Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients


Mandatorydrug testing for welfare recipients

Severalstates have enacted laws that impose mandatory drug sentencing as aprerequisite for eligibility for welfare programs. Some recipients instates with these legislations have tested positive for drugs (Hall1). Although some people support the laws, some interest groups havecriticized the rationale. This paper argues that drug testing is anecessary condition for welfare recipients.

Substanceabuse is a major social problem in the United States. Mandatorytesting will discourage drug use since the receivers risk losing thebenefits. This will positively impact on the drug menace in thesociety. Additionally, individuals who can afford to buy drugs maynot require assistance from the government. It is also wrong forindividual to receive help from the public-funded social programs anduse the money to buy drugs (Delva 3).

Mandatorytesting will increase the number of drug addicts seeking professionalhelp. Some drug dependence can result into loss of economicproductivity, and thus the need for welfare benefits. A positivetest may be the first step towards rehabilitation, which will reducethe dependence on state aid. Consequently, as a result of the law,more people will be able to access treatment programs (Delva 3).

Despitethis, opponents of the law have argued that the tests will deny thebenefits to deserving families due to the undesirable behaviors ofone person. Children in households headed by individuals who testpositive for drugs will not access the essential assistance.Nevertheless, these laws are not aimed at denying families access tosocial welfare, but discouraging substance abuse (Delva 3).

Inconclusion, drug testing for welfare recipients is a controversialissue. Questions have been raised about whether individuals involvedin substance abuse require help and the impacts of mandatory testinglaws on needy families. In my view, these tests are necessary.


Delva,Jorge. SubstanceAbuse Issues Among Families in Diverse Populations.New York: Routledge. 2013.

Hall,Randi. DrugTesting and Public Assistance.Clasp. 2016. Available at