Documents describe 'debacle' of welfare drug testing - FOX 13 News

Documents describe 'debacle' of welfare drug testing

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The ACLU called Governor Scott's order to drug test people on welfare a 'debacle.' And newly released court records reveal how it will challenge the order in court.  The ACLU claims the order is unconstitutional, and also costs applicants their privacy and dignity.

The records cite the following examples of the program being mismanaged:

  • Patients with failed kidneys were directed to provide urine samples through a catheter.
  • Applicants who failed the test were investigated for child abuse.
  • Results with personal information like Social Security numbers were faxed to the wrong locations.
  • A mother who had major surgery was investigated for child abuse because the drug test detected her legally prescribed pain medicine.
  • In one case, a Florida Department of Children and Families approved lab rep showed up at a mother's home unannounced. The documents show he directed her to leave her children alone with him while she produced a urine sample. 
  • The court records also show labs required prepayment online from applicants who did not have credit cards.
  • At one point, three counties had no approved labs, and the state did not cover transportation costs.

The state conducted the drug tests for four months last year. around 4,000 people went through and about two and a half percent of them failed it. That's 108 people.

Drug abuse was not nearly as pervasive as suspected.

Governor Scott ordered the drug tests last year. They were challenged by the ACLU and suspended by a judge.

The state is defending the program and appealing the suspension. Governor Scott has said drug testing welfare applicants help stabilize families and deter drug use. The state also points out the tests are not required, because people are not required to apply for welfare benefits.

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