North Carolina welfare applicants, recipients drug tested

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Drug testing of North Carolina welfare recipients and applicants is now happening at social service offices in the state.

The 2013 law directs someone that social services suspect is using drugs to take a test to get benefits.

A presentation to a General Assembly committee Tuesday said fewer than 90 tests had been performed starting in August to the end of December, with about 20 testing positive for illegal drugs. The state welfare program's ongoing caseload is about 17,000.

Gov. Pat McCrory had vetoed the law because he said it was punitive and potentially intrusive and there was no money to develop the program. The legislature overrode the veto and later funded the program. A test costs $55; the state pays.

Division of Social Services Director Wayne Black says there's no indication testing has discouraged Work First applications.

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