New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

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New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Dark567 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:23 pm UTC

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/201 ... assistance

Spoiler:
TALLAHASSEE -- Thousands of the state's poorest Floridians will have to take a drug test if they want to qualify for welfare assistance, under a new law signed by Gov. Rick Scott Monday.

The idea, plugged by Scott and the GOP-dominated Legislature, is that drug tests will root out welfare recipients who are using public dollars to buy drugs. But Democrats and advocates for the poor say the requirement could violate individuals' constitutional rights to privacy, and the American Civil Liberties Union is likely to challenge the law in court.


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"While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction," Scott said in a news release. "This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars."

According to legislative analysts,113,346 people are receiving temporary cash assistance. However, only people 18 and older will be tested, and officials from the Department of Children and Families estimate that will total about 4,400 adults who apply for aid each month.

Officials estimate the initial screenings would cost about $10 per person – refundable if the individual passes – and first-time failures will be disqualified for one year from receiving benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. A second failure disqualifies the individual for three years.

TANF recipients are eligible for cash assistance for a lifetime cumulative total of 48 months, and their eligibility is checked every six months.

Advocates for the poor worry about the cost of the tests – which one DCF official said could go as high as $40 -- and also about the message the new rule sends to people already facing financial problems.

Karen Broussard, director of program development for Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando, called the testing "disrespectful … To do this simply by virtue of the applicants being vulnerable economically is so disappointing," she said.

Pastor Scott George, co-founder of the Community Food & Outreach Center in Orlando that helps needy families apply for aid and look for work, cautioned that the cost of the test could be a "real hurdle" for some of the state's poorest citizens.

"At times I feel like there are so many hurdles that they keep genuine people with real needs from getting help… Kids could end up paying the price for parents' irresponsibility," he said. "I wouldn't want that to happen. I wouldn't want them to pay the price for mistakes the parents are making."

However, the new law does allow DCF to designate a person to receive funds on behalf of children whose parent fails a drug test. This could include an immediate family member.

Florida's welfare caseload spiked as the economy tanked and the housing market folded. But it is slowly starting to decline as the state begins to recover. The 52,911 families receiving assistance in May was 6.1- percent below the total 12 months earlier, DCF said.

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No other state currently requires drug testing for welfare recipients, but a number of states are considering similar action.

The effectiveness of testing is unknown. A pilot program that tested some welfare recipients between 1999 to 2001 found that there was little difference in employment and earnings between those who tested positive for drug use and those who were clean, according to an evaluation by a Florida State University researcher.

The issue is ripe for a lawsuit though.

The American Civil Liberties Union has indicated that it may challenge the new law in addition to a number of other bills that the governor has already approved or is likely to sign in the coming weeks. The group is slated to announce action today related to a separate order by Scott that mandates drug-testing of all state employees.

In 1999, Michigan began drug-testing all welfare recipients, prompting the ACLU to sue. In 2003, a federal appeals court ruled that universal testing was unconstitutional, and the ACLU and the state reached an agreement that allowed drug tests of welfare recipients only if there was reasonable suspicion that the person was using drugs.

Howard Simon, the executive director of ACLU of Florida, released a statement saying that the governor was ignoring privacy law and treating people who have lost their jobs "like suspected criminals."

"Searching the bodily fluids of those in need of assistance is a scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound policy," he said. "Today, that unsound policy is Florida law."

Neither House sponsor Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, or Senate sponsor Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, responded to requests for comment.

In a separate action Tuesday, Scott also signed a measure that would make so-called "bath salts" a Schedule 1 controlled substance, lumping it in with drugs such as heroin. The bill, HB 1039, was a major priority for Attorney General Pam Bondi, who issued a temporary statewide ban on the sale of the hallucinogenic substances earlier this year.

"Bath salts," which could be legally purchased at some convenience stores and smoke shops, are usually snorted, although the crystals can be smoked or swallowed. They can cause increased heart rate, hallucinations, paranoia, seizures and kidney failure.


I feel very mixed on the issue. I don't like the idea of welfare money being spent on drugs, which this helps prevent, but I also don't like just assuming that poor people are going to take their money and spend it on drugs.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:27 pm UTC

I don't think that there's necessarily an assumption that they'll use it for drugs, but just a test to make sure they aren't abusing welfare money.

