where I work.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  67. Steven Ryan

    I think this is a great idea, but it should go further and not be random. It will cost some more, but there are quick test kits for under $50 and I think you make the person filing for unemployment pay for it. If they are clean, it gets deducted from their first check.

    It is absolutely necessary. Why should the government and other tax payers pay for someones drug habit while they are unemployed.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  68. Jim

    Absolutely, if they are to receive benefits funded by tax dollars. Anyone that disagrees is free to contribute as much as they want to unemployed drug users out of their own pocket.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  69. Eric

    I agree that anyone, not just the unemployed, who attempts to collect insurance should be tested for drugs. Test anyone who attempts to file an auto insurance claim, because it's certainly their drug use that caused the wreck, or anyone who tries to use health or dental insurance, because it's certainly their drug use that cause their illness or dental problems. And let's not forget the survivors trying to collect life insurance! They should be tested too.

    What a bunch of bozos! Unemployment insurance premiums are paid by the employer out of funds that otherwise would have been in the employee's paycheck! What about probable cause? It's time to end the puritan death grip on the U.S. Anyone who approves of such drug tests should have the right to be tested, daily if desired. I think hourly tests for this idiot congressman are indicated. There must be some explanation for his stupidity. I've got it! It's the drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  70. Yrsa Yngling

    Hmmm...so if anyone wants to receive taxpayer money (a.k.a. "assistance"), then according to Craig Blair, they should submit to a drug test. Ok, I'm all for it, but only if you make the same standards all across the board. Come on Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America!! You need to pee into a cup or you can't have anymore of my money!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  71. But Cigs and Alcohol are okay

    Yeah! Drug test 'em all in order to get benefits, they are spending my money and wasting it.
    Now excuse me while I light up another smoke, increase my chances of cancer and increase the costs of healthcare. Thanks for paying for my eventual emphysema or cancer teatment with your higher premiums, America!
    'Burp....yeah, drug test 'em all. Oh man, I need to get in my car and get another six pack because the one I just had is all gone. Im so glad I am a responsible American and not one of those irresponsible pot pot smokers

    April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  72. Janice Texas

    I will accept the government requiring drug tests when they are first required to pass them.

    Or at least pass a sanctimonious test....wait, they have done that.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  73. John

    so the casual pot smoker that goes to work everyday ( and there's alot of them)pays into unemployment insurance loses his job is forced to live withoug any benifits, He then has to find other ways to feed his family, becomes a thief. There is no freedom anymore, dont kid yourself,

    April 1, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  74. Reverend Dan

    Just looking at the obvious. The only "drug" that stays in your body for more than 24 hours is marijuana. Anything else you are doing, crack, acid, heroin, alcohol, etc. Stop a day or two before test day and you are clean. Simple as that.
    They are testing for marijuana usage only still using the ignorant mindset used during the 1930's by an ex-alcohol agent who had no job but created one with the chemical companies to rid us of hemp. Marijuana was jsut a bonus side effect. If this is not true, how come many large rayon, polyester and other artificial fabric producers (dow) fought so hard back then to have the marijuana plant banned with a THC content so low you would literally not be able to smoke enough of it (standing in a middle of a burning field of it) to get any effect. How is hemp harmful? But yet because one of the most dangerous drugs ever, marijuana, has THC which hemp also has it is illegal this country.
    What about poppies, morning glories, wormwood and the likes?
    Its just silly it all it is.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  75. LuvToSmokeWeed

    This is a complete waste of my money.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  76. Jeremy Meserve

    This is so much malarkey. Will the drug testing extend to all the mind-numbing drugs prescribed to the public every day? Anti-depressants and the like? OH......but so many people need THOSE drugs. Don't they count too? Anti-depressants, daily sleeping pills, addiction "deterrants" like Subhoxin are destroying people all across the country-turning people into zombies. This measure is ridiculous and an insult to the national intelligence.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  77. DV

    WE HAVE TO PASS TO GET A JOB SO WHY NOT TO GET WELFARE. I AM ALL FOR IT!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  78. Steve

    I had to take a drug test to get a job. Those that are on welfare should especially take a drug test. I find it crazy that my tax goes to pay for a TV for people who don't want to work, let alone help them pay for drugs. I'd love to see statistics on people on welfare who are also addicts or even felons. That would put a new perspective on things if the public knew about it. Where are the "people who cheat on welfare cops"???

