when the facts cease to matter.

There are some days where I feel high school has failed me. This is not one of those days.

It has come to my attention that many people believe spending oodles of amounts of money to drug test every single welfare applicant in order to save tax dollars and weed out abuse is a good idea. In theory drug testing is a great idea. If you have money for drugs then you have money for groceries. The only flaw in this system is the ratio of substance abusers to welfare applicants who just genuinely need some extra help

Since the recession the amount of people applying for welfare and extra assistance has grown with SNAP expenditures increasing from $35 Billion in 2008 to $80 Billion in 2012. With so many people out of jobs and many taking pay cuts and losing hours, it makes sense.

Florida, in order to stop substance abusers from beating the system, started mandatory drug tests for all welfare applicants in July 2011. Only 2% of applicants came back positive. 2%. The law required applicants to pay for their own $30 drug test. Those who came back drug free were reimbursed by the state, those who came back positive would not be reimbursed and would be denied welfare for a year. The state lost $118,140 in reimbursements and testing cost the Florida government an extra $46,000

(New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html?_r=0)

There was no dampening in case load, no actual benefit to the state.

Utah did the same thing spending $30,000 in drug testing and only stopping 12 applicants. 12 whole applicants.(http://www.kansascity.com/2013/08/23/4431250/utah-spent-30k-to-drug-test-welfare.html)

In Arizona, out of 87000 people screened for drugs, one tested positive. one. Disqualifying the single drug abuser saved the state $560 — out of the $200 million in benefits paid out since testing started. An additional $200,000, or one-tenth of 1%, was saved when 1,633 people failed to return their drug use questionnaires.

It makes me wonder why people become so self righteous and greedy that they would rather waste money on people who *might* be doing drugs, rather than put it towards things like education. Like art and music classes in schools, in new textbooks, in improving school lunches. We cant afford to help our children, the ones who will take care of us when we’re old, but we can afford to test those society has deemed lazy, useless drug abusers.

Are we really so selfish?


One thought on “when the facts cease to matter.

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