NEAL CONAN, host of This is TALK OF THE NATIONin Washington writes:” As the economy leaves more people in need of government benefits, the process could get tougher. Three-dozen states are considering proposals to require a drug test before applicants can qualify for programs like welfare, unemployment assistance and job training.
Laws have already passed in Arizona, Indiana and Missouri – and in Florida, where the ACLU filed a lawsuit. Those in favor of testing say such measures help ensure that public money isn’t used to subsidize drug habits and saves the taxpayer money. Opponents argue that tests perpetuate stereotypes and violate constitutional rights.
Lots of people are subject to routine drug tests: airline pilots, some truck drivers, members of the military, and welfare recipients in Florida. If you’re among them, how much of a burden is it? ”
Sounds like a good idea, if there is also a plan to protect the kids and a way to get the abusers treatment. Treatment should include additional testing after a specific time period , the cost of treatment is far less than the cost of detention. If a testing program is seen as a way to help rather than punish, it will be received in a much more positive light.
This should be all about safety and risk reduction in the workplace. But it’s also about giving substance abusers the opportunity to seek help.