Monday, February 1, 2016

Addictions: Applying For State And/Or Federal Aid

The following statement has been going around on social media sites for a few years, suggesting that there be a requirement for those who apply for State or Federal aid be drug tested –– and if they come up positive, they would be denied benefits. 

As a mental health professional who has worked in a methadone clinic and also have worked with individuals with addiction issues in my private practice, I felt the need to share some facts with you.

Those who have addictions issues also often have serious mental health issues (usually they have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and or are bipolar) and need help. Statistically about 98% of them were abused as children, primarily sexually abused. Without help these individuals would be homeless, eating out of garbage cans, and will most likely die at an early age.

I personally believe this practice should be illegal. People with addition issues ARE considered mentally ill.  By denying benefit's, our government would be practicing a form of discrimination against those with a disability.
There is also the fact that a vast number of those using illicit drugs who are veterans who have returned after serving our country. 

To deny these folks who have serious PTSD and or are bipolar any sort of benefits is a way to turn your back on so many of the folks you grew up with (and or family members). 

Instead of denying them benefits how about having someone help them with their finances and start funding mental health so they can get help. 

I was also informed that Florida reversed this practice.  When they implemented this plan nearly everyone was clean so the expense of the testing did not outweigh the savings it was discontinued.
–– Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC

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