From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.In fact, it's more than $45,000 more than would be been paid in benefits. But, though the law was blocked by a judge as an "unreasonable search" by the government—and here you'll want to remember that the Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches, making every Florida legislator who both voted for this bill and likes to talk about his allegiance to the Constitution the rankest kind of hypocrite—and though it did cost the state money, the law's backers are saying it was well worth it. Because 108 people who had at some point in recent weeks used marijuana are not receiving state aid, the unreasonable search of 4,086 others is just peachy.
Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.
According to an official at a pro-drug testing policy organization:
“The drug testing law was really meant to make sure that kids were protected,” he said, “that our money wasn’t going to addicts, that taxpayer generosity was being used on diapers and Wheaties and food and clothing.”Whereas now the people who failed the test have no money for diapers or Wheaties or food or clothing for their kids, so the kids are protected. Or, y'know, the real reason for the law was never about protecting kids, but about making aid to needy families as punitive as possible while building an association in the public mind between welfare and drug use, counting on Floridians to hear more about how the state government thought drug testing was necessary than about how few people failed the tests. And that's why so many other Republican-controlled states have followed Florida's lead, pushing drug testing not just for welfare but for unemployment insurance, food stamps, and more.