The past several years, Louisiana State Representative John LaBruzzo (Republican), has introduced legislation that would require random drug-testing for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) recipients. This legislation, if passed, would require from 50%-20% of all TANF program participants to submit to, and pay for, these random tests with their own funds. This proposed policy would actually reduce the funds available to those most in need while criminalizing and stigmatizing as opposed to providing treatment. Such an initiative would negate the original intention of the law and hinder the provision of assistance to vulnerable persons and families while failing to address the root causes of poverty within our community.
What’s wrong with Drug Testing for TANF?
- Drug-testing is extremely cost-ineffective.
- Drug-testing identifies drug usage—not abuse. They rarely detect strong substances that leave the system quickly, such as cocaine and methamphetamines.
- Drug use among welfare recipients has been proven to be the same as among the general public.
- Who gets hurt if welfare is denied or mothers are deterred from applying at all due to drug testing? Their children. This leads to a continued cycle of disadvantage, struggle, and poverty.
Where should our tax dollars go instead?
Each NEGATIVE test kit costs $42 of tax payer money. This money could better be used on addiction treatment, counseling, and other effective community-based services.
What should we do about it?
Let your officials and representatives know that you OPPOSE mandatory drug testing for TANF recipients!
Want to know more?
Download our Drug Testing and TANF factsheet!