Work First drug testing going into effect July 1st

GREENVILLE N.C. (WNCT)- A new level of scrutiny for Work First applicants is going into effect so, and with just two weeks away, there are more questions than answers.

Starting July first, some work first applicants will have to submit to drug test looking for five separate drugs. (Marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP)

Pitt County’s Department of Social Services has been getting ready for the launch, required by the state. This week, the Director and some of her staff will receive training on the initiative.

“This is to make sure that individuals who are receiving public assistance are not using their monies on drugs.” Jan Elliott said.

The conditions of the test apply only if there’s reasonable suspicion. If there is, applicants will have to pay for the test when they first apply for benefits and when an applicant is up for review.

If found negligent, they can either enroll in a drug treatment program or be revoked of their benefits.

Who and where the test will occur, is unknown. “We’re not sure where the testing is going to take place,” Elliott said. “There could be a facility that folks go to for this test, we haven’t actually heard there will be testing in our offices.”

Preliminary estimates suggest these new rules will not affect many Pitt County families, about a third of 396 cases. In 2013 the governor opposed the screenings.

McCrory vetoed House Bill 392 and the Senate overrode it.

In a statement he said, “While I support the efforts to ensure that fugitive felons are not on public assistance rolls…this bill could lead to inconsistent applications across the state’s 100 counties. That’s a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion.”

Details of the program should be available after this week’s training. Elliott stresses if benefits are revoked, it will only affect adults, not children.

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