Drug Free for Free Money – Revisited

welfare-drug-testingAlmost two years ago, I wrote an article, “Drug Free for Free Money,” in which I applauded Florida Governor Rick Scott for requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.  I thought it was a great idea and still do.

But, then, I don’t wear a black muu muu.  Immediately after the law went into effect, the ACLU, of course, filed a lawsuit and a local court temporarily suspended the requirement.  The case eventually went to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which decided in February thatFlorida hadn’t shown a “special need” that justified suspending the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.  The case isn’t over yet and several other states have enacted similar laws.

I accept the ruling but I don’t have to like it.

I still don’t get why someone doesn’t need to drug test in order to get money from the hard-working taxpayer.  This is a no brainer for me.

We’re not talking about close personal relationships with friends and family who are entitled to our unconditional love.

We’re talking about people who aren’t entitled to anything so why shouldn’t he or she be required to prove that they actually need our money to feed themselves and their kids and will not be shooting it into to their arm or snorting it up their nose?

The real problem with this whole mess is that there is no government accountability.  Government is absolutely impotent and either lacks the skill or willpower to oversee the payments and to account to the taxpayers.  Instead, it continues to hemorrhage money with no consideration to where the money came from – the taxpayer.  (Another example is the missing $700,000,000.00 that went to Hurricane Katrina “victims.”)

Frankly, I have no idea why these types of programs aren’t implemented by the private sector.  Communities and churches are in the business of helping people and should be the “helping hands” for people in need.  Not the government.  Local people know who really needs help and who’s scamming the system.  Friends and families should know whether their children are being fed and cared for.  How can the government possibly know what their needs really are?  It can’t.  Pure and simple.

An argument can be made that there are just too many unfortunate situations which cannot be handled solely by the communities and churches.  To that I say, “Maybe it’s just too easy to get money from the government so those who aren’t needy apply and get benefits they’re not entitled to because they know no one is checking.”  I know one person who found a job after her 99 weeks of unemployment benefits ran out.  If anyone is going to try to convince me she was looking for work those 99 weeks, don’t even try.

As I’ve written before in “Who’s Rich? Who’s Poor?”, if we’re taking the care of the less fortunate in society out of the hands of families, friends and communities and placing it in the hands of the government, when will recipients be accountable to the government, and, more specifically, to their fellow Americans who actually foot the bill for all these entitlements?

As a taxpayer, and as someone who’s seen plenty of people scam the system by manipulating their drug screens to show up negative or by selling their food stamps, bus passes, and just about any other type of government assistance, in exchange for money to buy drugs, I’d really like to see some oversight and accountability.  Bottom line:  Drug abusers shouldn’t be allowed to live off our tax dollars and if it requires non-drug abusers alike to drug test, then so be it.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • FACTUAL Truth Hurts

    It’s wage discrimination at its core and a distraction from the fact that Rick Scott was failing on the promise that got him elected, 700,000 jobs. I am not against drug testing to obtain government I get drug tested for every job, but I am against discrimination. If your thoughts are that people getting govt funds shouldn’t use it on drugs then apply it across the board. Make students take drug tests before receiving financial aid ( I’d pay to see this failure rate!) and home owners who are purchasing using Fannie/Freddy Mac funds. These are also tax payers money…the difference is you don’t want the poor to misappropriate funds but home owners, students, businesses and even the govt can misappropriate them, truest definition of prejudice ( assuming the poor are the only ones using govt money on drugs, if you went to college you KNOW) and a disctraction from how our government can’t handle it’s own funds.

  • Jameil Desiree Burroughs

    Some of you have a point and some of you seem to be commenting and have no idea what its like for poor people or needy families on foodstamps. I can guarantee you that EVERY household on assistance, have family and friends for generations, that have worked and payed taxes, even some of the people that are now receiving assistance. Most of you don’t make enough money to pay enough taxes to take care of one family let alone every family so to say your taxes are paying for welfare is ignorant. Most of you need to research and find out exactly where your tax dollars are going and that same government would be where you start. You all have no problem with our government misappropiating you tax dollars but you people have a problem feeding hungry families. I can’t believe how evil hearted and sad a lot of you are for thinking and feeling this way without even knowing facts. I worked with a lot of families that receive food stamps and they don’t do drugs nor would they appreciate having to be drug tested. Before you start talking about poor people start with testing your local police, lawyers and judges, I’m sure you’d be surprised at the results. But you all love to over look or are to afraid to touch these people, instead sadly you seem to find it easier to pick on the poor and needy. Disgusting. As a matter of fact, lets talk about the people working in these places that are white, spanish not just african american, that pull strings and open up cases for their friends and families that don’t really need it while they give some other poor chump hassles like these, to get assistance. But i’m sure none of you want to talk about these things. Some of you need to check yourselves. Ignorance is never becoming of anyone and it doesn’t excuse anyone that is.

