No recipients lose welfare benefits in drug-testing program

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The results of a pilot program that tested welfare recipients suspected of using drugs were released Wednesday.

Between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tested recipients of state cash assistance in Allegan, Clinton and Marquette counties. The department had to have reasonable suspicion someone was abusing drugs to test them.

The one-year pilot program found 6.1 percent of recipients or applicants were either referred to drug abuse treatment programs or were already in such programs.

According to the MDHHS, of the 443 welfare recipients that were tested, 27 had tested positive for drugs. Ten of the 27 were already in a substance abuse programs and 14 others were referred for treatment. The other three either had their cases closed for unrelated reasons or they didn’t contact officials.

None of the people tested in the pilot program lost their benefits.