Drug tests now required for welfare recipients

Posted at 4:37 PM, Aug 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-01 18:37:37-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Utahns applying for state welfare benefits will now have to pass a drug test.

Applicants first take an online survey – which is about 94 percent accurate – that will determine whether an actual drug test will be administered. If the person tests positive for drugs, he’ll have to get into a treatment program in order to get continued benefits.

“The bottom line is to get people employed and employers are looking for people who don’t have substance abuse. We want to make sure that anybody that we refer there and we get ready to work doesn’t have a substance abuse problem,” said Curt Stewart, Dept. of Workforce Services.

Opponents of the law say it’s demeaning and doesn’t address the real need to get people into good jobs.

An estimated 5 to 10 percent of Utah’s welfare recipients are drug-dependent.

Similar laws in Michigan and Florida were ruled unconstitutional.