NC Drug Testing Results Ring Hollow

For many in North Carolina, the welfare state has been somewhat a stinking point. It is felt to be a disgrace that there is so many receiving assistance who can work. For many, it is hard to shake the image of the stoned welfare recipient wasting the day smoking weed and watching Oprah.

There is no doubt that this is a stereotype. A stereotype that is unfair. There are many in real need. But, there is for many the question of responsibility. People in North Carolina are giving and compassionate, but it is becoming harder and harder to hand out money to support people that they see have not been trying.

So, back in 2013, the state passed a law requiring certain welfare recipients to be drug tested. It was cheered by many as the answer to the lack of responsibility and accountability. Governor McCrory vetoed, but the bill passed into law.

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After a year delay, the law went into effect in August, and we are now seeing the results. You might think that the law had discovered hundreds and hundreds of drug addicts were then removed from the Work First welfare program. You would be wrong.

According to the Charlotte Observer, of the 7600 North Carolinians Screened, Eighty-Nine were tested. Twenty-one of the eighty-nine tested positive for some form of drug use.

The Observer presents this as a small percentage of the people applying or receiving benefits from the state.

They report

Of 7,600 applicants and recipients, about 2 percent were referred for drug testing. The 21 positive tests represent less than 0.3 percent of the people screened.

But if we read closely, we find that there are more who were denied or lost their benefits than they let on.

Later we read

Seventy people failed to show up for appointments in the last five months of last year, Black told the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services. The totals for 2015 may be off, he said, because some applications filed in December would not have been processed until January.

If we assume that the reason that these people failed to make their appointment was because they knew what the outcome would be, this changes the numbers. But, still not enough to justify this money wasting project.

The best way to solve this problem would be to stop the welfare state altogether. As citizens are enabled to keep more of what they earn, they would have the capital to invest in business enterprises. This would create jobs. Those who wanted to work would have employment opportunities. Those unwilling to work, to quote Paul, would not eat.

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