I'm still a bit mixed: on the one hand, if a poor person wants to screw up his life further, then so be it. On the other hand, not on my dime.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Greyarcher » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

Hmmm, offhand, I suppose I have little problem with this in principle. It doesn't seem odd for social assistance to come with strings attached (e.g. fulfilling certain requirements that will help get you off social assistance). If this works effectively towards fruitful ends, then in practice I would have no problem with it either.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Jahoclave » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:45 pm UTC

Sure, ten dollars may seem like not much, but if you're going to refund for passing, why charge in the first place? Is it really that hard to eat the cost on the few people who won't pass? And, given the case, are you actually going to save that much money because of the drug testing?

But sure, let's continue to humiliate and treat the poor as criminals, it'll show just how humane we are. Maybe we can force them to attend worthless seminars, miles away, that they have to pay for while having to apply for so many jobs a week with a car that doesn't work. Yeah, I say we do that. That way, we can officially say we're a bunch of privileged callous assholes.

The effectiveness of testing is unknown. A pilot program that tested some welfare recipients between 1999 to 2001 found that there was little difference in employment and earnings between those who tested positive for drug use and those who were clean, according to an evaluation by a Florida State University researcher.

So, the evidence suggests the program will be a massive failure, but let's pretend the effectiveness will be unknown.

And really, let's be honest, this is just a program to pander to white middle-class voters and their resentment of the Other. It has nothing to do with saving money or improving lives.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Shivahn » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:And really, let's be honest, this is just a program to pander to white middle-class voters and their resentment of the Other. It has nothing to do with saving money or improving lives.

If it had to do with either of those it wouldn't exist, given that I don't think forcing drug addicts into crime to pay for their addictions (and food) is going to save money or improve lives.

Or do anything positive, really.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Skraxt » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:49 pm UTC

Will they also be tested for blood alcohol levels? Would it be considered a waste of welfare money to spend it all on alcohol?

It it a waste to spend all of the money on coat hangars? How about just burning it?

It isn't the job of the ones giving social support to enforce such laws, the police already do so, will the cost of the test administration be economically efficient versus letting those receiving welfare buy drugs?

I'm just confused. :|
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Jahoclave » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

Skraxt wrote:Will they also be tested for blood alcohol levels? Would it be considered a waste of welfare money to spend it all on alcohol?

It it a waste to spend all of the money on coat hangars? How about just burning it?

It isn't the job of the ones giving social support to enforce such laws, the police already do so, will the cost of the test administration be economically efficient versus letting those receiving welfare buy drugs?

I'm just confused. :|

The really problem is this idea that welfare recipients are buy and large drug addicts, which really isn't all that true. And, it's not really the problem that's keeping them poor.

And, in terms of cost, only the money spent on the drugs and not all the money they receive can be counted, so I highly doubt there would be a real savings anyway.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Dark567 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:04 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:The really problem is this idea that welfare recipients are buy and large drug addicts, which really isn't all that true.
Are you reading the same report I am?

Illicit drug use and dependence are more common among women receiving welfare than among women who do not. Illicit drug use remains associated with welfare receipt even after controlling for race, educational attainment, region, and other potential confounders.


I mean sure, they aren't the majority, but its still more common among welfare recipients then the general population at large.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Lucrece » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:40 am UTC

What Florida needs to get on is repealing all the legislation that gives Cubans special treatment. People who have not paid taxes for a day in their lives getting great housing arrangements, being the only asylum seekers who can constantly travel back home for business -- while all the other asylum seekers are bound to never leaving the country.

Or, you know, while the filthy Mexicans steal jobs and get rounded up like dogs and reported, Cubans just need to touch the beach and they're set. No demonization. Plenty of support networks.

But, hey, Cubans live under Fidel. How can deep Mexican political corruption and daily executions compare to the very special situation Cubans have (i.e. they have a government the U.S. dislikes due to not feeding them money, but rather having appropriated US property).
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby KittenKaboodle » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:43 am UTC

"disrespectful … To do this simply by virtue of the applicants being vulnerable economically is so disappointing,"

Whateva, I had to take a drug test to get a job that efectivly paid less than minimum wage, welcome to the real world. Chances are fairly good that they will have to take a drug test to get off wefare, so why is such a big deal to take a test to get on?
Hey! I just had an idea, they could call it job preparedness training, who could complain about that? :twisted:
However, making the people pay for the test is a bit over the top, I didn't have to pay for the test itself, but I did have to get myself to the testing facility (a different location than the one where I was appling for the job) at my own expence.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Vaniver » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:52 am UTC

