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. Patiat

    Why single out drug use as a behavior pattern that can make one ineligible for welfare? What makes drug use so special in the context of welfare? Why not gambling? Why not buying beer? Why not something, anything else? This law just sounds like a lot of chest pounding intended to SOUND like a law-and-order policy, but given the amount of illegal and/or destructive behaviors a person can engage in, it just seems like it just panders to a certain group of voters.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • aaron thomas

      It's because Gov. Scott has ties to a corporation that (wait for it....) specializes in drug testing! Imagine that. Another republican "job creator". The dems might get under our skin from time to time with their stupidity... but this new brand of republicans are flat out SICK and DANGEROUS.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Because a majority of welfare recipients are drug users. It is just the facts. Nothing more, nothing less. If the majority were drunks than they would have to use a breathalyzer. Finally someone protects tax paying money and people whine about it.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patiat

      "Just the facts" that a majority of welfare recipients are drug users? And how did you discover this little gem of "truth"? Did someone come up with some stats that show this convincingly?

      June 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JM

    I see posts regarding smokers, drinkers, and the obese here and there is a simple answer. Make everyone on welfare take a drug test, make food stamps only available for healthy food not junk like soda and chips or smokes and alcohol, and anyone convicted of a drug or alcohol related offense can no longer apply for welfare, food stamps, or medicaid. I have to take drug tests all the time for work so why should I not be able to insist that those taking my tax dollars be drug free too?! I also am tired of these women having baby after baby to stay on welfare and yes I have had many of them state this as fact! If food stamps can only buy healthy quality food then the obesity rates will fall but I see babies with koolaid and even soda in their bottles and 6 years old kids with their teeth rotted out of their mouths already. I see grossly obese men and women com into the hospital or doctor offices with bags of chips and pop in their hand and/or reeking of cigarette smoke if they do not have money to buy that crap a lot of medicaid related expenses would go away. If they want free money to sit home on their butts while driving better cars, having nice jewelry, and the latest/newest cell phones out there while I work my ass off to pay for them to sit in theirs at least they should have to be drug free, cigarette free, alcohol free and supply their kids with decent meals so maybe some of them will not take up after their dead beat parents. Yes I do realize not everyone on welfare or who uses assistance is what I am describing but it is not those legitimate people in need who complain about having to be drug tested.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • CP

      I second that.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. American X

    The "drug War" is the biggest waste of resources any state or government has. All it does is fill the private prisons and pay the cops and judges to keep a job. Oh yeah lots not forget about all the attorneys that make living defending people who have a problem and then get incarcerated. The "drug war " causes more problems than the actual drugs. More people die from drug violence and gang activity associated with drug dealing than from the drugs themselves. By keeping drugs illegal – all we are doing is giving Tax Free US dollars to Mexican and Columbian cartels. They laugh at our stupid policies because we keep them in business – we make them rich because drugs are illegal. We spend 65 Billion a yr trying to stop a war that will never end. Supply and demand will never go away – it doesn't matter how many people you put in prison – there will be another dealer and another drug addict to replace that one. It never stops! Money should be spent on other more impt. crimes. If drugs were illegal there would actually be less crime and less violence – the cost would go down and we could treat drug addiction as a health care issue. People need treatment – not prison. We have 4% of world population and 23% of Prison population. Many of these inmate are incarcerated because of the drug war. Stop the madness!! Welfare recipients should not get money to spend on drugs either.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Miss Vivian

    What a BIG waste! Who is going to pay the $60 a pop? And how often will they test? Meth is out of the system in 72 hours & anyone can buy products to clean out their systems. When they fail .. what you gona do with the kids? Foster care?

    Only a man could have thought up this crap. Go after after the Fathers – they left their children living in poverty.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      A man is now to blame for all this huh? So there are no bad women who are parents lol. Wait a minute, who is on trial for murdering their child?? Is she a woman??

      June 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jim

    @testLawyerstoo, that was actually pretty funny, sadly because it's pretty much true.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tres

    Scott doesn't give a damn about drugs and welfare, he runs a business(or ran and probably still has an interest) in a company that would profit from drug tests. The losers here are the children, not their fault their folks might be drug users. And wake up and smell the roses, pot is no more harmful than booze.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      Thank you for your rational, mature response!

      June 1, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. about time!

    ABOUT DAMN TIME!!!! And No behavior patterns it cannot stop but at least we dont have to keep paying for strung out drug users abusing the system that could go out and get a job were they not on drugs!!!!

    June 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jesus Cristo

    Repukkkes hate the poor! That is a fact. No wonder this Gov is the most hated one in the US. Repukkkes are on the wrong side of history...

    June 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. liz

    I agree on this, im tired of people getting money they dont deserve. give it to the people that need it the most and stop trying to waste money on drugs.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JM

    You can test hair for a drug history ....and nobody shaves off every single hair on their body. I am all for making the fathers pay but when you really look at it in most cases those kids would be better off in foster care then living with a drug addict for a parent. I do think their should be a one time only offer for rehab when they test positive the first time after that too damn bad! Let them live on the streets. I work hard for what I have and I come from a poor family so I do not feel bad for those that sit back and want to get paid for sitting home.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. don


    June 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joe

    This makes to much common sense. Soon politicians will propose ridiculous thing like women not being able to receive an increase in welfare if they continue to have more babies while on public assistance. And or course any law that forced them to work should be a no no.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim

    Now back to reality it's past time to end welfare once and for all. We already have a system in place that helps people when their let go from work and need a helping hand up, it's called unemployment. The only reason for welfare to still be around is because generations of lazy ner do wells have grown up on it and think it's a birth right, well it's time for that bank to be closed.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Patricia

    My childhood was destroyed by alcohol. If we're going to go in this direction, testing everyone for everything, then I want everyone in Congress and the federal government tested once a day for alcohol.

    Perhaps government employees should be forbidden from using alcohol. Scientists have found that the cognitive impairment from alcohol can last for days after a person feels sober.

    As a taxpayer, I don't want the money I'm paying them with to go to booze, because it was booze that destroyed my home as a child.

    If welfare recipients have to be drug tested, then to be fair and for the same reasons, really, we need to test all government officials for alcohol and toss out the ones who use.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike in SA


    June 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
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