Drug counselor sees both sides on mandatory drug testing issue

ABILENE, Texas - Should welfare and unemployment applicants be required to pass a drug test?

Many are talking about it after Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made a push for mandatory drug testing.    

Gov. Perry said he doesn't want Texas tax payers to foot the bill for illegal drug use.

"I'm calling on the Texas Legislature to enact reforms that include authorizing the use of drug screening for TANF and unemployment benefit recipients," Perry said in a statement.
Mary Christie who is a drug counselor and program director at the Serenity House in Abilene said she sees both sides of the issue.

Many are saying the children will be the ones to suffer if their parents test positive.

"It would affect their children, but it also could motivate them to go into treatment where they could get help and so that their children could have a wonderful life," Christie said.

Christie also said drug testing is not black and white. Even if they do test positive, then comes the task of quitting- which isn't a quick fix.

"Are they going to just quit? Is it possible they need treatment, so then we also have to provide them more treatment," Christie said. "It just trickles on down."

Christie said the state has cut funding for substance abuse programs and Child Protective Services, which may be needed if people test positive.    

"It can either go good or really bad," Christie said.

The issue will be brought up in the legislative session which starts in January.

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