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Add treatment to proposal to tie aid to drug tests

May 22, 2012
Salem News

A proposal to require applicants for some public assistance in Ohio to be tested for illegal drugs is off the table at the General Assembly, but only for now. It will be back later this year, proponents say.

Gov. John Kasich is on record in support of such a restriction. He has said it would keep taxpayers' money from going to drug addicts, while providing help for the poor who are hooked.

A new version of the plan could do just that, but it will require provisions not included in the original plan.

Introduced as part of another bill earlier this month, the idea was to require applicants for cash assistance to undergo drug testing. If they were found to be using illegal substances, they would be banned from receiving cash benefits for six months. At the end of that time they could be re-tested and, perhaps, could qualify for assistance.

But as we have pointed out, what was missing from the proposal was a treatment component - that is, some provision to assist poor drug addicts in kicking the habit.

Lawmakers who favor drug testing for welfare applicants have said they will draft a separate bill on the matter and introduce it later this year.

If that is done, some mechanism for helping those who fail drug tests should be included.

Taxpayers probably cannot afford full funding of treatment programs for all addicts. That can be very expensive. But if some means can be found to at least help them find and obtain treatment, the bill would be much more appealing.

It also would do much more good.



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