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State rep. said food stamps are being used to buy drugs


An eastern Kentucky lawmaker has dropped a proposal that would have banned welfare recipients from buying candy, soda and other sweets on the taxpayers’ tab.

State Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, wanted to force food stamp program recipients to buy more nutritious foods.

“Sweets or junk food is not an appropriate purchase with the food stamp money that the taxpayers provide for them,” Nelson told WKYT-TV in Hazard shortly after he filed the bill.

Nelson said late last week he had withdrawn the proposal. He declined to comment further.

Nelson said in a column published in the Harlan Daily Enterprise that opposition wasn’t limited to food stamp recipients but also came from soda bottlers and junk food retailers.

In the column, Nelson said some recipients have been buying cases of soda and trading them for drugs.

“ I believe most of the people who receive these benefits play by the rules and use the benefits to feed their families to the best of their ability,” Nelson wrote. “However, if we don’t get a handle on abuse and fraud, then the ones who really deserve benefits may lose them due to a lack of money.”

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