Overheard on CNN.com: No welfare for drug users
Gov. Rick Scott signs legislation Tuesday requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.
June 1st, 2011
05:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: No welfare for drug users

Comment of the day: “Sorry, there is no constitutional right to free money. If you don't like it, you don't have to apply.”– LeaC24

Clean up for welfare

Saying it is "unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction," Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening. Scott said the measure saves tax dollars and provides "incentive to not use drugs,” but some Democratic lawmakers say the tests represent an "illegal invasion of personal privacy."

The story about the measure generated a lot of back and forth between CNN.com readers, though most readers said they support the legislation.

Phreaky said, “I'm a democrat and I fully support this law and wish it was nationwide. There is no excuse for drug users to receive government money because they are needy.” NJDoc responsed, “Many addicted individuals started their drug use because of their lack of income or a decent education. I am sure the ACLU will file an objection to this law and we will once again see tax dollars going towards legal battles instead of creating jobs."

LakewayJake said, “About damn time. This needs to be in place for all states. For those that feel this is an invasion of privacy, keep this in mind, no one is required to take the money. What's the difference between an employer mandating drug testing to be employed and /or stay employed?" huwie responded, “You just explained the difference. Athletes, employees, etc. are not on the government’s dime. They are paid by their PRIVATE employers. Do you know the difference between private and public?”

pinksunshine said, “As a person who was once on public assistance I see no problem with testing. I am a divorced mother of 4 and needed help. If drugs are what you use the assistance for you shouldn't be getting it in the first place.”

31459 said, “So what if they fail? Are they then criminally prosecuted? Sounds like self incrimination to me. If I were a drug using parent, I'd skip the test and the help for my children rather than risk creating a permanent record of my drug abuse.”

Baug said, "How dare Florida mandate that in order to receive assistance you need to make yourself more employable and set a better example for your children! That's downright disgusting! poln8r said, “Drug testing is required for many jobs these days, so why shouldn't someone who is receiving FREE MONEY from the taxpayers also undergo testing? opus512 responded, “So getting a job is exactly the same as getting welfare? There's no difference at all here? Really?”

soundoff14 said, "Thank you Governor Scott, this measure is long overdue. More power to you as you face the challenges to this common sense approach." Jim22 said, “What is it with democrats and their belief that nobody should be responsible? The tax payers have to pay for the mistakes others make in life and in a lot of cases we have to support them for life, yet nothing is expected of those who receive tax payer support. It sickens me!”

missj75 said, “As a taxpayer you should be upset about this law cause guess who's paying for all those drug test on top of the welfare benefits. YOU! Papagino responded, “@Missj – The taxpayers pay for the tests if the client passes them. The applicant is responsible for the cost of the test upfront.” And missj75 replied, “@Papagino: Yes and when a million people pass a test that cost anywhere from $50 to $90 then thats about $50,000,000 that taxpayers are forced to REIMBURSE them.”

Pity Paris?

Paris Hilton told CNN's Piers Morgan that the sex tape leaked by her boyfriend in 2003 was "the most embarrassing, humiliating thing" she has been through. During an appearance on Morgan's show last night, she also talked about her accomplishments and said that her life hasn’t always been easy.

More than 1,000 CNN.com readers posted comments about the heiress, most of them not very supportive, with most  saying the heiress is out of touch with how most people live.

100mbday responded, “ ‘Everything bad that could happen to a person has happened to me.’ This girl is so delusional it's almost to the point of being sad. She wouldn't know hard times if they jumped up and smacked her in the face.”

MaryInBoise said, “Everything bad that can happen to a person has happened to you, Paris? Do you mean that you've had to worry about whether to pay the rent or put food on your table? You've had to worry about whether you could afford your husband's epilepsy medications that he could die without? You've had to worry about whether you're going to lose your job at any time? Gee, I feel really sorry for you.”

Spritle said, “Poor Paris. She has been raped, beaten, tortured, lost her job, had her family murdered, and had to live on the street with nothing. She has suffered through a tornado, hurricane, and nuclear disaster.”

ifaponurmom said, “Yeah that one day in jail was so horrible. The house arrest was awful too. She has such a hard life.”

The heiress did have some defenders. rsttsr said, “Probably true, but I wonder what you or I would've done if we were brought up in extreme wealth like she had. Honestly, would you not see life in a completely different way? I have an issue with people that idolize her, not with her personally.” And Really49 said, “Come on. Let’s give credit where credit is due. She did appear to calm down after her sentencing whereas Lohan is still on self destruct mode.”

Online Hate

What do you do with virtual hate when you can’t respond face-to-face and hundreds if not thousands of people get to witness the aggression? CNN.com technology Netiquette columnists Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich shared their tips, including not engaging trolls - something CNN.com readers sometimes find tricky.

