Back to All News

Research shows drug testing income support recipients in the US has been costly and ineffective

Information obtained by the Australian Greens has shown that drug testing in the United States has been costly whilst returning a miniscule number of positive test results.

“In America the results that came back positive for drugs was farcical. From 2011 to 2014, just TWO people out of 108,408 came back as positive in Arizona. Over in Missouri, just 0.1% came back positive from 2013 to 2014. What a monumental waste of time and public funds.

“This is the case across other states. In 2016, US states that drug tested spent $1.3 million and just 369 recipients tested positive. Zero positive test results came back in four states for the whole year.

"If evidence shows the policy is costly, has a low positive result rate, and users have similar employment outcomes to non-users, why is the Turnbull Government pursuing it?

“Looking overseas, what is becoming clear is the drug testing policy is introduced or proposed for purely political reasons, as a way of saying to voters ‘we are taking action on drug use’,  Australia deserves better than this, we need evidence based policy.

“I understand that the Government is endeavouring to vilify vulnerable people accessing the social safety net, it is time it stopped.

“Rather than reinforcing perceptions that people struggling with drug addiction should be vilified and treated with suspicion and contempt, they should be treated through the health system.

“Australia is a compassionate society and it is about time people struggling with addiction were supported so that drug use is actually reduced rather than entrenched”.

Back to All News