I’ve been seeing it on Facebook for months. States are going to start drug testing welfare recipients. My initial gut reaction is that this is a good thing. Why should my tax dollars support someone who sits home, does drugs and keeps popping out babies to get a check?
Then the nice side of me gives me a little slap upside the head and points out that stereotypes such as these are why there is so much hate in the world.
No, I don’t want to help support someone who is a drug addict. The flip side of that is the children. Many people who receive state benefits are single parents. Many of those single parents struggle with drug addiction. It is not a child’s fault if their parent is a drug addict, they have enough problems, should they really be denied food, shelter and health care because of their parents problems?
People say that laws such as these put more of a stigma on the poor and may keep people from applying for help. I don’t know about the laws in other states but in Utah, if you test positive, as long as you are seeking treatment your benefits will continue. The goal of this program is to remove the obstacles to getting a job and getting off state assistance. Most companies do require drug testing now, so if you are doing drugs, you are not getting a job.
However, I have known enough addicts in my life to know that treatment alone will not fix the problem. No matter what consequences someone is suffering as the result of a drug addiction, until they are ready to get better, they won’t. That is the bottom line. You cannot force an addict to want to get better, that comes from inside each of us.
As a mother I am amazed that anything could be more important than your children, but, I’ve never been a drug addict. I don’t understand that unreasonable, uncontrollable need to do drugs.
I support drug testing, not as a way to deny benefits but as a way to help. If a parent suffers from a drug addiction the children in that household need more than a check from the state every month. Maybe this will lead to programs for the children to help them deal with the problems at home so they are not repeating the cycle. We may not be able to save every adult from their bad choices but I believe we should do everything we can to save the children.