It’s no surprise that politicians are always trying to push their agendas when it comes to budget cuts and increases, but there are a few governors who are expressing just how hard they expect to crack down on crime and drug use. Second term governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker and Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, (we call them Scotty 1 and Scotty 2) are proposing drug testing as a condition for receiving public benefits in their states such as food stamps and unemployment, according to an article in Forbes.
Though Scott Walker has stated that welfare recipients’ drug use is “much higher” than the rest of the population, studies actually show the percentage drug-using welfare recipients to be 2%, as opposed to 9.4% of the general populous.
These supposed tough on crime politicos claim that doing this will save the country as a whole lots of money while making it a safer place to live and raise a family. They also claim that they believe there are many individuals who receive public benefits that are using the funds to purchase drugs, but don’t even have much evidence to back those beliefs up. At the beginning of 2014, the federal district court of Florida forbid drug tests from being performed on applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) without any cause of suspicion saying that it is a violation of the constitution which protects individuals from unreasonable government searches.
Scotty 1 and 2 aren’t the only politicians who have proposed these kinds of mandatory drug testing laws. Republicans like Mitt Romney and many others have also shown their support for these regulations. Their propositions leave many people wondering just who will profit from the enforcement of drug testing low-income citizens in order to receive public benefits. The Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) has its own team of lobbyists who work to promote drug testing in the workplace and to prevent the decriminalization of marijuana, even though it is greatly opposed by many health professionals, physicians, and researchers.
Drug testing millions of people who apply for benefits will be quite expensive and these tests aren’t even always accurate. It’s all a part in the game of politics. As for now, Florida has blocked drug testing for benefits and we’ll just have to wait and see what other state and federal government agencies decide on in the future.