Drug testing plan could help Ohioans

Few would argue Ohioans want their tax dollars being used by welfare recipients to buy illegal drugs.

Nor would anyone want that person’s children going to bed hungry because the state had denied payments based on a positive drug test.

As we all know, the world is far from perfect.

That’s why the controversial proposal to require drug testing for welfare recipients by highly conservative state Sen. Tim Schaffer, R- Lancaster, provokes such strong emotions.

Schaffer’s original 2011 bill called for outright testing with no cash payments to anyone who was using drugs.

In Crawford County, where opiate abuse is a virtual epidemic, commissioners had hoped to be one of the first counties in the state to put the measure to a test.

Linda Basset, director of Crawford County Job and Family Services, said there are plenty of reasons Crawford County should be involved. The county has 15,258 people on Medicare and 8,385 people on food assistance. The food stamp problem and drugs are closely tied.

“Last year, we investigated 500 fraud cases and we would have done 10 times that many if I had the staff,” Bassett said in December. “In the past we did those investigations and handed them over to the Ohio state patrol, but there was a missing step. Now we are going through the prosecutor.

“We know people are trading their food cards for drugs or for money or other things, so now we are tracking the third-party users of the cards, and prosecuting them as well.

“We know some people are selling their food stamps because we are seeing them in food kitchen lines and other places in line for free food and they shouldn’t need that. We are also making sure that the person using the card is the person who is supposed to be using the card.”

A watered-down version briefly inserted in a state budget bill last week required applicants to declare if they had ever taken illegal drugs with testing required for only those who answer affirmatively. Gov. John Kasich wisely asked lawmakers to slow down and consider the issue as its own bill.

Additional changes also allow for secondary payees to receive funds to care for children in the case of a positive test, plus funding for counseling the drug user.

Those are positive steps.

If Schaffer’s goal is to help reduce drug use and people truly improve their lives by providing real addiction treatment options, then this bill has merit. If he’s just trying to delight his conservative base, as it seemed a year ago, that’s another matter.

As the News Journal has illustrated in rich detail on many occasions, Ohio has a serious drug problem just like most states. We remain deeply concerned about the epidemic of opiate abuse and resulting deaths, especially in our own communities. These addictions also fuel crime and make us all feel a bit less safe.

So, it makes perfect sense to help those down on their luck for any reason and fighting addiction.

If Ohio can design and operate a drug-testing program with more compassion than punishment and help people improve every aspect of their lives, we’re on board.

But that will take a real commitment of time and tax money, probably much more than is now being spent by welfare recipients buying drugs.

To us, it’s a fight worth fighting.

Author unknown – filed under opinion editorials on the MNJ site

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16 Responses to Drug testing plan could help Ohioans

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  7. buckeyesyd says:

    Phil Sydnor · Top commenter · Public Scrutiny
    Let’s not stop here!. I am willing to bet if they did this with those who supposedly work for us there would be MANY job openings. Have you ever noticed how the public workers get all fired up when someone comes after their money when their jobs can’t be outsourced?. Maybe IF they drug tested or fired more of these people with alcohol related problems those who are better suited who have lost their jobs with no fault of their own through outsourcing can start to replace the waste the tax payers already are paying for?.

    IF your gonna drug test, I call for it across the board, not just private citizens because some who are making these poor decisions on who gets what be it assistance, professional courtesy and/or immunity MUST BE STONED!.

    I’m calling for drug tests for everyone, not just the few and the oppressed!.

    • buckeyesyd says:

      Just have to make sure these tests are random, those on parole already know how to beat this system!.

  8. buckeyesyd says:

    James PenningtonFlorida already tried this and spent something like 147 million dollars to give the tests and saved around one hundred and sixty thousand ($160,000) for a loss of $145 million.

    The only people who benefited from this legislation were the ones who sold the tests. Is Ohio really that naive to allow these corporate interests to prevail yet again under the guise of saving the taxpayer money with an idea that has been a proven failure?

    • buckeyesyd says:

      James PenningtonWhen you hear conspiracy theorists go “They are robbing America blind” this is exactly the kind of thing they are talking about.

      • buckeyesyd says:

        Evan Erwin · Lewis Center, Ohio
        It’s even worse than what you comment. If you had children, the benefits were still paid. It’s really just a case of politicians using big words to look good. No rubber meeting the road.

  9. buckeyesyd says:

    Polly Young · Top commenter · Lexington High School
    Hi Dale I figured when I seen 1 comment on here it would be yours LOL. Most of your Opiate drugs besides maybe herion and a few others are prescription only . Alot of the drug problem stems from our good doctors who give them out like candy to whoever has a tiny ache or pain you want to stop this I say look into the good ole docs and pharmasuitical companies who do nothing but push drugs down americans throats everyday. You can’t even watch a tv ad anymore without it being a drug ad for something. There ‘s a whole lot of wiggle room on who to place the blame on these people are just a drop in the bucket, drugs are everywhere and you can be rich or poor a citizen or non citizen black or white at the store or on the street corner it will never end and taxpayers will always pay no matter who’s doing it.This will be a problem forever. I’m a little more concerned about all the drugs that’s put into our food supply than the drug user who lives down the block. Have a nice day Dale. It’s a beautiful one enjoy the fresh air why it’s still available.

    • buckeyesyd says:

      Dale Rhoads · Top commenter · Fort Worth, Texas
      It was a beautiful day down here! The opiates that are used are mostly for patients fresh out of surgery, or last stages of cancer. Morphine and Fentynol are two of them. You are right about some Docs pushing the drugs as they also get a kick back from the drug companies and the whiney cry babies also. You are also right on the wiggle room but just thought that would be a good start. Nowadays instead of teaching people and kids how to cope they just give them a pill. Talk about the food supply. With all the preservatives, chemicals and such in them and with many more moms breast feeding nowadays that’s probably why there’s such an upswing in Austism, cancers, ADHD, BiPolar etc.

  10. buckeyesyd says:

    Dale Rhoads · Top commenter · Fort Worth, Texas
    For people to feel good about themselves you need jobs and injection wells sure isn’t the answer! Getting rid of illegal aliens is a good start! You’d be opening a lot of jobs and saving billions on welfare, section 8 housing and cash assistance. Let alone the IRS loophole they’re using by claiming children living in Mexico and other places. Bringing the troops home and kicking out the corrupt UN would save probably $1 trillion in a couple years.

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