Mandatory Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients

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United States lawmakers face one of the most pressing issues of our time-welfare reform. New screening processes, often considered a direct violation of constitutional rights, have already been enacted in many states. Strong evidence exists, asserting that the practice of administering drug testing to welfare recipients will cost the U.S. taxpayers more money in the long run, stigmatize applicants and participants, and serve only the purpose of making the pharmaceutical companies more powerful. In order to protect the constitutional rights of potential welfare recipients, United States lawmakers should avoid further criminalizing the poor by submitting them to drug testing and/or a nationwide welfare registry.

This year, 29 states have
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The numbers do not lie—little evidence exists that supports the claim that drug testing recipients will save money. Striving to prove that the main source of the drug problem in the United States lies in the recipients of the welfare program, policymakers continue to work fervently. The overgeneralization of the poor as drug users has become common practice in Washington. Lawmakers seem to feel that because recipients receive government funding, they in turn give up their constitutional rights as U.S. citizens. The practice of criminalizing the poor has become commonplace in the creation of U.S. governmental policy.

Karen Gustafson is someone who knows a lot about the criminalization of the poor. She has spent much of her time researching and writing about just that. According to Gustafson, “The public desire to deter and punish welfare cheating has overwhelmed the will to provide economic security to vulnerable members of society (644).” Because of the misuse of welfare funds by a few, the entire underprivileged population has been targeted as criminals—as lazy, drug abusing sponges. Over the past several decades, the United States government has spent billions of dollars in an effort to catch and prosecute those who are abusing the welfare system. This practice is necessary in order to rid the welfare system of
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