JUST SAY NO: Drug Test The Unemployed?

drug-testing.jpgHUFFINGTON POST: Utah voters have reacted enthusiastically to Sen. Orrin Hatch’s legislation to drug test the unemployed and those receiving other forms of government cash assistance, the Utah Republican told the Huffington Post after introducing his measure last week. Hatch said the test would be paid for with money saved by not paying benefits. “Any monies left over would go to help the states with the drug testing and so forth, and if there’s any surplus it goes to pay off the deficit,” he said.  The idea of drug testing those on public assistance is not a new one, though policymakers have generally dismissed it as ineffectual. Harold Pollack, the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, has studied the issue closely. He notes that the 1996 welfare reform already grants states broad discretion to drug test recipients, though Hatch’s measure would expand that to the unemployed. “Absent specific indications, my own research and work conducted by others suggests that population drug screening is unwise. The likely consequence is to stretch states’ already overburdened screening, assessment, and referral systems with large numbers of casual marijuana users,” he said. “In part, this pattern reflects a technological quirk: Urine tests more readily detect marijuana than they can detect other intoxicating substances. In part this pattern reflects the basic epidemiology of illicit drug use.” MORE

RELATED: Nevada Republican nominee for Senate Sharron Angle is still hiding from the press, both national and local. […] That’s Angle calling people on unemployment “spoiled” and then straight-up saying that, as senator, she’s “not in the business of creating jobs.” The first clip is from a May 2010 interview on KRNV. The second clip is from a campaign appearance, also in May. MORE

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