No it doesn’t

? NZ Herald

The Herald editorial reckons the government needs to tread warily with drug testing beneficiaries…no it doesn’t, the vast majority of taxpayers who provide the taxes that allow beneficiaries to?receive?a handout want drug testing…yesterday.

The Herald advocates more hugs and cuddles…like that has worked so far:

?The minister’s approach may work for recreational drug users. Effectively, they are being asked to make a lifestyle choice. But dealing with people addicted to drugs is an entirely different matter.

There is little to suggest that the stick of benefit sanctions will prompt them to drastically amend their lives. Taking money away from them will make no difference because addicts will go to any length to obtain drugs. Indeed, in some cases, they are more likely to be lured into crime or prostitution to feed their addiction.

Sensibly, therefore, the Government plans to exempt drug and alcohol addicts from sanctions for refusing or failing a drug test. It has, however, hinted that such beneficiaries may be forced to get treatment for their addictions. Such a step should be resisted as the policy detail is finalised. In no other area of health is such an approach taken.

For those suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses, for example, collecting a benefit is not contingent on agreeing to treatment. Why, then, stigmatise addicts in this manner? Specialists in drug treatment are adamant that addicts should not, and cannot, be coerced into abstinence.

The recommended approach is to encourage users to enter treatment programmes that offer abundant counselling and support. But it is fair for the Government to insist that if people in work are expected to be drug-free and able to work, it is quite reasonable that non-addicts on benefits should be able to pass a drug test.