Drug testing for welfare benefits in Arkansas shows consistent results

Drug testing for welfare benefits in Arkansas shows consistent results
Opinions still differ on a welfare drug testing requirement. (Source: KARK)

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - Two years after drug testing for certain welfare recipients in Arkansas, opinions still differ but the test results remain constant.

Little Rock television station KARK reports around 19,000 Arkansans applied for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits in 2017.

Thirteen of those were referred for drug tests. Eight of them refused to take the test or failed to show up.

Of the five applicants tested, two were positive.

To determine this, the state spent over $32,000.

Bruno Showers, senior policy analyst for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, calls the requirement a waste.

“It’s bad for low-income kids and families, but it’s also a very inefficient way of using government money,” Showers told KARK. “It’s not cost-effective. That’s money that would be better spent helping those people instead of policing their behavior.”

Universal drug testing for TANF was ruled unconstitutional in 2014, but Arkansas and a dozen other states require applicants and/or recipients with a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use to be tested, according to KARK.

Copyright 2019 KAIT. All rights reserved.