98% of Florida Welfare Recipients Pass Drug Test


Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

Ninety-six percent proved to be drug free — leaving the state on the hook to reimburse the cost of their tests.

The initiative may save the state a few dollars anyway, bearing out one of Gov. Rick Scott’s arguments for implementing it. But the low test fail-rate undercuts another of his arguments: that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs.

At Scott’s urging, the Legislature implemented the new requirement earlier this year that applicants for temporary cash assistance pass a drug test before collecting any benefits.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires applicants to pay for their own drug tests. Those who test drug-free are reimbursed by the state, and those who fail cannot receive benefits for a year.


More than once, Scott has said publicly that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population. The 2 percent test fail rate seen by DCF, however, does not bear that out.

According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, performed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 8.7 percent of the population nationally over age 12 uses illicit drugs. The rate was 6.3 percent for those ages 26 and up.

A 2008 study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy also showed that 8.13 percent of Floridians age 12 and up use illegal drugs.

Newton said that’s proof the drug-testing program is based on a stereotype, not hard facts.

Read the whole thing…
(h/t raysny!)

  • Politicians, policy makers, government employees, law enforcement personal and the judiciary are the ones for whom mandatory drug testing should be a requirement.

  • SoberPJ

    Yeah but,… The clean pee business is booming in Fla.


    Gotta get me one of them Whizzinators …..

  • Amy


    Very interesting. I completely agree with you. Boy, wouldn’t you love to see those test results.

  • Yes, when the struggling taxpayers of Florida are paying for this yearly $178 million mandatory drug testing bill that is resulting in a net savings of about $40,800-$98,400 annually they should remember that just like AA “no one is making a dime” off of mandatory welfare drug testing. It certainly can’t be Governor Rick Scott, the co-founder of the largest walk-in drug testing facility in Florida. Rick Scott gave all of his stock to his wife.

    “One of the more popular services at Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, is drug testing, according to Solantic CEO Karen Bowling.

    Given Solantic’s role in that marketplace, critics are again asking whether Scott’s policy initiatives – this time, requiring drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients – are designed to benefit Scott’s bottom line.”


    “Privately, one Scott official acknowledged that every time the governor discusses health policy, his urgent care business would be “the elephant in the room.”

    Shortly before he was inaugurated, Scott’s lawyers met with attorneys at the Florida Commission on Ethics. Subsequently, they moved his Solantic holdings into a revocable trust in his wife’s name, making her the controlling investor in the privately held company. No public records were created from the ethics meeting.”


    So remember Floridians, Governor Rick Scott isn’t laughing all of the way to the bank with your hard earned tax dollars, his wife is…………..

  • SoberPJ

    Unbelievable. I wonder if he is in the clean pee business too? He could get them coming and going.

  • disclosure

    I know at least 2 people here in California who are on SSI disability, one of them works full time under the table and the other uses his SSI money for Las Vegas prostitutes. Both of them are in AA and sober. 100% of the AA SSI disability frauds that I know would pass a drug test. Both of them could wip my ass in a fight yet I am the one working on Sunday.
    Suck on that for a while.

  • Clearly, those in power hold those in the hole to a much higher standard of behavior than they hold themselves, from the top right on down.

  • SoberPJ

    disclosure .. turn them in. It’s your money too.

  • AnnaZed

    Hard to do when you don’t know their last names Sober PJ. That’s one of the other beauties of this organization. If they don’t want you to know who they really are; they will make sure that you don’t find out.

  • Florida appears to be a state that has a very low value on human life. In the quest to make people chant Bill Wilson through the strict adherence to the Jellinek Curve, over zealous Rehabs with the help of the free program of AA and NA quickly drain the assets of Alcoholics and Drug Addicts until they loose their jobs and health insurance. What happens in Florida when you loose your health insurance? It depends on who you ask:

    Tea Party Debate Crowd on Uninsured Sick Americans: Let Them Die! – Sep 12, 2011 9:41 PM

    “Wolf Blitzer is “watching very closely” in Tampa, Florida tonight as he moderates a CNN/Tea Party debate between the remaining Republican presidential candidates. On the topic of healthcare, Blitzer asked Congressman Ron Paul what he’d do if an otherwise healthy 30-year-old man without health insurance needed six months of intensive care to survive: “Are you saying that society should just let him die?”

    Paul’s answer wasn’t as simple as “Yes” or “No.” But as you’ll see in this video, the audience sure made its mind up quickly!”


