Reasons someone on public assistance might test positive for drugs

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  1. They have a chronic physical or mental illness that causes pain, depression, or other serious symptoms. They don’t have access to medical care, and self-medicate.
  2. Between their low-paying third-shift job, caring for their children, and caring for an older, ailing relative, they average three hours of sleep a night. Uppers help them stay awake at work.
  3. They live in a home where a roommate, significant other, or relative smokes weed frequently. They breathe a lot of secondhand smoke. They would like to move out, but first and last month’s rent is too expensive.
  4. They have a serious addiction. They’d like to stop, but they don’t have access to drug rehab programs that work. 
  5. They have an addiction. They are not ready to quit yet. 
  6. Like 22.2 million other Americans they enjoy an occasional joint.

Regardless of the reason, they still deserve food. 

A newly proposed House bill in the US would allow states to require drug tests to receive SNAP benefits, a.k.a. food stamps. If recipients tested positive, the state could take away their access to food.

SNAP benefits can only be used to buy food. Millions of Americans depend on this program to feed themselves and their families. Drug testing is expensive for taxpayers. It is invasive and humiliating for the people on these programs. It is also ineffective. People on public assistance have a much lower rate of drug use than the general population.

If you live in the United States, please find your representative and email them to let them know you oppose H.R. 4540. It only takes a minute.

This is not the way to deal with drug use. Starvation is torture, not a treatment program.

– They live in a state where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, but it’s recently been ruled you can still use a marijuana test to discriminate against/not hire/fire someone who tests positive, since it’s illegal at a federal level still. So maybe they are taking legal marijuana for a chronic condition, or just because it’s legal and they like it more than a beer after work, & lost their job or have kept their job(s) but are now failing the SNAP test.

Isn’t that a fucked up loophole?

Why is it that these bills always ignore the fact that the person receiving SNAP is often not the only person eating?

My mother smoked a lot of pot when I was a kid.  It was cheap, she had friends who would provide her with it, she had gone from being a trophy wife to a single mother of three with serious emotional issues, and she was doing physical labor to make ends meet.  She was in physical and mental pain.  Pot helped.  But even without that justification–even if she was just getting high because it was fun–my sisters and I deserved to eat.  Saying “sorry, you tested positive” wouldn’t have just starved her.  It would have left three little girls who were already food insecure (because SNAP is not enough) starving.  How is this a reasonable thing to want to do, as a civilized society?  “Sorry, kid, you popped out of the wrong womb and your mother did a drug, so no eggs for you this month.”

Our foster system is overloaded.  Taking children away from their families is not the answer.  Allowing their families to eat is at least a help.