Former White House Drug Policy Coordinator Barry McCaffrey told a crowd of former and recovering addicts near Pensacola a week ago that Florida’s welfare drug testing law is a bad move.
[When] asked about Florida’s new policy of testing welfare recipients…some of whom are returning veterans, McCaffrey says the policy is misguided.
“What kind of sense does that make? You’ve got to make the barriers to entering rehabilitation low. You want people in treatment,” McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey also pointed out to the crowd that many recipients of welfare benefits are war veterans. “We owe them significant interventions in their lives,” he said.
Such is the case of Luis Lebron, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against the state of Florida over the drug testing law. Lebron, a Navy veteran and single father, was denied temporary assistance benefits he was otherwise qualified for because he refused to waive his Fourth Amendment rights and submit to a drug test. Lebron is a full-time student in Orlando.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the new law, the law has voter support.
State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, has also filed legislation that would repeal the measure.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Lebron and state attorneys are currently awaiting a ruling from the judge hearing the lawsuit on whether Lebron can represent all TANF recipients in the case.