    April 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  79. Tracey

    THANKYOU !!!! I am so sick of these people sitting on there asses collecting my tax money and spending it on drugs instead of food for thier kids or trading the food stamps for drugs. this has been going on much too long !!!! since the 80's ive witnessed welfare mothers spawning children one after another and collecting more for each one while they sit and get high and drink all day and let thier kids go without and befor you know it their own kids are doing the same thing, BEHAVIOR IS LEARNED !!! This should absolutely be a condition of all taxpayer/ government assistance !!!! – for those who were unfortunate enoph to get caught up in this economic down fall and no longer have jobs , if your not doing anything wrong than you have nothing to worrie about.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  80. kenneth

    yes, they should drug test individuals who receive my money!!! all jobs require drug test. you can't get a job if you are using drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  81. Scott

    What will the Government do when 3/4ths of the unemployed people in this country can no longer receive their unemployment benefits? Where does the welfare money come from for the people who cant qualify for welfare?

    Our politicians are power hungry, every single one of them is proposing ridiculous legislation and our fearless president is leading the way.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  82. Latricia

    Love it! Bring it on in Texas!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  83. Erik Barnett

    Sure, then we can get tags inserted into our arms, so the government can track our every move. Then we could allow camera's to be placed in our homes, so that our whole lives can be scrutinized by some guy (who probably no better off then we are).

    Thats okay, drug testing for jobs is one thing.... drug testing because you were layed off is another.

    You want to eliminate some more people, foreclose on more houses, put our future deeper in the hole?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  84. Rich in Colorado

    Craig Blair and his proposed legislation is what you'd expect from someone who is grossly uninformed. He states that "It seems ironic that welfare and unemployment are both designed to get you back to work, but how is that possible if you're on drugs?" Just ask all the people that work and who do drugs. Drug addiction "in epidemic proportions" is not possible simply from counting the unemployed.

    How about drug testing citizens who claim earned income tax credits? It is illegal to test one segment of society without testing the rest of society. It's no wonder that America is in the mess we're in considering the ridiculousness of legislators like Mr. Blair.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  85. WS

    It is about time someone grew a set to finally realize that we should not let these people get something for nothing. We also should not let those that are not US citizen receive Medicaid that we pay for. They can work here and take are job and we can pay their health care, How is that right?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  86. DisgruntledCitizen

    Those of you who are talking about spending "your" money on "their" habit need to be reminded that at least in the case of those seeking unemployment, it is "their" money, too.

    Furthermore, it will actually incur costs to implement drug testing, and most tests can easily be circumvented. Additionally, the "hard" drugs are generally out of ones system in a short amount of time. It is primarily marijuana what lingers.

    Most of the people seeking unemployment are not just "sitting around getting high." They got laid off, and it most likely had nothing to do with their alleged drug abuse, it had to do with the elite being greedy and not being held accountable. Why didn't we drug test the AIG executives before we gave them ridiculous sums of money for screwing things up?

    Despite the propaganda perpetrated by those who are either ignorant or dishonest, the impact of marijuana smoking would be insignificant, if not for the laws we waste billions of dollars enforcing.

    The entire "War on Drugs" has proven to be one of the biggest failures in the history of our nation, but for some reason so many right wing fanatics seems determined to implement it to greater degrees.

    Have we learned nothing from our past?

    When will we learn to stop wasting time and money worrying about what supposedly "free" people are doing with their own bodies and start worrying about our own actions?

    April 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  87. Rentia

    Josette I don't think anyone is being self-righteous the system is there to help If the person have a drug problem they need help. I work every day but if I do not pass a drug test I'm out of a job!! I also said I also said if the person fail the drug test the kids should be moved to a safe environment. I don't think anything is mean about that because the now we have a child in dangerous environment. I think this is a soultion to a problem

    April 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  88. Lisa

    I work for Unemployment Insurance. All around this country our computers are crashing, our phone systems are overwhelmed while we try to process twice the number and in some states three times the number of UI claims we processed a year ago with the same number of staff.

    People have been hitting re-dial for 3 weeks just to get a claim filed. Here's the problem–about 50% of claims are file online–don't know how that's going to work. If someone was able to use drugs and function well enough to hold a job before being laid off, well then fine. If people are laid off because their job has a zero-tolerance for drug use, they're disqualified from receiving benefits now. That's as far as it needs to go.

