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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.


What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Filed under: Business
soundoff (867 Responses)
  1. Fred Evil

    And exactly how much money will we save not giving money to those who test positive? Will it even be enough to pay for the tests?

    I doubt it.

    Jim in Floride, you're in the Armed Forces, they OWN you, of course they can test you at whim. Citizens shouldn't be forced to provide a sample of their bodily fluids to prove they're "worthy." They're AMERICANS, they're already worthy.

    With unemployment approaching 10% in many states, the last thing our neighbors need is a false positive to make taking care of their families that much harder.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  2. Stephanie

    The government didn't care if I was doing drugs when I made the money that paid INTO the unemployment program . . . they only care when I want to take it out. What a scam.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  3. Elliot

    yeah, while we're at it, why don't we put out video cameras and record everyone's every move 24 hours a day? how about the government picks who they think is the best person and the most hardworking, and those people are allowed to have children and the others aren't? population control!

    I can't believe what I'm hearing. I thought this was America. What happened to our personal freedom? Why does the government regulate morality? The government should not regulate the private lives of its citizens, period.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  4. jack

    What are you afraid of?
    Test all these freeloaders.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  5. paull

    how about in my state (florida) no benefits if they keep pushing out babies while on welfare and not knowing who the dad is???was on welfare while my daughter was on chemo, and i had to literally had to fight for her medicaid after paying taxes for 30 was totally humiliating to sit in the open waiting room and see what i witnessed, what a country???

    April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  6. JMG

    I find it incomprehensible that they want to tie drug testing to unemployment benefits. The people that have lost their jobs due to the economy earned unemployment benefits through working, and their employers paid for their right to collect through an unemployment tax. For taxpayers to pay for drug tests for people that are out of work due to the economy is an expense we don't need, and if they are going to do that then quit taxing my business to pay for unemployment benefits for the people that I have employed over the years.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  7. Chris

    Clearly none of you who are opposed to this have been to Asbury Park, NJ.. There are countless crack heads receiving welfare in that city alone. If you think this will waste your tax dollars, think again. The more people we stop paying to get high, the more money we will save, it's simple math. Drug tests are cheap these days, heck you can go to your local pharmacy and get one for under $20. I'd say that's a considerable savings over a a monthly welfare check.

    And for those of you who had any illusion that those working for the government(contractors, sub-contractors, politicians, etc..)are not tested for drugs, you are sorely mistaken. Drug testing for employees is written into all government contracts and required at all levels of employment.

    And for those of you who don't know anyone who has been addicted to something like heroine, crack, cocaine or meth, let me share a bit of insight. Someone who is addicted to these types of drugs will most likely need to hit "rock bottom" before they stop using. If we stop enabling them with free money, they will be forced to stop either by the fact that they will have no more source of income, or by the fact that they will be out on the streets. They will hit thier bottom and then they can use the many programs in place to help them recover and once again become contributing members of society.

    I think this a great piece of legislature and I hope it gets passed.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  8. Rick Foster

    Gonna include the worst and most easily obtained drug doing the most damange to society? Alcohol? Didn't think so!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  9. Michael

    Great idea! The end result is that the unemployed's gets challenged on a maybe, the medical establishment makes more, and the state costs go up. Solves nothing. Similar to the 'War on Drug' which has accomplished nothing but get some people killed, cost the taxpayer a fortune, and the problem has only gotten bigger. Must be government at work.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  10. Penny

    I think there should be a drug test for any type of government assistance. The government allows employers to drug test their employees that provided the tax money for the assistance programs. I'm drug test to make my money so those people who recieve their money ( which is partly mine) from the government should too.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  11. btinc

    How about mandatory drug testing for all State and Federal legislators? Certainly making laws and taking drugs are incompatible.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  12. Andre

    If the states can and are willing to pay for the testing then I think that it is an excellent idea. I did my masters degree in the UK and lived amongst some people who did everything they could to stay on welfare – while they spent a sizable amount of the money given to them by the state on alcohol. Even though there were cheap job training programs available the lure of alcohol and cigarettes was far too strong to have them participate in these programs.

    My experience in the UK during 1991-2, showed me that government much do something to track the effectiveness of the money that they spend on welfare. This is not cruel or stupid. People on welfare cannot seriously expect that other peoples' taxes will go to fund their alcohol and cigarettes (or even worse drugs)!