  • humanspirit

    I find it totally disgusting that people who are unfortunate enough to have to apply for welfare benefits should have to undergo this indignity.

  • Dammit, I’m so embarrassed for my former home state.

    (Well, this bit on Colbert mitigated it a bit, but I’d almost move BACK just to help vote this idiot out:

  • Ugh. Had to c & p this bit of a comment from those on the article at TBO.com linked in the “Huh?” top of this post. My goodness, are you guys reading this garbage? Anyways, here’s the end of someone there’s comment:

    ” What a skewed article, once again.
    It’s great that they use a survey to determine drug use. Like asking an alcoholic if they have drinking problem.”

    OK, even being the region that brought Hooters to the world is now somehow less embarrassing. Someone explain to me how THAT happens?

  • How I didn’t see this coming is beyond me:

    “Posted by Beca on Aug. 25, 2011 – 3:53 a.m.
    PalmBeachPaul, I assume you have hard verifiable date to backup your wild assertions there, correct? You did not list your qualifications to determine how you came to the conclusions that “most people” on drugs are not addicted to them! Illegal drugs aren’t like hamburgers—you can’t just stop taking them because you feel like it!–that’s why they are illegal, because of their highly addictive and toxic nature!”

    Yes, and hurricanes are caused by Poseidon. Ahh, mythology. And naturally I’m too new at this to throw links out at “Beca”.

    OK. I’ll shut up now. Think Voldemort.

  • causeandeffect

    It’s an outrage! And this all comes back to Persephone’s link from earlier today about the Just-World hypothesis. These damn Tea Party assholes really believe that those who aren’t as privileged as they are actually deserve it. They truly believe that those who aren’t as wealthy as them are subhuman. I’m worried about that 2% who are now facing starvation. I hope Prick Scott ends up in prison, taking it up the ass. This tea party is an abomination.

  • hulahoop

    Yeah, it’s real easy to blame welfare recipients for the mess we are in now because they don’t have the funds to put on a full media blitz to make them more favorable. People need to take a long, hard look at the corporate whores and the non profits who take or make thier living off of tax dollars.

  • Did anyone mention that the Governor’s wife owns the company that does the testing?

    Follow the moneys 😀


  • wayne–it’s pretty egregious. Scott should have to recuse himself in the same way our judges must do when there’s such a conflict of interest.

    I thought this comment portion from the link you posted there, Wayne, summed at least my feelings on the teabaggers pretty well:

    “I notice there are a couple of commentors on here who are OK with testing everyone for drugs. My question to them: you also OK with extensive background checks for every yahoo who wants to own a gun or would that violate YOUR rights? Is that too much government interference?? “

  • hulahoop

    wayne kernochan says Did anyone mention that the Governor’s wife owns the company that does the testing?

    Yes, follow the money, honey. Good article. It comes as no surprise. There is always someone there with their hand out when it comes to making money off of addictions. Drug testing, sober houses, work rehab programs…yep…follow the money trail. These people are legal pimps.

  • Swanhilde

    This drug testing is demeaning and mean-spirited. It’s also a big waste of taxpayer money, as JR noted. And it’s going to create a lot of unnecessarily red tape–what agency is going to be responsible for issuing the many thousands of reimbursements? How are the reimbursements to be made–will a check be mailed to the individual? As an additional payment on the cash benefits check? Direct Deposit to those who have bank accounts? Jesus Christ, what a headache for the bureaucracy! Who will maintain the reimbursement records? And since this is a drug test, who is going to manage security on the data, so that 3rd parties like insurance companies don’t get ahold of it? Because that’s another huge lawsuit waiting to happen.
    This is very bad policy–implementation is very problematic, for all these reasons.

    Also, why stop with people applying for TANF welfare benefits? I see the law also tests public employees. Why not people at firms who are awarded government contracts (it’s still the taxpayer’s money!)? Medicare and Medicaid? People at firms which receive CORPORATE welfare benefits?

    And it is super sleazy that the governor’s wife owns the drug-testing company. Yuck!

  • Border Collie Mix

    Disgusting but expected. Give the “people” (Tea Partiers) the chance to humiliate the target they are told to hate, “the poor”, while filling the bank account of the Governor. Typical red-state combination. Just overflowing with “family values” I’m sure. I’m reminded of the infamous Tea Party protest sign that read “Keep the Government’s Hands off my Medicare”.

