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On Drug Testing Welfare for Benefits - Research Paper Example

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Clients Name Name of Professor Name of Class Date Establishing a Criteria for Clean Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients The United States has a great number of social problems, many of which stem from drug abuse. Welfare happens when someone becomes poor. However, there is a tendency in the United States to associate poverty with immorality which has created a climate of the criminalization of being poor…
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On Drug Testing Welfare for Benefits

Download file to see previous pages... One of the consequences of drug abuse can sometimes be joining the welfare system when drugs take over the drives and ambitions that would otherwise allow an individual to be able to work and become independent. Welfare serves a meaningful purpose in society in trying to help those who are in circumstances where they cannot find meaningful employment. Those who are choosing to use drugs, however, are not on a track towards gainful employment and a successful life. I believe that drug testing for welfare recipients will effectively limit the amount of drug abusers collecting money. The initial argument would appear to be part of the criminalization of the poor that is pervasive within this nation. According to Gustafson, “While lawmakers and the public seem unwilling to devote tax dollars to providing cash benefits to the poor, there seems to be a great willingness to spend money to police the poor – even when doing so seems to be economically inefficient or ineffective” (59). The attitude of Americans seems to be that being poor is the equivalent of being immoral or criminal. There is a vast misunderstanding about what it is to be poor. Poverty most often does not occur because of poor choices of a criminal nature, but because of poor choices on a social level. This can mean everything from bad investments to having chosen to work for a company that eventually layoffs its employees. A poor choice is not the same as an immoral choice, and the consequences are not always predictable. Still, the American public does not seem willing to spend real money to help others out of poverty but is more than willing to spend money to criminalize the desperation that comes from being poor. One of the desperations that come from being poor can be drug abuse. While the vast majority of people on welfare are not drug users, there is a portion that are on welfare because of drug abuse or who have turned to drug use to relieve the pain of poverty. According to Gustafson, “Drug use among welfare recipients appears to be higher than drug use in the general population, but drug dependence which interferes with relationships and work, may not be higher” (60). Furthermore, Gustafson goes on to say that “even if welfare recipients use drugs, the vast majority who would be subjected to drug testing do not” (60). Therefore, it is not the majority who would be affected by drug testing and in order to combat the social problems associated with drug use, alternative services would need to be provided. It is clear that drug use among welfare recipients is counterproductive to the goals of welfare. The goal of welfare is to provide for people while they climb out of poverty towards a more successful future. Using drugs diminishes the ability of individuals as they endeavor to function in a productive society. Drug users need treatment, however, not to be goal seeking where employment and future success is concerned. Allowing people who are using drugs to continue in the welfare system is a waste of those resources and should not be a part of that system. It would be more cost effective to treat those who test positive, providing care for their children during that time period, than it is to continue criminalizing that behavior. The costs of the ‘drug war’ is three to four times that of providing treatment ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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