2013 Legislature: Bill seeks drug testing for public aid

Drug testing would be required for anyone seeking public assistance in Nevada under a bill introduced Wednesday in the state Senate.SB89, sponsored by Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, would require the state to deny public assistance, including food stamps or Medicaid, to anyone who tests positive for illegal drugs unless they enroll in a treatment program.Settelmeyer said the purpose is not to deny aid to people in need but to get them help for substance abuse.“If you’re on drugs and the state continues to give you funds, we’re not helping,” he said.Public assistance could be denied if drug screening or treatment is refused. People denied assistance because of drug use could reapply after 90 days.According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have implemented some type of drug testing or screening for public assistance over the last two years. In 2012, 28 states had various proposals, with four — Utah, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma — adopting laws. Other states with drug-screening laws are Arizona, Florida and Missouri.The Nevada measure has exemptions for people who have prescriptions for medical marijuana and other prescription drugs.People 65 years of age or older would be exempt. Anyone already participating in a treatment program for controlled substance abuse would not have to submit to drug testing while undergoing treatment, but would need to do so after completing their treatment program.


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