    I wonder if this guy's gotten a donation from some company that would love to be processing drug tests on just a "small sample" of the 7% who are unemployed today in America. I've never used drugs, but I hate how lawmakers love to punish "low-hanging fruit" and can't find a way to deal with white collar criminals.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  89. Amanda

    This is a GREAT idea!!!...every job I have ever had I have had to take a drug test, what makes it fair for anybody to receive unemployment without a drug test? They're still getting 'paid' and they should be working.. go volunteer somewheres.. and they're suppose to be continuing to look for work.. or take care of they're families.. so why would they be doing drugs? .. drug testing is completely reasonable and needed!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  90. Scott

    I feel like his heart is in the right place, but with the government already strapped for cash, can we spend the additional money on drug testing. This will only make the unemployment benefits program more of a burden on the tax payers than it already is. Instead of worrying about who is getting a free lunch and who isn't, we should try to focus our attention on correcting some real issues with this country and its government.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  91. a worker

    I agree...if the public has to submit to a drug test, so should the people who work there....I have been employed with a state job for five years and have no problem being tested...not all of my fellow employees feel the same way.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  92. Dan

    This is a great idea, and should have been implemented years ago. You want federal aid? Then obey the laws of the land. Only liberal pot heads and wanna-be hippies would object this, and of course the crack heads and junkies.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  93. KP

    Great idea........If you got money to buy drugs you dont need my tax dollars........I have never used unemployment or food stamps and i knock on wood that i dont have too. I do have a problem with deadbeats who smoke and drink with money earmarked for food and housing. They should do the same for deadbeat mothers who get child support money they spend on drugs and alcohol also.....For once lets make sure tax dollars go to people who are deserving of it.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  94. mark

    At least, there should also be other requirements such as high school graduation, no felony convictions etc. When are we going to understand that it's my money someone is taking and I should get to decide who gets it.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  95. Just saying...Roanoke, VA

    While we're at it, why not just dispose of the 4th Amendment altogether. If you don't have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. Seriously, this guy needs to find something worthwhile to do with his time. Like read the Bible, particularly Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 11-12. God said grass was good, that's all I need to know.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  96. AMM

    Unemployment insurance is just that. Insurance!!!!! You pay for it on your check every week. Its not goverment assistance.
    They can do whatever they want with welfare!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  97. Ron

    I am for drug testing as a Canadian who country is facing the same problem with drugs and booze with our welfare recipient. Working in the city prison here on every last Wed of the month is Welfare day from that one day till following monday our jails are full of drunks,crack addicts everyone with the exception of the odd Dui are all on the sytem.

    If they were straight and had no choice they would go to work but since the govt is paying for them to be intoxicated its the easy life and they know the more they get wrecked the more govt will help them.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  98. Jason Covich

    This is theologically biased government policy as usual. This is the same kind of broad stroke problem solving that gave us the war in Iraq. It's just a well branded idea for enforcing moral laws. This testing doesn't take into account the people who have prescriptions for marijuana or other "illicit" drugs. This ignores the fact that alcohol and nicotine are dangerous and expensive drugs. This is simply puritanical ideology disguised as sound, moral policy.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  99. Brett

    If you were fired for using drugs on the job, then OK. If you were laid off for any other reason then no. And it should be a hair follicle test paid for by the government so it doesn't just catch marijuana users.

    How about rational thought? If someone can't control their drug use (alcohol included) and get fired for it. Why give them unemployment benefits while they continue to abuse? Diversion of course would be the answer. Weekly counseling to treat their actual issue, etc. as an incentive to get unemployment.

    Drug use and addiction are not the same thing regardless of that message being promulgated by the gov't and others for 20 years. If an individual uses marijuana every afternoon when he gets home from work, and holds the job for 5 years only to be laid off. WTF does it matter as to unemployment? If he is fired for using marijuana on the job, or continually gets arrested for possession, etc. then his use is affecting his life and his job and therefore it might be a benefit to use drug testing and counseling as both a carrot and a stick for receiving unemployment. The same then should hold true for someone who is fired for drinking on the job, or losing his job because of the impact of multiple DWIs.

    Has everyone in this freakin' country lost the ability to approach things in a rational, result oriented manner.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  100. Tom

    Some of you (like "Sherry") are forgetting that when you work, you pay into the unemployment insurance system. So if you apply for benefits, you're applying for the insurance you've been paying for. It's not a "handout", or "your tax dollars".

    As for the drug-testing idea – sad and depressing. Craig Blair – yet another right-wing redneck who wraps himself in the flag as he recommends policies that would make Chairman Mao and Joe Stalin squirm.

    April 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
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