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KANSAS TO TEST SUSPECTED DRUG USERS ON WELFARE - KOAM TV 7

KANSAS TO TEST SUSPECTED DRUG USERS ON WELFARE

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The Kansas law will take effect next month.

Those on welfare who fail a drug test will lose their benefits until they complete a program for drug and job skills. For children whose parents fail the test. A third party can apply for benefits on their behalf.

Welfare drug testing is already in place in at least nine states.

Supporters of the program see it as a way to stop the business and use of illegal drugs.

"I think it's a good program to do because even though its expensive it's limiting the abuse of drugs through several people possibly," said Bailey Beykirch. "Because if they want to receive welfare, then they need to quit doing drugs."

"As a tax payer, is the money I pay for taxes going to support somebody's drug habit?" asked William Gray. 

The program is similar to one Missouri put into place this year. Missouri's program cost nearly 500,000 thousand dollars and found 20 people who tested positive. Kansas projects it will cost approximately one million dollars to implement. These numbers are a concern for critics of the program.

"We're looking at 25,000 expenditure for each positive drug test, which clearly isn't a good use of state money when those things could on to be used for drug rehabilitation and other things that are actually shown to have statistical significance in reducing the abuse of illegal drugs," said Kelly Maddy, a volunteer for Show Me Cannabis.  

Kansas senator Jeff King believes that some people will not apply for government benefits if they believe they will fail the test. For some residents, gaining any assistance comes with a price.

Anytime you go to the government to ask for money in any situation whether it's welfare, there are strings attached. And this being a new string attached, if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be worried about it," said Gray.

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