04/24/13 — War on poor? Testing for drug use allows for chance to change lives

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War on poor? Testing for drug use allows for chance to change lives

It is not really all that surprising that NAACP president the Rev. William Barber is running around the state presenting the position that certain pieces of legislation before the General Assembly have "declared war on the poor."

It is in his best interest to say that -- and it is catchy, too.

But it is also untrue -- and a sad commentary on what debate in this country has become -- nothing more than half-truths and shock value arguments.

Finding out if welfare benefits are going to drug addicts -- and requiring those who receive government benefits to stay clean, especially if they are caring for children -- is not a draconian measure designed to target the poor and downtrodden.

It is a reality check -- and a chance to perhaps save a life.

There are many other ways that society looks for those who need help in this regard. Many employers require drug testing -- both before and during employment. Some workers are helped because they are identified in this manner -- before their lives and families are destroyed by drugs or alcohol. Others get a wakeup call they desperately need.

And we as a society have a vested interest in having this information, too. Whom do you think pays for the consequences of adults who use and the children they produce?

Just look around and you will see what happens when children are forced to make their way through life after living in a home with a drug-addicted parent.

Requiring a test holds those who are taking assistance from the government -- and , in turn, your tax dollars -- accountable. It is the same responsibility that goes along with receiving a paycheck from a company. There are standards that have to be met -- and rules that are to be followed.

That is not an attack -- it is a means to inspire people to take responsibility for themselves and to chart a new course.

And that cannot be all bad.

Published in Editorials on April 24, 2013 10:53 AM