Welfare Recipients Were Forced To Take A Drug Test, Here's What Officials Discovered
Sometimes a person finds themselves in a situation where they can no longer provide for themselves or their family. They may have been laid off from their job, or have been trying to find a new one for a while. Our government budgets a certain amount of money every year for social services program, such as our welfare system. It's only meant to provide a short term cushion while a person tries their best to get back on their feet.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of folks who abuse this system, and don't ever seek gainful employment. Americans have long held onto the notion that poverty-stricken welfare recipients are also drug abusers. Hard-working citizens just don't want their income taxes to fund social services programs if the recipients are only going to use money to buy drugs.
Americans have been demanding that more stringent checks be implemented in order to qualify for public financial assistance. This is a controversial topic that has been discussed for years throughout our country.
The state of North Carolina recently required that welfare recipients undergo mandatory testing for illicit drugs. Prescription drugs are overlooked, as long as there is proof of a valid doctor's prescription. Adults who test positive or miss the actual appointment to be tested automatically lose their benefits.
Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor Pat McCrory, who said:
"I think it's going to be legally tested, and frankly it costs too much to do. You won't get return on your money."
However, Republicans in the state felt so strongly about the issue, that his veto was overridden. They assigned the funding to be used for drug testing purposes, and waited for the results to come back.
Currently, at least 13 states have laws mandating that drug screenings be performed before a person can qualify for financial assistance. This tactic has been criticized by those who truly believe there isn't a link between poverty and drug abuse. However, you can't criticize something based on gut feelings alone.
The drug testing results from North Carolina's Work First program revealed cold hard facts. Unfortunately for lawmakers, the statistics showed something they did not expect to see.
Only a mere 0.3 percent of those screened tested positive for drugs.
But, that's not the whole story. The bigger picture tells a completely different story, and you won't believe how the results were actually calculated!
Where Do The Numbers Come From?
You see, out of the 7,600 applicants that were initially screened, only 159 were selected to be tested. 70 of those folks didn't show up to the test. That's not an automatic assumption of guilt. From the 89 that remained, 21 tested positive.
So, you would think that by doing simple 4th grade math, that would mean 21 divided by 89 would show that 23.6% tested positive for illicit drugs.
Nope! Statistical math is an entirely different ballgame.
The 0.3% number actually includes the original 7,600 people that were "screened." Screening just means that these applicants were either interviewed or took a questionnaire in order to determine if they would move to the actual drug testing group. Of course, one could always lie on the application to make it seem like they never took drugs. That person would never be selected to be tested.
Yes, things are very messy in the world of statistics.
What's The Real Perspective?
To put drug use numbers into perspective, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the rate of illicit drug use among Americans that are at least 12 and older stands at a somewhat low 9.4%.
Senator Ralph Hise suggests that many applicants who could have tested positive never got to the screening stage.
Although the program has only cost the state about $4,900, Senator Hise believes the therapeutic value makes it worth every last cent.
"It's an important program for us, most importantly because we're referring these individuals for treatment, and that's when we'll really determine the success of this program."
Whatever you may think of welfare recipients and drug use, it's apparent that the numbers don't always tell the truth. It just depends on how the statisticians running the experiment decide to use the various numbers in their calculations.
Watch this video to see The Doctors discuss drug testing for welfare recipients.
Wow, this is really eye-opening! I never expected to see these results. Do you think every single welfare recipient should undergo mandatory drug screening?