    Another aspect of this is the undercurrent of racism. A lot of white folks imagine that drug problems usually belong to people with darker skin than theirs, they also imagine that welfare recipients are the same people. Perhaps that’s why no one seems to care in the general public if more research-based effective treatments for addiction are available for people with addiction problems. There may be a bit of the “let ’em die” attitude going on?

  • hulahoop

    Ha ha ha…my mom is a tea party member. She doesn’t get it when I call her and them tea baggers. I have to give her credit though…she didn’t want me in AA. She didn’t discourage me, but she was very relieved when I made the (well informed) decision to stop going.

  • Well I look at it with a different perspective. Like Sober PJ pointed out -people buy alot of clean pee tests to clean their urine before job interviews etc. Also I dont believe for one nano second that only 2% of the welfare recipients are using drugs. They are used to working the system. In fac a % of those that are on public assistance are also on probation and have to take pee tests all the time. They either buy clean pee products,or use drugs that dont show up in a test and some actually do stop using drugs.

    I would like to think that maybe,just maybe-some people did actually quit or curb their drug use to qualify for assistance. Which I believe that is the true intent of the program. The program is designed to promote not doing drugs,not hoping to kick people off.
    Maybe I am giving Govenor Scott too much credit,but Florida has a huge drug problem and I think he would like to curtail the problems-and this is one way of doing it. Maybe the 2 % reflects it is working on some level,and some are quitting-or at least long enough to get benefits.

    I do realize that it does seem some people in the government are making money off of this -which is totally wrong. But it is a way to hold recipients accountable like employers do when they request drug testing for hiring purposes.

  • causeandeffect

    antidenial, in all my life the people I’ve know who do drugs were employed. There have been a really small %age who lost their jobs due to drug testing or just getting caught.

  • I believe that the 2% of welfare recipients who test positive is most likely fairly accurate. Because of the 2% that have been eliminated, that number will most likely go down. Are they faking the tests? Maybe, but it is unlikely because of the cost associated with faking the results. People do not realize they are getting barely enough to live off of on welfare, they aren’t getting rich.

    The bottom line is that the people of Florida are paying well over $150 million a year for something that has a negligible payback. This policy is not saving the taxpayers any money and the people who are caught are more likely to commit crimes than an active user because they are desperate. They are more likely to start selling drugs or commit violent crimes to fuel their habit and it will cost more much to keep them in jail than it would to pay the paltry amount of money they are getting. The money would be much better spent on education, road work, public transit or park maintenance.

  • Well there are many homeless people and unemployed that do drugs too. I mean it makes sense that over time drugs do get the best of people,and people dont show up for work after being up all night etc. Drug use does seem to cover all segments of society.Those more educated seem to last longer before getting fired. But many people-before the recession hit that grew up in poor areas or inner cities or rural towns tended to be depended on dealing drugs to make a living and also doing drugs. I would like to see people given more hope by providing more education to all Americans. But I dont want to enable drug use either. If the stats are a true reflection of the % of drug users on
    assistance-that is good news(even though I doubt it). But maybe it will help the 2% that are on drugs to change there drug habits and try to turn their life around.

    Also it is possible that those on drugs did not apply because they knew they would fail or could not afford the expensive clean pee products.

  • I am all for putting money into education and that is a pretty hefty price tag for this practice.
    But those clean pee tests are very popular,and from what I have heard that they do work.
    So depending on the size of the family it could well be worth it to buy those products for up to 20.00 to get assistance.Plus it would make sense that they would at least quit temporarily.

    It still seems wrong to subsidize drug abuse long term and give incentives to quit.Receiving benefits is an incentive,and that of been what has already taken place.
    Florida has started cracking down on pill mills and has seen a drop in sought after prescriptions.

  • I meant it is good to give incentives to quit doing drugs. I know people who quit when they really wanted a certain job,and they stayed clean as to not jeopardize it.

  • Anti, I’ll find the links in a bit, but the drug tests were the stipulation for re-applying for this year, not sure if the actual stats are out on how many did not reapply, but I doubt if anyone will get reliable stats on how many didn’t re-apply or apply for the first time knowing they’d fail. Wow, talk about kicking people while they’re down.

    I’m not into this whole “punish the poor” outright approach. Then again, I’m not for the tea party approach in general. Anyone else watch the video clip at the top of that link from Wayne above? Rachel Maddow outlining abuses of power that are VERY big government approaches/excesses on the part of other recently elected governors than (but including) Voldemort. Um, Scott. How exactly does this help a damned thing in this country?

