Follow-up: Drug testing

A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post:

As has been recently highlighted by The Daily Show, the proportion of people in Florida failing drugs tests as part of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) screening process is, in fact, significantly lower than the estimated proportion of drug users in the population of Florida as a whole. The stereotypes being perpetuated by lawmakers, depicting welfare users as drug addicts or otherwise unworthy of help, is abjectly failing to show any correspondence to reality.

And it’s clear that a negative stereotype of the poor is exactly what this program both depends on and exacerbates. As the ACLU point out, no such requirement is made of other demographics who also rely on taxpayer funds for support – such as politicians.

It should be noted that the number mentioned in this article, for how much the program is costing the state, is rather lower than the number I quoted yesterday. But it’s still clear that this targeting of poor people is of negative value in every respect.

Edit: A commenter from the drugsandotherthings blog mentions some other important points that didn’t occur to me while originally writing this up: the TANF program fails to take into account the effects of tobacco and alcohol on a person’s lifestyle, and their subsequent suitability for government aid, and simply looks at illegal drug use alone as the sole indicator of worthiness; it’s liable to end up closing down future prospects for people struggling with drug problems even further by removing a potential lifeline; oh, and it may well be an illegal violation of the Fourth Amendment, since these personal searches are being conducted without any probable cause.

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3 thoughts on “Follow-up: Drug testing

  1. I blogged on this a few days ago- so just a couple quick points.

    I find it odd that the conservatives, who wrap themselves in the constitution, can support a move that so clearly violates the Fourth Ammendment- the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. There is no probable cause to administer a search (urinalysis).

    Beyond that it ignores the issue that alcohol abuse/addiction is at least as much, if not a much greater factor in people being unable to maintain a job or rise from poverty. It also ignores the fact that these people remain free to spend their taxpayer dollars on alcohol and tobacco.

    It also offers no help, no pathway out of addiction to the very small percentage of these people who suffer from it. Indeed, cutting off basic support- without offering any help for treatment, is likely to make things worse, not better.

    And finally- it unfairly punishes cannabis users. Cannabis is detectable for weeks- unlike most other drugs which are detectable for hours or days. So someone who chooses to smoke a joint on Saturday night after doing their 40hours at wal-mart, mcdonalds, or the local hotel chain are punished, while the individual who sits around drinking 16 cans of budweiser and chain smoking all day, everyday, continues to collect their check.

  2. Julian says:

    Murcia explica que, para un piso de cien metros cuadrados,
    un lavado de cara rondaría los tres mil euros, a menos que la vivienda se halle en muy condiciones
    malas. Una reforma integral, por otro lado, fluctúa entre los 300 y los cuatrocientos
    euros por metro cuadrado si se decide mudarlo todo; con alternativas el precio podría ser
    la mitad”.

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