A ‘Conservative’ vision for America – ‘House Republicans want drug tests for food-stamp recipients. There’s no good reason for that’
‘Traditionally, food stamps have been less stigmatized than other welfare benefits’.
‘Two-thirds of beneficiaries from the the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are children, elderly, or people with disabilities’.
‘Benefits are modest, with the average recipient receiving about $133 per month’.
‘It’s hard to begrudge poor people, especially poor children, access to food’.
‘Yet that’s started to change in recent years. Because of the recession, caseloads have grown from 26 million in 2007 to 46 million four years later. SNAP expenditures have increased from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion in 2012’.
‘In response, House leaders are now proposing to cut $40 billion from SNAP over time. They also want to allow states to drug-test SNAP applicants’.
‘The drug testing of SNAP recipients is yet another ideological sideshow that disfigures substance-abuse policy. It falsely implies that substance use disorders are a widespread cause of welfare dependence. It also implies, again falsely, that these disorders are highly concentrated among recipients of public aid’.
‘Using 2011 data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we looked at the behaviors and circumstances of adults ages 18-64 whose households received SNAP’.
‘The basic pattern is shown in Figure 1, which compares SNAP recipients ages 18-64 (the blue bars’)
‘With non-recipients (red bars’)
‘On various measures of substance use and actual use disorders. The green bars then show the additional risk associated with SNAP receipt’.
‘Sure enough, SNAP recipients are somewhat more likely than others to use or misuse illicit substances’.
‘About 24 percent of SNAP recipients and 16 percent of those who don’t get SNAP have used at least one illicit substance in the past year’.
‘This drops to 13.1 percent for SNAP recipients and 7.5 percent for non-recipients if one excludes marijuana’.
‘Note, however, that the actual prevalence of illicit substance use disorders remains quite low’.
‘Only about 5.3 percent among SNAP recipients who are only about 1.7 percentage-points more likely to have such disorders than comparable non-recipients’.
‘And if one excludes marijuana, then abuse or dependence of other illicit substances is rare within the SNAP population’.
‘By far the most common substance use disorders among SNAP recipients (and among the general population) arise from alcohol use—behaviors generally left undetected by drug-testing’.
From : http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/21/house-republicans-want-drug-tests-for-food-stamp-recipients-theres-no-good-reason-for-that/?wpisrc=nl_wnkpm