    Give everyone something emotional to bicker about in terms of politics and policy to keep everyone busy while the fat cats help each other? This seems to be the method at work in the US today. Sadly.

  • Sally

    I think Gov. Scott is slime. It is impossible for me to get past his ownership in drug testing and his making a profit off of this. He wants votes and pocket money.The fact that I haven’t read anything about how they intend to help the “failures” disturbs me more.

    On one hand we have medicine claiming this is a disease of which people are powerless over and then there are the Scott’s that punish people for having the illness. It is cruel.

    In the past on ST, I mentioned I was for drug testing. Although it was debated, I never intended my opinion to be taken that I was for cutting aid for addicts or further demeaning them. I was looking for some improvement in a failed system that enables many addicts (keeping them sick..seeing them die). Obviously, Scott has embarrassed himself and offered nothing in terms of aiding sick people further but only throwing them to the wolves.

    My oldest brother lives in FL. He lives on aid – drinks and drugs, and no lie – probably beleives that Jesus would give him a clean result. He’s so fucked up that I can’t risk my sanity by being involved in his b.s. but I wonder how this is affecting him. If they keep giving him this aid (details are too long and involved) he will kill himself with substance abuse. If they cut him off he would probably die too. Either that or be committed somewhere or end up in prison after trying to support his habits.

    I wonder, are they just testing new applicants? Are the re-testing people that have been on support for one year, 2 years, etc? What happens to the % that fails? What about their children?

    Besides a personal money maker this is absurd.

  • Gunthar2000

    I think that drug testing should be mandatory for anyone who seeks aid because of a substance abuse problem.

    For example: A guy applies for SSDI and soon after ends up in detox on the taxpayers dime…. or has a long history of substance abuse.

    Anyone who fails a drug test under these circumstances should be forced to get a representative payee to pay their bills for them.

  • Thats a thought about getting a representative payee. I know of people that have that and it really helped making the money last longer,because otherwise they would go but drugs and alcohol.

    I do not know if they offer help to those that fail the test. Maybe they do. I did hear that the penality was for too long of a time period. They certainly could improve what they are doing in the testing arena. But for sure in part poverty that is rising is not helped by enabling drug abuse. It isnt right to just give handouts. But I am for helping them in other ways with treatment,education and childcare.But not handing out money.

  • Sally

    About a month ago I read that they would have to get treatment to be considered for later aid. It seemed an afterthought statement without any declaration of what treatment would consist of. AA meetings? Even if it did work, how do you eat/live while you’re getting it?

  • I thought it did not impact foodstamps. I think it would be better to give them a warning and help the first time-or shorten the time period of denial of benefits. It is an incentive of sorts to
    get off drugs. It still does not make it right to subsidize drug abuse IMHO.

    It would be good to do more research to see if they are offered treatment-hopefully not AA-but probably would be at least suggested on some level.

  • I did just read that if someone fails and they are applying for children that they can designate someone else to receive benefits on behalf of the children. Also a lawsuit was recently filed charging it is unconstitutional,which it has been declared as such in other states.

  • MA

    I’m not too familiar with this whole issue, although I’m familiar Governor Scott – who happens to be a flat-out, over the top, round the bend, batshit crazy loon. This is one of those ways to placate the crazies who represent his base. I’m not sure how this passes the 4th amendment smell test, though. It would be interesting to see this law challenged.

    I wonder how well drug testing for certain tax deductions that the lower income people don’t enjoy, or maybe drug testing for medicaid benefits, would go over. I suspect not too well. Of course, if you’re gonna fuck an entire class of people, fuck the poor. They don’t vote.

  • I just told friendtheboyfriend — who’s from Mexico — about this scenario, and he says, “Oh, right. It’s called corruption. Sounds like home.”

  • Important sections of new Welfare Drug Testing Bill

    Section 1. Section 414.0652, Florida Statutes

    414.0652 Drug screening for applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.—

    (b) An individual who tests positive for controlled substances as a result of a drug test required under this section is ineligible to receive TANF benefits for 1 year after the date of the positive drug test unless the individual meets the requirements of paragraph (2)(j).

    (2)(b) Require that for two-parent families, both parents must comply with the drug-testing requirement.

