Essay about Effects of Welfare Reform on Illicit Drug Use

Essay about Effects of Welfare Reform on Illicit Drug Use

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Considerable research has previously been conducted to analyze the effects welfare reform has had on its intended purposes such as employment, caseloads, or familial cohesion. And while there have been a few studies that examined the correlation between women receiving welfare and drug use, the effects of reform in regards to illicit drug use, specifically women, had not been previously evaluated. As legislation passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, the intended objective was to place restrictions on welfare recipients by applying a 5 year life-time limit, felony drug conviction disqualifications, and move people off the welfare rolls and into the workforce. States were given more latitude in administering benefits to applicants and were allowed the flexibility to place additional and more stringent requirements than those of the federal government, so long as the requirements adhered to federal guidelines. The purpose of the research conducted by Corman, Dave, Das, & Reichman, 2013 was to establish whether or not the PRWORA of 1996 reduced or prevented drug use among adult women by means of exploratory research. Additionally, they sought to corroborate the theory of Katz (2001), included in this research study, who said “…proponents of welfare reform claimed that the “work first” regime would increase self-sufficiency and connect previously marginalized poor women to the mainstream, leading them to engage in more responsible, and less socially undesirable, behavior.” With partial funding for the study provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Corman et al (2013) initiated this study and hypothesized there would be a reduction in drug use...

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...ition of employment. Equally so, more constituents are pushing for mandatory drug testing for those applying for or receiving welfare. Both these factors offer economic incentives to women to stop illicit drug use. Incarceration should also not be overlooked as a contributing factor. The secure environment of jails and prisons, while not impossible, do make it difficult in obtaining drugs. Additionally, the use of data derived from self-reporting surveys can be skewed by minimizing and under reporting one’s drug usage.

Works Cited

Corman et al, 2013, Effects of Welfare Reform on Illicit Drug Use of Adult Women, Economic Inquiry, Vol. 51, No. 1, January 2013, 653–674. Retrieved March 11, 2013, from
Oxford Dictionary. (2014). Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

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