SSBlurpe said, “Yeah trolls at times can be pains, but they can also be entertaining. It's far worse to try to control comments or others to your thinking. It gets boring real fast.”

Guest said, “I am very glad that CNN is bringing up this topic for discussion because there is a real and ongoing problem with this Soundoff page. About 80 percent of the people who blog here are either spewing venom about topics unrelated to the subject at hand or they are nasty trolls who attack anywhere they feel they can exploit other people's weakness.”

uriel2013 said, “The digital disconnect allows people to say things they would never dare say to someone's face because they are just typing letters on a keyboard; they don't have to see the results of their rudeness. Then they can laugh about it because they think it is fun to be annoying. People being morons is nothing new, it was just more localized, where as now it can be global.”

MBane said, “A lot of times people get labeled as trolls just for posting an opinion that goes against the grain. Not everyone is a cookie cutter thinker. Not everyone wants a white picket fence and watches American Idol and because of that their opinions are quickly dismissed. In those cases, who's the troll?”

GQP2 said, “Most internet haters don't really hate, they are simply playing you and laughing about it."

npanth said, “I miss the days when a forum-goer would take up the challenge and flame a troll back to his thesaurus. Today, there's nothing to flame, no glory in putting down a troll who babbles nonsense."

toof987 said, “The solution to this is simple, but the implementation is not. Remove the ability to have anonymous posting.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (522 Responses)
  1. Cameron

    "If you don't like it, you don't have to apply.” Politics + Logic = Success

    June 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Refudiator

      It more expensive to put a harmless druggie in jail than $40/week in food allowance. I don't want to pay for this proposal. Paying more for the net same effect is not logical.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • bam

      make sure this means WEED smokers. drug addicts are drug addicts legal or not. drunk is a drunk drug addict is a drug addict.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trip

      Get serious wallstreet and their buffoons have been buffaloing you and others for decades, the true costs to america pale in comparison to the robbery the elite have stolen from america and her natural resources. But you won't realize it until it is to late and only the bible will be able authenticate it. These clowns claim to be Christians, but the truth is they will be on the left side of the lord when judgement day comes. As he said I never Knew you.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |

    Endless WELFARE is why we have a national debt crisis. Why can't we have a governor like that in CALIFORNIA

    June 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • eman

      Welfare has created the financial problems we have ???

      Hey, I agree with the drug testing...

      But the Bankers caused this problem,... Those numbers dwarf Welfare in comparison... THAT is what caused property values to go down almost 50%, and jobs being lost as revenues decline, and taxes decline puting cities on the precipice of extreme disaster. Meanwhile those pieces of garbage aren't held accountable, and they're at the Country Club or on a Yacht enjoying life.

      June 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • IowaVoter

      Welfare is 12% of the budget, Defence 25% and govt PENSIONS 22%... how about we remove welfare for the govt workers in the form of pension (or cut it in half!) and spend all that money on education (3%) and maybe poor people will have a chance in the future!


      June 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • bam

      we had a 30% increase in the national debt because bush the moron changed focus from OSAMA to SADDAM not because of welfare.....
      nice try but check the facts before u cry

      June 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    No welfare for drugs users? My mother is going to be so dissapointed.

    June 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Claude Slagenhop

    You think it is an invasion of privacy to make sure people arent' using drugs that are on the dole? What about invading my privacy when the govt goons come around with a gun to get my money to give out the the dopers?

    June 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Short-sighted Government

    Yet another example of government applying a quick-fix bandaid instead of solving the real underlying social problem. What happens after we deny drug addicts welfare? They end up in jail or in the hospital; guess who foots the new enormous bill? Taxpayers. In actuality, this type of government logic only worsens the problem and multiples the burden of the free rider problem.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Claude Slagenhop , fully agree. I'm not supporting anyones' habits... let them support their own.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • bam

      either u give them what they need or that take it. lock your house and car and kids so they arent used to pay their habits.....

      where are the moron LEGALIZE it tards like smoking weed isnt an addiction so addicting they want it legalized.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Krush

    I have to pass a drug test to get and keep a job. Those who handle my tax money that funds welfare are required to pass a drug test to get and keep their jobs. Welfare recipients should also be required to pass a drug test to get and keep my tax dollars. The standard should be fairly applied to everyone throughout the cycle of paying and receiving welfare money.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. paystaxes

    I AGREE!! DRUG TEST THEM! I cant afford things for myself right now and i sure dont want to support a drug user!

    June 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Creepy

    First it is drug users, then it is alcoholics, then it is cigarette smokers, then it is anyone who smoked and now has lung cancer.... wake up , the conservative idiots want to eliminate ALL social welfare programs.......I have a better idea ...what about Corporate welfare????

