Tennessee just completed one year of drug testing welfare applicants — the results may surprise you

Poor People In Tennessee Have To Pass A Drug Test To Get Welfare
Poor People In Tennessee Have To Pass A Drug Test To Get Welfare

In the summer of 2014, Tennessee implemented the controversial policy of screening all of its welfare applicants for drug use, and following up with drug testing those who indicated some probability of being users.

The results are finally in. According to Think Progress, "less than 0.2 percent​"of applicants in Tennessee failed a drug test.

The state of Tennessee offers many types of welfare benefits, but the state only tests those applying to the Families First program, a benefit that aids families with young children. This fact in itself is causing controversy.

%shareLinks-quote="The Republican Caucus looks at it as a way to keep people off drugs, but that is not what it does...What it does is it keeps people from having enough money to feed their children." type="quote" author="Sherry Jones, Democratic State Representative" authordesc="WMOT" isquoteoftheday="false"%

The state implemented this policy in July of 2014, asking three questions about drug use to the application form for welfare.

According to Think Progress, "anyone who answers 'yes' to any of the three drug questions must take a urine test or have their application thrown away immediately. Anyone who fails a urine test must complete drug treatment and pass a second test, or have their benefits cut off for six months."

However, on the other side of the argument, Tennessee State Representative and Republican Caucus Chair, Glenn Casada sees drug testing as a way to keep children out of unsafe environments.

%shareLinks-quote="If a child is in a home where drugs are being abused, does Representative Jones still want to keep that child in that household? I would submit that that is an extremely unsafe environment and those children should be looked at." type="quote" author="Glenn Casada, Republican State Representative" authordesc="WMOT" isquoteoftheday="false"%

So we want to know, what is your opinion on this issue?

[h/t Think Progress & WMOT]

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Originally published