Congress O.K.’s Drug-Testing the Unemployed: Will It Fight Addiction?

Last week, in a deal to maintain the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits, the United States Congress passed a law that allows states to drug-test people seeking unemployment benefits, if they were fired from their last job for drugs, and anyone seeking jobs that would ordinarily require a drug test.

Republicans initially wanted to drug-test all people applying for unemployment benefits — a measure Democrats opposed. It’s not clear how many states will start testing under the new compromise law, or what percentage of the unemployed will end up having to pee in cups, but if the intent of the policy is to reduce addiction rates, the research suggests it isn’t going to work. In fact, the new law might even increase certain types of drug use.

Source: – January 21, 2012