So, any idea what the false positive rates on these tests are?
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:02 am UTC

Even if we make the assumption that the tests are PerfectTech, there doesn't seem to be much indication of an equal political/popular enthusiasm for accompanying the bill with beneficial drug rehabilitation, treatment, or education programs. How many times do we have to conduct the studies and find cases that show that pure punitive action without providing help just means more failure?
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby kiklion » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:00 am UTC

Or even... Person A is on welfare due to inability to work due to health causes. Say... Muscular Dystrophy. This person grows his own pot to deal with the pain associated with the disorder. He wouldn't be able to collect under this new law, and use of the drug is not what is keeping him from working. Hell, use of the drug almost allows him to work if only he had the skills necessary for a desk job.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:38 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
The effectiveness of testing is unknown. A pilot program that tested some welfare recipients between 1999 to 2001 found that there was little difference in employment and earnings between those who tested positive for drug use and those who were clean, according to an evaluation by a Florida State University researcher.

So, the evidence suggests the program will be a massive failure, but let's pretend the effectiveness will be unknown.

And really, let's be honest, this is just a program to pander to white middle-class voters and their resentment of the Other. It has nothing to do with saving money or improving lives.
That passage did make me wonder if this was just more pointlessness in the vein of Prohibition. Makes me wonder if they also checked for any difference in expenditures or savings, and also distinguished individuals' results based on the particular drugs for which people tested positive. If there's no distinction between the two parties there either, then I wonder if it is indeed a worthless endeavor.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Jahoclave » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:53 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:The really problem is this idea that welfare recipients are by and large drug addicts, which really isn't all that true.
Are you reading the same report I am?

Illicit drug use and dependence are more common among women receiving welfare than among women who do not. Illicit drug use remains associated with welfare receipt even after controlling for race, educational attainment, region, and other potential confounders.


I mean sure, they aren't the majority, but its still more common among welfare recipients then the general population at large.

It's hardly all that common, and if you read the report it's not really the problem. Furthermore, you're still falling into the trap of arguing drug use as a causation and not a symptom of a more endemic problem. And, you're still perpetuating the idea that people on welfare are druggie drug drug addicts who really aren't worthy of assistance.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you have little to no experience with poverty or people in poverty.

Whateva, I had to take a drug test to get a job that efectivly paid less than minimum wage, welcome to the real world. Chances are fairly good that they will have to take a drug test to get off wefare, so why is such a big deal to take a test to get on?

The government mandate part. The treating of the impoverished as criminals. The exploitation of the Other to gain white votes. The fact that they're saying to those in poverty for whom ten dollars is a big deal that they have to pay ten dollars for assistance. A whole host of other reasons.

Also, just assume I'm giving you a lecture on your privilege.

I just had an idea, they could call it job preparedness training, who could complain about that?

A lot of people actually. But, that has more to do with it being used as a government subsidy to private businesses who don't really do any good. Especially when they're over twenty miles away and not even accessible by public transport.

@Luc: At the very least there should be federal support for it instead of just burdening Florida, since it's national politics that's creating the incessant antagonism of Cuba to start with.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Dark567 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:00 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Dark567 wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:The really problem is this idea that welfare recipients are by and large drug addicts, which really isn't all that true.
Are you reading the same report I am?

Illicit drug use and dependence are more common among women receiving welfare than among women who do not. Illicit drug use remains associated with welfare receipt even after controlling for race, educational attainment, region, and other potential confounders.


I mean sure, they aren't the majority, but its still more common among welfare recipients then the general population at large.

It's hardly all that common, and if you read the report it's not really the problem. Furthermore, you're still falling into the trap of arguing drug use as a causation and not a symptom of a more endemic problem. And, you're still perpetuating the idea that people on welfare are druggie drug drug addicts who really aren't worthy of assistance.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you have little to no experience with poverty or people in poverty.
When the hell did I argue causation anywhere? Or say anything about drug addicts not being worthy of assistance? The only thing I said is the drug use is more common among welfare recipients then population at large. That's what your report said, that's all I said. Stop putting words in my mouth.

