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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Drug Testing and TANF (A More in Depth Study)

Drug Testing and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
(A More in Depth Study)

      The reason I chose the subject originally is because I am truly against drugs and what they are doing to people, and the fact that they are controlling our nation, and our debt. Recipients of TANF are often using the cash benefits improperly, and child services has detected many of the adults to be on illegal substances and abusing them. Through much research, the government decided to bring in urine testing to those receiving benefits to see if they could resolve the issue.
     After doing said research, I learned much more then I had ever intended and my eyes were opened to things I had never even thought of. I learned so much that if I were like the scales of justice, my scale would look level, as if I were undecided. The reason being, because now that I have learned about this issue thoroughly, I have found that people need to be more aware.
     Because of this, I decided this would make for an informative rhetorical analysis and argumentative study. With everything that I was learning, there were a lot of ways to look at everything. I think that the idea behind the drug testing TANF is a good one, but the turnout is not like they had expected it to be. There were and are a lot of pros and cons with the whole situation, but in the end, the cost effectiveness was more than they had planned on initially thought or even intended to spend. Therefore, rhetorically speaking, I think the debt was too costly for the tax payers and the nation. But again, the idea was good, but the plan was not thoroughly thought out, and needs more work put into it.
       Yes, I feel that drug testing is needed still for job applicants, to find out if the employee you are hiring is on or even doing drugs. I also like the fact that there are random drug tests for those who have CDL’s to make sure that they are still driving clean. After all they are driving behind the wheel of an on average eighty-thousand-pound vehicle that could instantly kill anyone it wrecks into, including the driver. I also like the fact that when the CDL driver wrecks, he is instantly tested for drugs as well, as it should be. I also agree with testing those that receive the Medicaid benefits, because that is for medication, we should know if you are being prescribed the medication, if in fact you are the one taking it, rather than selling it on the streets. We should also know if you are well, and/or in need of further need of medical care, including that of rehab. Regarding those who receive TANF, like I keep mentioning, I see the idea and plan behind the whole thing. But as a person who takes Criminal Justice, I also see how one can claim this is a violation of the fourth amendment to illegal search and seizure. On the same token, if you dare ask for money from the tax payers to pay and pave your way, you should be willing to make sacrifices, but not of your rights. Your constitutional rights are earned and you never lose those until you become a criminal. Now if you are labeled a criminal, and have prior drug charges, by all means, drug test you. But honestly, I think and feel your probation officer should already be doing that, which I also believe in. So the moral to my side of this? I believe the amendment make my stance clear. I stand by it. I am not a criminal, and until you can prove otherwise, I will use and stand by my amendments as I feel we as should.

      Within this rhetorical analysis, we will learn the ins and outs of drug testing within the needy families receiving assistance from the government.  The main thing I wanted to find out for myself, was the effectiveness of this issue.
      I went online and found this site, and it was the first thing that I came across that grasped my interest. This site had researched the issue only a year ago exactly.
     Said article was researched and written by two authors: Bryce Covert and Josh Israel. These gentlemen happen to be employed by . This organization hires only qualified personnel who have qualified degrees to research and answer the questions thoroughly. The site itself is owned and ran by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The site is a well funded and protected site, that people look up to and respect, as well as expect correct facts and figures from.

     The writers point out how monies are being spent on the drug tests for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and how they are deeming it cost ineffective. According to said writers, millions of dollars are being spent on testing, when it can be spent in other ways. The writers also provide you, as the reader with the statistics from each of the states doing the testing at the time. This is giving you the realization of facts and figures and where to look.
     There were people that came back with positive results to the drug testing. Now there weren’t as many as they had anticipated. However, the goal was to clean up the population of drug abusers, and put them into rehab, and hopefully even slow down any welfare fraud. The question then would be, if it has helped or hindered the problem.
      On the above mentioned site, I learned that Oklahoma had two hundred, ninety-seven people arriving with a positive drug test end result, they ranked the highest at that time frame. Three thousand three hundred forty-two applicants, and two hundred and ninety-seven people had tested positive. But what you didn’t learn, is what Oklahoma decided to do with the results that they found.

