Thursday, February 18, 2010


I just discovered that there is a petition with thousands of signatures being passed through the internet pressing our elected officials to demand drug testing for recipients of all state and federal assistance programs. Below is a copy of the letter that accompanies the signatures:

I am writing to you to express my support for testing all recipients of State and Federal Assistance, for the presence of illegal drugs. Nowhere in our state or U.S. constitutions is it mandated that financial assistance is a right.

Make no mistake, it is a privilege afforded to those in need by the taxpayers via our federal and state governments. Also, unemployment compensation premiums are currently paid by the employer, not the employee; however that may change very soon. We should also remember that illicit drug use is illegal. It is a crime that has criminal penalties.

I think it's time that we get serious about the problem of illegal drug users abusing our public assistance system. We should require random drug testing for every individual receiving welfare, food assistance or unemployment benefits. After all, more and more employers are requiring drug testing. Why not make sure that people who are supposed to be looking for work are already prequalified by being drug free?

Furthermore, encouraging just one drug addicted, welfare supported mother or father, to get clean, would save potentially thousands upon thousands of dollars. For every child born who is inflicted with a lifelong drug abuse related disease, the taxpayer’s incurred expense could be in the hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of dollars.

Opponents claim that this legislation will hurt the children. Evidence clearly indicates that drug addicted parents are the ones truly inflicting the harm. This bill actually helps to protect the children. Someone who fails a drug test will be given two months to get clean before assistance is cut off. Any good parent would clearly choose their children’s best interest over illegal drugs. And, maybe financial resources or the lack there of will be a greater cessation motivator than the addiction itself.

Remember, the upfront drug testing expense is minimal compared to the backside taxpayer incurred burden.
As for the constitutional issue, it has never been considered by the US Supreme Court. Furthermore, “Big Brother” already invades welfare recipient’s lives by requiring proof of need via payroll receipts and bank account information. Interestingly enough, employees can get fired from their job for drug usage, yet receive unemployment compensation benefits which in turn drives up the cost of employer paid unemployment premiums.

In essence, I believe that this requirement will be constitutional. Opponents of this bill are either enablers of bad (illegal) behavior, drug abusers or the most despicable of all...have a personal financial interest/gain in the demise of a certain segment of our society. And, they’ve yet to offer a viable alternative to this legislation. It’s time we start respecting the taxpayer and get serious about fixing this problem.

Can we investigate this further and see if this could be implemented here in Ulster County?


Anonymous said...

I worry about the statement the author made and I am paraphrasing..".A drug addicted person will want to chose their children over the drugs." Unfortunately, I have seen parents in the throes of their addiction who will sell "their soul" for the drug high and children suffer.The choice to take care of their offspring takes a backseat to the drug. So now you will have children with their parents who have no money because of the cutoff of funds due to a failed drug test.But there is some merit in testing people who receive money from social services.It would be one way to be sure that the monies do not go to the purchase of drugs.I am not quite sure how the innocent parties in the family would be spared.

Anonymous said...

Drug Addiction is now a global problem. This social cancer has spread its poisonous claw all over the world.

Frustration is the cause of this Addiction unemployment problem, political cataclysm, lack of family ties, lack of love affection...etc gives rise to this frustration.

Again this addiction gives rise to social crimes. When the addicted can’t afford to buy drugs, they commit many kinds of social crimes. Like hijacking, looting, plundering, killing, robbery etc.

Drugs bear a terrible effect on human body. They kill them slowly but surely. No physician can stop the changes that take place in the body of a drug addict. Drug addicted people feel drowsy, lose appetite and sleep. The skins of their bodies began change it’s color. Drugs also damage the brain and all internal function of the body.

However this curse shouldn’t be allowed to go on unchecked. At any cost we must get rid of this social cancer by highlighting its dangerous effects on human body and society.

The remedy for drug addiction is not very easy. Greed of drug traders has grasped the whole world. Drug business should must be is punishable and the highest punishment is death sentence in any Country. This law must be enforced immediately.

Our young generation must be aware of the dire consequence of drug abuse. Parents must be careful of their treatment to children. Feelings of security under loving parents may hinder children from being victims of drugs. Social values must be taught from early childhood. Only when each and every person is sincere to drive this curse of drug addiction from the society, human beings can get rid of it. And not before.


Anonymous said...

What about drug testing for elected officials? In a way they are receiving public benefits.

Anonymous said...

This is already being done to some degree. If parents who have been identified as having a substance abuse problem do not participte in substance abuse treatment as required they can and often are penalized and can lose public assistance.

Anonymous said...

How about DRUG TESTING for County employees? NEVER HAPPEN,you wouldn't have a workforce.PW

Anonymous said...

Mike: great concept- my sincere doubts if it will ever see the light of the tunnel- Probably never come out of committee.
good luck-

Anonymous said...

theres no doubt there are clients of dss,rupco etc.useing illegal drugs,sometimes dealing as well,if they test positive what do you do,stop their benefits,then landlords have to pay for evictions for non-payment,then they become homeless and end up in the shelter,i don't know the answer but working off a grant is a start,routine drug testing might stop the drug use,and stop ulster county from being a dumping ground

Anonymous said...

Drug testing for Welfare recipients should be a given. But we need a highly qualified rehab center [staffed by people with PhDs and Masters Degrees in Counseling) to deal with the people that are addicted to drugs - versus turning to institutions and employees (without the recommended educational background) that apparently turn to "legal" drugs as a half-baked solution to almost every mental / emotional and/or addiction problem.

A rehab of that caliber might be able to curb some of the recidivism (relapses in drug usage and the other problems that often follow) and end some of the cyclical abherrant nonsense that is currently going on.

The goal should always be to help people help themselves. Period. Anything else is a parody of truth - with the subjects that are struggling the most being utilized as the scapegoats of a system (locally) that is currently failing a good number of them.

Just an opinion.


Anonymous said...

Start with a residency requirement to be eligible for benefits of any kind. If UC can't enforce one, then NYS should pass legislation. We are a dumping ground for half-way homes and other programs as well as getting emergency services. Social Services accounts for the largest chunk of the County Budget.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest reason we get dumped on here in Kingston by the social services agencies is that we are the county seat. I am all in favor of giving up that designation. If only that was possible?!!! I read in the Hudson Valley magazine that the median income in Kingston school district is $35,456. One household cannot even take care of one welfare recepient pricetag much less the school system and maintain their own famly budget. Every year we go into the negative balance. How sustainable is this? Obviously, it is not.

Anonymous said...

This has always been a great idea and even better now...we need the money that will be saved.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just drug test the politicians and municipal employees and get it over with. Donate a hair sample, that will reveal much more than THC.