Pennsylvania welfare reform bill calls for drug testing

    A welfare reform bill introduced by Pa. Sen. Richard Alloway (R – Adams, Franklin, York) would create a drug screening system for the state’s welfare recipients. SB 719 has bipartisan support for what sponsors call a way to make sure those receiving public assistance are using the help for essentials.

    NewsWorks partner Philadelphia Weekly talked with welfare recipients and former drug addicts who say the two aren’t necessarily connected.

    “There are plenty of rich drug addicts, that has nothing to do with poverty, it has to do with someone’s emotional state,” Tara Colon told PW. Colon’s been on and off public assistance for more than a decade.

    Many of the details of SB 719 haven’t been worked out, including how to test for the drugs and what would happen to the recipent’s dependents if a positive drug test resulted in a stay at a state recovery center. It’s also unclear if the proposed program would cost more than the current one.

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