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New Oklahoma Law Prohibits Drug Use Among Welfare Recipients

Oklahoma is taking a hard stance on the use of illegal drugs among welfare recipients, and under a new law put into effect on November 1, 2012, anyone on welfare caught using drugs will be kicked out of the program. The original welfare bill was passed by Oklahoma lawmakers and signed into law back in …

Oklahoma is taking a hard stance on the use of illegal drugs among welfare recipients, and under a new law put into effect on November 1, 2012, anyone on welfare caught using drugs will be kicked out of the program. The original welfare bill was passed by Oklahoma lawmakers and signed into law back in May, and the Department of Human Services (DHS) is working to implement the law today. As Oklahoma lawmakers take steps to limit the use of illegal drugs in Oklahoma, this new law is an extension of that statewide effort. For more information about Oklahoma drug laws and associated penalties, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center today. Our law firm is located in Oklahoma City, and our lawyers have extensive experience defending the rights of those accused of drug-related crimes.

Penalties for Positive Drug Tests

According to DHS, applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) have been subjected to drug testing in the past, but until now, the program hasn’t been able to deny benefits based solely on one positive drug test, instead referring those to drug counseling first. “The difference now is that if an adult is screened to be positive for illegal drug use and substance abuse, then that adult would not be eligible for TANF benefits for six months,” said DHS Bryan County interim director, Lori Gray. Under the new law, anyone found to be using drugs will still be referred to drug counseling with the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and they can reapply for welfare benefits after six months.

Criminal Defense Attorneys for Drug Crime Defense

According to the Department of Human Services, there are a couple hundred households on welfare in Bryan County alone, and close to 20,000 across the state of Oklahoma. “We want to help them to overcome these issues so they can lead more independent and productive lives without us,” says Gray. As Oklahoma drug arrest statistics indicate, 18,699 adults and 1,767 juveniles were arrested and subjected to severe punishments for drug-related offenses in 2010 alone. Oklahoma has instituted harsh penalties for drug-related crimes, and offenders may face felony conviction, significant prison terms, years of probation and/or parole, and hefty fines. If you have been charged with a drug crime in Oklahoma, contact our criminal defense lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center to discuss possible defense options.

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