Thursday, 8 June 2017

So you want to drug test welfare recipients, Mr. Porter?

A handy little DSS fact sheet informs us that drug testing at three trial sites will run for two years and that; The tests will detect use of drugs including ecstasy, marijuana and methamphetamines, including ice. However, the minister and his department remain silent as to the cost of this program.
We-ell…… I just don’t find any of these statements a convincing argument for drug testing a select number of Centrelink recipients on unemployment benefits commencing 1 January 2018, in the hope that just 8.48 per cent of them will initially test positive.

After all the workforce generally seems likely to have the same addictive issues and no-one is talking of drug testing them before distributing wages.

For example:

In 2013, just over 40% of Australians either smoked daily, drank alcohol in ways that put them at risk of harm or used an illicit drug in the previous 12 months; 3.1% engaged in all 3 of these behaviours. [National Drug Strategy Household Survey Detailed Report 2013]

Over 48,000 Australians were on a course of pharmacotherapy treatment for their opioid dependence on a snapshot day in June 2015.

Wastewater analysis conducted in the latter half of 2016 shows that alcohol and tobacco consumption was the highest of all substances tested in all states and territories.

Declines were seen in recent use of some illegal drugs in 2016 including meth/amphetamines (from 2.1% to 1.4%), hallucinogens (1.3% to 1.0%), and synthetic cannabinoids (1.2% to 0.3%).
About 1 in 20 Australians had misused pharmaceuticals in 2016 (4.8%).

While the number of politicians over the years who have allegedly been drunk in charge of a parliamentary vote is notable – everyone from prime ministers and cabinet ministers right down to lowly backbenches if a recent Google search is a reliable indicator.

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