    (2)(j) An individual who tests positive under this section and is denied TANF benefits as a result may reapply for those benefits after 6 months if the individual can document the successful completion of a substance abuse treatment program offered by a provider that meets the requirements of s.397.401 and is licensed by the department. An individual who has met the requirements of this paragraph and reapplies for TANF benefits must also pass an initial drug test and meet the requirements of subsection (1). Any drug test conducted while the individual is undergoing substance abuse treatment must meet the requirements of subsection (1). The cost of any drug testing and substance abuse treatment provided under this section shall be the responsibility of the individual being tested and receiving treatment. An individual who fails the drug test required under subsection (1) may reapply for benefits under this paragraph only once.

    (3) If a parent is deemed ineligible for TANF benefits as a result of failing a drug test conducted under this section:
    (a) The dependent child’s eligibility for TANF benefits is not affected.
    (b) An appropriate protective payee shall be designated to receive benefits on behalf of the child. (c) The parent may choose to designate another individual to receive benefits for the parent’s minor child. The designated individual must be an immediate family member or, if an immediate family member is not available or the family member declines the option, another individual, approved by the department, may be designated. The designated individual must also undergo drug testing before being approved to receive benefits on behalf of the child. If the designated individual tests positive for controlled substances, he or she is ineligible to receive benefits on behalf of the child.

    Entire Bill: http://laws.flrules.org/files/Ch_2011-081.pdf

    Uh……. the drug counseling isn’t AA or NA and costs out of pocket $30 – $100 a week, they most likely will also require AA and NA attendance a few times a week sending the very hungry and extremely broke AA and NA to meetings where they are going to be very desperate to feed themselves and their families. Treatment will most likely cost more than any benefits they could receive. Expect many more more hungry and homeless in the parks of Florida if they do get more than 2% of the recipients testing positive.

  • JR-Thanks for the info. It does seem unlikely that people would be able to afford treatment that is required to get back on the program. It does appear that their are some valid constitutional concerns.

    Maybe a better way of handling the concern is have a consequence once one is in trouble for drugs and then is offered treatment paid by the state. HUD will disqualify recipients of housing benefits if there are drug convictions of those living in the home. But it does not drug test ahead of time.

  • Wow on 2 b above. Wow. So a someone whose spouse/partner tests positive now gets no assistance AND has to help pay for treatment for the other? Oh, boy, oh boy, oh boy.

    I’ll try to look up what these approved treatment programs are as well. Might not matter in the long run as:

    “Testing of welfare recipients has less of a court history. No states currently mandate it, but several Legislatures have debated doing so.

    In 1999, Michigan began drug-testing all welfare recipients, prompting the ACLU to sue. In 2003, a federal appeals court ruled that universal testing was unconstitutional. The ACLU and the state reached an agreement that allowed testing only if there was reasonable suspicion that the person was using drugs.”

    From here: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-06-01/news/fl-aclu-challenges-drug-testing-20110601_1_drug-testing-suspicion-less-testing-state-employees
    on the ensuing lawsuits from the ACLU.

  • I have a feeling this Florida Statute Section 1. Section 414.0652 the Drug screening for applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families may be in trouble. What is going to happen when someones Grandma and Grandpa who are loosing their house to foreclosure suffering from Alzheimer’s with a bunch of pills no longer in prescription bottles tests positive? What is going to happen when the 80 year old grandmother is told that she has to pee in a bottle? What is going to happen when they are told they have to go to NA to be able to get any assistance?

    Florida has many poor senior citizens, most likely many more than you see poor younger people. Does anyone have and elderly mothers in Florida that are on public assistance because Social Security is not enough to make ends meet? I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but what happens if a hurricane happens like in New Orleans and you are told you have to pee in a bottle to get temporary assistance and your on pain pills, tranquilizers, etc…. and the doctors office is not there to prove it anymore and you get this permanent record in your state files?

  • JR–well, as the tea partiers made fairly clear after Irene, they want no aid of any kind going to victims of any storms of pretty much any level. Add in the attempts to revoke tax credits for retirees (this is being proposed in some state legislatures, such as MO.) and I’d say this issue will come up plenty. But damned good point. I think they want the general public to see their bogeymen here as younger crackheads, with all the rancor that term implies.

    OK, I searched and searched and found little other way in a non-professional search to find which programs are certified other than going by individual city websites, which proved little other than that if you live in City X, Florida and want to not be forced into 12 step treatment, you’re pretty well out of luck.

