Drug Testing Tag - ACLU of North Carolina http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/Latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 13:18:39 -0400 en-gb The Results Are In: North Carolina’s Law to Drug Test Work First Applicants is a Costly and Mean-Spirited Waste of Time http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/the-results-are-in-north-carolina-s-law-to-drug-test-work-first-applicants-is-a-costly-and-mean-spirited-waste-of-time.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/the-results-are-in-north-carolina-s-law-to-drug-test-work-first-applicants-is-a-costly-and-mean-spirited-waste-of-time.html

By Mike Meno, ACLU-NC Communications Director

Early results of a new law that allows North Carolina to drug test people who apply for Work First, a program that provides temporary assistance to needy families, confirm what the ACLU-NC and others argued at the time of the bill’s passage: it is a wasteful and unnecessary government invasion of vulnerable people’s privacy.

The law was originally passed in 2013, over the veto of Gov. Pat McCrory, who called the measure “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion” that “is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the state has spent about $4,900 to review 7,600 applicants between August and December. About 2 percent of the applicants were referred for a drug test, and of those, 21 people tested positive. That amounts to less than 0.3% of all applicants, according to the News & Observer.

These numbers show once again that people seeking temporary assistance to support their families are no more likely to use drugs than the general public, and that laws that single out and stigmatize vulnerable people with invasive and constitutionally suspect drug tests are nothing more than a mean-spirited waste of taxpayer dollars.

The people who benefit from Work First’s temporary cash assistance, job training, and support services – and therefor most at risk under this law – are primarily families. In about 62 percent of cases, Work First benefits go to children. Of the 21 cases that tested positive for drugs, 12 involve children. Those families will now receive reduced support, and need to pay $55 for a second test if they want to reapply.

It’s important to remember in these cases that drug tests are notoriously faulty, and that if individuals are in need of drug treatment, cutting off or reducing aid to their families usually does little to get them to the help that they need. Whether it’s student loans or Social Security, many people receive some type of government benefit, yet North Carolina singles out only these vulnerable families trying to make ends meet for this unnecessary and demeaning scrutiny.     

North Carolina’s lawmakers should end this misguided and baseless targeting of Work First applicants and give them the same respect and privacy they would anyone else.  

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Privacy Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:55:44 -0500
N.C. General Assembly Overrides Governor's Veto of Bill to Drug Test Work First Applicants http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/n-c-general-assembly-overrides-governor-s-veto-of-bill-to-drug-test-work-first-applicants.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/n-c-general-assembly-overrides-governor-s-veto-of-bill-to-drug-test-work-first-applicants.html

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Senate today voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of H.B. 392, a bill that requires some applicants to the state’s Work First program for families in need to pay up front for and submit to drug tests as a precondition of aid. The state House voted to override the veto yesterday, meaning H.B. 392 will now become law.

In announcing his veto, Gov. McCrory called H.B. 392 “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion ... that is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

Sarah Preston, Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), which strongly opposed the bill and urged the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto, released the following statement:

“It’s very disappointing that the legislature put so much effort into passing this cruel and constitutionally suspect bill. H.B. 392 does nothing to help those who test positive for drug use get treatment, but it does allow the government to conduct costly, unnecessary, and unreasonably intrusive searches of North Carolinians who seek public assistance to care for their families. Forcing people in need to pay up front for urine tests is not only cruel but will likely deter many low-income families from even applying for assistance.  Why the legislature was so adamant about passing this bill is unclear, since all available evidence shows that public aid applicants are no more likely to use drugs than the general public, and similar programs in other states have been found to be unconstitutional and fiscally wasteful.”

On July 31, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), the North Carolina Justice Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sent a letter to Gov. McCrory, asking him to veto the bill.

In 2011, a Florida law that mandated drug tests for all applicants of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was halted just months after it went into effect after the ACLU of Florida challenged the law and a federal court ruled the program unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals later unanimously upheld that decision.

In the four months that Florida's law was in place, the state drug tested 4,086 TANF applicants. Only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for illegal drugs — a rate more than three times lower than the 8.13 percent of all Floridians, age 12 and up, estimated by the federal government to use illegal drugs.

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Privacy Wed, 04 Sep 2013 09:21:03 -0400
ACLU-NC Applauds Governor's Veto of Drug Testing Bill http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/aclu-nc-applauds-governor-s-veto-of-drug-testing-bill.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/aclu-nc-applauds-governor-s-veto-of-drug-testing-bill.html

RALEIGH –North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory today vetoed H.B. 392, a measure that would have required applicants to the state’s Work First program to submit to costly and invasive drug tests. Gov. McCrory called the measure “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion” that “is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, released the following statement:

“We applaud the governor’s veto of a measure that would have opened the door to costly and unnecessary government intrusions into the physical privacy of North Carolinians who need public assistance to care for their families. Our state and federal constitutions protect the privacy and dignity of all North Carolinians against unreasonable searches, and all available evidence has shown that welfare applicants are no more likely to use drugs than the general public. In fact, the evidence suggests that their rate of drug use is lower than that of the general public. Forcing people in need to pay up front for an invasive test without reasonable suspicion of drug use would have been cruel, costly, and constitutionally suspect. We are very pleased the governor has rejected this measure.”

On July 31, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), the North Carolina Justice Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sent a letter to Gov. McCrory, asking him to veto the bill.

In 2011, a Florida law that mandated drug tests for all applicants of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was halted just months after it went into effect after the ACLU of Florida challenged the law and a federal court ruled the program unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals later unanimously upheld that decision.

In the four months that Florida's law was in place, the state drug tested 4,086 TANF applicants. A mere 108 individuals tested positive. To put it another way, only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for illegal drugs — a rate more than three times lower than the 8.13 percent of all Floridians, age 12 and up, estimated by the federal government to use illegal drugs. 

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Privacy Thu, 15 Aug 2013 14:23:32 -0400
ACLU-NC & Others Call on Gov. McCrory to Veto Drug Testing Bill http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/aclu-nc-others-call-on-gov-mccrory-to-veto-drug-testing-bill-1.html http://thatwww.acluofnc.org/blog/aclu-nc-others-call-on-gov-mccrory-to-veto-drug-testing-bill-1.html

RALEIGH – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), the North Carolina Justice Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sent a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, asking him to veto H.B. 392, legislation that would require some applicants to the state’s Work First program, which provides temporary support for families as they work toward self-sufficiency, to pay up front for and submit to urine tests before receiving public assistance.

During a press conference on Friday, Gov. McCrory said he had “major concerns” about H.B. 392’s “fair application” and was considering a veto.

The bill “represents a government intrusion into the physical privacy of a select group of North Carolinians merely because they have fallen on hard times,” the letter states. “The privacy and dignity of all North Carolinians are protected by restrictions on unreasonable searches in both our federal and state constitutions, especially searches as invasive as those proposed in this bill.”

In 2011, a Florida law that mandated drug tests for all applicants of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was halted just months after it went into effect after the ACLU of Florida challenged the law and a federal court ruled the program unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals later unanimously upheld that decision.

In the four months that Florida's law was in place, the state drug tested 4,086 TANF applicants. A mere 108 individuals tested positive. To put it another way, only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for illegal drugs — a rate more than three times lower than the 8.13 percent of all Floridians, age 12 and up, estimated by the federal government to use illegal drugs.   

Read today's letter here.

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Privacy Wed, 31 Jul 2013 09:56:23 -0400