Home » Opinion » Editorials
Drugs and the dole: No mandatory testing
Florida law requires drug testing for welfare recipients. State data disclosed last year in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that only 2.6 percent of recipients tested positive for illegal drugs. And the tests cost the state $45,000 more than they saved. The law was suspended by court order, and a trial is scheduled for this March.
Other states that tried similar laws found that the incidence of drug use was small and the savings were smaller than promised, sometimes non-existent. At a legislative hearing on LeBrun's bill, Sarah Mattson of New Hampshire Legal Assistance called it a "very high-cost, very low-return idea." That is an accurate description.
The fiscal note attached to LeBrun's bill shows that it would cost New Hampshire taxpayers up to $239,000 (the state has to pay for the tests of applicants who test negative, which would be almost all of them). The savings are projected to fall between $50,000 to $219,000. High cost, low return.
Then there is the constitutional question. Michigan's mandatory testing program was ruled an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches, and this bill would bring a legal challenge on similar grounds.
A policy to test recipients who provide reasonable suspicion that they are using illegal drugs might be cost-effective and constitutional. Blanket testing for all recipients is likely neither and should not be pursued.
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Tech conference sparks ideas and imagination - 0
- Nashua assessment tests miss the mark - 1
- St. A's board of trustees responds to criticism of graduation change - 2
- Officials proposing cutting Derry school budget by $1.4 million - 0
- St. Anselm in a stir over graduation date change - 13
- Nashua schools struggle to find more time for middle-school math - 0
- Former Gov. Lynch chosen for PSU Robert Frost award - 0
- Keene State College gets funding to further biology research - 0
- Anti-bully message on display at Pinkerton - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Dave D'Onfrio's Patriots Notebook: Finding a way to win - 0
- Sam Asano's Let's Invent: NoNose gets readers talking like nobody's business - 0
- Know the Law: Your trust can be named beneficiary of an IRA - 0
- Another View -- Bill O'Brien: Ask your state rep. to vote for transparency in the House - 0
- Old friends and a 'homeless angel' make for good stories anytime - 0
- Clooney gets it: Sony attack was not a 'crime' - 0
- New coats warm city kids, firefighters' hearts - 0
- NHIAA Roundup: Martin, Pinkerton top Salem in tournament - 0
- Inmate reported missing from Concord transitional unit - 0
The Sony hack: Kim's judgment of Obama
'Everybody was extremely fortunate'