  • Lynda Thorpe Schaum

    If I have to take a drug test in order to get a job that enables me to pay my bills and provide for my family, then welfare recipients should have to do the same damn thing. Long ago I was on welfare during hard times. I am all for helping people out who are going through rough patches in their lives. I will give the shirt off of my back to someone who is in need. The problem is people are getting more to stay home and collect checks than the next person who gets up and goes to work for a living. And stop trying to shift the subject. It pisses me off that the person in front of me at the supermarket can buy better groceries for free on my tax dollars. It’s B.S. making excuses for the lack of accountability on those who take advantage of the system. Applaud those who are using government assistance to help better themselves. Don’t pool them with the lazy self entitled individuals who think their hands should be held while they do nothing. Give people the skills and assistance they need to enhance their lives and get off of welfare. That would make them employeable. That would give them a sense of pride. That would give them a paycheck. Then they’d pay taxes. I have no sympathy for people on welfare with new cell phones and designer clothes. Luxury foods and nice cars. Create consequences for people who abuse welfare assistance.

    • Broke mom

      189$ a month for my entire family is not luxurious…

      • Broke welfare mom

        I ride the bus.

      • Lynda Thorpe Schaum

        I’m sorry for your hard times broke mom. But I was referring to people who abuse welfare. Not people on welfare struggling. Please refer to my post and re read. I hope things get better for you

  • KMP

    I am a recipient of food stamps and medicaid. I do not smoke, I do not use drugs, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t have any tattoo’s and have never been arrested or charged with any crime. If I get money from any source, I spend it on supplies for my kids and gas for my car to get them to and from school and job interviews. I only would have agreed to the law if it would help the people who failed drug tests than to take away their benefits. I believe in treat the sickness and maybe they will be productive members of society. Taking away benefits to parents with a problem only hurts the children. At least the drug tests will stop but for those parents who are on public assistance and have a drug or alcohol problem won’t be able to be forced in to treatment and countless children could be at risk of suffering neglect from a parent’s lack of sobriety. I believe also if you have the money to smoke and drink and or use drugs, you should be able to buy your own groceries. My extra money goes to my children’s clothes and shoes I buy at thrift stores or garage sales.

  • someguy

    After just four months, a federal judge in Orlando ruled the Florida law was probably unconstitutional and blocked the measure.

    adn after 4 months the results….

    By the numbers

    In 2011, the Florida Legislature passed a law requiring drug tests for welfare applicants. It didn’t turn out quite as planned:


    People who took the test


    Number who failed


    Amount Florida lost on the program after “savings” accrued from people losing benefits

    Also to note. It turned out that of the 4,086 who took the tests, only 108 — just 2.6 percent — failed, most for marijuana. That’s far below the 6 percent state average of Floridians who use drugs. (An analysis by the state showed that the drug testing requirement didn’t tamp down applications.)



    • someguy

      short sightedness at its best

  • chief98110

    Government just doesn’t have any incentive to account for its spending. I
    see the “homeless” in Seattle on their cell phones enjoying a morning
    latte while I head off to work. I’ve seen the same homeless for the last
    10 years selling their bus passes and vouchers at discount rates. No
    accountability explains the rising numbers of people claiming disability
    and getting student grants and loans. What a mess!

  • genann59

    Ms Salazar, one thing I really don’t understand about the entitlement system is that when foodstamps were started, my understanding was that they were to insure that poor families, in particular those with children, would have food to feed said children. Then they added on WIC, to feed children under four or five more, most of the coupons for which are traded away or sold, and then on top of that, most schools now offer free breakfasts and lunches to poor kids and some schools to all kids, so that the poor kids won’t be embarrassed with free food. If the government is dumping millions on food stamps, millions on the WIC program, why are there still kids whose only meals we are told, come from free food provided at the schools (much of which those poor hungry kids dump into the trash cans uneaten)? To use your saying,” I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.” (Please excuse my using your words without your permission.)

    • pat brady

      MOST of the coupons are traded or sold? Where are you getting this official statistic from. Oh, your a$$ right?

      • Lynda Thorpe Schaum

        Before welfare started using swipers that look like credit cards, they had coupon books. And yes, people traded and sold food stamps and WIC coupons for all kinds of things – like drugs. I’m not speaking from hearsay. I witnessed it years ago from my front porch. A statistic? It’s my official statistic. It’s called fact.

        • pat brady

          Wait, so you “saw” a few people do it so that means that MOST of them are traded? People must really think your breath stinks when you talk out of your a$$ so much. The welfare queen is a MYTH made up by Ronald Reagan. It doesn’t exist. Welfare doesn’t pay anyone enough to go buy new iPhones and $200 sneakers. It makes nasty, hateful people like you feel justified for you feelings toward the poor. What really cracks me up is when someone like you claims to be a church goer.

