In November 1999 the state of Michigan became the first state in the United States to execute a program of random drug testing for welfare recipients. Under this program, people who test positive for drug usage will be required to enter a treatment program in order to receive Family Independence Assistance benefits; those who refuse to take the required drug test or refuse treatment will be denied Family Independence Assistance benefits. Mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients has been debated for quite some time. The benefits of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients are that it encourages self sufficiency, prevents misuse of the welfare system and ensures correct distribution of tax dollars. .
On October 18, 2002 Michiganâ€™s Governor Engler stated "We know that drugs are a significant barrier to employment, and testing and treatment for welfare recipients for drug use is consistent with our goal of helping them reach true self sufficiency." When seeking employment many companies require drug tests before hiring an individual. These tests are crucial in order to prepare individuals on welfare for the harsh realities of the working world. A drug dependent welfare recipient who acquires drug treatment and effectively completes therapy will have more success finding employment when drug testing is required by a company. Obtaining employment gives a person a feeling of accomplishment and independence as well. Governor John Engler also said, â€œDrugs are a barrier to employment. These pilots are consistent with our goal to help welfare recipients become truly independent from the welfare system.â€ This program may help the poor become self-reliant of food, shelter and other basic necessities. Drug use can also diminish the health of an individual, not only the physical health but the psychological well being of a person as well. Eliminating the depressing effects of drugs will improve the self esteem level of ones self image.