Wisconsin governor and former presidential candidate, Scott Walker announced that he has approved an agency rule that will jump start the initiative to begin drug testing applicants for food stamps, job training or unemployment insurance.
The drug-testing program, which became law earlier this year as part of the state’s budget, is set to go into effect on Nov. 9.
With this new program, “individuals who test positive for a controlled substance without a prescription would be eligible for a drug treatment plan,” according to Walker's office.
On the surface it may sound like a good initiative to help poor, drug-addicted, welfare recipients get back on their feet, but it likely will prove completely ineffective and essentially just humiliate a group that is already very vulnerable.
For one thing, people who are poor and using drugs will simply shy away from applying for welfare out of fear that testing positive for drugs will result in a negative consequence.
Also, while the applicant who tested positive is banned from food stamps and getting state-funded drug treatment, what happens to their families who are relying on that assistance?
Furthermore, testing positive for drugs does not necessarily equal “addict,” so how can you force a non-addict to attend a treatment plan?
Not to generalize, because we are well aware that there are many people abusing government assistance programs nationwide, but we can surmise that if someone cannot afford food for their family they likely can’t afford to buy illicit drugs either, which may be why results of welfare drug-testing data are significantly low according to information gathered by ThinkProgress.
Not only are Walker’s efforts a direct attack against the poor, but it will likely be a waste of taxpayer funds to pay for the tests and treatment programs for a small percentage of people.
Banner Photo Credit: Flickr user Gage Skidmore