    Yes, not everyone on welfare takes illegal drugs, drinks excessive alcohol or smokes like a chimney. However, how would anyone ever know who the problem cases are? Monitoring, if it could be made efficient and ramdom enough, would be a great help for the government to know where it needs to focus more attention.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  13. Amber

    I think that people should be tested to get any government help. I have to take a drug test to get a job so why shouldn't they. I think a lot of people would be surprised on how many people that are on government assistance are using drugs and that they sell their food stamps for drug money.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  14. Damion

    This is EXACTLY what we need! If I am out busting my butt everyday to live right and pay taxes then you should too. Espically if you are taking my money to eat. The problem is when you take the wellfare benefits and claim you can't live without them and then go buy a dime sack of weed. This is gonna pass if the american population gets to vote on it because most everyone out there has the same attitude as me ... "those who do not work do not eat"

    April 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  15. Jenna

    I do think people should be required to pass a drug/urine test in order to receive benefits from the government! I bet all of us know at least one person using government benefits for drugs and/or alcohol! I personally don't like working 40/50 work weeks in the Air Force and being required to take a urine test and those who receive benefits from my tax money getting off easy. Fair is fair.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  16. Rick

    How ridiculous! Does the govenment have to pass any tests demonstrating they won't misuse the money taken from our paychecks prior to taking it? This proposal is nothing more than an attempt to avoid paying out funds to unfortunate people who have lost their jobs. Unconscionable.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  17. Char

    That is the most asinine thing they have come up with. Only if Congress and the Senate has to to get their paychecks. Why is it always main street. They are always trying to cheat us out of everything that was promised.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  18. Iven

    I think they Should take the wisky rum and vodka away from the rednecks in office

    April 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  19. Tim

    ABSOLUTELY it is a good idea!!....if i have to take a drug test to get a PAYcheck, they can take one to get a BENEFIT check.....

    April 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  20. MsCherissa

    It seems a very wasteful notion suggestion by a man who likely doesn't know the cost of a gallon of milk. My admittedly light web research indicates each drug test would cost approximately forty dollars. A hungry person can make forty dollars stretch a very long way. Forty dollars is a 'good faith' payment on utilities, too. If the government believes it has got a spare $40(US) per benefits applicant, why not simply GIVE that money to them?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  21. mark quijano

    i think that person should be removed from office. the reason is :not knowing everyones situation to want to pass such a hardcore blanket piece of legislation this person has to be a sociopath. i personally think only pot should be legalized as its obviously less harmfull than cigs or alcohol. i smoked it alot as a teen and very early 20s as did all of my freinds its easily as easy to quit as coffee ,,,pot,,,now its all coffee and cigs for decades

    April 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  22. john

    When I did drugs in the 70's, I laid around unemployed until the money ran out. No drugs, great job! Do drugs often you get lazy. Why not test to gain unemployment benefits or food stamps.

    It is amazing how many people use weed and coke, and not just the younger generation, it overflows into senior citizens. It is not a liberal conservative issue it is an American issue.

    If we begin addressing users we will see less uses of illegal drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  23. I.P. Freehley

    If the soldiers fighting for our freedoms have to do it, why not the bums who lay around all day and soak off the government ? Plus too, most people who work for private and public owned companys have to test. We're the ones paying the taxes so you bums can lay around and soak up the benefits.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  24. paul

    Do republicans ever think before coming up with a new idea?

    What do you think will happen if you take away the only legal source of income of a drugs user? Are they just going to wait until they die of starvation or will they turn to crime on even bigger scale? What will the cost be of dealing with this extra criminal activity?

    And why would you think it is a good idea to take away food stamps of a family because mommy or daddy is on drugs.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  25. Ang

    Not only should drug testing be manditory for receiving any tax-payer funded benefits (not unemployment, but food stamps and welfare) but anyone on such programs should also be on MANDITORY BIRTH CONTROL!!! If you can't afford to take care of yourself and any other children you may have, you should not be allowed to perpetuate the problem while on assistance.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  26. John

    I think that all of County, State, and Gov. Employees and elected officals should have to take random drug test. We might be surprised. Put, that in your pipe and smoke it. LOL

    April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  27. P James

    I don't think that testing for drugs is the answer; that law will be challanged in the courts and cost money to litigate and take years to litigate. How about putting a term length on how long a person can get assistance? If you need itfor more than a year, then you need to be examined by a physician, once a year, to requalify. How about requiring you must take some vocational training classes to learn a work skill? Getting people off the "dole" is impossible if they do not have any job skills.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  28. Chris

    Drug Testing should NOT be required for unemployment benefits. You only get the benefits if you've been laid off from your job. That means, all drug users had a job. And, you pay into unemployment with every paycheck. Why should they get denied a benefit that they pay into?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  29. Patricia

    I think we need a test that can detect how much beer or wine or hard liquor a person drank in the week leading up to the test.

