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Drugs And Welfare Essay, Research Paper

A current issue that is going on today is welfare recipients that are drug abusers. Welfare is supposed to meet the basic needs. Drugs seem far from one of the basic human needs to me. If the recipient gets all the benefits from the programs they will more than likely turn around and sell their food stamps for their fix rather than go to the store and get their family some food. Drugs also go hand and hand with family problems, violence, and crime. It is estimated that between 50% and 80% of Family-Based Services involve drug and alcohol abuse. So why not drug test the recipients before a person can get qualified for services?

Drug abuse, of course, is not new to any culture. Drugs have been a part of American culture, their popularity increased in the 1950s, when writers and social figures started popularizing them. In the 1960s, drug use took on a whole new meaning. It became a way of rebelling, particularly among college students who were disenchanted with America’s values and the war in Vietnam, which they viewed as a senseless conflict. The popularity that drugs achieved in these days two decades paved the way for their dangerous and widespread use in the 1980s. The 1980s saw the drug industry grow bigger and more deadly – both for users and for dealers. The emergence of new and relatively cheap drugs has also helped encourage drug use, especially among the urban poor.

One way of cutting down on the number of drug abusers on the welfare system is to do a mandatory drug test before they can receive any services. The drug test of choice is currently a urinalysis, but other test exist that analyze blood, saliva, and brain waves. This test can test for more than ten drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. The tests don’t cost much – less than ten dollars each – and are fast.

People are either for or against drug testing. Opponents of drug testing believe that it is violating the constitutional protections in the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution states, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." Columnist William Safire in The New York Times writes, "Not only is my home my castle, my body is my citadel. Unless I give you a probable cause to suspect me of a crime, what goes on in my home and body and mind is my business." The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires all contractors with the federal government to certify that they will provide a drug-free workplace.

Yet some people favoring drug testing say that only the guilty should object to such a search – not the innocent, who have nothing to hide.

The desired outcome I wish to come of this is that people wishing to receive benefits be tested for drugs. The tests would ensure us that they are more than likely to use the benefits in the correct manner. For example, the food stamps would go to the cashier at the grocery store, not the dealer on the corner in return for a quick fix.

In the long run I believe that it would help each and every one of us. On welfare or not. If the applicant did test positive they would have to go to counseling to get some help for their problem. And in turn the crime and violence rate would go down, because there wouldn’t be the need to rob and murder to get their drugs. And most importantly family binds would get stronger.


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