And I have experience with people in poverty, are large portion of my family are welfare recipients and a couple even live in a shelter.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Garm » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:13 am UTC

Let's not forget that the Governor of Florida used to run a health care company and was nearly indicted on Medicare fraud. He's probably doing this for a lot of reasons but certainly one of this is that the program will enrich his contacts in the medical/pharmaceutical industry.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:24 am UTC

I don't think that drug tests necessarily mean that addicts don't deserve aid or that poor people are all druggies. It's about making sure taxpayer money goes to help people, not hurt them.

However, because as Jahoclave said, these programs are ineffective, then there's no reason to implement them.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:33 am UTC

Welcome to America. Please check your freedoms at the border, and don't plan on getting them back!

Oh, were you already here? Never mind what I just said, you're in the land of free!

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:44 am UTC

Isn't it unconstitutional to force people to hand over evidence against themselves?
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby acablue » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:49 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Isn't it unconstitutional to force people to hand over evidence against themselves?

This is different, though, isn't it? It's not as if they're going to be tried in court if they fail the drug test. They simply won't receive their welfare checks anymore. All you need is to revise the Sunshine State Statutes to add that stipulation.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Kulantan » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:51 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:It's about making sure taxpayer money goes to help people, not hurt them.

Then I'm sure that they will not be testing for weed, LSD or a host of other non-harmful drugs? Or will they be booting people off benefits who have traces of alcohol and tobacco in their systems?

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby iChef » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:51 am UTC

The funny part about this system is who it will sift out of the system. Speaking from years of experience it is much easier to beat a drug test while using cocaine or heroin than using marijuana. MJ stays in your system from a week to a month long period. Cocaine a few days and heroin usually only 24 - 72 hours. For an experienced user who is intent on beating the system it is much easier to use the welfare to support my heroin addiction than it is to smoke weed while on welfare. I doubt they will be testing more than once a month or that they have the man power to do random testing. I see a system much like probation. You go see your welfare officer on a set day, download a few job applications off the internet and fill them out real quick so it looks like you are actually looking for work. Stop shooting up for a day or two, buy some suboxone off the street to keep from getting sick. Go see the welfare guy, drop clean for him BS about how bad the economy is and how you are looking for work. Get out of there, call your dealer and blow your welfare check on heroin and get high as hell on taxpayer money. That would be much harder to do if you were only smoking pot, but id a quick and easy way to get good old Uncle Sam to support your dope habit.\



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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby KittenKaboodle » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:36 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Whateva, I had to take a drug test to get a job that efectivly paid less than minimum wage, welcome to the real world. Chances are fairly good that they will have to take a drug test to get off wefare, so why is such a big deal to take a test to get on?

The government mandate part. The treating of the impoverished as criminals. The exploitation of the Other to gain white votes. The fact that they're saying to those in poverty for whom ten dollars is a big deal that they have to pay ten dollars for assistance. A whole host of other reasons.

Also, just assume I'm giving you a lecture on your privilege.

I get the part about the government mandate, and I didn't aprove of making people pay for the test ("However, making the people pay for the test is a bit over the top").
But My privilege? I don't see how having to take a drug test to get a crappy job makes me more privilged than someone who has to take a drug test to be handed a check. Oh, you mean that I actually got any job, not that it effectively paid less than minimum wage. If it helps it was a temporary job that lasted two weeks.
I just had an idea, they could call it job preparedness training, who could complain about that?

A lot of people actually. But, that has more to do with it being used as a government subsidy to private businesses who don't really do any good. Especially when they're over twenty miles away and not even accessible by public transport.

You removed my smiley :twisted:, that comment was somewhat tongue in cheek. However that "over twenty miles away and not even accessible by public transport" is creepy; how the F did you know? actually, it was only 19 miles and there was public transportation that would get me to within a distance I would be willing to walk (though many would not) the problem was that the first bus of the day would have dropped me off that 4 miles from work 10 minutes after my shift started.