    Alcohol is the leading drug of abuse in America.

    Why should we pay people to sit around the house and drink?

    Alcohol is a known addictive drug. Any drug testing for unemployment benefits has to include alcohol or it's an utter sham and a violation of equal protection under the law too.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  30. Val


    Look, I am fortunately, still gainfully employed in an industry that is not laying off (yet). Just last Friday I had to submit to a random drug test to keep my job. Guess what kids, if you want government money, which is every hard working taxpayers money, then you can submit to a drug test. When you get off the welfare rolls, then you can do whatever you want.

    Then again, being the cold, heartless person I am. I think that all welfare offices should be located next door to planned parenthood. You have to go to PP before you get your check. $30 a month for birth control is cheaper than supporting a child for 18 years. I also propose a flat $2000 reward for those who undergo voluntary sterilization, men and women receiving benefits for more than a few (meaning 2 or 3 years).

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  31. Rochelle

    Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  32. Christian

    well once all our elected officals are drug free then go ahead....but even our President has admitted to using drugs ( marijuanna and coke). It is a well known fact that Capital Hill loves the coke so sure once they ( our elected officals) have to pass random tests for a paycheck then sure we all can vote on it.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  33. thomas

    Once again politician making headline law that means nothing. How about enforcing the drug laws we have on the books already instead of legislating more in something that has nothing to do with drugs.

    The unemployment benefits are for people who are inbetween jobs to act as their paycheck. So if they spent their pay check on drugs before why should we care if they are using their UIB on drugs now.

    If I were a betting man the legislation sponsor has little interest in blocking drug use but more in making sure his brother-in-law's Lab gets the contract for all the test

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  34. rick

    Wan't to clean up america!!!!!! Drug test for everything drivers licsene, passports, air travel, business licsenes and I meen everything!!!!! Im and ex drug user and it's a road no one should or needs to go down!!!!!! Make it legal won't help. They will still run out of money. Then steal and rob!!!!! So what if the government taxes it. It seems they don't know how to spend our money also.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  35. Banst

    What a novel idea! Most of us had to pass a drug test to earn our paychecks why shouldn't we hold welfare recipients to the same standard! And, as for government workers.....wouldn't that be interesting to see how many actually passed! Then could we audit their tax records....wonder how many we could thin out!!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  36. Elle

    This is a "no-brainer". Of course people need to be drug tested before getting unemployment, welfare or food stamps. And, they should go straight to jail if they are not taking care of their kids. Why is this so difficult to fathom? I don't get it.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  37. Norm Wright

    If we are going to go with this plan, then we should not give benefits to anyone who uses alcohol, or legal drugs that are not prescribed or used in the prescribed fashion. And, not just for people who don't work, but let's fire anyone who works and uses alcohol and/or other drugs. And, while we're at it, let's fire or not give benefits to anyone using tobacco. Oh, and let's include fat, which has proven to be harmful to everyone's health, over and over again. Let's outlaw fat while we're at it. What's the point in all this?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  38. Shirley

    Please know this. Nevada State Welfare did not test for drug use. However, if the client had problems maintaining employment they were further assessed by Social Workers who could recommend an assessment for Drug Use. If the client admitted or was found to be a user, they were offered drug treatment and a program to keep their family together while in treatment and then employment or employment training and then employment. Did it work? Yes. They either found out they could stay clean and work or they couldn't. In either case the children's welfare came first. How do I know. I was a Social Worker for the division during the first 5 years of Welfare Reform. They were the most rewarding years so far other than working with the homeless and the Katrina victims. That was also very rewarding. We were in the top 10 states inthe country reducing welfare rolls during that time.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  39. Elliot