    So I called the toll free offered at this site:
    and spoke for a second time with a man named Lance, who had been rather helpful when I had called previously just for info (to see if I’d stood a chance, frankly, in either of my home cities, one of which is in Florida).

    According to Lance, no. There are no treatment options licensed by the department as per chapter 397 that aren’t 12 step based. Given the track record in the courts, I would love to see that one challenged, but as usual, I’m not holding my breath. I didn’t want to keep the man on the phone, but he seemed (at least to me) just as frustrated at this fact. And did have a ready answer to my question.

    (and once more, thank you Governor Voldemort a.k.a. Skeletor!)

  • According to one site a family of four will expect to receive $900 TANF and $500 in food Stamps for a total monthly allotment of $1400 for a family of four or about $350 per person. For one person it is estimated at $300 for TANF and $200 for food. There not getting rich…….

    Has anyone tried to get a place to live for $300 a month?


  • What is the official reasoning behind this drug testing law?

  • “While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Scott said. “This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.”


    “The Department of Children and Families’ central region has tested 40 applicants since the law went into effect six weeks ago, and of those 40 applicants, 38 tested negative for drugs. The cost to the state of Florida to reimburse those 38 individuals who tested negative was at least $1,140 over the course of six weeks. Meanwhile, denying benefits to the two applicants who tested positive will save Florida less than $240 a month.”


    From the above numbers the monthly benefit is averaging $120 a month and the people needing this have to come up with $35 first to even apply……………….. which they most likely don’t have…… (think of the grandmother who has been eating cat food for the last few months).

    If they want to get that $120 a month after a failed test they will have to pay about $400 for about 6 months or $2400 dollars……………… what a deal……… I am sure that people are quitting their jobs to bilk the government with a payout like that.

  • If that’s their official logic (addiction as opposed to breaking the law), then it is dishonest of them not to also test for alcohol and tobacco.

    They should also consider barring empty calorie foods like twinkies and pop.

  • What Food Can You Buy with Food Stamps?


    Note: Have you ever noticed how poor people often have bad teeth and are not very clean sometimes – this is a partial list of what you can’t buy:

    “- Non-food items. This list is obviously expansive and includes personal hygiene products, home products, cleaning products, toys, and basically anything that cannot be consumed as food. ”

    You can’t buy anything to brush your teeth with, or wipe yourself with, or deodorant ………. and you only get a maximum of $300 to pay for rent. Look in the paper and see how many rooms and in what areas you can get for that huge amount of money.

  • Now I am going to digress for one more item, then I’ll go back to picking on Bill W., but this is important.

    Poor people are often picked on because people see them drinking energy drinks and eating yoyo’s etc…… There is an economic reason for this and it is not what people think they are seeing (well yes they are seeing it, but they do not understand the reasons behind it). Poor people often do not have access to major grocery stores in their area. They live with multiple people and often get much less that $50 a week to eat in food stamps. Fast foods will not take food stamps and poor people are stuck having to go to convenience stores for their purchases. While it is true that they could go to grocery stores and buy bulk items, it often gets shared rather quickly and they don’t get to consume it all, so instead they go to the closest store next to them, the convenience store. Go to a convenience store and try to buy lunch, they may have some hot food, but that is actually one of those forbidden foods. You can buy a bag of chips or cupcakes and a drink. You are hungry and your going for the biggest bang for your buck, you could get a bottled water, but it doesn’t have any calories and that is a bad choice. For the same price of a dollar, you can buy something that looks an energy drink (those tea drinks in the green cans are often on sale for .99) or for about two dollars you can buy one of those monster drinks. What would you do? Remember that you have a limited budget and must consume it before you go home or run the risk of only getting about half of it or less. I’m bad, but I would take the highest calorie junk food and energy drink and guzzle it down.

    There is an economic reason why you see poor people eating junk food, it is not because they are bad people and trying to bilk the government. That is just a stereo type that people like to use. If I were in their shoes I’d do the same thing.

  • Sally

    20 years ago, it was usually based on how an item was taxed. You can’t buy prepared meals (like fried chicken from the deli or a rotisserie chicken). Snack foods are fine but I don’t think pop is. The pop is a higher taxed item and so are the prepared meals.

    For example (just this case, I’m not speculating on how many are out there), my bro gets approx 1200 a month. That’s after a deduction for his underaged, estranged daughter that lives with her mother. He gets a cash card and a food card but sells the food card for half price. He then drinks and drugs the rest of his money and eats from Catholic Charities (resides in a church basement).

