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Congress Approves Unemployment Drug Testing


Urine SampleAmericans Will Be Forced to Pay for the Violation of their Own Constitutional Rights

Congress Friday approved a deal which will broadly expand drug testing. As part of the deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, Democrats caved in to Republican demands to allow states to drug test people applying for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

The deal, which President Obama will sign, allows states to drug test UI benefit claimants who might apply to work for employers with a drug testing policy. The new policy amounts to a subsidized “prescreen,” at taxpayer expense, for employers who would eventually have done their own tests. The policy actually encourages employers to just announce that they will drug test, without actually paying to do it, because state unemployment bureaucracies will now do that for them.

This policy is strongly skewed toward lower-wage jobs, as “white-collar” employers are far less likely to humiliate job applicants in this way. This policy broadly expands and subsidizes drug testing in a way that may be difficult to reverse for many years, if ever.

Bill Piper, director of National Affairs, gave the following statement:

“This policy is a terrible one-two punch to the gut for thousands of struggling Americans. Congress has paired a generous taxpayer subsidy for corporations that drug test with a slap in the face for those struggling to find work, feed their families and keep their homes. The American people have a right to be upset over being forced to subsidize the violation of their civil liberties, when they try to access a program that they pay for with every paycheck. Drug testing is expensive and ineffective, and distracts from evidence-based policies that actually reduce the problems associated with drug use and misuse.”

From The Drug Policy Alliance


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  1. The problem with this is that it excludes some of the main people our social safety net is trying to help get back on their feet. Instead of exclusion, they should get rehabilitation on top of this.

    If people unfortunate enough to fall into drug addiction are just supposed to die, what kind of society are we?

  2. cannabisforautism on

    It’s disgusting that these people (drug test manufacturers and developers) are getting rich off tax payer money and the misery of substance users.

    They even recruit their significant others to go around trolling pro-cannabis groups. Shame on them. 

  3. eating_sunshine on

    Its time the government does a study comparing the relative harmful effect between alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.

    GD hypocrites! 

  4. eating_sunshine on

    Will elected officials ever be required to take drug tests in a similar way?   They are paid for with our tax $.  Personally I don’t see much difference between a politician and a lifer welfare recipient.

    What do you think, I should run for office on this platform? 

  5. Sullen_windwalker on

    Unemployment is an inappropriate avenue to attack, many jobs are seasonal, and require UI to fill in the financial gaps in the fiscal year for many households. However, in saying this, there are many unemployed on the welfare system who refuse to work and somehow manage to come up with enough monthly finance to support their habit. Approach the right venues, not just random services that these “rule benders” will never access themselves. Just curious, how many of these “rule benders” would submit to periodic testing themselves?

  6. so how is it any different than people buying alcohol or ciggerettes with there unemployment checks, cant do drugs but its fine to smoke and drink! get real

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