This is a "Letter to the Editor" that appeared in the Sunday paper here in Post Falls, Idaho. I thought it was a great idea and of course there will be those who won't agree, but read it and see what you think. Welfare: Drug tests before checks are sent About six years ago, my girl-friend told me of an idea that she had for quite some time, I thought to myself, wow, what a great idea! And then like so many flashes of brilliance, we talk to each other, and to our friends, co-workers and family about it, everyone we talk to thinks it's a great idea. But, now it's time to quite talking about amongst ourselves, and throw it out for everone to chew on. Drug testing, before welfare checks. New before I go any further, let me say, this is not an attack on the welfare system, I have no problem giving help and support to those with legitimate needs. However, if you or I want to obtain a decent job (which generates taxes that in turn fund such programs) we will more than likely have to submit to drug testing, and agree to random testing. What's wrong with this picture? Did you know that food stamps are worth fifty cents on the dollar in the drug community? Think about that next you are scraping up change to buy lunch to get yourself through the day. And maybe it would be a good idea to make sure the children, for whom the benefits are intended to help, actually live in the home. In some cases, children stay with other family members, while the parent continues to collect the monthly checks. My girl-friend personally knew of a case, where a parent was collecting benefits, that were intended for her five children, all of whom lived with other family members, because the mother was an addict/alcoholic. Now I know this idea will have it's critics, and I may even anger a lot of people, in fact I hope you are angry! Maybe if we create a loud enough buzz, we can start the wheels in motion, that will effect changes in the sytem, which will benefit those who are using these resources the way they are intended, to provide safe homes, and nutritious meals for their children and themselves. Here is the bottom line, as I see it. The welfare system should be used to empower, not enable. PAT MCCLENAHAN AND LAURIE THOMAS Coeur d'Alene, Idaho If you like this idea, please send to everyone you can!!!