    This has been going on for 15 years. If there were jobs, he’d be able to work if not for his substance abuse status. He considers his monthly aid “his paycheck” and actually thinks he’s supporting his daughter from the pittance they receive after a deduction of his “earnings”.

    Btw he is an AA enthusiast and undoubtedly lies about his clean status consistently. He beleives wholeheartedly that he’s very sick and just can’t help but drink n drug forever.

    I don’t like that he takes full advantage of the system nor that they system is helping him kill himself. I think I’m more understanding, that trying to filter people like him out and help him is almost impossible.

    I’m just venting I guess. He certainly seems content as long as he fish and watch football while eating pork n beans from a can.

  • Well, your brother is one example and he is getting a rather large amount of money from the state, most likely due to his daughter and he does not appear to be paying much rent. What about the average person that only gets $300 a month housing allowance and a food allowance of $200? Do you know of anyone else on public assistance, is he the norm or just the one that sticks out?

  • JR, Are you familiar with the term “food desert”?

  • Starting July 1st 2011,the state of Florida changed their unified probation order.
    It used to mandate AA/NA now it says support groups instead. This is big news for Florida
    that they are making an effort to allow alternatives. The problem is that there are not enough alternatives like SMART and SOS available. I know SMART is always looking for volunteers that would like to start a meeting in their area.

    If someone needs help after being tested positive for drugs under the new law,if people ask, they might be able to do SMART online meetings if there is not a f2f meeting available. It would be good to get in touch with those that have control over that list and see if they would include other support groups.

  • Sally

    JR, No I don’t think my brother is the norm as you pointed out. Most aren’t sleeping on a cot in a church basement, I’m sure. I think he gets more money because he is Native American (I am not).

    Ftg, I was intrigued to see there is a word for JR’s description! Unless looking to education one’s self on these matters it’s hard to know more than only from experience.

    I worked in a large grocery store for many years. Much of it was in a management position. I hated this job btw. I saw a lot of food stamp abuse (this was when it was paper). For example, kids buying very low priced items and paying with a single “dollar” and getting the change for their parents. They would go through the line repeatedly to collect all of the “change” and then the parents would come to me and turn in the change for dollar bills. I didn’t judge them however the situation did make me sad. I understood that for them, this was survival mode and mostly because the pittance they received from the Gov. wasn’t close to what they needed for rent and food, etc. What I didn’t understand then and don’t now, is, if some people are “selling their stamps” what and how are they eating?

    Well, fuck anyone who thinks or assumes that I’m just for discontinuing or lowering public aid, assistance, welfare. And more so, that I’d want it out of spite or lack of compassion. My feelings are more geared to the opposite. My empathy is great and my thoughts are stemmed toward change in the system because what is happening now isn’t working. For too manythere isn’t enough – and others, like my bro (who i KNOW is at fault for taking advantage), get too much and really have no reason to change and keep bilking for life.

    There are multitudes of those like my bro’s. I’ve seen it. Some end up dying from it. I know my bro killed himself but to watch him die knowing the flawed system enabled him is very painful…then to see another doing the exact same thing. It hurts bad. Well, one thing is for sure, I don’t have the answers. Maybe the entire Gov. is suffering from some whacked out variation of a co-dependance illness.

  • causeandeffect

    antidenial, that’s too bad. Now the predators of every kind will be in SMART etc. No safe place to get sober in FL anymore.

  • Florida is in a very bad economic downward spiral and there are many reasons for it. Florida is known as a retirement and vacation destination and has very little industry that is not based on the service industries of tourism, healthcare, financial products and faith. All four of these industries rely on the cheap labor that Florida supplies and are constantly competing for control of these assets with drastic and often fatal consequences.

    The economy is controlled by the voting public who are fully retired or close to it. Tampa Florida appears to be the centralized distribution point of these problems because of the ingress and egress migration point of Spiritual and Financial abuse that Tampa International Airport (TIA) provides. People residing in the counties of Hillsboro, Pasco and Pinellas are extremely religious with a very high proliferation of Churches in each community that have a large voting congregation that often “know not what they do” when picking leaders and making area policy decisions.