          • Lynda Thorpe Schaum

            Brady, I see you have trouble focusing on the subject at task and the objection. Maybe you should take advantage of other government programs to educate yourself -like financial aid? For college to school yourself? Perhaps a reading comprehension class. Maybe two. Throw in a life skills course. You also need to learn how to conduct yourself on a discussion board. The only person I see talking out of their a$$ is you sir. Reading your posts shows when you lack knowledge, fact, and/or understanding on subjects you fill in the blanks with angry, inappropriate and senseless comments. In doing so your ignorance shines like a bright light. Or is it that you’re one of the lazy unmotivated welfare recipients who thinks everyone else should support you with no effort on your part? Do you ruin it for those who use the system properly? You sound like the fool that would represent himself in a court of law. Anyway, I grew up in a neighborhood (yeah, it’s called the “hood”.) I can say that because that’s my home. I’m sure you’ll be offended by that statement because you come across as an idiot. With regards to people trading welfare checks for drugs and other things, many drug busts in my “hood” were consistent in seizing these 4 things:

            1. Drugs
            2. Guns
            3. Bundles of cash AND:

            is #4 what you use your government assisted funds for? Do you sit at home and wait for your funds to be deposited? Are you a victim of your own actions? Do you want others to pick up the pieces for you while you whine from the sidelines? I query this due to your senseless ramblings and lack of common sense. You like to fill in the blanks and come up with your own conclusions. Yet you veer from the subject at task – which is drug tests for free money. Lashing out to tax paying individuals with offensive crude comments? Let me school you:

            1. Nowhere did I write that welfare pays for people to buy new iPhones and $200 sneakers. YOU SAID THAT. Did I hit a nerve? If one can afford to maintain materialistic items like mentioned above, while on welfare, then you shouldn’t be on welfare. As a working person, I don’t want to help someone who who does not want to do their part in our nation. I don’t want to help someone who wants to live beyond their means while receiving welfare checks, EBT, WIC etc. Let them handle that themselves.

            2. No one can smell your breath because your head is stuck too far up your a$$ for the vicious odor to permeate from you. It swirls inside you – that must be where your anger and inappropriate comments stem from. Brimstone and sulphur – I’M SAYING THAT.

            3. I never said I was a religious person/church goer. YOU SAID THAT. Now you throw religion in the mix? Let’s try to focus on the subject at hand shall we? Try.

            4. You accusing me being nasty and hateful – back to your head shoved up too far up your a$$. Someone must have told you growing up you can say or do whatever you wish without backing up fact and/or knowledge. What they didn’t tell you is you come across uneducated, uncivilized and….stupid. Let’s practice more knowledge, research and fact. Way less farce. Oh, and I grew up poor. Very poor. On the system. Spoken from personal experience. I have knowledge and fact. And I love researching. Because I am a concerned tax paying U.S. citizen and I have the the right to know. I’m not saying to abandon someone on the system because of a potential drug problem. I’m saying create a program that helps people with a possible issue, and implement guidelines to avoid abuse and misuse of welfare assistance. So don’t go there with me. If I grew up in a lavish lifestyle and went off of rants and raves like yours, I would deserve a reality check on the issue. But I didn’t. So don’t even go there with me.

            I have to go now. I’m at work and my break is over. My place of employment that requires drug testing to make me employable. The job I got because I educated myself for the better. Yet you and the ACLU believe drug testing people receiving assistance is unconstitutional. You and the rest of the bad eggs are welcome for the hand outs while you sit on your head. I say your head because we’ve already established it’s not on your shoulders. See what happens when one assumes? You make it too easy. Have a nice day!

            WELFARE: the health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group.

          • pat brady

            Oh BROTHER. For someone that claims to have a job you sure do have a lot of time on your hands. YOU said MOST welfare checks are traded didn’t you? I asked you for the data on that and you told me you saw it with your own eyes. THAT is talking out of your a$$ dip$h!t

            I never said you claimed to be a church goer did I? Talk about reading comprehension huh? Did I hit a nerve there 😉

            The reason you ASS-U-ME that I’m on welfare is because it’s beyond your comprehension that someone would care about someone other than him or herself. You assume the worst about people because we tend to see people not as THEY are but as WE are. I’m a lot different than you in that I happen to care for those doing worse than me. It also makes good economic sense. Hateful and spiteful people like you don’t mind kicking people when they’re down so they come to a site like Bernie Goldberg’s to be among other bitter angry people like themselves.

