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Drug Testing Beneficiaries - The Methodist Mission

Drug Testing Beneficiaries - The Methodist Mission

“Watch for the law of unintended consequences” says Mission Chief Executive Laura Black when asked about Government moves to drug test beneficiaries.

“The Drug Foundation advises that this move will drive users from pot to meth and it will certainly incentivise recreational users to claim addiction in order to escape penalties”.

But, she says, it is worse than that.

“The Ministry of Health says this move will cost more than it will save. On top of that, Work and Income will need a whole new division of accounts folk just process the paperwork involved in such a complicated scheme.”

And what happens, she asks, to the children of a parent recently made redundant, newly on unemployment benefit, with the residue of a party weekend from last month ago still in the bloodstream? They would fail two tests in a row – because the active component for marijuana stays in the blood for up to three months – and have their the family income docked as a result. “What happens for that child?”.

“We sympathise with the sentiment that people looking for work shouldn’t be doing drugs and making themselves ineligible for some forms of work. However, policing it in this manner is likely to cost the taxpayer more, create additional drug use problems, clog up already stretched addiction services, create new bureaucracies, harm the interests of innocent children, and have absolutely no impact on overall levels of unemployment”.

“The Mission calls on Government to address the recreational use of drugs amongst people receiving income support with the most effective known interventions: rehabilitative and support services”.

ENDS

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