Fighting the Drug Epidemic One Step at a Time

Drugs are a problem that almost everyone is familiar with. How they can ruin lives and how hard it is to get over the addiction. Addiction is an expensive hobby that can be very illegal and waste money. By drug testing the welfare recipients and getting the people that use welfare to feed their addictions off the program it can benefit the United States with drug testing the applicants and recipients by slowing down the drug epidemic and providing the addicts with rehabilitation and the additional help the addict might need. If the tested person is to come back as negative for drug use they can receive better benefits in certain cases. Drug testing of welfare recipients and future applicants will lessen the debt for the Country and how it will increase the benefits for welfare.

By drug testing welfare users it will lessen the debt through the later years. The state of Florida used their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to reimburse the ones who passed their drug tests in which they could use that money towards rent, food, and helping their children live better lives. Some might say that this is an invasion of privacy, but knowing that they can receive bonus money is giving the people incentives to get over their addiction or even to not even start one. The ones that do not pass their drug tests are given the proper help they need. (Gupta)  Certain treatments for parents that have an addiction in which it jeopardizes the safety of the child the parents will be randomly drug tested and will be required to attend six meetings about their addiction every two months; because it is shown that the parents are more likely to pass the drug tests and move on from the addiction. (Child and McIntyre 70)  The drug epidemic is a big problem and the levels of non-medical drug usage are increasing and it has no signs of slowing down unless we form together and do something about it. Which if we were to drug test a chunk of the population to try and fix part of the drug epidemic. (Fischer, Bibby and Bouchard 2065-2067) According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) the data from 1984 and 1988 show that the past-year drug use significantly increased in the number of addicts that use welfare. (Corman, Dave and Das 655) Coming in with the drug addiction is the amount of people that abuse alcohol. Research shows that a high percentage of single dads on welfare are likely to abuse alcohol which can lead to being abusive to their children and providing help for that will lower the numbers of alcohol dependency. (Drug Testing Welfare Recipients: Recent Proposals and Continuing Controversies) Certain states are looking at drug testing people that look suspicious, which can cause a controversy, but it can save money in the long run due to states not having to refund tests that come back negative. (Bryce and Israel) Going with the waste of the states money on drug tests, Florida did a drug test and ninety-eight percent of them came back negative, but that means that the two percent of welfare recipients that were on drugs are no longer receiving government money. With the drug tests coming back ninety-eight percent negative it is promoting promise for it one day to hit one-hundred percent negative results and that slowing down the drug epidemic. (Florida welfare drug tests: 98 percent negative. 8) When getting drug tested the labs use two different types of detection: screening and confirmatory. The initial screening tests separate this samples that need further analysis and it costs about $5. The way the screen test works is through urinalysis which is your urine and it will test accurate seventy-five percent of the time according to Northwestern University. (Marian M. 11) The way they are drug tested can be different from state to state due to the confirmatory tests being more sophisticated than they seem for certain cases where they need to know for sure they can use a gas-liquid and thin-layer chromatography to get the results which have a higher accuracy rating, but the downfall is that conformity test costs about $90 (Marian M. 11). Racism can come into play here too with the fact that people will think that just because they are African American or Hispanic they are going to get tested, but in New York sixty-two to sixty-five percent of the drug users are African American or Hispanic. (Marian M. 13) Today’s new technology has ways of helping people get over addiction. Some of the new technology is a computer BI and a Therapist BI, which are two computer programs that address drug use and alcohol use. The programs are ninety percent effective within the first month. After twelve months the computer BI was at a ten-point-nine percent defective rate and the Therapist BI was at a twenty-six-point-seven percent.  