    This is a ridiculous idea. I for one am sick and tired of the government trying to regulate the personal lives of its citizens. What's the idea here? People who use/have used drugs don't deserve any kind of a hand up from the government? Why don't we focus on solving the root of the economic crisis rather than using it as an excuse to pass unamerican morality legislation.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  40. teresa

    i think its a great idea why should i that works hard everyday pay for the habit of those who do drugs because what they do is sell food stamps for cash to buy drugs

    April 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  41. Barbara

    Finally!! I'm a hard working, social security paying citizen. I know there are those that need and do not abuse the social services system, however, yet again – there are those that do. Require drug testing!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  42. collin

    Of course we should, if you are putting your hand out for the government to help support you because you can't do it on your own then you lose that privacy righ the rest of us have that don't ask others for help. Drug test every welfar, foodstamp person for sure!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  43. doug

    There isn't any way that a drug test should be used to determine eligibility for benefits. Definitely not. That's as wrong as denying benefits to overweight people or obese people. The people that dream this nonsense up should check in with the real world every now and again. What a stupid idea.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  44. Brenda Anderson

    Drug tests for receiving welfare YES. Unemployment benefits no

    April 1, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  45. Jim in Florida

    I see that ignorance abounds here. In 20 years in the Navy I submitted to numerous urine tests.

    Brian, you are wrong. Coke and other hard drugs hang around a lot longer than "a day or so" as you suggest. Pot even longer.

    Hey, listen, people ar egoing to use drugs – fact of life.

    However, we should not be expected to finance that drug use with UC benefits or any other government handout.

    Many here believe that some of these people use their benefits to pay the utilities bill, etc. – dohhhh, you think just maybe they cas a giovernment check and walk around the corner and make a drug score?


    Government benefits admi9nistration should be tightened up and maybe some drug testing could be part of an overall program to stop abuse in this area.

    Then again maybe Obama would love it if you are totally dependent on the government dole and just stay high – emerging once in 4 years to vote for Obama.

    Obama's "War on Drugs" slogan

    "Just stay high"

    April 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  46. pablo

    Just typical of somebody who has never had to go without would even suggest this kind of legislation.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  47. Christine

    Where do I start??? hmmmm...
    Let's start with the fact that most employers or potential employers do a drug screening. If you do not pass then you are out of a job.
    Public aid is essentially a job that tax payers pay for. When you are on public aid you are required to do the following: Prove you are looking for work or educating yourself for a better job. (Education that tax payers pay). Public aid is a short term program not a lifetime program. I have known people who would trade their foodstamps for cash so they could get the drugs or alcohol.They know what they are doing when they seek out to exchange these food stamps. Which by the way is a CRIME. Of course this person I am talking about lost their benefits for good and they paid all of it back to the state. It forced this person to get clean and they are now a responsible WORKING citizen. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions especially when they are recieving assistance from others. For the people who are saying that drugs/ alcohol is a disease please don't compare them to cancer patients, heart disease patients etc. because their illness is not by CHOICE! I wake up everyday and choose to do the RIGHT thing and so can they. Frankly I don't want to hear the sob stories that they were raised in a bad enviroment or that they came from a long line of drug abusers. My childhood was not that great but who many people have it worse than I did. I am adult now and I make my own decisions on doing the right thing. I for sure will not be an enabler. God forgives everyone and you can start fresh everyday on his slate! Sometimes people need that push....and this is it! As for unemployement benefits thats no one's business but yours. If you paid into the system then you should get whats yours. But eventually that will run out and those people will need assistance. So if they are drug users then they have a rude awakening!!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  48. Dennis

    Sorry but this is a bit nuts. For example I take medications to control pain 100% Doctor supervised. So I can never lose my job or apply for a new one? Do people who work for the government actually think before acting?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  49. Justin

    Does this mean we will be testing for nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol also. Even if they are not mentioned in the same breath as "drugs", that is exactly what they are. They are more addictive and more damaging to your body than most of the "drugs" that would be tested for. We really just need to pull our heads out of our asses and stop this "drug war" stuff. Half the reason why drugs are a problem and there is violence and addiction surrounding them is because they are illegal and stigmatized anyways.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  50. luke stone

    drugs should be legal and taxed
    it will boost the economy and it will get rid of the drug war violence, so we can finally get to more important issues at hand like the environment and all the people starving and dying of medicals issues.
    should the government control what we do when we are off the clock
    no one should to take a drug test period. if you don't use at work then i don't see the problem.
    why do we give the government the power to control are lives. land of the free ha more like land of the brain washed and shackled.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  51. Steve

