Thursday, August 2, 2012

Drug Screening Now Required for People Seeking Welfare Benefits in Utah

By Join Together Staff | August 1, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed inCommunity Related, Drugs, Legislation & Prevention

People seeking welfare benefits in Utah must now take an online drug-screening survey, which is designed to determine if they are likely to have a substance use disorder, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Those who receive a high score will be required to take a drug test. A person with a positive drug test will have to enroll in a drugtreatment program and stay off drugs, or else their benefits will be cut off, the article notes.

The company that makes the drug screening survey, the SASSI Institute, has one version for adults and another for teenagers. It says its surveys are 94 percent accurate.

According to Utah State Representative Brad Wilson, who sponsored the bill, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of welfare recipients are drug-dependent. He said most welfare recipients qualify for Medicaid, which will help cover treatment costs.

The newspaper notes Michigan and Florida faced legal challenges when they mandated drug testing for welfare recipients. In both cases those laws were struck down as unconstitutional, according to the article.

Many states have been considering measures that would require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing.

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