North Carolina social service offices are now drug testing some welfare recipients and applicants.
The law requiring testing of any Work First recipient suspected of being a drug user was enacted in 2013. After a year’s delay in implementing the law, the state began requiring the testing in August.
Of several thousand people who have been screened, 89 people took the test and 21 of them tested positive.
Benefits for adults are cut off or reduced if a test is positive or if a test appointment is missed.
Gov. Pat McCrory had vetoed the law in 2013 because he said it was punitive and potentially intrusive and there was no money to develop the program. The legislature overrode the veto and later funded the program. A test costs $55, which the state pays.
North Carolina is one of 13 states with such legislation in place.