Random Drug Screening

So, my mother-in-law forwarded me an e-mail (yes, she's one of those people) that suggested that in order to qualify for welfare, one should be subject to random drug screening. This suggestion has me wondering. Is this a good idea? Would it help? Many companies now require drug screening as a condition of employment, as well as in any situation with a work-related injury. I personally don't know how I feel about the former, but the latter makes sense to me. And, in many ways, the idea of drug testing welfare applicants makes sense to me too.

This isn't to say that both the welfare system and the "war on drugs" need some serious restructuring to be effective, but this may be a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, I also believe that random drug screenings are a presumption of guilt. "We're testing our employees because some of them are probably using." I think that's disrespectful to your employees, and a poor way to maintain morale. I think the same goes for welfare applicants. Of course the biggest problem with this, as with anything connected to the welfare system, is that it's usually children who will bear the brunt of any changes.

I also suspect that the cost doing the tests in a way that is fair, would probably outweigh the benefits. Either you'd end up with it being far to easy to beat the assembly line style tests, or else you'd have to spend an incredible amount of money to insure that the person taking the test doesn't cheat; maintain chain of custody, and record everything, while still maintaining medical confidentiality. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sold. Can anyone else see any other pros or cons on this one?

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