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Western Courier

Drug test politicians

Jason Adams

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In the era of modern employment, one of the first steps of landing a new job for some is a drug test. Whether you’re trying to work in the public or private sector, drug testing has become a norm for entering the workforce. It helps ensure an employer you don’t have any bad habits and it may help prevent problems later. Someone on LSD or cocaine is, typically, not the person you want to have at the customer service counter or in a kitchen. While this is the expectation for some, for others the awkwardness of a drug test is not something that concerns them; this is including both politicians and people on government assistance — more specifically, food stamps.

The thought of a politician on drugs probably makes most people think of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Ford gained notoriety for a video that showed him smoking crack cocaine. The news media had a field day covering all of the new developments of his drug treatment and apparent lapses. Unfortunately, Ford is not the only politician to have ever done drugs on the job.

In 2013, Florida representative Trey Radel was caught in a drug sting trying to purchase cocaine. He went to drug rehabilitation and was asked to resign from his office. This case certainly brought attention to the fact that politicians aren’t perfect. They also succumb to the temptation of drugs, except they get paid more than enough by taxpayers to cover the costs. By this logic, it only makes sense that politicians take some form of drug test before assuming office. The taxpayers should know what their money is going to and it goes without saying that politicians should not be allowed to use or distribute illegal drugs just like any other citizen living under the law. Voters overwhelmingly agree that politicians should be drug tested. According to a Huffington Post poll, 78 percent of Americans said they believed that members of congress should have to take a drug test or some form of random drug testing. Someone in that position who makes the laws should not be on illegal substances.

According to the same poll, 64 percent of Americans favor people on welfare should be mandated to take drug tests as well. This goes on a very similar logic as the politician reason: people who are receiving taxpayer money should have to prove they’re not abusing illegal drugs. This was also a measure that went through congress where they voted that states should be allowed to drug test their welfare recipients. The idea being that this would ensure they’re not using the money for drugs.

While in theory this is a good idea and makes sense, it’s also quite costly. I think they should drug test people on specific programs where they really need to ensure people aren’t on drugs such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs or if the person has a history of using drugs. I’m not saying that people on welfare are a bunch of drug users, because that’s not true. According to the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program, “Only a small minority (of welfare recipients) satisfy internationally accepted diagnostic criteria for drug or alcohol dependence.” But if taxpayers need to take drug tests for their jobs, it’s only fair that politicians and welfare recipients do so as well.


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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Drug test politicians