Hatch Wants Drug Testing for People on Assistance

People seeking unemployment benefits or welfare would have to first pass a drug test under a proposal Sen. Orrin Hatch will try to add to legislation extending the social safety net during this time of economic turmoil.

Hatch, R-Utah, said his idea would help battle drug addiction and could reduce the nation’s debt. He will try to get the Senate to include his amendment to a $140 billion bill extending tax breaks and social programs this week.

“This amendment is a way to help people get off of drugs to become productive and healthy members of society, while ensuring that valuable taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted,” he said after announcing his amendment. “Too many Americans are locked into a life of a dangerous dependency not only on drugs, but the federal assistance that serves to enable their addiction.”

But a leading low-income advocate in Utah called the idea “outrageous” and “immoral.”

“If people who need all kinds of help can’t get certain kinds of help, that is just not right,” said Linda Hilton of the Crossroads Urban Center in Salt Lake City. She couldn’t fathom the idea of denying assistance to a person with an alcohol dependency, and she worries it could punish entire families for the addiction of a parent.

State Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, introduced similar legislation during Utah’s legislative session but ultimately abandoned the bill because the programs are governed federally.

Wimmer applauds Hatch for pushing the issue. He said what’s immoral isn’t Hatch’s amendment, but the actions of a small number of people surviving through public assistance.

“It is simply immoral for them to use taxpayer dollars to fund their addiction,” he said. “Clearly, people who have a drug addiction need help, but they need to step up to get the help.”

Wimmer said the problem used to be greater when welfare benefits were distributed as a cash-like system, instead of the debit card now in use. But he argues the problem hasn’t disappeared entirely and taxpayers are still subsidizing illegal habits.

Hatch’s office compared the proposed requirement to the random drug testing conducted by hundreds of private employers. The senator’s amendment would bar people from federal assistance but allow states to enroll them in either a state or federal drug treatment program, saying any money saved would go toward the deficit.

Hilton said it’s “fair to say” a small portion of people receiving public assistance have a substance abuse problem.
“But that is not the majority of people we see at Crossroads,” she said.

Hilton argues that if Congress adopts Hatch’s amendment it would cost the government more money than it would save, because the government would be obligated to increase the number of drug and alcohol treatment slots available.

– Article from The Salt Lake Tribune.




    This bastard just drove the nail in his own coffin. The people will not give him another term, they will look at it like more big government. These idiots seem to forget that even people on assistance can vote.

    If that dont work, the old fucker will die sooner or later.

  2. undrgrndgirl on

    it’s that they want to control what you become addicted to…not that anyone actually gets addicted to cannabis (habituated, maybe, but not addicted)…

  3. undrgrndgirl on

    it makes me sick to think it costs some $50,000 us dollars annually to keep one low level (i.e. cannabis possession) inmate in prison…i can’t find that kind of money on the “outside” with a solid work history and a master’s degree…it just seems prudent to me that providing even half that to the poor and underemployed would go a long way to emptying prisons, and giving people a chance at bettering themselves (like being able to afford to feed and house themselves in order to go to school)…that and legalizing cannabis, of course!

    alas, most americans are a strange and ill-informed bunch…glad i’m 1/2 canadian!

  4. undrgrndgirl on

    is paid with public funds, too…he (and all members of congress and state governments) should be drug tested as well…they should also be subject to alzheimer’s and other psychological screening before taking the oath of office…

  5. Anonymous on

    Hatch shut your fucking mouth and go swim in Louisiana waters with the dead pelicans quack quack quack quack

  6. Beatnuck on

    It costs way more to incarcerate poor people than it does to give them welfare. American taxpayers are strange animals. Spend spend spend. Hooray for big government and foolish spending! Is it any wonder the deficit is spiralling out of control? Where are the conservative voices expressing their outrage over money-losing govt initiatives like this? Hypocrites, all.

  7. Beatnuck on

    Hatch should be applauded for his initiative, but clearly it does not go far enough.

