Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients

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Introduction Since the reformation of welfare in 1996, nearly all states have attempted to pass legislation to require the use of drug testing among welfare recipients. Thirteen states have passed legislation and there are currently seven states testing applicants for drugs. The results have been somewhat anticlimactic, as the number of positive drug test results is lower than the national average. There are many concerns surrounding the issue of drug testing welfare recipients, including the cost, constitutionality, and the effect on children. History In 1971, President Richard Nixon initiated the national War on Drugs, which focused on the passage of policies geared toward fighting illegal substances (Amundson, Zajicek, and Hunt, 2014). During this time, Nixon allocated two-thirds of federal dollars for treatment of drug addiction and prevention of new users and one-third of federal dollars for interdiction and enforcement (Amundson et al., 2014). After Nixon’s initial War on Drugs program, policies and programs began to shift. Under the Regan Administration, the War on Drugs became more punitive and there was a reversal of federal dollars. Under the new and subsequent regimes, two-thirds of money was spent on interdiction and enforcement and one-third was spent on treatment and prevention (Amundson et al., 2014). Under this new Administration came tougher sentencing, an increase in prison spending, and mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses (Amundson et al.,
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