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Old 03-14-2012, 02:28 PM  
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Originally Posted by YelloJeep View Post
I think that drug testing while on unemployment is a good idea. If you are doing things that can inhibit your employability then you should not recieve subsidies to help you get by while unemployed. I don't know what the point of drug testing a little old lady because she gets SS would be. What if she fails? Take away what she "paid into" specifically so she could recieve it? That would be a waste of money.
Without considering costs, I agree fully. Social Security is not public assistance, it's more comparable to a savings account or other investment. You pay into it throughout your working career, and receive the benefit from it later.

People collecting food stamps, unemployment, disability and other forms of public insurance/assistance should be required to make reasonable attempts to improve their condition, and drug testing can verify one aspect of that.

When we consider costs, it's exceedingly clear that testing all recipients periodically is ridiculously infeasible, causing costs to skyrocket without a corresponding benefit to society.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:40 PM  
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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
Without considering costs, I agree fully. Social Security is not public assistance, it's more comparable to a savings account or other investment. You pay into it throughout your working career, and receive the benefit from it later.

People collecting food stamps, unemployment, disability and other forms of public insurance/assistance should be required to make reasonable attempts to improve their condition, and drug testing can verify one aspect of that.

When we consider costs, it's exceedingly clear that testing all recipients periodically is ridiculously infeasible, causing costs to skyrocket without a corresponding benefit to society.
As far as the cost part goes... I would not be surprised if the testing itself could save money (enough to offset I don't know...). I am sure that there are some out there who would not even apply for the benefit if it meant stopping their drug of choice. That is money saved. There are others who may land a job sooner because they are now able to pass a drug test. There is no telling how many would be dropped off the rolls if they were all drug tested right now. You MAY be right about the cost. I do believe that there is a chance it could pay off though from a cost standpoint.

Maybe go with a cheap over the counter drug test and if someone fails and insists that they should have passed, they can pay for a more accurate one. If they pass they get reimbursed... I don't know... Seems there has to be a way but it seems a no brainer that handing money to drug addicts to buy drugs because they can't get a job because they do drugs is a bad idea.....
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:39 PM  
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Originally Posted by YelloJeep View Post
As far as the cost part goes... I would not be surprised if the testing itself could save money (enough to offset I don't know...). I am sure that there are some out there who would not even apply for the benefit if it meant stopping their drug of choice. That is money saved. There are others who may land a job sooner because they are now able to pass a drug test. There is no telling how many would be dropped off the rolls if they were all drug tested right now. You MAY be right about the cost. I do believe that there is a chance it could pay off though from a cost standpoint.

Maybe go with a cheap over the counter drug test and if someone fails and insists that they should have passed, they can pay for a more accurate one. If they pass they get reimbursed... I don't know... Seems there has to be a way but it seems a no brainer that handing money to drug addicts to buy drugs because they can't get a job because they do drugs is a bad idea.....
The tests are $25 to $65 depending on vendor and test, plus the cost of staff members administering the tests, renting the space to conduct them, etc. When you're paying out only $250/month in benefits, you've got to dump a huge percentage of people to break even.

There's a reason why employers and the military don't do periodic testing of their entire workforce but instead rely on random testing. It's because testing 5% of the workforce reminds 100% of the workforce that they can be tested at any time.

100% of the money you can spend buys 100% of the ideal result you want. Do you choose that option, or do you choose the option where you get 95% of your ideal result with 5% of the expenditure?

Test anyone who gives you good cause to test them, and test everyone at random. FAR cheaper, and pretty much equally effective.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:46 AM  
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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
The tests are $25 to $65 depending on vendor and test, plus the cost of staff members administering the tests, renting the space to conduct them, etc. When you're paying out only $250/month in benefits, you've got to dump a huge percentage of people to break even.

There's a reason why employers and the military don't do periodic testing of their entire workforce but instead rely on random testing. It's because testing 5% of the workforce reminds 100% of the workforce that they can be tested at any time.

100% of the money you can spend buys 100% of the ideal result you want. Do you choose that option, or do you choose the option where you get 95% of your ideal result with 5% of the expenditure?

