West Virginia is the latest state to consider making drug tests mandatory for those receiving public assistance, WTOV 9 reports.
The proposed bill aims to save the state money and discourage substance abuse.
WTOV 9 said most people it spoke to support the bill.
“I think they should have to take them, I mean, I am a coal miner, and I can’t smoke dope,” said Chad Trout from Martins Ferry.
Tom Bonar, from Wheeling, added that he thought the proposed bill was fair.
“It’s our taxes paying for them, and they ought to go through what we do when we get a job,” Bonar said.
House Bill 2021 would require adults who receive temporary assistance for needy families to undergo drug testing if they have a prior drug conviction, or if there is any suspicion they are on drugs.
Supporters for the bill argue that since they have to get drug tested to be in the workforce, welfare recipients should too. They also see it as a way to protect taxpayer dollars and help guide poor people with drug problems to seek professional help.
“I believe they should have to,” said Rosemary Schlag from Martins Ferry. “People that work for a living have to take mandatory drug tests, so why not welfare?”
Brian Desluriers from Wheeling was especially concerned about his tax dollars.
“They are getting money from us, free money and welfare,” he said. “They should be drug-free.”
Those who oppose the legislation argue that drug testing itself is expensive, even though the costs of the test would be deducted from the recipient’s monthly check and reimbursed if found negative.
A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that none of the 12 states that have enacted some form of drug testing program have saved the state any money.