Few drug tests ordered for welfare recipients in Maine so far under new rules

Few welfare recipients in Maine have been called in for drug screenings so far under new rules touted by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

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The state in April began to administer drug-screening assessments to recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program who have been convicted of a drug-related felony. People who fail are required to submit to a urinalysis.

LePage's administration said in response to a Freedom of Access Act request that just 15 recipients were scheduled for screenings in the first three months of the program.

Of those, 13 were barred from benefits because they didn't show up to take either the screening or subsequent urinalysis. One person tested positive for drugs and was stripped of benefits.

The administration estimates that about 100 recipients will eventually be screened.