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Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Prompts Australian Doctors to Clash with the Government
Author: Alice  07/09/2017 - 16:23:00

September 07 2017 

Requesting officials to halt implementation of obligatory drug testing for welfare recipients, many Australian doctors and health-care workers have signed and sent an open letter to the government. Right now, a trial program is being considered for screening five thousand recipients of the Youth Allowance recipients and Australia Newstart by a Senate committee. 

If the changes are successfully implemented by the government, it would become mandatory for new recipients to get drug tested for cannabis, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and other drugs if they don’t want their payments for welfare restricted. Beginning in 2018, the program would run for two years. More than 70% of the welfare payments of the individuals who are tested positive would be restricted to using a debit card for specific purchases, like food, childcare and rent. Additionally, being tested positive for a second time would result in the individual being referred for rehabilitation. 

The reason for the test is nothing new. The conservative government of Australia has argued that steps should be taken by lawmakers to ensure that none of the taxpayer money is used on drugs. Reading the bill to the Parliament, Christian Porter, Minister for Social Services, cited the same justification. Following is what he had to say:

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“The community has a right to expect that taxpayer-funded welfare payments are not being used to fund drug and alcohol addiction and that jobseekers do all that they can reasonably do to find a job, including addressing any barriers which have prevented them from doing so.” He further added, “This trial is not about penalizing jobseekers with drug-abuse issues. It is about finding new and better ways of identifying these jobseekers and ensuring they are referred to the support and treatment they need.”

However, thing seem different to many in the medical and scientific communities. According to them, things will only get worse if welfare recipients are drug tested. Evidence seems to back the scientists and medics. Following is what their paper on drug testing published by the Australian National Council on Drugs in 2013 concluded:

“There is no evidence that drug testing welfare beneficiaries will have any positive effects for those individuals or for society, and some evidence indicating such a practice could have high social and economic costs. In addition, there would be serious ethical and legal problems in implementing such a program in Australia. Drug testing of welfare beneficiaries ought not be considered.”

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As per the plan of the government, any positive drug test is proof of addiction and there’s no exception for use of medical marijuana. In the United States, similar programs have been deemed ineffective and costly. The failed programs in the U.S provide skeptics with sufficient proof that the plan of the Australian government is more of a theory than outcome.

The post Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Prompts Australian Doctors to Clash with the Government appeared first on I Love Growing Marijuana.

Original article from ilovegrowingmarijuana.com:Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Prompts Australian Doctors to Clash with the Government


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