Trump administration considering drug testing for some food stamp recipients

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — President Donald Trump is reviewing a plan that would implement drug testing for some SNAP recipients.

Advocates said taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for recipients to fill their bodies with drugs.

Critics said the idea is a slippery slope and a waste of money.

Derrick McCray, the owner of McCray’s Backyard BBQ and local celebrity, once turned to the government for help and knows firsthand how much recipients depend on the help.

“What if they don’t get assistance? What are they going to do…robbing? Stealing? Prison population increases,” he said.

The drug testing proposal is another step in the Trump administration’s push to tighten work requirements for food stamps. It also allows individuals more flexibility in implementing federal programs for the poor.

“The taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for people to put things in their arm, or up their nose,” said Sid Dinerstein, former Palm Beach County GOP Chairman. “Dependency is a bad thing, and helping people to move from dependency to opportunity is a good thing."

Dinerstein hopes it curbs the drug epidemic.

“Almost 100 percent of food stamp recipients are because there are children in the home,” he said.

The administration said about 5 percent of participation in the SNAP program would be affected. It would only apply to able-bodied people without dependents who apply for certain jobs, like operating heavy machinery.

“Maybe the vetting process needs to be a little better, vet to people that’s getting assistance,” McCray said.

The Center for Law and Social Policy criticizes the idea and calls it unconstitutional and costly.

The agency said drug testing reduces access to food and is a poor way to identify people in need of treatment.