      Researching the drug testing itself, and the people doing the testing, made me wonder about conflicts. And then I couldn’t help but wonder if people make mistakes, or even cheat the system. After-all, there are criminals everywhere.
Written and researched by the National Association of Social Workers, which is a genuine site and the case workers are genuinely real. This site informs you about the drug abusers and the families being affected.
      Within this article, there are publications to help you if you need assistance, and much more to offer the readers. This I found to be quite useful, as well as informative.
      The reason I decided to share this site, is because I mentioned the fact that people and their families are falling apart due to drug issues. It is a sad reality, everywhere. This is a negative impact, and at many levels.
      That is when I found this site: William R Whitehill; Helen M Binkley; Kenneth E Wright; and several others.  Strength and Conditioning Journal (2009). Volume 31, Issue 6 The Drug Testing Process
      Although said article explains prejudice within drug testing toward athletes, it also proves, anyone can pay anyone to change test results. For a job, for an application, for whatever the case may be. Money seems to make many things go away, just as it can make things reappear for an even higher price. As the slang saying goes: “Money talks and bullcrap walks.”

      If a deeper look was taken throughout any areas doing these tests, I am certain you will find errors, and some of them are not even on purpose. This is because not all of these tests are one hundred percent accurate. Mistakes are made, and not just by the test takers, but by everything in general. Did you know that if you are on certain prescriptions, they can make you pop positive as a drug user? Even when you tell the examiner that you are taking said medication, some results vary. And not all people will show a positive result, and some people may, results will vary.
     All results are truly undetermined, and they can be fought in a court system. If the people are able to spend the time and money in fighting a battle, they can do so. The choice is of course theirs. Should charges be files on anyone, everyone must definitely have their ducks in a row, and a leg to stand on.
      The above information I found, was written by multiple authors, and I learned quite a lot. It was informative, and educational as well. You could tell that a lot of research went into the information found here.
       I also found another informative book at the School library: by: Röhrich, J; Becker, J; Kaufmann, T; and several others. (2012). Forensic Science International, (2012) Volume 215, Issue 1-3. Detection of a synthetic drug 4-fluoroamphetamine (4-FA) in serum and urine, here is the link: here they inform you about the testing, and the effects. The main idea of this information acquired is about urine testing individuals while DUI. Applying the method, the 4-FA serum concentrations of the subjects were determined to be 350 ng/mL and 475 ng/mL, respectively. Given the pharmacological data of amphetamine, 4-FA psychoactive effects are to be expected at these serum levels. Both subjects exhibited sympathomimetic effects and psycho-stimulant-like impairment accordingly. Proving the theory of DUI, and the cause and effect theory to be effective.
       While this did not have anything to do with TANF, it did however provide me with the information regarding urine testing of individuals, and the cause and effect theory. I plan to argue with the cost and effectiveness. The Authors were quite relevant with their information provided, and I could understand what I read, and what they were trying to say. I found this article informative and useful in knowledge. The fact that there were many authors and the fact that they were scientists proved to be relevant in their investigations. This proves that they are able to do proper research in labs and understand their finding and explain them to individuals and write justifiable reports. On the same note, it also means their sources are credible through research and findings as well as reports.
      As you may have noticed, I still have not made mention of the costs. This is where we return back to: and where we return the state of Oklahoma. From the above mentioned article I quote regarding the controversy: “A spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services told ThinkProgress that, not counting personnel and system costs, the state paid $185,219 for the 2013-2014 year for this program, which came out of its TANF and Medicaid budgets.”Cite:State Section Oklahoma “” article on tanf-drug-testing-states 2015 February’-Covert & Israel
      As you can well enough see, that is a lot of money being spent out of the tax payers monies to find out the end result of those who are or are not doing drugs, and applying for welfare.
      Now allow us to bring Florida into the picture, after-all, it is the state in which I live. And Florida does have a major issue with problems with people on drugs, along with a lot of people who receive assistance.
      In the article I mentioned above, in 2011 Florida passed a law, and as the article states, here in Florida, residents pay for their own testing. The article proceeds to inform us: “108 out of 4,086 applicants tested positive at a cost of $118,140. Applicants who tested negative would be reimbursed by the state.”  However, shortly thereafter, the Court decided it was a violation of the fourth amendment right-the “Unreasonable search and seizures.” clause in 2013 — a ruling upheld in December by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The three-judge panel noted that Florida had “not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population.” Cite: Paragraph ‘The Future’  “” article on tanf-drug-testing-states 2015 February’-Covert & Israel
      Many recipients didn’t complain about paying for their testing first, especially since they were being warned in advance of the test date, and reimbursed if they passed the test.
      Being since I had to do this research, and rhetorical study, I decided to take a step back and look into this from the perspective as a recipient. So here is what I decided to do:
      I went to the local Welfare office, and sat. (Cocoa, Florida) And I decided to speak to a few people, and get a few honest answers, and share them as my own research and argumentative. I thought this might help others, as well as myself to get a view of the inside. But what struck me as odd, was that no one was afraid to be open and honest with me, the outsider.
      I ask a Mother to three, who was applying, why she was applying, and even where or if there was a father. She explained that she had three different fathers for each child. One died overseas, and one was unemployed, and the most recent father was in drug rehab. How original. I ask her if she was on drugs, or if she had ever been urine tested by welfare, or any other agencies to receive help. She told me that she is tested at every doctor appointment, that it is requirement to receive Medicaid. I interrupted her and said I thought Florida stopped it, because of the fourth amendment. She said, only for TANF. Not to receive free health care. She said, and I quote with her permission, from Elizabeth Chase: “In order for us as recipients to receive benefits we must comply, and keep ourselves in good health. If we pass positive for drugs that are illegal more than three times, we are to agree to have ourselves put into rehab. We sign a paper for this. And I have children I need to take care of, so I need to be in my best shape. And so do my children. They are what matters to me. And yes, I am one of the rare type of mothers that feel this way.” She said proudly.
       The woman next to her, agreed. “It’s the truth. Many of us are still on drugs. I won’t accept the Medicaid benefits, because I know I use drugs. But because Florida stopped the drug testing of us on food stamps I can still get those.” She explained.
     “I don’t know what the big deal is, they give you enough warning, there is a cleanse to you can take to pass it.” A man said, sitting there with his daughter.
     After I left I made sure to write my notes down in the car, and Ms. Chase came to the car to ask me what I was doing. I explained. She asked me about going back to School and I gave her all of the info about South University. She proceeded to ask me for my phone number, and if I was available for tutoring. I explained I wasn’t any good at Math, period. She chuckled, and gave m her phone number.
     So in all reality, a positive result came from my extracurricular activity, not just learning a little bit from the inside look at things.
      One thing people don’t consider, is that drug issue can cause a lot of problems within the family unit. And when people start doing drugs, there are secrets, money loss, even job losses. And when you need to involved the government, things can get even worse. Especially when you aren’t just lying to your family, you can now end up lying to the government as well. A crime is still a crime, no matter how you look at it.
      People end up losing custody of their children, the children end up in foster care. Parents end up jail, or even rehab. Families end up falling apart. All this, because of the wrong decision, drugs-never the right choice.
      Some people have been known to get so impacted by the results, that they end up in counseling, some take it seriously and even can’t handle the end result. And then there are people who are so unable to handle everything, they try suicide, and some have been known to succeed. Some have even been known to succeed on purpose, by taking their current drug stash, and taking them all at one time. And what I managed to learn, even homeless people are not innocent of being drug abusers!
     I found this at the School library where I learned about homeless people being drug abusers: by: North, Carol S; Eyrich-Garg, Karin M; Pollio, David E; and more.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, (2010). Volume 45, Issue 11 A progressive study of substance use and housing stability in the homeless population. Here is the link:
     This article showed me, that even homeless people are involved in drugs, and drug abusers. And believe it or not, they too, do in fact receive benefits from welfare, by way of P.O. Boxes, a friend or family members address, and some shelters allow the homeless to use their address for mail.
     My eyes were opened, and shocked with what I learned. Apparently drugs are not prejudice in who takes and uses and abuses them.
     And when the homeless people have felt that they have had enough, since they have the drugs, if they want a simpler out, there they have it. And if said homeless person has no family, here you have a death of a homeless person, paid for by a tax payer.
      Because of where I live, as sad as this seems, I decided to interview a homeless man. His name-for real, is John. I ask him if he does drugs, and he responded with, “Basically alcohol is my drug of choice. But if I can get someone to give me a Percocet, I will gladly take it. I love the high it gives me.”
      I ask him how he gets his beer and occasional drugs, and he responded. “I was receiving food stamps. I sold my card to the local grocer, until he was caught. The one on Fiske and Peachtree. He would give me a limit of free beer. I mean, it wasn’t free. I would have to get it each week, not all at once. To get the Percocet’s, I would pan handle. And ask people, they would feel sorry for me. Like you. Ya got a few bucks for answering these questions?”
       I ask, him one more question as I handed him a five dollar bill, “Were you charged for giving your food stamp card to the store when they got caught?”
      “No, I never reapplied after that. I’m too scared to, because I know they will put two and two together. They were videoing his store and everything. Now I do more pan handling than ever, and do chores for people from time to time to earn a few extra bucks. Believe it or not, I make more money than most, I won’t lie. I have made up to five hundred dollars on one week-end alone. That’s why I do it, sure I live in the woods, but sometimes I make enough to get a hotel when the weather gets real bad. Than I pan handle there too while I’m there. I’m serious, there are really good spots to get people to feel sorry for you.”
       Ok, I remembered the case about the local grocer getting arrested. His store was under new ownership now, and still being watched. And this is not the first time I have heard about pan handlers making a lot of money. I know quite a few. Sad to say, these cases are real.

