The true cost of Kentucky’s drug testing everyone on welfare
Warning if you hate math just skip to the end of the article
The central questions is just how many people have to fail the drug test subtracting the cost of the test, the cost of administering the test, prosecuting and jailing the people who fail the test before the state makes any money?
To aid us in determining these costs lets look at the the State of Michigan which actually tried this.
.In the five weeks that the program was in effect, the drug tests were positive in only eight percent of the cases, a percentage that is consistent with drug use in the general population. Of 268 people tested, only 21 tested positive for drugs and all but three were for marijuana.
Lets assume Pot users don’t lose their benefits that means 3 out of every 268 people will lose their welfare benefits. Pee tests for
Marijuana Methamphetamine Methadone
Cocaine Ecstasy Oxycodone
Opiates Benzodiazepines PCP Amphetamine Barbiturates
Cost $2.50 each if you buy them in bulk, $2.50 a test 11 tests =$27.50
If we a assume 5 minutes a test a Registered Nurse (RN) in Kentucky gets $22.83 an hour 11 tests 55 minutes lets say an hour total to test one person just to keep the math simple.
$22.83+ 27.50 = 50.33 worth of extra cost to Kentucky’s welfare program for every person tested.
Assuming potheads keep their benefits testing 268 people at $50.33 each costs the state $13,488.44 every 268 people just to get the 3 people using drugs assuming that Kentucky is as drug filled as Michigan.
Just to be fair to Kentucky’s financial planning but not their moral compass. I will assume that they won’t make an honest attempt to help the drug addicts who fail this program. Since I have heard no mention of Kentucky planning to enroll everyone who fails a drug test in intense rehab ( By intense I mean a week to get clean either locked up or daily drug tests and follow up drug counseling once a week for 6 months.) So I will leave out the costs of drug rehab.
What I won’t leave out is the cost of Kentucky prosecuting all those welfare people who fail the test and are either arrested on the spot or arrested after they turn to crime because in this economy they won’t find jobs. After all even if they quit drugs right after failing the test they still need to eat and now they just lost their welfare benefits Kentucky cannot just expect them to just lay down and die. People need food they need money they will try and get it one way or another.
The annual cost of prison is a shocking $19,000 per prisoner and growing.
58,124 people on Welfare in Kentucky in 2008
So then testing 268 people at $50.33 each costs the state $13,488.44 just to get 3 people and there is 58,124 people on welfare in Kentucky it will cost $19,000 per prisoner to jail the 216 people who we can expect to fail the test.
58,124/268= 216 people
Next take 58,124 * the $50.33 cost of the test and you get $2,925,380
Then take 58,124/268 and you get 216 people who will fail the drug test
At $19,000 * the cost of jailing 216 people for a year = $4,104,000
Add $4,104,000 add $2,925,380 and you get $7,029,380 as the total cost to Kentucky assuming they test everyone.
Next add $7,029,380/216 = $32, 543. 42
$7,029,380 cost to take 216 people off Kentucky’s welfare rolls thats $32, 543. 42 so for this program to make Kentucky money they would need those 216 people we expect to fail the drug test to make at least a dollar more than that in welfare benefits or $32, 544. 42 a year as individuals since their kids or other dependents would of course still get welfare.
Now just imagine the costs if I had factored in pot users!