By Rich Macke

It seems that literally overnight the internet, or more specific Facebook, has been flooded with people sharing their feelings, concerns and opinions on whether state governments should pass a law that would make it mandatory for individuals requesting state financial help to be screened for drug use.

This started on Tuesday when it was reported Florida Governor Rick Scott defended recent legislation that would require adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening, claiming that the law provides “personal accountability”. Basically he was saying tax payers should not have to pay for someone’s drug addiction.

Internet users nationwide are now calling on their states to look into and create the same form of legislation stating that individuals needing and applying for financial assistance should be treated no different than individuals that had to take a drug screening just to get and keep their current jobs. Others are crying “Foul”, stating that this form of legislation stereotypes individuals on welfare as well as increases government expenses.

Now, I don’t know about the stereotyping part as you could take that a bunch of different ways. I mean, look at newspaper people for instance. We all had to take drug tests before we got our jobs. What does that say? Ok, don’t go there…hahaha! But, you get my point.

As for the expense side, I’m sure the testing expense that the government would incur would be fairly steep, but for those that don’t pass the drug screening, the government simply won’t pay, thus saving money. Also, for those that were using drugs, this type of legislation might help them get cleaned up. If so, I most  surely think it help would help to decrease drug crimes and jail times.

Something else that needs to be brought up is the children of these individuals and how they will be affected. Things could get better for them, or things could get worse. I’d like to think that if placed in a situation like this, a parent would see the light and there would be no discussion on this matter. But, I also know that drug addicts aren’t thinking with a clear head anyway, so that simply may not be the case.

In February of 2010, the Oklahoma State Senate did consider Senate Bill 1392 which relatively did the same thing for Oklahoma in terms of drug testing and state assistance. That bill didn’t make become law.

But, with the recent uproar of support in many different states, and Florida taking the stand that it has, it’s certain that we have not heard that last of this.         

Let us know what you think. We’d like to hear from you on this topic.

Rich Macke is the publisher of the Woodward News

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