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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Florida Law Requiring Drug Testing Of Welfare Applicants.

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at December 4, 2014

I just received the following posting from the American Health Lawyer’s Association newsletter (copied below), reporting on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Florida’s requirement that people on welfare must submit to a drug test as a condition of receiving aid. While I do not comment either way on that policy, I do like the court’s comment that: “We have no reason to think impoverished individuals are necessarily and inherently prone to drug use, or, for that matter, are more prone to drug use than the general population.”

What I take from that is the acknowledgement of the continued presumption from society that minorities and low income individuals are inherently prone to drug use, more than the general population.

It is part of the natural human condition to not challenge long-held ignorance and belief systems about people. But we must, we can, and we will continue to ensure that such preconceived notions about what an addict “is” or “looks like” does not otherwise impede the ability of every American to get the services they rightfully (and now, according to the Affordable Care Act, legally) deserve.

If the Recovery Community has taught me anything, it has taught me that it does “take a village,” a true support community, to overcome addiction and alcoholism. It is one of the rare times in our modern American culture where we must look past pure notions of “self-responsibility” and give our neighbors a hand up.

Have a great rest of your week.

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Florida Law Requiring Drug Testing Of Welfare Applicants.

The Miami Herald (12/4, Klas) reports that the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday “dealt another blow” to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) push “to conduct drug tests on welfare applicants when it upheld a lower court ruling that the practice was unconstitutional.” In its “unanimous ruling,” the court “concluded that the state failed to show any evidence as to why it was necessary to force applicants seeking Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to surrender their constitutional rights as a condition of receiving the aid.”

The New York Times (12/4, Alvarez, Subscription Publication) reports that Wednesday’s ruling “struck down a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits even if they are not suspected of drug use, a measure pushed by…Scott.” In its ruling, the court said, “The state has not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population.”

Bloomberg News (12/4, Larson, Pearson) notes that the court said, “We have no reason to think impoverished individuals are necessarily and inherently prone to drug use, or, for that matter, are more prone to drug use than the general population,” the appeals court said. Bloomberg adds that “Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, both Republicans, signed related bills in March and April, though testing in those states applies to applicants with drug convictions or those suspected of using illegal drugs.”

Read more:
Florida Welfare Applicant Drug Testing Barred by Court – Bloomberg
Court rejects Florida Gov. Rick Scott¹s drug testing of welfare recipients
Court Strikes Down Drug Tests for Florida Welfare Applicants – NYTimes

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