Drug Testing For Welfare

Oh Facebook, you bastion of ignorant twats.

I just answered “No” to this poll which asks the question “Do you support drug testing to get approval to be on Welfare?”, and I am sad to say that the Nos have 103,225 and the Yes’s have 2,095,951. That means that No represents 4.7% of the responses. That means that 95.3% of the people polled actually suck.

I don’t do drugs. I’ve been known to very sporadically have a puff on a joint, but I really don’t enjoy drugs. Marijuana makes me far too stupid. I love conversation, and I can’t do that when I’m even a little buzzed, and I get entirely frustrated with my inability to follow my own thoughts to their conclusion, so I Just Say No like Nancy told me to. But I don’t give a red shit in Hell if other people do drugs. I’d rather they did the safer drugs than wind up freaked on crack or meth, but it’s their business. If someone on welfare is nursing a $500 a day coke habit, that’s weird and probably worth looking into, but if someone loses their job and goes to welfare, then it doesn’t matter to me if 8 days before they had shared a joint with a friend.

I find this astounding since so many people I know in so many walks of life use marijuana on at least a moderately regular basis. What would they think if they were in that situation?

And another thing, how much more expense are we going to throw at social services? I have some experience with the process behind drug and alcohol testing having once designed software and processes for what would have been, had the company stayed afloat, a massive suite of applications for that industry. In order to have a single drop of piss tested, you need to have welfare administration involved, you need a urine collection facility, a laboratory with expensive equipment, and a Medical Review Officer (read: a doctor) who knows how to interpret the results. I don’t have a clue how much cost can be attributed to each sample, but something tells me it’s an awful lot more than people are thinking.

It is unlawful for a company in Canada to require you to take a drug test. They get around that a bit, largely because people don’t think saying “No, I don’t want to do that” is a good career move, but unless things have changed since last I was involved, your pee pee is not their business. So now it’s the government’s business?

How much do we really need to humiliate the poorest of the poor?

And as this article from Time Magazine explains, the facts of any benefit to drug testing in the US for welfare recipients are just not there to back this up. My favorite quote from the article is this:

A Florida television station, WFTV, reported that of the first 40 applicants tested, only two came up positive, and one of those was appealing. The state stands to save less than $240 a month if it denies benefits to the two applicants, but it had to pay $1,140 to the applicants who tested negative. The state will also have to spend considerably more to defend the policy in court.

That’s some good, sound economic policy.

But this isn’t a question of economics, this is a question of morality. Your morality is yours. My morality is mine. I don’t do (often) do drugs for my own personal reasons. But they are my reasons. If someone else had a different decision on this aspect of their lives, that is their business. You may not like the idea of funding someone’s drug habit, but that’s not what a drug user going on welfare is doing. Welfare isn’t giving them the kind of money necessary to be on drugs. Sure, some people will go down that road, but that’s their look-out. What you get from welfare doesn’t equate to a whole lot of any drug, and they still need to have somewhere to live, something to eat, and all the expenses we all share. It’s not like welfare is funding anyone’s $500 a day coke habit. Welfare maybe covers a day of that.

I’m just glad polls don’t represent policy, because that poll shows that almost 2.1 million people don’t know shit about shit.


This entry was posted in critical thinking, politics by biguglyjim. Bookmark the permalink.

About biguglyjim

Like a caterpillar that spins a coccoon and emerges as a walrus with a mohawk, Big Ugly Jim has become something unexpected. Raised a fine young Christian boy in the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Jim began to question his teachings, first evaluating the wisdom of other religions and eventually realizing that none of them seemed any more accurate than any other, and not a one of them made a lick of sense. Today, Big Ugly Jim is a musician, a Business Analyst with Large Oil Company Whose Name Is Not Important, a music promoter with the Calgary Beer Core, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, a prick, an atheist, a father, an ex-husband, a role model, a horrifying vision in a red speedo (or at least he would be, if ever that happened which IT WOULD NOT), an announcer, and soon to be an officiator of weddings. Also, he's nice and does dishes. Jim continues to live in Calgary, spreading his filthy doctrine of free, critical thinking and appreciation for music.

2 thoughts on “Drug Testing For Welfare

  1. Personally, I disagree with the idea of my taxes, via welfare, being given to someone who might smoke a pack a day and drink a case of beer to chase it. Since the government is giving you free money to help you stay afloat, I don’t think it’s unreasonable that there should be some limitations on what you do with it – specifically, buying things like drugs and alcohol that aren’t going to help you get back on your feet and may, in fact, end up making you much more dependent on the system.Now, all that said, I disagree with drug testing for two reasons – first, the morality issue. You’re completely right that what we do with our bodies is our own business. As long as Jimmy isn’t spending his welfare cheque on meth (I’d even be fine with a designated amount for discretionary fun), I couldn’t care less what he does with himself. Drug testing wouldn’t make that distinction, which bring me to my second reason – existing drug tests just aren’t effective for this purpose. As you mentioned, pot can stay in your system for a while (I’ve heard anywhere from a week to a couple of months). Unless we can come up with a better way to track these things and sort out exactly what the person was doing, whether they were mooching off a buddy, whether they were stoned all day when they claim to have been job hunting, etc, mandatory tests aren’t going to do a lick of good.In principle, I like the idea of having to be tested while you’re on welfare, but much like my understanding of the long gun registry, it’s simply not practicable.

  2. Pingback: Welfare And What’s Right | Meddling Kids

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