We’ve already seen that drug testing for welfare recipients has cost more than it saved in other states and now Utah has found the same thing. Their system was quite different from Florida’s, involving a written test that was supposed to tell who needs to be given a drug test.
Utah has spent more than $30,000 to drug test welfare applicants after it passed a new law last year. But in that time, just 12 people have tested positive for drug use, according to state figures.
Utah doesn’t randomly test applicants or require them to all undergo a drug test, but instead requires them to complete a written questionnaire that is meant to screen for drug abuse. Those who have a high probability are then given drug tests. The state spent nearly $6,000 on written tests for 4,730 applicants, 466 of which had to take a drug test, which cost more than $25,000. The law doesn’t disqualify those who test positive but instead requires them to go into a substance abuse treatment program.
So they found a whopping .0025% rate of drug use. Will these results, and those in other states, slow down Republican legislators in passing similar programs in other states? Not likely. It’s not really about money at all, it’s about making those who receive public assistance out to be lazy drug addicts. And funny how they never propose drug testing for themselves, since they are paid in taxpayer dollars too — and much higher amounts than people who get food stamps.
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