    Good idea in theory but extremely hard and costly to implement. To start, notice of testing must be by subpoena to insure receipt of bottle or administered at the time of application and picking up a check. Then when the sample is provided it must be monitored either by the case worker or at the local police department to insure it is the donor's urine and not someone else's carried in a plastic bag attached to the inside waist area. Finally upon completion, the sample has to be tested by a competent and trusted lab and the sample saved for retesting should the results be contested. These are just the steps and not the cost involved in the administration aspects. I'm afraid the addict will continue to collect their checks unabated.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  52. Chris

    This is ridiculous on several levels. For one people pass drug tests all the time and still hold their jobs. Secondly, drug tests are expensive, and the whole layout of testing is illogical. Sixty days? A cocaine user could be clean in three, even marijuana is clean in 30. Governments need to stop worrying about what people are doing and focus upon offering jobs and rebuilding the citizen-government relationship. We don't need any big brother's gaping over our shoulders while we pee, and even if they were there....there would be a way to counteract it.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  53. Patricia

    If they do this for drugs, then I demand that it be done for alcohol too.

    Why should I finance some unemployed guy so he can sit around and drink beer all day?

    That beer is not going to help him get a job. That beer is going to make him satisfied with sitting home drinking.

    If there's a drug test, then by rights there should also be a beer test and a wine test and a Bloody Mary test and a vodka and Red Bull test too.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  54. Phil

    If the idea is to be work-ready then shouldn't alcohol, sedatives and anti-depressants be included? And how about nicotine, Mr. West Virginia, doesnt' that stuff limit your ability to hold a job?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  55. Catherine Smith

    It's about time!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  56. Alan

    I would support mandatory drug testing (and a negative (clean) result) before any individual received taxpayer money for unemployment. If you have enough money to buy drugs – why would I as a taxpayer be asked to subsidize your life and drug use?

    If you have a drug abuse problem and are otherwise unable to support yourself – then we will get you into a treatment program. A condition of us as taxpayers paying for such treatment is that you need to stay clean. If you are getting positive drug tests while we are trying to help you – then you aren't as dedicated to being helped as we are to help you.

    If you want to use illegal drugs in your own life – go ahead. But don't ask me as a taxpayer to work and fund your lifestyle.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  57. Mike Ryan

    Does this guy Blair drink alcohol, take pain killers, xanax or oxycontin like another famous Republican – because if he does, when he loses his seat in whatever crappy southern state he is from, than he won't qualify for any benefits either.

    Than again these legislators that make up all of the rules are already exempt from all of the harsh justice that we regular folks have to endure.

    I am so sick of these punks making rules up that we have to abide by, but they are above the law.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  58. miguel

    i dont recall getting drug tested when i was/am paying taxes off of my payroll into the government dont waste my time and money now.......i am ok with this idea, but it has to initiate at the beginning, not when my government feels like it........a little too made you're bed, now lie in it......

    April 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  59. Sara

    The goverment needs to worry about how to get these people back to work. They pay taxes and are citizens then they should have benefits of being an American. How far do we want the goverment in our lives? What's next if you smoke/drink then you can't get unemployment. Good grief these people need help so that they don't become a larger burden on our society. Who cares what they do in their spare time to help ease the pain of being laid off. Let the potential employer make that call.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  60. Colin

    If you are using illegal drugs, you are already sucking the life out of the system. No personal responsibility, no benefits!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  61. Carolyn Robbins

    I believe all receipents of Welfare, food stamps and any other handouts should be drug tested. My tax payers money is going for their habit!!! I know of many of them already.. The child still suffers and the dead beat men are living off that mother because she recieves money, also the mother is doing drugs also. then the mother of the children get pregnant again and the man also not required to pay child support like other men do. Where does this stop...

    April 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  62. Dakota

    i think this is a good idea. this being said, i also enjoy drugs. i have a job. i have never been enrolled in any government programs. i pay for my own. i don't make you buy them and i am not interested in supplying others. if you want to keep your bad habits, work for them. i understand this is hard with the economy the way it is...tough break.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  63. laurie

    If I must pass a drug test, background check and physical to land a decent job.. why shouldn't we all have to pass at least a drug screen to get paid for not working. Not that it is the jobless' fault that he/she is not working but regardless, we should still be drug free if we are getting money from the taxpayers. What you do with your earned paycheck is your business.. but I do not want to pay for anyone's addiction.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  64. Patricia

    It's an insane and idiotic idea that would only make the country worse off.