    June 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dofunny

    Sure is eay to kick someone who is already down . Welfare costs never have devastated a cities budget, guess what has.. crooked officals, judges and other holier than thou types.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Khorsia

    If you are stupid or naive enough to believe that only the undereducated and the less-than-morally-upright (given your personal sense of morality or belief that usage denotes a LACK of said moralities) are those who would use drugs then, perhaps, this is exactly what you deserve. You, at some point (do us the favor of NOT lying to us, please, because anyone with an IQ over 80 'knows better' and even those below probably do as well) have numbed emotions with SOME kind of substance – legal or illegal. Most laws are nothing more than the legislation of morality. These people are not stopping you from doing something destructive – they are stopping you from doing something they either wish they could do (or have the ability to do behind publicly-funded doors, oh say, perhaps, congressional office doors) or something they "do not approve of." I have Doctorates in Particle Physicals *and* Chemosensory Biology (Human Trauma Systems – specifically coma and effects on recovery) and I too am an 'EEEVIL DRUG POSSESSOR' and addict. We are ALL human. We are all in this flaming, sinking boat together. If you cannot see beyond yourself and/or whatever projected image you have of yourself, you are even more salacious and lascivious than those you purport to have this avid distaste for. *I* made the mistake of spending TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars on a doctor who, finally, told me there was "nothing he could do" for me and attempted to medicate me into oblivion (for my theraputic health no doubt) and it was a PEDIATRICIAN in TOK ALASKA who was finally able to figure out that I was Bipolar II. No highs, just lows. Have you EVER been sad? SEEN or HAD someone DIE in your arms crying "mamma!' and there was NO ONE there for them? Imagine LIVING in that cloud of despair. You can't, can you? Well, then, perhaps you shouldn't be giving speeches on the morality of something you do NOT understand.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Khorsia

    Our villains become heroes just as long as it SERVES US. Sherlock Holmes anyone?

    June 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    I understand the intention here, but like most issues the results are based on assumptions rather than data. What does it cost today(e.g. number of participants that receive aid that would be denied vs. the cost of testing)? What are the downstream affects and their related costs? (e.g. Parent is denied aid and children enter the foster care system or the more likely the addict commits a crime and goes to jail.) At the end of the day this is another failed policy that does not address the root issue of addiction. There is no more insidious issue in our society than co-morbid addiction. As a child of parents who both suffered from seve addiction I can assure you that the drug user will get the money they need. The cost may be more than you expect. Don't trust my words, go read about intervention programs that work. I agree we should change the system, but this is nothing more than shifting the cost from welfare to social services/detention.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Excellant points Jason.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr No

      Great points. A systemic overhaul would be ideal, but it is not likely to happen. But if I have to choose between this and the status quo, I would choose this.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Herschel McMillan

    Just think how much it will save in the long run, cut welfare will save on health care of tomorrow, have you notice also how fat these people are. Cut drug sales, cut welfare cost and health care cost 3 ways of saving.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      I know of no data that supports the idea that cutting welware recipients will reduce health care costs. I also know of no data related to obesity and welfare, but perhaps you can share. Somehow I suspect you have no idea what you are talking about. I also suspect you don't care and have pink whispy hair atop a pencil.

      June 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daelda

      If poor people tend to be obese. I wonder...could it be could it be because the food that is cheapest is the food that lacks nutrition? Food with "fillers" that make you "feel" full, but don't actually give you the nutrients you need?

      Have you *ever* visited a Food Bank? I have. Do you know what they generally have? Rotting fruits. Rotting vegetables. Canned goods. Beans. Rice. Cheap bread. Lots and lots of cakes, donuts, and pies. Because those things are FULL of preservatives. If you are poor, it can be very hard to eat healthy. It isn't impossible, but it is hard.

      Also, while I would be fine taking a drug test to get my disability, paying 10% of my monthly income up front, and then waiting to be reimbursed when I test clean (assuming there is no false positive due to the various medications I am on), is not something I would look forward to.

      Finally, what happens to those false positive results? Are they logged in a governmental database somewhere? Do I need to keep proof that they *were* false positives? Or could they come back to haunt me someday? Could they be used as "Probable Cause", should police be looking for a drug offender in my neighborhood and not have any leads? As a poor person, how will I know? I obviously can't afford an attorney.

      I have never used drugs. I served in the US Military for 8 years. I am now disabled and living on Disability. I will pass any drug test required. But I can see several potential problems with this program that need to be addressed.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. zayin Justme

    Krush, I agree with ya. Drug tests? It's long overdue.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
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