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ACLU Argues Welfare Drug Policy Violated Rights, Dignity

The drug testing program was in effect for only four months before a federal judge stopped it with a temporary injunction in October of last year. But ACLU lawyer Maria Kayanan says those four months were chaotic and disrespectful of welfare applicants' privacy and dignity.

In one incident, she said, “It made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.”

A kidney patient on dialysis who could not take the drug test in the usual way was ordered to provide a urine sample through a catheter. Another patient who tested positive because of her drug prescription got an unannounced visit from a caseworker who insisted on counting her pills. Meanwhile, almost anybody could get access to the drug test results.

“results went through so many people with names results, social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses…They came to us that way, and we redacted them, of course.” said Kayanan.

The incidents are recounted in the state's own emails. The ACLU will use them next month to argue that the drug testing policy - which fulfilled one of Governor Scott's campaign promises - violates the civil rights of welfare applicants and should be struck down permanently.