Operation Buzzkill: Random Drug Testing for the Unemployed

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Down on your luck? Pondering whether to scrounge up the rest of your life savings to pay next month’s rent or save it for a swell little secondhand Salvation Army tent you’ve had your eye on along with a month’s supply of Slim Jims and Ho-Ho’s, and cut your losses by moving directly into the brand spanking new little neo-Hooverville/Slumdog USA shantytown that just popped up on outskirts of your urban hood? Don’t you dare relax, forget about your woes and take a toke of that roach, buster, ’cause it looks like you might have to urinate in a cup or have some hair plucked if you want a shot at a future governmentally assisted supper. It seems that legislators in eight states are advocating that beneficiaries of Uncle Sam’s subsidized programs such as food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare be required to submit to random drug testing (AKA Operation Buzzkill).

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It looks like the public safety net may morph into a straitjacket of sobriety. ‘Cause obviously everyone lacking a job in this vibrant economy is simply a do-nothing, good-for-nothing beatnik who’s just refused to get up the gumption to get a little dirt under their nails and sweat on their brow ridges, working diligently for a good honest day’s wages… not victims of a massive elitist swindle and prey to predator creditors that pick at the carcass of their dwindling assets while they precariously attempt to avoid the brink of poverty.

Logically, only the successful and affluent understand how to abuse substances properly and have earned the right to do so. Not everyone has the innate instinct of a Paris Hilton to be born a bimbo heiress to a vast hotel empire and be able to live life like its Mardi Gras 24/7 without any financial repercussions or underwear. Some of us are just struggling to get by and occasionally reach for a certain illegal natural organic glaucoma alleviator to simply relax or blur the edges of our non-luxury, horizontally mobile existences. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors cost a pretty penny after all and are not distributed gratis to the 45.7 million American citizens for whom the possibility of major medical resides in the land of Santy Claus and the tooth fairy (who does not provide dental by the way, no matter how many quarters you place under your Tempur-Pedic pillow!).

Let us also make no mistake that it’s those who partake of the sticky-icky that will be most prominently persecuted here. How many crack-heads or junkies do you know that have the patience, discipline and fortitude to diligently deal with the red-tape paperwork, Internet updates and/or automated touch-tone phone bank re-directions needed to collect the minimal money these services dole out? When every cell in your body cries for a fix you’re more likely to forgo all that banal bureaucracy and hurriedly hawk your bratty little niece’s iPod or provide sexual services to the kind gentleman who is nice enough to meet you in an alleyway in a frayed straw hat, tattered terrycloth bathrobe and flip-flops at 4 in the morning. Last I checked no one was taking food stamps for hypodermics or free-basing spoons either (and these guys generally tend not to be big eaters–although they are likely to have an excellent aptitude for speed talking or lethargically swaying in place without tipping over).

It’s also inevitable that some conservative critics will be prone to point out a loophole in my argument. Mainly the munchies… but should a few hardcore stoners abusing the system ruin it for the rest of recreational users who sporadically partake to decompress? Do they really represent that much of a serious threat to bankrupting the economy and national reserves of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream? Besides most of them still live with their parents anyway (or eat most of their meal’s at Nana’s house) and are much too busy mastering the intricacies of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on their Nintendo Wii’s to bilk the government out of Benjamins.

So if you are struggling to stay afloat, looking to alleviate your Depression depression and do not dwell on the righteous path of abstinence and salvation it seems the only other alternative is to put down that blunt and pick up some booze. That All-American wholesome government-sanctioned depressant that has provided the basis for so many violent domestic disputes, shattered childhoods and colorful bestselling, Oprah- approved memoirs. After all, no one is suggesting breathalyzers… yet.

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