Tennessee Attorney General's Opinion Says "No" to Drug Tests

Mar 21, 2012

A Tennessee Attorney General's opinion says the Volunteer State can't broadly drug test people as a condition of their receiving welfare benefits. The opinion, which was issued by the office of state Attorney General Robert Cooper, is a response to several bills that are now pending in the State Legislature.

The opinion says the requirement would violate Federal laws that regulate the food stamp program and Social Security.  The opinion says the requirement would also run counter to the state Medicaid Plan.

Several bills now before legislators in Tennessee would require drug testing for welfare recipients. The state Attorney General's opinion says that approach would violate the Constitutional rights of those receiving welfare, because they have a right not to be drug tested---unless there is a suspicion they are taking illicit drugs.