Few Are Caught in Costly Welfare Drug Testing Programs


Next year Kansas starts testing suspected drug users on welfare, notes the Kansas City Star. If Missouri and other states are any indication, Kansas will spend a lot to nab very few. Missouri became the most recent state this year to install drug testing for welfare recipients. After eight months and 636 drug tests, the $500,000 program turned up 20 people who tested positive and about 200 who refused to comply. Roughly 32,000 people in the state applied for assistance since testing began.

A Missouri state representative called the testing “a horrible waste of state resources.” Welfare drug testing – now in place in at least nine states – has been promoted by those who see it as a way to stop public dollars from buying illegal drugs and to give the poor a strong incentive to avoid substance abuse. Critics say drug testing singles out the poor, who they say are no more likely to use drugs than the general population. Those doubters continue to raise questions about the cost of drug testing and whether it's producing the results supporters intended. North Dakota and Virginia rejected bills this year that would have mandated welfare drug testing.


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