Some may say that the welfare users are getting singled out, because they are easy prey and cannot really live without support from the government. In the real world were men and women are working nine to fives every day to pay for their expenses. Those people can be randomly drug tested and fired just for failing the test and if welfare is your only source of income like most people’s jobs are these days they should have the same risks and consequences. (Demonizing welfare recipients) Through drug testing the welfare users and getting rid of the addicts and showing them the road to getting clean it will help the United States get a more accurate vote and would help pick the better candidates. (Demonizing welfare recipients) April fifth Andrew Hastie found evidence of a rising methyl amphetamine usage. Meth is a highly addictive drug that is polluting the streets quickly. (WA MP pushes welfare drug testing plan) Meth drug is making an impact on how people react to certain things and how they act or behave and it is making people out of the ordinary and doing things they would never even speak of. Fifteen states so far have passed legislation regarding possible drug testing or screening for the public assistance applicants or recipients. Having the drug testing can help prove how high the drug rates are and also help lower them through being a help to the struggling addicts. (Drug Testing Welfare Recipients: Recent Proposals and Continuing Controversies) Teens are a big risk that the States are very worried about, because they are at a higher risk of developing addictions. The reason that teens can get hooked so easily is the fact that dopamine is released from the brain and that sensation is something that they will crave again and again, for example if they win a football game and they get rewarded with pizza the brain will release dopamine. The constant release of dopamine will lead to the teen wanting to do anything to get it so from the example the teen will try to win more games in order to get the pizza. The way this links into the drug epidemic and welfare is the fact that the drugs trick your brain into releasing dopamine so after usage they will want more. The other big way this will deal with welfare is that teens are going out into the real world and if they get hooked on drugs when they are young and only have that expense when they have bills to pay or want food they will choose their addiction. The teens will then end up homeless and the way they will turn will be to welfare and that just increases the number of teens on welfare. (Drugs and the Teen Brain) Through an increase of money in the welfare department by eliminating the drug users it can increase the benefits. West Virginia delegate Craig Blair wants all people that receive welfare, unemployment, or food stamps to be tested. If the tests are to come back positive for two months in a row the benefits will be revoked. (States consider drug testing for welfare recipients.) They also want to have the best benefits possible due to the fact that Andrew Hastie has had children as young as 12 addicted to drugs that required rehab. So Hastie believes that having drug tests will help keep the children away and off of drugs. (WA MP pushes welfare drug testing plan) Tom de Souza a former meth addict stated that anything to break the drug cycle is worth. Souza got addicted to meth when he was 14 and does not want any of the children to end up like him. (Moore) Another former meth addict and welfare recipient Matt Taylor talked about how addicts should not be given the offer and support of the welfare system until they are willing to put forth an effort to be rehabilitated. If the addict does make an effort they should start with lower benefits and work their way up with benefits as they overcome their addiction. (Taylor) One mother that was addicted to crack cocaine was told about losing her welfare benefits and about losing the custody of her three children was enough of a scare to make her go out and seek treatment and sober up to keep her children and to make sure they had the benefits they needed. (Gwen and Paul) In Florida four-thousand random individuals were selected for drug testing and were required to pay out of pocket, but were reimbursed if the test came back negative. People may say that they are punishing the addicts in the system, but all that they are doing is getting rid of the ones that are exploiting welfare for the benefits. (Dawkins) Some states will be testing applicants to see if the tests are to come back negative and if they do the person can receive more benefits. Receiving more benefits should be more incentive to people that are not addicted to a drug or to those that are to get rehabilitated and receive better benefits for themselves or their children. (Bryce and Israel) From the interview with Matt Taylor he believes that the benefits should be suspended from those who refuse to take a mandatory drug test and once they take the test and the results come back negative for the benefits to be returned. (Taylor) Some will say that drug testing the welfare recipients is unfair, but athletes and people that hold high power positions are required to do random drug tests to receive the government money and the corporation’s money. So why should the welfare recipients be allowed to get by without a drug test if they want to receive the government and the average tax payer’s dollar. If they are not on drugs they should be all for getting tested to prove the “welfare recipients are drug users” myth down. (A fair trade: Welfare for drug tests)Some say that we do not have a drug problem today, but in 2009 a study conducted found that one in eight people abused prescription opioids. The numbers of the epidemic are sky rocketing from six-hundred-twenty-eight-thousand in 1990 to two-point-four-million in 2001. (Fischer, Bibby and Bouchard 399)  In conclusion to the information provided above this shows with cited sources that drug testing welfare recipients and future applicants will benefit the country; in the long run by lessening the debt and slowing down the drug epidemic through having to put less money into fighting the drug war and taking those off of welfare that are abusing the privileges they receive. It also shows how through drug testing will provide better benefits for the ones that need welfare by having more money towards the program and by removing the abusers of the program.

Works Cited

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