SB 182 would create a 2 year pilot program to drug test Ohio Works First (OWF) recipients in 3 counties. The chosen counties’ Departments of Job and Family Services will conduct an assessment of each adult family member that applies for OWF to determine whether there is “reasonable cause” to suspect that any of the adults have a chemical dependency.
Individuals are responsible for the cost of the test and will be tested for any non-prescription drugs, excluding alcohol. A failed drug test results in sending the cash assistance to a protective payee outside of the family unit for one year. After 6 months, if they have successfully completed drug treatment, a person can regain control of the funds by passing another drug test. If they fail again, they lose control for another year. Those who fail drug tests will be referred to the county board of alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services for treatment. Up to $100,000 can be used to fund these drug treatment services.
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
The ACLU of Ohio strongly urges the legislature to abandon this bill that further stigmatizes low-income Ohioans and focus instead on providing resources for treatment for those that do need addiction services. Fundamentally, SB 182 violates the constitutional rights of those who use government programs by subjecting them to unreasonable searches by the government. The ACLU of Ohio opposes drug testing eligibility requirements for all government assistance programs, which also include home-mortgage interest deductions, student loans, and the earned income tax credit.
Medicaid / Health / Human Services (S)