Drug Testing Piggyback Question

Updated on June 14, 2012
D.K. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
9 answers

So, for those of you who want drug testing so that we don't provide assistance to drug users - how do you plan to deal with the now starving and sick drug users. Where will they be? Physically they will be begging on our streets, sleeping in our streets and dying there. They will have their kids begging with them - kids are much more appealing to our pity than adults are. It will be way worse than the number of homeless on the streets today (which is horribly sad as is). How many us would be really comfortable with this? With our children seeing this?

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So What Happened?

@ Grandma T - I love the commune idea - it is really creative and maybe it would work. Most communes with highly motivated idealists have failed but you're right - what we do now is broken. I don't see an actual commune getting a lot of play in today's political environment however.

@ Michelle H - um, Type II Diabetes is a disease that can be cured in many cases by simple lifestyle choices. I have heard interviews with a number of farmers who use migrant labor - apparently not everyone can pick every crop and there are laborers who 'specialize'. Who knew?

@ GypsyMommy - the point is not whether we feel sorry for people on the street. I personally don't think anyone should have kids who cannot support them themselves through and including college. That is how I live my life. But I understand that realistically that is not the choice that many (many on this list as well) make - living one or two paychecks away from losing their homes and needing assistance. I am not comfortable seeing people die that don't need to - children or adults. You didn't answer whether you are.

@manysymbols - no it's not thrown out there as a wise ass comment. It is how I choose to live my life (I am self employed in a profession with essentially 0% unemployment, work full time and have more than enough disability that if DH and I were both disabled tomorrow, DS could still go to school). My point was not that - it was that the QUESTION posed is NOT about our personal feelings about whether a drug addict is more or less 'deserving' of help than someone who is without a job for no 'fault' of their own. The question is about the reality of what we (society) should DO. Also - type II Diabetes has been around a long time. But not at today's epidemic levels. And in fact insulin resistance is in many cases (shown in numerous species) a result of obesity and CAN resolve with lifestyle changes for many (but not all) type II Diabetics.

More Answers


answers from Seattle on

Nope. I'm not comfortable with this, just as I am not comfortable watching a toddler run into the road, or a teenager drowning in a pool.

Yesterday my kids and I were driving home. At the stop light, I rolled down my window to hand an older fellow (total sweet heart + older man + big mental health issues) a snack, cigarette, and some change. The man and I exchanged a "god bless you", and I really felt grateful because he looked at me with such compassion and prayer.

As we pulled back into traffic and rolled up the window, my eldest said, "Mama, is that man going to die?"

It choked me right up. I do advocacy work (my unpaid passion) and see individuals fighting to change their lives. It's so hard. Such complex sets of barriers, and so much suffering. I get to see a lot of tragedies and a lot of miracles.

Whether the illness is in the heart or the brain, I am not able to turn my back on our populations of sick people. I just can't live like that. It will take generations to heal these deep fractures in our society. Best to start now.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

They should be tested in hopes of providing a way for them to get off of drugs. If they care about their kids they will do what they can to make sure they are fed. If they don't care and are using drugs they will find a way to get drugs which means the kids are not going to get the food they need anyway. With a lot of drug users their habit is more important than the kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Thank you, D. K.

Here in Portland we have a large homeless population, some of which is either addicted or mentally ill. The downtown business association pays rent-a-cops to chase them away so as not to disturb the people who shop downtown or the tourists. The problem is that they wind up in the parks, where the more vulnerable populations of mothers and children now have to deal with people camping, drinking, smoking bad drugs in the bathroom and behaving in an erratic manner. One of our city councilmen has made it his pet project to close down a successful homeless 'rest area' and to actually fine the people running the program. No other alternatives are offered....

Sorry, D., this is something that makes me furious. I used to work with a mobile soup kitchen back in the early 90s-- the whole demographic of our homeless population has shifted. Back in the day, there weren't nearly so many people homeless. Most looked like they had a very rough life for a long time and some I spoke to claimed to have chosen homelessness. Now we are seeing a return of our young soldiers, people faced with nightmares and severe PTSD and who may become addicts because what they've seen is too terrible to live with sober. If we look with compassion, we'd see that every person needs food and shelter and not judge a person for their weaknesses.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I just want to ask one basic question: How many families could be helped with the money it would cost to do the mandatory drug testing? And, since many of the people who are getting assistance would not submit to a test (for whatever reason) then who is going to care for those children? And if those kids face either being hungry or panhandling or foster care, then how is the state going to pay for more kids in foster care than there are already? And, do we bring back orphanages since foster care families are in such short supply? This question has a lot of financial and real life implications. I am just urging you who are a propenent of mandatory testing to really consider all of the long term (and VERY real short term) ramifications of implimenting such a program. Its great to say something quickly and off hand, but when we think of the results, maybe some of these ideas just are not cost effective or truly feasible.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

The children are already living with drug abusing parents, that's already pretty bad in itself.

