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Welfare applicants in Florida are less likely than Americans in general to use drugs, the Associated Press reports. The state compiled the figures as part of a new state law that requires drug tests for welfare applicants.

About 2.5 percent of up to 2,000 applicants for welfare in the state have tested positive for drugs since the law went into effect in July, and an additional 2 percent declined to be tested.

The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found an estimated 22.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—8.9 percent of the population—were current illicit drug users.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new law. It requires applicants to be responsible for the cost of the screening. They can recover the costs if they qualify for assistance. Under the law, applicants who fail the drug screen can designate another person to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.


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