According to recently released figures from the Department of Human Services, only 0.2 percent of Tennessee welfare applicants failed a new drug screening in place for recipients of public assistance.
That's 37 out of 16,000 people, a tiny fraction that Think Progress points out "contrasts sharply with the state's overall 8 percent rate of drug use. Across the country, states that implement drug tests for low-income families have found that economically vulnerable people are less likely than the general population to use drugs."
This is an example of a system put in place by lawmakers who consider "facts" troublesome and whose entire social philosophy boils down to: "Ew, poor people." According to Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee:
"You are requiring more than 16,000 people to be screened for drug use based on the assumption that people who receive public assistance are more likely to use illegal drugs. There's no evidence to indicate that's true."
In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. Florida had a program like this, too, and guess what? Not only did a mere 2.6% of applicants fail the drug test (compared to the 8 percent of its total population known to be drug users), and not only did the program end up costing the state more than they would have paid out in benefits to people who failed the test, but it was ruled unconstitutional early last year. And yet, somehow, our elected leaders (including likely 2016 Presidential candidate Scott Walker of Wisconsin) just keep on thinking this is a great idea.
According to ThinkProgress, "Tennessee is one of 12 states that have enacted laws requiring drug screening and testing of welfare applicants, but it's a trend picking up steam elsewhere. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 10 other states so far this year." As for the morons in charge in Tennessee, they're feeling pretty good about things:
"That's 37 people who should not be receiving taxpayer subsidies, because they are not behaving as they are supposed to," said state Rep. Glen Casada, a Republican from Franklin. "If the taxpayers are going to support you there are certain criteria you need to adhere to. This is a good use of taxpayer money."
You just keep telling yourself that, Glen. Now, since you're also getting paid by taxpayers, why don't you pee in this cup?
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