There is no good solution yet. That's why the problem is still a problem.

Feeding, housing, and giving money to people that havent had to do anything for it really cripples them tho, it creates a very lazy society. The current system has time limits, but when the parent hasnt found work they get extensions, over and over and over.... and it becomes a generational lifestyle.

I think a new type of community needs to be made, one where these people can live but also have to work within their community to keep things going. The community would be a community within a community, it would have it's own grocery store, the people of the community would run it, no money would be exchanged so it couldnt be robbed, it would all be transactioned by their EBT card. The people should all have to work within the community, gardening, housekeeping, babysitting, running the local market, rnning and maintaining a laundrymat, and going to classes be it rehab, studying for a HS diploma, trade school, etc...
If this community is producing "able to work and survive in the real world citizens" the community would continue to be granted govt funding. If the community failed, well, it would be another failed attempt of trying to help the hopeless.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

LA has the largest homeless population. most are mentally ill...that is a whole seperate class of people then people who CHOOSE drugs. and it is a CHOICE. I do NOT buy into that whole addict scenario has i see it as just giving people an excuse for their behavior. Drug abusers can change, and if they can change and relearn their habits, then it cannot be a disease. make sense? Our homeless population tops any country in the western world. we look like fools on how we treat our citizens.

In my opinion, Instead of most california farmers employing illegal migrant workers, for less pay and no tax penalties, making more money for said farmer. Said farmer should go to downtown LA, and hire homeless folks. right? make sense. Even a mentally deficiant person can pick a damn apple from a tree? make addicts pick fruit, then they can pay for thier drug of choice, and not litter the streets?

There can be many solutions....and this debate can go on for days.....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lansing on

I have definitely learned a lot from reading responses! I would say random testing would be acceptable, or upon suspicion of doing drugs. Of course, if your on Medicaid you qualify for some sort of mental help or rehab. so if someone does have a problem, like others have said, give them like a probationary peiod to get clean and help them with counseling and getting focused for the kids. All too often caseworkers are overloaded and it's a sad injustice to those on the system as they sorta get swept aside....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

This is my point exactly. To get the money to pay for a drug test they'll be out selling their bodies or their kids bodies. The biological urge for food is powerful.

Like I wrote in that other post. IF they want to pay for it outright they can test every person in the world and I won't care but an employer does not demand the employee produce the fee to pay for the drug test or get fired. They pay for the drug testing themselves.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If it worked, I would be all about drug testing people on assistance. I think folks already provided enough examples of why it does not work and why it further wastes taxpayer money. I won’t pretend to feel sorry for the drug users and MOST (not all, but most) people on public assistance though. Me and my husband bust our asses to provide for our family. We both work, we live on a budget, we don’t waste our money on drugs. Our house is not big, but it allows us to live in an area that our children don’t have to be afraid to go outside or go to school. My car is 14 years old. We live frugally. I was fortunate enough to have a family that helped me find ways to pay for schooling; my husband however came from a very poor background and worked hard (and continues to work hard) to move up the ladder to make a better income to provide for his family. Why should my hard work net results for someone who has chosen to not work as hard? Plain and simple. Sure, there are some folks that genuinely need it for a short period to get back on their feet and I don’t begrudge them, but there are so few of them and so many more that are working the system in one way or another. Welfare creates a lazy society and is responsible for demotivating individuals to do for themselves. It creates a society of people who feel entitled to have the government bail them out. Regarding the idea of a commune... really?? Its called communism and it did not work for mother Russia or for any other country that has tried it. When the benefits of hard work are taken from the individual, there is no longer an incentive to work hard. Then there are less people producing high results and fewer backs for the lazy to ride on. Quality plummets. Standard of living plummets. Everyone suffers. I could not agree more that the current system is broken, but I don’t think it gets fixed with the giving of more aide... I think it gets fixed by enforcing very strict rules and policies that require time limits, provide actual food rather than stamps that can be sold, and hell why not require a drug test to be eligible? For it to really work I think the current system pretty much needs to be leveled and we start over. However due to politics this will never happen. As soon as someone says they are going to rework a social system, their competitor will come out with scare tactics and campaign on claims like "they are going to take away social security from old people and take the food from children"... and in a society where the average political attention span does not outlast a 30 second biased news clip, guess who wins! No one wants to hurt old people and children! But so much of our society is under informed that they buy it hook line and sinker. My question is..... where are all the families of these people living on the streets? Perhaps they have tried to help but realized the effort was futile and gave up... but we think the government can do what they could not? I don’t know the answers. So, I chose to work hard for my family and make good decisions so I can take care of my family and I just can't lose a whole lot of sleep on those who have not chosen to do the same.

1 mom found this helpful
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