RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) today sharply criticized the North Carolina Senate's passage of S.B. 594, which would require low-income parents with children under 18 years old who apply for assistance under the state's Work First program to undergo a mandatory drug test before receiving aid.
"Forcing people in need to pay up front for an invasive test without any suspicion of drug use would be cruel, costly, and blatantly unconstitutional," said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. "All available evidence shows that North Carolina would lose more money than it would save under this proposal, since public aid recipients are less likely to use drugs than the general population and the vast majority would have to be reimbursed for their tests. If a citizen truly has a substance abuse problem and needs help, the state should help to get that person into treatment – not simply kick them and their children off of crucial support services. Current law allows the state to make drug treatment a condition to receive Work First benefits, but it does not deny much-needed assistance to low-income individuals and their family members, as this bill would so cruelly do."