October 8, 2015 5:00 pm -


Like other states where this has been tried, Tennessee is finding that it’s wasting its money testing people who aren’t using drugs.

Tennessee’s final percentage of drug users who applied for welfare benefits over the past year was only 0.19 percent. Thirty-two of those applicants were denied benefits for failing to complete the mandatory drug rehabilitation program after testing positive.

The state paid a total of $11,000 to test applicants, or $200 per failed drug test, according to Tennessee officials. This amount only accounts for what was paid to the outside vendor who conducted the actual tests, and not inter-program costs.

The year-end figures of Tennessee’s welfare drug testing program are not surprising. In February, the state reported its six-month findings and only 37 of 16,017 applicants tested positive for drugs.

That amounted to .2 percent of all applicants, a nearly identical figure to the year-end results.



D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.