            Getting back to the original topic, drug testing welfare recipients though; I think it’s fine as long as EVERY politician that votes for it also submits to the very same drug tests. Then I think they should propose doing the same drug test to social security recipients too. Everyone that gets any kind of government benefit should have to submit to the test as well don’t you think? What’s the harm right? I mean other than the millions of dollars it will COST the taxpayers so we can catch a FEW people gaming the system.

            It’s nothing more than grand standing, playing
            to the angry crowd which plays RIGHT into your hands. Guys like Bernie, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity make MILLIONS doing it every day. It always reminds me of the saying, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”. In your case that’s impossible.

          • Lynda Thorpe Schaum

            Talking to someone like you puts me at risk of being on your level- and I don’t go anywhere near that close to the bottom :-) Take care.

          • pat brady

            Don’t flatter yourself Lynda. You’d need a few extension ladders to get up to the bottom.

          • Lynda Thorpe Schaum

            Even though you come across as a whiny bitch, that was funny.

          • pat brady

            and even though you come across as a nasty b, never mind, I’ll take it 😉 thank you

  • nickshaw

    It’s entirely a lack of accountability for the public purse combined with the PC mentality that if you have to ask, you deserve to get without any question that you might not be telling the truth about your financial status.

    The phrase, “Trust but, verify.” has no place in the, mostly progressive, lexicon.
    I grew up in the welfare culture and believe me, back in the day if you had more than one beer in the ice box (and yes, welfare workers were allowed to check your ice box (or refrigerator of some of the slightly better off) or more than one form of home entertainment, you would be subjected to a barrage of questions and raised eyebrows, if not having your payments cut off entirely!
    Not to mention the monthly pilgrimage down to the welfare office to pick up your check (oh, the horror of being inconvenienced to get free money!!)
    Nope, the system is being milked by those who know how to do it and are so inclined with the added bonus of government workers who don’t care or actively participate in the fraud.
    Testing them for drugs won’t even weed out half of the scammers but, it’s a start.

  • Ron F

    I have not read the case but I am not sure why the Constitutional protection
    against unreasonable searches and seizures should apply to a benefit program if it does not result in the arrest of the person. If violators were reported for criminal prosecution, I could see it being an unreasonable search and seizure. If it only results in being denied the benefit, I do not see how it violates the Constitution but I have not read the case. It seems to me that the people of this country, through the government, have a right to place whatever qualifications they want on people’s ability to receive a benefit as long as it is not discriminatory. On the other hand, I have no idea how successful requiring drug tests to receive a benefit is. I don’t think the purpose is to deny benefits to people who break laws because I don’t think there is a requirement that a recipient cannot break other laws. In addition, I don’t think there is a requirement that they cannot use the funds for other vices such as drinking or gambling. There are a lot of things that I do not think welfare benefits should be used for. Maybe the answer is to not provide cash benefits. Only vouchers that can be used for specific purposes.

    • nickshaw

      The vouchers would need the name of the person they were issued to and only that person, with appropriate ID could exchange them.
      Selling food stamps, EBT cards is big business!

      • genann59

        WIC vouchers are sold and traded the same as any other entitlement which can be exchanged for drugs or cash. I’ve seen it, have had people offer them to me, it goes on all the time. A huge waste. What is really needed if actual enforcement of the laws on welfare fraud. What happens with the majority of people who get caught, they get a slap on the wrist and often don’t get any other penalty at all. Laws that are known to not be enforced invite the violation of them. Simple logic.

    • pat brady

      You benefit from several things the government does don’t you? I mean if you get SS should you have to go through the same testing? You benefit from a public education system don’t you? Should you have to submit to testing? Public transportation? Roads?

      Why doesn’t the congressman that wrote the bill submit to the SAME drug testing? I believe he acted as though it was a joke to suggest such a thing but he steals FAR more than the mythical “welfare queen” does.

  • Roger Ward

    As expected, the 11th Circuit Court followed the liberal bent that most of the country’s courts are taking. Why would it be considered an “unreasonable search” to have someone who asks for my money to be required to take a drug test, to be sure that this money is not illegally used to buy drugs? It is, after all, my money …. and I should have the right to ensure that my donation is used as intended …. and not for drugs.

    I was going to go on and make the point that our money – yours and mine – went in part to buy weed and explosives for the Boston Marathon bombers (the whole pack of them were on Welfare) …. but I don’t want to divert attention from the liberal and foolish actions of the ACLU and the 11th Circuit.

    • pat brady

      Would the same apply to social security? Try getting that past and see what happens. There’s no difference other than that’s a voting block no one wants to mess with. GE gets HUGE tax breaks, oil companies get subsidies don’t they? We were told that corporations are people so why aren’t these “people” also submitted to drug testing? Because the GOP KNOWS who keeps getting them elected, that’s why. They could never win elections based on who they serve, they’d get about 2% of the vote.