Arizona Spent $1.7 Million Drug Testing Welfare Recipients to Catch One Person

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Backwards Land, also known as the United States of America, hosts many states that have implemented arguablycounterproductive mandatory drug testing policies that violate personal rights and constitutional liberty. Additionally, such programs are,arguably, a total waste of money. Those suffering from scrutiny regarding what they choose to ingest are often those living in indigency. Seeking public assistance is now contingent upon the ingestion of specific chemicals, but one could argue that better allocation of funds—towards tangible solutions to address poverty, for example—may be more practical, especially after examining the following data.

By:  Lavonne Mireles-Clardy

This article originally appeared at ANTIMEDIA.

Millions Spent, for Funzies

According to figures gathered byThinkProgress, “…the seven states with existing programs — Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah — are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out very few drug users.” In fact, more alarming is that the statistics show applicants actually test positive for drug use at a lower rate than the general population, which is 9.4%.

When Arizona initiated this program in 2009, the state mentioned it was relying on a questionnaire to determine which of the applicants requesting aid needed to be tested for drugs. In the time since theintention (2009) to save an estimated 1.7 million dollars, 87,000 people have been tested thus far and the results are interesting, to say the least.

According to USA Today, more than 87,000 welfare recipients went through Arizona’s program in the three years after it began. The total number of drug cheats caught was exactly one — a single positive result, which saved the state precisely $560.

According to Tuscon Weekly, there was “One during the first three years of the program, and a grand total of three from 2009 to 2014.”  The results of Arizona’s implemented questionnaire and its efficiency are in question. Further, Arizona is not the only example of excessive drug testing.

Ponder this question while you consider the following statistics straight from Backwards Land: What do you think your money should be spent on? Hindering people or helping them?

Results from around the Land:

Arizona

Applicants for benefits that required drug screening, 2011–2014: 108,408
Total required to take follow-up drug test: 24
Applicants disqualified due to positive drug test: 2
Adults disqualified for failing to complete required drug test: 12

Missouri

Applicants for benefits that required drug screening, March 2013–September 2014: 69,587
Total required to take follow-up drug test: 1,646
Disqualified due to a positive drug test: 69
Adults disqualified for failing to complete required drug test: 711

Utah

Applicants for benefits that required drug screening, August 2012–July 2014: 9,253
Total required to take follow-up drug test: 1,878
Disqualified due to a positive drug test: 29
Adults disqualified for failing to complete required drug test: N/A

Tennessee

Applicants for benefits that required drug screening, July 2014–December 2014: 11,300
Total required to take follow-up drug test: 273
Disqualified due to a positive drug test: 24
Adults disqualified for failing to complete required drug test: N/A

Who benefits from these drug tests?

Drug testing in the U.S. has become a multibillion-dollar industry. A little known fact surrounding state-mandated drug testing is that pharmaceutical companies who profit from the testing are the main groups lobbying for their implementation. Also, as big companies begin phasing out drug tests because they are realizing how much of a waste of money they are, these same lobbyists are now pushing to get drug testinginto public schools to make up for lost profits.

One company at the forefront of the lobbying push for mandatory drug testing is Hoffman-La Roche, which ironically is the same company that produces Valium and other highly addictive sleeping pills. This company also spends money to keep cannabis illegal—and weed is one of the few “drugs” that these tests can reliably detect. In fact, an entire “trade association” (Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association) has been created as a front for Big Pharma’s lobbying efforts to get as many Americans drug tested as possible while ensuring the War on Drugs stays in full-effect.

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott outsourced much of the testing directly tohis wife’s company, Solantic, which now makes millions from the scheme. Governor Scott, being the honorable man that he is, transferred his 26% ownership of the company to his wife a few months before the drug testing began, making sure there was no conflict of interest. At least that’s what we’re supposed to believe.

Solutions:

Are there more important things to focus on here? Why do these families require assistance in the first place? What if said required tests are actually preventing those who would benefit from sincere help in battling an addiction from getting help? What if we allocated the funds spent ( which is an alarming amount) on actually helping people reform their lives?

Example:

  • Funding education to teach people about all functions of the body, aiding them in their ability to make informed personal health decisions.
  • Establishing local food forests and education vital to growing food everywhere, empowering people to be more connected to the source of their sustenance.
  • Treating drug addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal issue (alcoholism, nicotine addiction anyone?)
  • End the conflict of interest between special interest groups which lobby to enact laws based on the sole motivation of increasing their bottom lines.

Attention to the above would partially remove the necessity of providing people with food services. Imagine if all people had access to real, nutritious food. An objective look at the statistics gathered over the six years that drug testing has been in effect leaves one pondering, indeed.

This article originally appeared at ANTIMEDIA.