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The inception of the program to help the destitute was a great idea, one that was set to ensure that there are no starving people in a first world country. This became a possibility with the signing into law the 1996 Welfare Reform Act by the then president Bill Clinton (De Jong, Graefe & Pierre, 2005). This ensured that there was no one that went hungry in the name of inability to meet their basic needs because they did not have jobs. This has been functioning until the time when it was discovered that something was amiss in the whole issue. It was found that some people, who were abusers of drugs, were reluctant to find jobs as well as them continuing to abuse drug despite their state of joblessness. In this essay the leaner would like to argue that before people are signed in to the welfare program, they must pass through the drug testing program and be issued with a confirmatory certificate for them to be accorded the benefits for which the test must be carried out on an annual basis.
Reasons for Drug testing
Many people have resulted to abuse of drugs some out of peer influence, some out of fan while others it is a business. This means that drug abuse is a bigger problem with some taking it during leisure time and others any time that they feel it is appropriate. Some are addicted to the drugs. Drug abuse in this case is not only restricted to hard drugs like cocaine or heroin but also includes abuse of alcohol and other relatively accepted drugs. This means that these people who abuse drugs are more likely to continue to abuse them even if they do not have much money to continue with the habit.
For people who should be receiving the welfare benefits they are intended to be people who will use the benefits to edify their families. It has been found out that the people who are drug dependent are mostly women who are either pregnant or parenting (Pollack et al., 2002). To make matters worse, when asked to go for testing and treatment, only the low income mothers that received cash assistance and abused drugs partially participated in the exercise (Pollack & Reuter, 2006).
In states like Florida where there has been major strides taken in ensuring that those pursuing welfare benefits are tested for drug abuse, it has been found that there has been a substantial decrease in public menace as reported by Orwin et al. (2004) And The Associated Press (2011). The reason for this push has mainly been attributed to the fact that despite these people being in need, they still have the time and money to go wasting on drugs.
To make matters worse, these drug abusers are not looking for jobs but rather dependent on the provision given to them for their upkeep (The Associated Press, 2011). It is clear that these people are using the tax payers’ money to buy drugs for which the government is working to stop its supplies (The Associated Press, 2011). It may sound ironical but having to service people with money that will ensure continued drug abuse is not right.
There have been major outcries on the public domain as far as government mismanaging and misappropriating taxpayers’ money in areas and activities that do not deserve attention. Not that giving money to needy families is a crime but rather funding people to abuse drugs using taxpayers’ money is unacceptable. It has been argued that conducting the drug test on people seeking welfare support is not to try to sensor people from the benefits but rather to try to keep the drugs of the U. S. streets (The Associated Press, 2011).
Another line of thought is that if the people seeking welfare benefits have money to go spending on drugs, then it is ironical since these people should not be in the welfare benefits program in the first place (The Associated Press, 2011). This makes a lot of sense since the money that they are spending on drugs should be enough for their upkeep.
Another reason why there should be drug testing for people seeking welfare benefits is because there needs to be clarification of the level of dependence on drugs as well as the verification of whether the person has a psychiatric problem or that person is a drug abuser (Pollack et al., 2002). It is clear that in the event that these people are separated those that need psychiatric help will be accorded while those that need rehabilitation will also be assisted (Pollack et al., 2002).
What needs to be done?
Based on the necessity of the issue and the viability of the project, it is essential that there needs to be separation between groups of people who seek welfare benefits. First, there needs to be screen for drug abuse among all applicants of the welfare program. The screening needs to be able to distinguish between psychiatric cases and drug abuse cases. Secondly, for the psychiatric cases, there needs to be a mechanism for assisting these people but not deny them the welfare benefits. However in this category, there needs to be added support that is made mandatory so that there are more sane people getting the benefits and having good health. Thirdly, there is need for identification of those people who are casual drug abusers and those that are addicted drug abusers. For the casual drug abusers, the people have to chose, like Pollack et al. (2002) proposes, to either receive the welfare benefits on condition that they also receive therapy for their conditions or miss the benefits altogether. For the addicted drug abusers, they too have to choose to undergo medical treatment under the surveillance of the department issuing them with the welfare benefits package or miss the benefits altogether.
This issue is bound to bring some challenges. To start with, it is expected that these people are more likely to have challenges with the legal departments. This has been an issue that has brought much debate even to the extent of moving to court like in the case of Florida and Indiana (The Associated Press, 2011).
Based on the research that was done on women who depend on welfare benefits, it became evident that one fifth of all those that were receiving the benefits were actually drug abusers and needed help with their problems (Pollack et al., 2002). This indicates the needy cases for which upkeep financing is the problem but also medical & health care is the problem. These people have to continue working to get out of their habits but some have to make decision on whether or not they want to stop. Of these people, it was also found that only about five percent of them were actually dependent on drug making it relatively easier to stop. However this is a decision that cannot be imposed on the people.
There also arises a challenge since some people are expected to fail the drug test despite their need to have the welfare benefits. This makes it important to ensure that those needy cases are dealt with in a sensitive manner.
Another challenge is that of those in the community who are poor turning out to become destitute if they fail to pass the drug test (Orwin et al., 2004). This however has been covered
Based on the essay’s findings, it is clear that there is need to have drug testing. Many of those people seeking welfare benefits are to a great extent able to support their daily upkeep based on the economic status of the drug they abuse. This means that such people, unless they agree to undergo through government surveillance during their rehabilitation programs, they ought not to be given the welfare benefits. It is also clear that there are some cases where the drug abusers are too dependent on the drugs that someone else has to make the decision for them. It is also clear that some of those people who seek welfare benefits do not go looking for other job opportunities since they find the benefits sufficient for them. This should be that the benefits are given to the needy people who then get the full support for the first one year and then as a motivation to look for a job, there should be subsequent reduction in the portions offered so that these people look for jobs to support their endeavors instead of depending on taxpayers’ money for their upkeep. For those who need attention on their drug abuse cases, there should be total coverage of their medication and healthcare related issues for the time that they will be under the rehabilitation program till such a time when they can make money after getting employment and being reintegrated into the community. This will be a major boost and there will be more appreciation of the project.