     Basically, the real question is, in the end, the urine testing, and the costs, and the effectiveness are in question. Along with the fourth amendment, deciding whether or not it is a violation of an illegal search and seizure. While at the same time, the United States is deciding to encourage the legalizing of marijuana. Families are failing, and the government is failing them too.
     While the idea is justifiable, the cost effectiveness is not helping, but instead it is hindering the economy. And if they would think about the way that they do things a little more effectively, they should be able to do things.
      Here are several of my suggestions:
1.      Don’t give the recipients an advance warning that they are being tested.
2.      Make the recipient pay for the test, no refunds whether they pass or fail.
3.      All who fail, should be retested within 24 hours to be certain it is a fail. If it is a fail, they should be admitted into rehab.
4.      I think it could/should/would be a wise idea for people to make a campaign for and about donations for the testing of individuals, but I think someone needs to be in charge of it to be sure it is used specifically and properly.
     These are just a few of my ideas, but I don’t think anyone would listen to me. But if more people would take a closer look at what is really happening to people receiving TANF and how they are truly using their monies, and who all is using illegally taking and using drugs, we might get somewhere. But until someone actually thinks that there is a problem, nothing is honestly going to get resolved. And tax payers aren’t always going to want to have their monies spent on welfare recipients, when they feel it could be used to help them obtain jobs, rather than test them to see if they are high. Everyone always has something to complain about, no one ever honestly want to fix it.

     I do have just one more question....wouldn't the wise thing to do be to quit using and doing drugs? :O
My references: official site Authors Covert & Israel February 2015 TANF Drug testing the states

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