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Welfare applicants less likely to test positive for drugs

Updated: November 11, 2011 4:24PM



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Preliminary figures on a new Florida law requiring drug tests for welfare applicants show that they are less likely than other people to use drugs, not more. One famous Floridian suggests that it’s the people who came up with the law who should be submitting specimens.

Columnist and best-selling author Carl Hiaasen offered to pay for drug testing for all 160 members of the Florida Legislature in what he called “a patriotic whiz-fest.” Several of the law’s supporters say they’re on board.

“There is a certain public interest in going after hypocrisy,” Hiaasen said Tuesday, two days after he made his proposal in a Miami Herald column.

“Folks that are applying for DCF (Department of Children and Families) money normally wouldn’t be standing in that line, and on top of that humiliation they now get to pee in a cup so they can get grocery money for their kids,” Hiaasen told the Associated Press in an interview.

Gov. Rick Scott and other supporters of the law — the only one of its kind currently on the books in the U.S. — say the tests will save the state cash by weeding out people who would use welfare money on drugs. Critics say that just a few months after it went into effect, the law has already refuted the idea that people receiving public assistance are more likely to use drugs.

AP



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