    The people who would be hurt the worst would be the children, of course.

    A urine test can show evidence of marijuana for up to six weeks after the person last smoked pot.

    So some casual marijuana user's children will have to go without eating because Dad or Mom smoked one little joint six weeks before getting laid off?

    Marijuana prohibitionists are controlling and crazy people. I think they're literally crazy.

    To make children starve to death because their parents smoke a little pot once in a while?

    That's crazy.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  65. alaskan pragmatist

    Another sign of the apocalypse and an increasingly sick society

    April 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  66. Tim

    Sure Good Idea and they should also test Section 8 housing, low income housing, welfare, food stamp, cops, police, army, navy, airforce, congress, the senante and a bunch of peopel getting any federal money!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  67. Scy

    What a joke. How about political ideology? How about just alcohol or cigarettes? How about false positives in the tests? These types of tests cost a fortune. Another government morality play. In other words . . . a joke.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  68. ken

    Did these people already pay into the system for this type of safety net?

    Hello what did their tax dollars go into the system for?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  69. Carrie

    Yes. Drug test should be given when someone applies for state aid, rent assistance, food cards, etc... It makes sense that if you want everyone else to pay for your lifestyle that your lifestyle stays legal.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  70. Janusz Borko

    Are you shooting or sniffing Ryan?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  71. Janet

    This would be a great idea if there were a way to screen for illegal drugs. The problem is there are many people on legally prescribed medications that will show up as a false positive on a drug test. How you would track and handle that?

    April 1, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  72. Eric

    Great idea! Far to often, people wait for their welfare checks to pay off the drug debts they have accumulated for the month. I am tired of giving my money to people that spend it on smokes, drugs, and alcohol. It needs to stop. Half these people have cash jobs or sell drugs, and are withholding tax dollars to the govt. as well.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  73. Chrissy

    Point of fact – states receive some funds for uneomloyment insurance. However the bulk is paid by the states. Each state funds uenmployment differently. The most common, I think, is a payroll tax on employers.
    In Mass, the employer pays the payroll tax into his account for every person he employs. If one of his separated employee collects, UI, its from that account until the account ends and then the employee gets paid from a tax payer solvency account.
    So when people post that it's "their money", that most likely is not the case. Unemployment Insurance is not like social security. You don't have a personal account you are paying into. I'm not aware of any state that places the funding on the individual employee. NH does it similarly too.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  74. norcal jaf

    YES YES YES you should have to take a drug test..they make you take a drug test to work anywhere anymore, so why should'nt you have to take one to get FREE help!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  75. Jamieson

    I think its a great idea. If they are getting benefits from the government, they should be spending it on food and shelter...not drugs. I get up and go to work every day, I pay my taxes and dont do drugs. It upsets me to know that there are people out there floating through life, getting some of that tax money, only to waste it on their habit.
    If people genuinely need the help to survive, they should have nothing to hide when asked to pee in a cup.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  76. Nancy

    I back him,If they are doing drugs they will sell their foot stamp for money to buy the drugs. It is really a good thing that he doing. So I back him 100%.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  77. harland johnson

    I'm all for this one. Anyone getting any assistance check from the govt. should be checked. Drug use is NOT a disease any more than smoking cigarettes is a disease. It is something people do by choice, duh!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  78. mike


    April 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  79. Chrissy

    People are losing their jobs every day in this bad economy do to no fault of their own. Companies are filing for bankruptcy, shutteringtheir doors or lyaing off half their staff.
    What makes anyone think that these people who need unemployment are drug users?
    Seriously, they weren't fired for drug use. Why assume that they are guilty of that?
    Unbelievable the anger and illogical that some people have.
    But I have to enjoy the irony of a pol thinking that the common person is shady.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  80. D Spence

