After the Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed a bill to test welfare recipients for drug abuse, the state legislature overruled his veto. The law went into effect.
But, what many people have been wondering is just how effective the law has been. On February 9, North Carolina released the results from their first round of drug testing. Scroll down to see.
More than 7,600 people applied for the Work First program, but only 89 of them were tested for drugs. Out of the 89 people tested, 21 were found to have illegal drugs in their system. That means that out of the sample tested, almost 25% of the welfare recipients tested positive for drugs. Is this number higher or lower than what you expected?
The state and national average for drug use is around 8 percent.
Social workers asked applicants about their drug use. Any suspicion of drug use led to a drug test. If the applicant was convicted of a drug offense in the last three years, they automatically were tested.
Any applicant who tested positive for illegal drugs was disqualified for benefits. They are also required to pay the $55 fee for the drug test and for any drug treatment involved.
Even though almost one quarter of the sample tested positive, Democratic State Senator Gladys Robinson is quoted as saying that the program is a waste of the state’s money.
“They found very few applicants,” Robinson said, according to WRAL. She continued, “Plus, the process is already in place in terms of asking questions and making those referrals. So, we just wasted state dollars, in terms of that piece of legislation and in terms of the time and staff all across the state.”