    Straight, Inc has extremely strong ties to this area and many of the upper echelon of that organization fled to that area and then migrated to Australia to avoid prosecution. The Midtown group of Mike Q and his Sponsor Clancy I. after being shut down by the Churches in Washington DC and kicked out of many of them fled to Tampa and quickly opened up a Young Peoples in Alcoholics Anonymous chapter (YPAA) to fill the void left by being kicked out of Maryland and the surrounding areas. The Sponsors and Sponcees of the Midtown Group quickly relocated to this area and reside there today. To grow “their version” of AA based on the Midtown group they quickly integrated themselves into the basements of these fine cities and started to canvas the jails and prisons of Florida looking for prospects to make into emissaries of the Bill Wilson faith and continue their actions. Look at the Intergroups of this area and you will find that they are all attempting to grow the Anonymous fellowship from the prison population. The judges routinely send people to chant Bill Wilson by ordering Substance Abuse evaluations and any recommended treatment, with the only “suggested” follow up being AA or NA. You are left with a “choice”, chant Bill Wilson or go to jail, many prefer to chant Bill Wilson. The criminal element find this Anonymous and Secretive group very advantageous because they realize that if they surround themselves with this group, witnesses are very hard to find and few will come forward due to the Traditions of Bill Wilson. It is a con mans paradise……..

  • Actually cause and effect,SMART is very strict on the behavior of participants. It is not a free for all like AA/NA is. They also do not encourage people to exchange phone numbers or to divulge there deepest darkest secrets.

    Also if more people took online classes it could provide more of a safety net.
    I also think the people who do request an alternative such as SMART might be a higher funtioning member of society that cant go to % AA meetings a week and might need online classes etc.

    Other than safety being of paramount concern so is people actually overcoming their addiction or abuse from chemical dependancy. I believe SMART would be more successful than AA as their model is far superior than 12 step mythology.

  • Sally-‘My empathy is great and my thoughts are stemmed toward change in the system because what is happening now isn’t working’.

    That is really how I feel as well. We might have different opinions on how to change the broken system-but I certainly do care about the poor. I dont think enabling is the cure.But then you get into how help is too much and what kind of help is really needed.

    Poverty stats were out recently and children are in the highest group living in poverty.
    More people are living in poverty in this country. I am more of the mindset to tech a person to fish rather than to just give him a fish.

    I feel for what you are going through with your brother.It is so sad to see your loved ones in these type of situations. Maybe something will click for him one day and he will get tired of his way of life.

  • Sally

    My Serenity Ftg!! That sounds like George Vaillent! “We know AA doesn’t work…but, well, let’s push it anyway!”…… Gov. Haley “I realize now that only 1% fail, and I was wrong. I’m sorry for my past error (but not really)…But, let’s do it anyway!” (just to fuck with them I presume).

  • Well, well, well……….. it would appear that S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley is trying to follow in the foot steps of Florida’s Rick Scott and most likely the 12 Steps of Bill Wilson, She resigned from her job as assistant executive director of the Lexington Medical Foundation, the Associated Press reported.


    A $110,000 a year job for a company that is most likely looking for “prospects” for their drug and alcohol rehab programs. Lets just tell everyone that people on unemployment are a bunch of drug addicts, our friends make money off of the drug tests if we are right or wrong and maybe we can catch a few and force them to chant Bill Wilson.

    “Look for the similarities, not the differences.”

  • The coming craze. One nation under Bill Wilson with 12 Steps and drug testing for all. Now law makers want to start Drug testing unemployment recipients………

    “Scott’s drug testing initiative is popular with Sunshine State voters and with lawmakers outside of Florida. State senators in Ohio and Oklahoma have said they will introduce welfare drug testing laws modeled on Scott’s plan. The Ohio proposal would subject unemployment insurance beneficiaries to the screenings as well. A spokesperson for Ohio Republican State Sen. Tim Grendell did not respond when HuffPost asked why Grendell saw need for the tests.”


  • ez

    For Shit and giggles arl Hiaason has suggested that all of FLA’s legislators be drug tested, what he calls a “patriotic whiz-fest”. He has also offered to pay for all 160 tests hisself.


    Too bad it will never happen.

  • ez–I read that! Man, I love Hiassen!

  • Oh yes, Hiaasen was on Maddow tonight with his challenge to pay for the tests….oh this is great.


    Starts off with Haley in SC also, in this segment.


    “Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing. Such laws, which proponents say ensure that tax dollars are not being misused and critics say reinforce stereotypes about the poor, have passed in states including Arizona, Indiana and Missouri. ”