    Yes drug testing should be a requirement. If you can afford to feed your habit then you can afford to feed yourself. Why should my tax dollars pay for food for a junkie, who will not be able to pass a employment drug test and therefore live off those of use who work and pay taxes. About a month ago I was in a local grocery store and the idiot infront of me used her foodstamp card to pay for $45. worth of King Crab Legs, I stood in disbelief thinking I cannot afford King Crab legs but my tax dollars pay for King Crab Legs for those receiving welfare. There are just somethings that should be kept out of the foodstamp program (King Crab Legs at $15. a pound). I am not against helping but there should be a cap on the length of the benefits (2 years) and how soon you can reapply if you find yourself in a situation. I also think that volunteering should be a requirement of receiving benefits. Before anyone says anything (such as you cannot take just anyone to volunteer) there are many things that can be done yes even by felons litter removal from the street. I could go on and on but should end my rant right here.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  81. Karen

    Check with your state's unemployment office. Business owners pay unemployment taxes. Employees do not "pay in".

    April 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  82. Scott

    If I have to get drug tested to keep my job to pay taxes to help pay for those who have lost their jobs, why shouldn't they have to take a drug to get unemployment benefits? It's common sense

    April 1, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  83. susan

    Yes, test for drugs! It will encourage people to stay off the drugs. My husband and many of his friends are an example of WHY. He has been very creative for excuses to not go to job interviews when he knew there was drug testing involved. He knew he would not pass the test. He sat on his butt at home on umemployment. using tax $$$ for drugs. If the money was not provided to him, maybe he would clean up his act get off drugs and get a job

    April 1, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  84. Katie

    I think it's a great idea...why should people continue to receive FREE food and FREE money when they are trading their food stamps for drugs and using that money to also buy drugs? As someone who has worked in the social work system for years and has seen this first hand, it is very frustrating to see how many people abuse the benefits they are given year in and year out. The same people tend to get the benefits and the same people sell or use them for drugs. IF someone wants continued benefits for more than let's say 6 months, then they absolutely should have to be tested. To be honest, very few people receiving benefits use them for what it is intended.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  85. Bob

    It seems a LOT of people are confusing unemployment and welfare. It's truly a shame that so many people are uneducated and don't understand where the money for each program comes from.

    The underlying point of this whole idea seems to be to remove the "lifers" as one poster put it. It is impossible to be a "lifer" on unemployment as most states of a limit of 6months to two years maximum that you can be on unemployment.

    It's really "welfare" that needs the reform. How about instead of handing out blank foodstamp coupons that anyone can use, print each foodstamp up with the person's driver's license number on it. That way only THAT person can use them. If druggies are intent on exchanging the stamps for money or drugs, they'll still find a way to do it..but it would probably significantly cut back on how often that happens.

    April 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  86. Eugene, San Jose, CA

    Finance 101:

    Unemployment is insurance paid by private corporations (like health, car, or homeowners insurance is paid by private citizens).

    Food stamps are welfare benefits paid by taxpayers.

    I'm someone who hates drugs and smoking - never took drugs, never smoked, eats a semi-vegetarian diet with natural supplements.

    Now, will we allow uneducated individuals who don't know the difference between INSURANCE and WELFARE set dangerous legal precedents, leading to drug testing for auto insurance, homeowners insurance, perhaps even life insurance?

    By all means test WELFARE RECIPIENTS but don't let some uneducated fool create legislation that mixes apples and oranges!

    April 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  87. lstomsl

    Where I live all the oil rig workers that used to smoke a joint in the evenings to relax and were still able to be productive citizens have switched to meth and coke so they can work long hours of overtime and pass a drug test. The effect on our community has been horrible. Sadly this is the true result of drug tests and our idiotic war on drugs. Harmless and healthy stoners turn into raving tweakers. Think before you act!!!! Honest, intelligent sounding ideas often have horrible consequences when reality is allowed to enter the picture.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  88. maya

    definitely! I support this100%. If you dont use drugs and are uneployed for legitimate reasons thanyou dont have nothing to worry about. There is to many man and women out there that are misusing government system that was designed to help you out until you can get on your feet. I hope that this bill will pass throughout the whole country

    April 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  89. Rick

    YES YES YES ! Its about time. This should have been done years ago. I am tired of supporting those that will not work when they know WE the tax payer will foot the bill.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  90. Rebecca

    If I have to be drug-free to pay taxes, then those who receive my money should also be drug-free. I work long and hard to pay into the program and it makes me sick to know that some of those people receiving MY money are sitting around having a "high" time.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  91. X

    This is such a rediculous display of political arrogance at its best. If Craig could take a break from detailing his rediculous mustache he might have the chance to form a rational thought.