Perhaps I should explain the “effectively less than minimum wage” since there is some slight possibility that it is tangentially related to the topic (and it is certianly related to my attitude about the topic). The job nominaly paid about 10% more than minimum wage, but the state requires payments into a workers compensation insurance plan; most of those payments are paid by the employer, but they are allowed to deduct some fraction of the cost from the employees pay. In this case the job was so freaking “dangerous” that the deduction was about 15% of my basic wage. The employer is also required to post a document showing the work place injuries that have occurred, in this instance the vast majority were “soft tissue injuries” which I (somewhat cynically) interpret as “I don't like working, I'm going to say my back hurts, and someone should pay me to stay home and pop Vicodin”. Well maybe that is more than “somewhat” cynical, probably fairer is: “This job is so f’ing crappy that I have a right to game the system (but if I can get a prescription for Vicodin out if I won’t complain) ”.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby juststrange » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:42 am UTC

If the politicians really cared about keeping taxpayer money from going to drugs, they would step up and expand this concept. I say, mandatory drug testing for all elected officials. Lets make them man up and put themselves under the same scrutiny they want to put others under, especially since I am paying thier salary too.

*Note, I think one state added that addendum and the bill quickly failed. Cowards.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby JBJ » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:46 pm UTC

juststrange wrote:If the politicians really cared about keeping taxpayer money from going to drugs, they would step up and expand this concept. I say, mandatory drug testing for all elected officials. Lets make them man up and put themselves under the same scrutiny they want to put others under, especially since I am paying thier salary too.
And..... done!
Edit - Not sure if elected officials are excluded for some reason, but it would apply to all state workers. Mandatory for new applicants and random screening on existing employees. It was an executive order, not legislation, and is currently under dispute in the courts.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby savanik » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:So, any idea what the false positive rates on these tests are?


I hadn't considered such a thing before when applying for my current job - which required a test, btw. Handling sensitive financial information, etc.

Mayo Clin Proc. 1987 May;62(5):413-7. Marijuana testing--how good is it? Moyer TP, Palmen MA, Johnson P, Charlson JR, Ellefson PJ.

TLDR: About 3% of people tested are false positives. A lot of studies cite this as a '15% false positives rate!' because they're comparing the people who tested positive (20) vs. how many were false (3). This is incorrect. Proper false positive rates are done over the total sample size, which was 100.

That said, if you're tested once annually, then over 5 years, you're looking at a 14% chance of a false positive result. And the more you get tested, the more often false positives have a chance to occur.

Ancedotal: My dad, a retired police captain, while on the force once tested positive for heroin because he'd mistakenly eaten a muffin with poppy seeds on top the day before. This is a commonly reported error.

These tests are amazingly sensitive and even many common prescription drugs can confound them. Amoxacillin can test positive for cocaine. Ciprofloxacin can cause positive results for opiates. Ibuprofen can cause false positives for marijuana.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby JBJ » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:59 pm UTC

savanik wrote:That said, if you're tested once annually, then over 5 years, you're looking at a 14% chance of a false positive result. And the more you get tested, the more often false positives have a chance to occur.

True, if that was the only test they used. The test they are referring to is the EMIT (Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique). It's quick and cheap, and while not perfect, it's a decent screening tool. Hell, you can buy them at most drug stores now.

This method is almost never used as the final say of whether drugs were/are present. If the initial screening gives a positive result, it usually goes on to GC/MS. Gas chromatography / mass spectrometry is practically foolproof, but not practical for high volume testing.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:07 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:
savanik wrote:That said, if you're tested once annually, then over 5 years, you're looking at a 14% chance of a false positive result. And the more you get tested, the more often false positives have a chance to occur.

True, if that was the only test they used. The test they are referring to is the EMIT (Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique). It's quick and cheap, and while not perfect, it's a decent screening tool. Hell, you can buy them at most drug stores now.

This method is almost never used as the final say of whether drugs were/are present. If the initial screening gives a positive result, it usually goes on to GC/MS. Gas chromatography / mass spectrometry is practically foolproof, but not practical for high volume testing.


Maybe this is something I don't understand; but can't you deal with false positives by taking more then one test?
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Vaniver » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:09 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Maybe this is something I don't understand; but can't you deal with false positives by taking more then one test?
That depends on how the test works. The poppy seed faking heroin thing won't be solved by taking two tests- the actual physical signal is corrupted.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby JBJ » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:27 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Maybe this is something I don't understand; but can't you deal with false positives by taking more then one test?
That depends on how the test works. The poppy seed faking heroin thing won't be solved by taking two tests- the actual physical signal is corrupted.
I don't follow what you mean by physical signal...

