Welfare Drug Tests Cost Florida $46K
And didn't uncover all that many drug users, either: new data
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2012 7:30 AM CDT
Florida's welfare drug tests haven't actually saved money, new data shows.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Remember that controversial Florida law requiring welfare seekers to submit to drug tests? Turns out it didn't save taxpayers any money, didn't affect the number of applications, and didn't even ferret out very many drug users, the New York Times reports. During the four months the tests were given, just 2.6% of applicants failed, mostly for marijuana use. Everyone who passed was reimbursed for the cost of the test—which totaled $118,140, or more than the state would have paid in benefits to those who failed, according to an ACLU director. That means the program actually cost the government $45,780.

The tests were only given from July through October; at that point, following an ACLU lawsuit against the state, a judge issued a temporary injunction halting the tests. The recently released state data comes on the heels of Georgia installing a practically identical law and other states considering doing the same. Of course, supporters of the Florida law still back it, and some insist that the law will deter drug users who would normally apply for assistance. “Not only is it unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy, but it doesn’t save money, as was proposed," says the ACLU director.

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Showing 3 of 74 comments
Apr 19, 2012 9:46 AM CDT
SIMPLE AS THIS - if cigarettes, alcohol and coffee are legal, your all a bunch of hipocrites
Apr 19, 2012 2:09 AM CDT
this was a program set up by Gov. Scott to rip off the people of the state. All the tests had to be done at a facility operated by his wife so they could continue to rip off Medicare as Scott did before he was caught and should have been placed in jail for all the money he stole. What do the people of Florida do - They elect this piece of $hit as Gvernor. See what happens when the Republicans control who is allowed to vote. You need to have this Governor Scott removed from office before he ruins the entire financial state of Florida and end up making him richer and laughing all the way to the bank. Check out the facts on this Clown. We have one even WORST as Governor in Maine who will go down in the history of Maine Governors as one of the "WORST" ever elected in office with only 32% of the vote.
Apr 19, 2012 1:13 AM CDT
In a way I am glad that finally someone just went ahead and tried this, now we have proof that this was a terrible idea and we can stop blaming poor people for being, lazy, drug addicted, worthless people. When in fact most of these people are probably single mother households, good people, trying to do the right thing, putting food on the table and taking care of the kiddos. It's good to know and I hope other states pay attention to this lesson. This was just an attempt to place blame on individuals in unfortunate circumstances and not the broken system of poverty and social inequality in this country. Thanks florida for providing another what not to do lesson!