So hey. You remember that thing going around a while ago, about how some US state decided to drug test welfare recipients, and the result was that basically no one had their welfare payments cut because no one tested positive? And how this was used as a soapbox about how poor people don’t take drugs?
Yeah, well. Apparently the “tests” were a crock of shit.
Basically, they “tested” so low, that it was beneath the false positive percentage normally given by drug tests. Which is pretty suspicious.
Turns out the “test” given to welfare recipients to check whether they were using illicit drugs? Was a survey.
Yeah, seriously. Not a urine sample or whatever most people are imagining (which wa actually ruled unconstitutional by a court), but a survey that was literally, “Are you using illegal drugs? Y/N”. And, gasp!, it’s statistically very likely that people lied in their answers, given actual For Reals research seems to indicate poor people use at least as many illicit drugs as the rest of the population, if not slightly more.
For the record, I don’t think welfare payments should be predicated on any sort of paternalistic bullshit over “appropriate” use of the money as decided by rich people. People who are on welfare and use drugs very likely have the sort of bad shit going on in their lives my coddled, upper-middle class ass can’t even imagine.1 Cutting off their one source of legitimate income isn’t going to make life better for them in any way, shape, or form.
That being said, how about we stop valorising the supposed “drug free-ness” of people on welfare, huh? Because doing so implies something nasty about poor people who do use drugs, and thus aren’t conforming to the approved “model minority” stereotype. Phrasing the strings in a positive way doesn’t mean they aren’t still attached, and all that.
- This is thanks to the intentional efforts of my parents, in fact, given that we do have a history of drug abuse and poverty in parts of my family. [↩]