Test anyone who gives you good cause to test them, and test everyone at random. FAR cheaper, and pretty much equally effective.
I won't argue with that... I think that makes good sense but the random test needs to be something like a hair test or something. I don't know. We definitely need to do something. It should be a combination of random and just cause.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:10 PM  
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The theory behind testing as a deterrent is that it will remind the others that they are subject to being tested. The reality is much different. If you are testing 5% then the reality is 95% are not being tested. 100% know that. If I am a drug user those are acceptable odds. However what was not mentioned is that because an individual is required to submit a specimen does not mean that the specimen is tested. In reality only a portion of the specimens taken are actually tested so the odds continue to tilt in the users favor. In the early '70s I was tested twice. I should have tested positive but was never called to account for a positive urine test. Why? Even though I submitted a specimen it was never tested. And in 20 years in the military I was only tested approximately 5 times at most. In the early'70s (positive) and mid '80s (negative). The only individuals in the military that submit a specimen and it is tested are those in substance abuse treatment programs. Even those in sensitive positions (military police, intelligence, security clearances) are not tested on 100% of the specimens submitted. Less than a 5% chance of having my urine actually tested. Deterrence?
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:35 AM  
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The theory behind testing as a deterrent is that it will remind the others that they are subject to being tested. The reality is much different. If you are testing 5% then the reality is 95% are not being tested. 100% know that. If I am a drug user those are acceptable odds. However what was not mentioned is that because an individual is required to submit a specimen does not mean that the specimen is tested. In reality only a portion of the specimens taken are actually tested so the odds continue to tilt in the users favor. In the early '70s I was tested twice. I should have tested positive but was never called to account for a positive urine test. Why? Even though I submitted a specimen it was never tested. And in 20 years in the military I was only tested approximately 5 times at most. In the early'70s (positive) and mid '80s (negative). The only individuals in the military that submit a specimen and it is tested are those in substance abuse treatment programs. Even those in sensitive positions (military police, intelligence, security clearances) are not tested on 100% of the specimens submitted. Less than a 5% chance of having my urine actually tested. Deterrence?
You say that a 5% chance of being tested wouldn't deter you on a military salary; would you try to collect $250/month in benefits if there was a 1 in 20 chance that you'd end up in a mandatory, punitive, drug rehab program?

My experience with random testing in the military was rather different. 6 months in, my entire squadron was tested. I'm not sure if my unit was randomly selected for a 100% test, or if the test was for cause, but everyone pissed in a cup. Also, I dragged the 5% figure out of my 6 o'clock; I have no idea what percentage they tested randomly, nor who they selected for cause and who was selected at random. I'm fairly certain they don't do the "call you down to test and then don't test" method anymore, specifically because people who should have tested positive ultimately pass, and that information is spread and reduces the deterrence factor.

All I'm saying is that you don't need to conduct an expensive test on each and every individual in order to severely reduce drug use among beneficiaries. You can get very high compliance at a fraction of the cost of testing everyone periodically.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:10 AM  
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Less than 5%. 5% give specimens but far less specimens taken are actually tested. I believe only something like 50% of those specimens are tested. That's 2.5%. Acceptable odds for a drug user. What's pay got to do with anything?
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:00 PM  
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Less than 5%. 5% give specimens but far less specimens taken are actually tested. I believe only something like 50% of those specimens are tested. That's 2.5%. Acceptable odds for a drug user. What's pay got to do with anything?
And I told you, they don't do that anymore. They test everything they get. And a big chunk of your argument relies on the 5% comment I made, and I already told you, I pulled that number out of my ass. It could be 1%; it could be 90%. Either one is a savings over the 100% testing that's been suggested.



As far as pay - are you going to take a 5% risk of spending 90 days in the county lockup or being assigned to a mandatory, monitored drug rehabilitation program, under house arrest, brick on your ankle, when the potential reward is only $250 of government money?

You're looking at it like the deterrence is to stop them from using drugs. It's not. The deterrence is to stop collecting government benefits while doing drugs. I only have to do enough testing and impose harsh enough sentences to convince drug addicts that it's not worth it to try to collect the benefit; I don't have to try to convince them to stop using, only to stop cashing the checks.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:56 PM  
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So you are talking about actually penalizing them for failing the test in addition to stopping the payments? Hmm... That sounds pretty good. Have them sign something saying that they are doing everything in their power to find a job. They fail a test and they get charged with theft, fraud, or receiving "goods" under false pretense.... Hmmm. I like where this is going!
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:15 PM  
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So you are talking about actually penalizing them for failing the test in addition to stopping the payments? Hmm... That sounds pretty good. Have them sign something saying that they are doing everything in their power to find a job. They fail a test and they get charged with theft, fraud, or receiving "goods" under false pretense.... Hmmm. I like where this is going!
Something along those lines. It's going to have to be done right - throwing someone under the bus because they happened to have eaten a poppyseed bagel isn't going to fly. But assuming it is done correctly, due process is duly considered, etc, hell yes. In any contract, even a "social" contract, each party to the deal has obligations they need to fulfill. When one side breaches that contract, the other side can and should come down on them like a ton of bricks.

My concern is only that we do it intelligently and efficiently.
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