When you fill out a welfare application in Virginia, you have to answer a lot of personal questions. Details like your income, education, and how much property you own are all required.
Soon, there could be another question, in the form of a drug test.
"I do sincerely think (drug testing) makes great sense," said Tom Garrett, a Commonwealth's Attorney in Louisa County who's seeking the Republican nomination for state senate in the Lynchburg area.
One of his main platforms? Get drug users out of the welfare system.
"Depending upon the study you look at, anywhere between five and 35 percent of welfare recipients are addicted to an illicit drug," said Garrett.
As a legislator, Garrett says he'll push to make drug testing for welfare a state law. A similar measure recently passed in Florida.
"We need to address the root cause of the poverty problem, and in many instances I believe that's drug addiction," said Garrett.
Drug testing comes at a cost. Florida taxpayers shell out an estimated $3.5 million dollars to subsidize welfare drug screens.
"You're going to find that it costs a whole lot more to have generation after generation, year after year, of people that are trapped in a vicious cycle of addiction that leads to poverty," said Garrett.
Even though he's now a prosecutor, Garrett says the goal of his proposal isn't to put people in prison. He wants to trim the number of people using welfare, and help drug addicts get the help they need.
"If you tackle the welfare addiction problem, you help them help themselves, and you help the taxpayers, and everybody wins," said Garrett.
News 7 contacted a number of groups Thursday that work with welfare recipients, some of which are against Garrett's proposal. Brenda Hale with the Roanoke branch of the NAACP believes drug testing would unfairly target minorities and the poor.
"It's a gross miscarriage of justice for this candidate to even want to put this on the table as a direct assault on Virginians that are in poverty right now," said Hale, who adds that just because a number of people on welfare are addicted to drugs, it's not fair to put everyone who applies for benefits through the process of drug testing.