I noted with interest the article in The Oklahoman on Tuesday, May 12 concerning a law passed and signed into law requiring all Welfare recipients in Oklahoma to have drug testing.
DHS was quoted as saying, “It basically puts into law our current practices.” House Bill 2388 requires DHS to screen adults for drug use (hopefully anyone 18 or above) who apply for temporary assistance for the Needy Families Program. The law which goes into effect Nov. 1, 2012, allows those who test positive (and hopefully do not have a prescription for use of that drug) to receive assistance while they receive “drug treatment.” The bill would withhold any assistance money but still provide treatment. Apparently applicants who undergo a substance abuse program can reapply for benefits six months after the denial. I would hope the random drug testing would continue after the six months. Why? Because the incidence of relapse is quite high especially for opiates (Lortab, Oxycontin, etc.), benzodiazepines (Xanax, etc.) and amphetamines (Meth, Adderall, etc.). I do believe this is a great law and I agree with Governor Fallin, we as taxpayers should NOT subsidize drug offenders. However, as an addictionologist with 23 years' experience in treating over 100,000 addicts and alcoholics, we must do it “right.” For example, most all labs in hospital ERs in and around Oklahoma City (and I would guess other labs throughout the state), Do not test for Oxycontin! A “routine drug test” in most labs test only for opiates, as well as amphetamines (meth), benzodiazepines (Xanax), barbituates (Seconal, Phenobarbitol), marijuana, cocaine and PCP. Well, as a specialist in the field of addiction I would say whoa, wait a minute! Oxycontin is one of the main drugs abused by opiate addicts.