Drugs

Guess How Many Welfare Recipients Tested Positive in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's Drug Test Program?

The "welfare junkie" seems to be largely a mythical creature.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Photo Credit: CNN screen grab

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who faced criticism earlier this year for his handling of the water crisis in Flint, could face more pushback after the apparent failure of his program requiring drug tests for welfare users.

The Guardian reported that none of the 303 people tested under the auspices of the Family Independence Program have tested positive for drugs as of the end of May.

The pilot program ends on Sept. 30 and received $300,000 in state funding, although a spokesperson for the state health department said only $300 had been spent thus far.

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“The governor will wait until the pilot program has concluded and the report is delivered, as required by the legislation, to reach any conclusions,” said Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Snyder’s office.

The program allows health department officials to require applicants to go through a drug test based on the results of the 50-question screening process. Refusal to do so disqualifies them from receiving financial assistance for six months. However, none of the applicants reportedly refused to go through the test.

As Think Progress reported last year, several other states with similar programs also found little evidence of high drug use among social program recipients. For instance, only 11 out of 2,783 applicants in Kansas’ program tested positive.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, these misguided policies are devoid of any scientific credibility and have proven to be a colossal waste of our time and money,” said Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who recently proposed a measure that would make drug tests mandatory for people reporting deductions of more than $150,000 on their tax returns.

 

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Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. His work has appeared on GlobalComment.com, the Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt.