The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 9, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Welfare drug tests are right thing to do

This is in response to the letter blasting State Sen. Mike Green for supporting the bill that would require drug testing for welfare and unemployment benefits. I only have one question: what is the problem? I don’t see any reason why a person who receives state or federal benefits would have a problem submitting to a drug test, unless they are illegally using prescription or street drugs.  

I have read articles and listened to people bewailing the consequences of such legislation, and for the life of me I can’t see anything negative about it. What’s the worst that could happen? Some people who can’t hold down a job because of drug abuse, or have worked the system for so long to support their habit might actually have to take responsibility and get some help.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I feel terrible for people who have a drug addiction, but ignoring it and enabling them is not the answer.  

I just don’t understand how the opponents of this legislation would think that it is OK to drug test a man or woman in order for them to be employed, but it’s not OK to drug test those on public assistance. The people who are employed pay the tax dollars that fund public assistance, and yet the people who receive the benefit of others’ employment are somehow exempt from having to live a drug-free lifestyle.

It is that kind of thinking that has led to the decline of our society. And I really don’t understand the comment about Sen. Green not caring about people’s children. The only people’s children who would be affected would be those who are illegally using drugs, and if that’s the case, then apparently that household needs more help than a check and an EBT card. Those things won’t fix their problems, but drug counseling might.  

It’s time for this whole country to man up and do the right thing. And I believe that something like this is a great start. Don’t disparage our legislators for having the courage of their convictions. Everyone should support this type of legislation.

Patra Hensley

Coal City