Florida Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Costing More Than Planned

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | So convoluted and ridiculous is America's war on drugs that the governor of Florida was able to convince state representatives to pass a law requiring welfare recipients to be tested for illegal drug usage to get benefits. The inevitable court battles are already promising to cost Florida a huge pile of cash. So, how was this idea supposed to be a money-saving measure?

Before readers assume this lawsuit was brought about by some bum on welfare, the plaintiff is a 35-year-old, attending college and a single parent who is also taking care of his disabled mother. His name is Luis Lebron and not only is he working on bettering his own life, he's one of those noble veterans that conservative types always insist we all show respect for. After being laid off from his job, he simply found himself needing help like so many others.

Think it's just Florida's liberal ACLU working against the illogical, discriminatory law requiring welfare recipients to submit to unreasonable search and seizure? It's not. Thus far, the Florida drug testing requirement has yielded only a 2 percent positive test result. That means two things for Florida residents:

* Most welfare applicants are, in fact, not illicit drug users, as is so often believed by the general public.

* Florida is now on the hook to reimburse those who did pass their drug tests. Again: How was this move a money-saving measure?

If an applicant does show up positive on a drug test, they'll either be denied benefits for six months or be expected to undergo a drug treatment program.

That should be a real money-saver for Florida, since drug treatment is so cheap. I think I know who needs to be tested for drug usage. Good job, Gov. Rick Scott. In your zeal to battle the immorality of illegal dangerous drugs (not the legal dangerous drugs) and to say something to potential voters that kind of sounds like it might make sense, you've already managed to cost your state more money, and your brand-spanking new law isn't even a year old yet.

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