Newt Gingrich is touted as a man with “big, bold ideas.” Well, here’s one that deals with drug abuse that’s both big and bold, and also a pretty big violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
I think that we need to consider taking more explicit steps to make it expensive to be a drug user. It could be through testing before you get any kind of federal aid. Unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it.
It has always struck me that if you’re serious about trying to stop drug use, then you need to find a way to have a fairly easy approach to it and you need to find a way to be pretty aggressive about insisting–I don’t think actually locking up users is a very good thing. I think finding ways to sanction them and to give them medical help and to get them to detox is a more logical long-term policy. [Emphasis added.]
Florida Gov. Rick Scott had the same idea, but ran into a roadblock from a federal court, which said that the new state law that mandated testing welfare recipients “implicates a ‘far more substantial’ invasion of privacy than in ordinary civil drug testing cases.”
Aside from the constitutional implications — something that the GOP never seems to worry about unless it’s talking about the Second Amendment — Mr. Gingrich doesn’t say how the massive drug testing regimen would be paid for. After all, we’re talking about testing everybody who receives federal aid. That’s basically the entire country, including corporations that receive subsidies and every kid in every Title I school.
Kind of makes you wonder what kind of drug Mr. Gingrich was on when he came up with an idea like that.