State Sen. Randy Brogdon has received unanimous approval for a measure linking drug testing as a condition of eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. The measure was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday. Brogdon, R-Owasso, said the measure would ultimately strengthen families by getting those addicted to drugs into treatment.
“What we have found is that it is a vicious cycle—individuals who continue to use drugs are unable to provide for their families and end up on public assistance. We see the same thing in our court system,” Brogdon said. “Drugs and alcohol tear families apart. This will help us identify those who have a substance abuse problem and get them the help they need.”
Brogdon said that under his legislation, Senate Bill 390, TANF eligibility would be tied to drug testing. The Department of Human Services would be charged with administering the program. Those who tested positive would then be referred to mental health and substance abuse services for treatment.
“Ultimately, by reducing the need for public assistance we’re going to save state dollars. But more importantly, by helping these individuals receive the drug and alcohol treatment they need, we can keep families together and help the parents to become productive members of their communities,” Brogdon said.
SB 390 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.