Drug Testing and Public Assistance

February 04, 2016 | Randi Hall

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As of November 2016, 13 states have adopted regulations making drug testing a condition of eligibility for cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and at least 17 states have considered legislation to follow suit.

Very few applicants have tested positive for drug use in states that have implemented these policies. Consequently, operating costs far exceed the fiscal savings from denying benefits. This is consistent with previous research that found only a small share of welfare recipients experience substance abuse disorders.

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