    Sure, we can drug test, but what does that solve? Now we have an increasing number of drug addicts with no revenue stream who will, I promice you, search for alternative means of fueling their addiction (most likely illegal means) before they ever kick the habbit.

    If you want to drug test people on welfare, fine. You need to then provide a rehabilitation resource to those who fail. I can't imagine how taking money away from drug addicts could possible improve their situation. Besides, if you're going to drug test the lowest class, you should consider drug testing the upper class....

    ....Oh wait, then half of Washington would be out of a job.


    April 1, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  92. Larry Pinter

    It's about time they get their act together. Most people are subjected to random drug tests to keep their jobs-so if you wants your welfare check and food stamps you should have to pass a random drug test. We sure could use it in Illinois.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  93. jmes s roberts, dallas

    With the country is a downward spiral I can't imagine a less important topic than giving benefits to unemployed, who use drugs.

    A few questions;
    1. What constitute a drug and drug abuse?
    2. Recent reports suggest a growing population of former military personnel. Do you turn your back on them; Freedom Fighters?
    3. Would it apply to employees @ companies with US Government military contracts? US Government's payment for military armament is nothing more than government "benefit"
    4. What about employee @ Financial companies US Government bought.
    5. Let's go with Airline companies next.

    I think the point is made. Focus on higher value initiatives, not punitive, but worthwhile efforts to improve communities

    April 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  94. James

    How about this? Legalize marijuana, tax it like crazy like we do for cigarettes, then use some of the money to administer drug tests for the more dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, etc. We just need a good way to administer a field test for driving under the influence of marijuana.

    Also any elected official should be given drug tests just like all government employees and members of the military are given today. Random drug tests are a great preventative measure for any organization. Drug use in the military, which used to be much more prevalent (aka Vietnam era), is down considerably today. Sadly, many service members instead become alcoholics.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  95. Josh

    Great! Waste more of my tax dollars on the War on Drugs that has been sooo effective! Did you miss the huge hint of sarcasm there? Who's idea was it to start this endless train of incompetence and waste known as "The War on Drugs?" Fill my prisons and jails with people who should be there; murders, rapist, AIG CEO's! Deny them unemployment and send them to programs!!!

    April 1, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  96. Mr J

    Lets just test everyone in the whole country every 3days so we can catch the coke heads, Nicotine, caffeine, amphetamine, barbiturates, including barbiturates, alcohol, heroin, aspirin, beta blockers, Valium, etc...etc. And when your CEO, Teacher, Sherrif, doctor, lawyer, congressman fails the test, even if it is a false positive, which happens more than you think, we can fire them all and make them do some jail time, some community service cleaning the streets and garbage of our beautiful cities. Then we should give them back their original jobs and see what they think about the beautiful American dream where Jesus, Alla, and Yahweh fixes all our.problems. There are few things worse than being stupid, poor and have no opportunity to better yourself. Stick them farther down the hole why don't you? Hoist that flag of many colors and step on whomever you want.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  97. Just thinking

    I think that drug testing for government benefits is a fantastic idea. The taxes that are taken from most people's paycheck to pay for government benefits come from folks that must work in a drug-free workplace.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  98. mark c

    not only do i agree with this, but for real i think after 2 kids and no job and using drugs you should be forced to have your tubes tied, i have been clean for 15 yrs and watch people come into the program and keep using every month because they get that check what a shame to see people who cant get this thing called recovery, it tears a lot of us apart we try to help they keep getting high and if there lucky they wont die what a bill to have introduced you get my vote

    April 1, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  99. Wanda

    sure. brilliant, in fact. We have other requirements that apply to welfare, food stamps, unemployment - why not add a urine test? Drug use is a choice, not a predestined fate. I'm not saying they can't do drugs... just that they should choose which is more important to them, drugs or assistance and then own the consequences of that choice.

    April 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  100. mark

    this BOZO has no clue! unemployment benifits are NOT tax dollars. It is your money that YOU have involuntarily put away just for this reason. That the government is keeping it for you and using it for thier own purposes does NOT MATTER! It is your money! Now if they extend benefits that go beyond what you have in your unemployment then perhaps then this might be in order but this type of test while you are drawing your own money is simply wrong and OUT OF THE QUESTION!.

    g'dang bozo !

    April 1, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
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