In the EMIT test, they use enzymes that react to certain substances. It's like a home pregnancy test. i.e., if the line turns blue, it's positive. But... that doesn't always mean pregnant. These EMIT tests can produce false positives because other substances (like poppy seeds) have a close enough chemical signature to trick the test. GC/MS actually looks at what molecules make up a sample. If the molecules for TCH, cocaine, or whatever, are present, they will show up.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Falling » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

I'm at working so I'm just going to through a bunch of stuff out without citations.

-This has been tried in another state and shut down as unconstitutional.
-These tests can easily miss the drugs we should be worried about (cocaine, meth, heroine, alcohol) and catch the ones we shouldn't be (pot).
-Training welfare workers to look for signs of substance abuse is more efficacious and cost-effective.
-People on welfare do not use drugs at significantly higher rates than the general population.
-The cost required to catch someone outweighs the savings of kicking them off the program.
-False positives.
-False positives.

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby alexh123456789 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:19 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:
Vaniver wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Maybe this is something I don't understand; but can't you deal with false positives by taking more then one test?
That depends on how the test works. The poppy seed faking heroin thing won't be solved by taking two tests- the actual physical signal is corrupted.
I don't follow what you mean by physical signal...

In the EMIT test, they use enzymes that react to certain substances. It's like a home pregnancy test. i.e., if the line turns blue, it's positive. But... that doesn't always mean pregnant. These EMIT tests can produce false positives because other substances (like poppy seeds) have a close enough chemical signature to trick the test. GC/MS actually looks at what molecules make up a sample. If the molecules for TCH, cocaine, or whatever, are present, they will show up.


Poppy seeds have morphine and codeine in them, and morphine is one of things heroin is metabolized into, so in this case it it's not just close enough to trick the test, but the exact same molecules. (all from Wikipedia, but I think that's the main idea).

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:07 am UTC

JBJ wrote:
Vaniver wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Maybe this is something I don't understand; but can't you deal with false positives by taking more then one test?
That depends on how the test works. The poppy seed faking heroin thing won't be solved by taking two tests- the actual physical signal is corrupted.
I don't follow what you mean by physical signal...

In a situation like the poppy seed heroin, the false positive isn't because of a malfunction in the testing device, but because of a chemical in the sample that yields a positive result but isn't actually from heroin. If you run the test 100 times on the same sample, or on 100 people in the same condition, you'll get consistent false positives, so just running the same test again doesn't clear anything up.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:04 am UTC

Then I'm sure that they will not be testing for weed, LSD or a host of other non-harmful drugs? Or will they be booting people off benefits who have traces of alcohol and tobacco in their systems?

Hey, I didn't say that law did a good job of that. Actually, I said the opposite. I just think you might be unnecessarily reading malicious intent into the lawmakers.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:46 am UTC

What's to stop junkies from using someone else's urine for the drug tests? E.g., storing it in bags and sneaking it in to the bathroom when filling the cup. I somehow doubt the drug test will involve a sudden inspection with a social worker watching you urinate.

On a related note, urine for sale! 85% chance of being substance-free! $20 in cash or foodstamps/pint!

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby Lucrece » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:02 am UTC

When I got accepted for a job nobody stood there and stalked me while I took a piss in the cup.

Even if it were policy, I bet you it wouldn't be followed as people are squeamish enough about seeing a stranger's dick to knowingly not give a shit if the sample was switched out. Either way, the lab gets paid for providing the test not assuring it's accurate.
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:50 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:What's to stop junkies from using someone else's urine for the drug tests? E.g., storing it in bags and sneaking it in to the bathroom when filling the cup. I somehow doubt the drug test will involve a sudden inspection with a social worker watching you urinate.

On a related note, urine for sale! 85% chance of being substance-free! $20 in cash or foodstamps/pint!


Pff, I can offer false positive rate of being substance free; 15$ cash or 20$ foodstamp. The invisible hand guides us all
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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:12 am UTC

Tell you what, let's both agree to $30 or $40 in foodstamps. And if anyone else tries to enter our market, we beat the piss out of him and sell it. The invisible hand tends to fail when there are no regulations to slap it

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Re: New Florida law requires drug test to collect welfare

Postby The Reaper » Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:10 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Tell you what, let's both agree to $30 or $40 in foodstamps. And if anyone else tries to enter our market, we beat the piss out of him and sell it. The invisible hand tends to fail when there are no regulations to slap it

Good news, I now sell weaponry, so you can defend yourself and your valuable piss assets! Clearly the invisible hand has gotten us to where we are today...


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