Bill on drug testing Ga. welfare recipients slowed

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - A Republican lawmaker will reconsider his proposal to require drug tests of people receiving welfare payments.

Rep. Jason Spencer of Woodbine said Wednesday he will listen to criticism from substance abuse counselors and others before going further.

His legislation would require everyone applying for welfare to take a drug test. Applicants would have to pay out-of-pocket for those tests, although Spencer said many could seek reimbursement through government-run health care programs.

Spencer said taxpayers should not have to subsidize illegal drug usage.

Critics of his bill said there is scant evidence that poor people on welfare use more drugs than other groups. Neil Kaltenecker of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse said addicts in recovery do best in their critical first year when they have support.

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