Last year, Florida passed a law requiring all welfare recipients to submit to a drug test, and proponents of the law touted its money-saving potential. New data shows that the law actually cost Florida $46,000 and didn't find many drug users.
Drug tests were only administered between July and October 2011, at which point a judge blocked it for infringing on Fourth Amendment rights.
The New York Times reported yesterday that the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida released data showing that only 2.6% of applicants to the welfare system failed the drug test (the most common failure reason being marijuana). "Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost," states the NYT, "an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140."
Bottom-line to the state of Florida: $45,780.
Proponents of the drug test had also initially forecasted a drop in welfare cases, as drug users are ferreted out. Statistics, however, showed no reduction in caseload to the welfare system.
Florida isn't in the business of learning their lesson; last month, they signed a law allowing the state to drug-test state employees with no prior-suspicion needed. The law goes live in July, at which point ACLU Florida will be ready to fight it.