    Research demonstrates that even low to moderate drinking over a long period causes brain damage in middle aged subjects. So what Hatch needs to do is expand his drug and alcohol testing to cover politicians, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials.

    However, because alcohol is expelled from the body almost immediately, there is currently no urine test that can distinguish between an alcoholic who is temporarily abstaining and a non-alcoholic. Fortunately, recent advances in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) can be used to weed out the alcoholics. Thus, all politicians, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials should be required by law to have annual fMRIs of their brains. If brain damage is revealed, they should lose their jobs and pensions, because the American taxpayer should not be subsidizing the immoral lifestyles of drug addicts in government.

    Hatch can put his money where his mouth is by voluntarily becoming the first American politician to have his head examined by a neuro-physiologist trained in brain imaging techniques. Hey: people on welfare aren’t the only ones using drugs and alcohol. In fact, according to a study done by Health Canada in 2004, the majority of pot-smokers and drinkers are university-educated, employed in a professional position, and single. So Hatch needs to expand his program considerably, if the purpose is to reduce drug and alcohol use.

  8. moldy on

    Fuck you Hatch! Go worry about real problems instead of inventing shit that makes no sense.

  9. YukonJack on

    Since I have been on fed assist. my fed doctors have put me on addictive meds (codiene for over 15 years now) I pee in a cup and have my blood check every time I see my fed doctors already. so they can see if the numbers are good or not. IF and/or WHEN I choose to get my med pot permit I WILL be considered as committing a fed crime since it will still be a fed crime to smoke dope BUT, I will be getting MY body off these addictive drugs the government so hastily put me on!

    What part of ADDICTIVE does the Government not understand?

  10. Mrs.Rat'sRectum on

    What happens when people who are kicked off any kind of public assistance become completely homeless, without any means of support? Some of them, but most certainly not all of them, could turn to relatives and charities for support. I’ve met more than a few people in such circumstances, and they usually have some sort of mental health or even physical health issues. Look, some of them would be in publicly funded mental institutions if they weren’t even more expensive than independent living on the dole. They have only extremely minimal publicly funded health coverage, which often doesn’t even allow for their medications. Some meds just aren’t covered. Some people lost everything due to medical bills in the first place. Hatch, you’re such a fuckin dick, and you’re the asshole with the square peg in it. So, if you cut off every kind of aid, you’re going to create an army of Les Miserables. Hatch’s philosophical subtext that people who don’t create a profit are on their own smacks too much of if you can’t send em back to where they came from get them to kill each other off, allow some ways to reduce their population. It’s all too damn Thomas Robert Malthus for me! Hatch needs to shut the fuck up and get out of politics.

  11. dbcooper on

    Please, join me in prayer…

    Dear God,

    please protect us from your followers


    They tell us the drug war is about safety. Is starving people safe?
    Is being locked in a cage with murderers are rapist and gangs, where people can be raped, forced to join a gang, given AIDS, given hep-c, etc etc, somehow safer for a person to experience that smoking a joint?

  12. ray christl rasta righteousness thc on

    Sin laws criminalize behavior that is natural and healthy to control and tax the masses.Until education and freedom allow referendums to STOP SUMPTUARY LAWS,this is our cause.Not allow religions to create law with relativistic cult vision,and not universal equality.The spirit of love inside cannabis is released fully when christian-muslim sin laws are revoked.

  13. Anonymous on

    Hatch is a total NUTTER. Perhaps his magic Mormon underwear is too tight around his smallish nads. If we drug tested Hatched (his new name) there is no doubt that this arsehole would pop postive for PROZAC or some other big pharma psychotropic. Hatched, who takes BIG MONEY from the music industry, actually wanted to devise a scheme a few years ago that would ‘blow up’ the computers of those illegally downloading music. Hurry up and die Hatched; we’ve had enough from you.

  14. persecutedinalberni on

    LOL thats funny,I think every two weeks every politician/cop/lawyer/juges/government worker/soldier/teacher/doctor/nurse should have to take a drug test.

    This would shut the hell up people like him in a real hurry wouldn’t it,if it is that bad then make sure the top suffers the same.