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Drug testing makes sense

The message is a simple one on the surface: You want taxpayers to help you turn your life around then you must prove the money is truly being spent as intended.

That is at the heart of a push by several states to institute some form of random drug testing for individuals receiving government assistance — primarily food stamps, unemployment or welfare.

Although measures like this can certainly be a slippery slope toward the erosion of civil liberties, we feel some version of drug testing makes sense because it could help those who are addicted break the cycle of self destructive behavior and also ensure that taxpayer dollars are actually being spent to help families in true need.

Legislators in at least eight states, including West Virginia, are considering a variety of varying proposals that would all include some form of drug test for individuals receiving some type of government assistance.

According to Associated Press statistics, the number of welfare recipients — the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Women, Infants and Children — was at 3.8 million last year, and could likely increase this year. Claims for unemployment benefits and food stamps are already on the rise with no end in sight.

In December, more than 31.7 million Americans were receiving food stamp benefits, compared with 27.5 million the year before, according to the AP.

Federal law says states can tie government aid to drug testing but at least one law has been overturned by a federal court because the “random” portion violated the Constitutional protection from “unreasonable search and seizure.”

It isn’t unreasonable when the parameters are clearly defined at the beginning of the process.

Our government has a responsibility to help those in need but taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to help those who don’t truly want to help themselves.