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. Rebecca

    I am a single mother of one. I work full time and go to school full time. I recieve state aid and I would glady take a urine test to continue my benifits. but my benifits arent much i get a total of 16 dollars in food stamps a month and 12 dollars a week goes for childcare. by the time i get my paycheck everything is gone. I understand that this is happening to ppl all over but im struggling and I see people who keep making babies and getting more assistance than me and they dont work. It would make sense for me to have another child without getting married so I could get more government aid (which i do not plan on) . the government should be helping those who want to help themselves not drug addicts on the street. after all when i graduate im sure i will be paying that money back in taxes after i graduate.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • MizFurball in Oregon

      I think you make a good point. Perhaps there should be a cut-off as to how many children will be covered under welfare. Also, it seems to me you should be getting a lot more food stamps than you say you receive.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julia W.

    All I need to say is HOORAY!! I am so happy to see this passed in Florida. When is the rest of the nation going to follow suit? We most certainly don't need a mass exodus to SC or ATL.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain J

      It makes me SICK how welfare has people dressing in brand new Clothes,$100-$180 Air Jordans,$30 hats for every outfit,The newest cell phone out,i-pod,Bling,High as a kite on a daily basis smokin before and after every meal ,((((NO JOB))))and people are questioning wth is with a mandatory drug test?(((YOU FOOT THE BILL THEN)))

      June 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jim

    @bam, that's what the guns are for, any strung out sob tries breaking into my home their getting the business end of a shotgun.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua W.

      You do know that it is now... almost illegal to shot at anyone breaking into your house. Or did you not hear about the case where the Victim of a Break in was forced to pay the medical bills of the person who broke into his house that he shot and crippled!

      June 2, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. jim

    Missouri's been working on it for a few years now.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ray

    great idea, but it also needs to be implemented toward POLITICIANS as well

    June 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • MizFurball in Oregon

      You are SO right!

      June 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MizFurball in Oregon

    In the late 60s, I knew a junkie (friend of my boyfriend). He was on disability and got his money every month. They also gave him methadone. I couldn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now. Why should someone get paid to sit at home and do drugs?

    June 1, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jack johnson

    I am all for the testing, but the Gov. company which he has intrests in should be barred from doing the testing.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Apeman

    How many veterans from Bananastan are ill and cannot work, so they end up on the street and some will need welfare. Test them, ridicule them as lazy good for nothings because as a bunch of the slugs on here have determined that they are just plain lazy and why should we support them. Rot in hell if there is one Merica, you are a nation of clowns

    June 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lester

    How stupid can you get. I don't know if I want drug users on the street who have no means to get food or shelter. Most people who use drugs are self medicating to control mental health issues. I work with this population and I can tell you that it's only going to increase crime if you limit access to needed support. I would rather see drug dealers suffer the consequences and work on treatment for those with an addiction or mental illness. Drug and alcohol abuse can be treated. You need the political will to deal with the problem and yes it's going to take more of our tax dollars to get the job done.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vivian M.

    You folks who are so darned smug and self righteous are going to be real happy when you see how many people live a bare subsistence life in our society. If you have ever been in a welfare office then you may understand that there are people you do not want in your work force. You don't want them roaming the streets, either. Take away their monthly subsistence and watch the crime rate soar.

    And furthermore, if a good parent who is trying hard decides to take a few puffs off of a joint on the weekend does that kid deserve to be homeless? That's what you folks are applauding. Oh, that's right, there is no such thing as a good parent who takes a few tokes of pot. A good parent is all jacked up on anti-depressants, pain pills, and tranquilizers, or booze, tobacco, and caffeine. It is called hypocrisy.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jim

    @rebecca, It is only people like you who should be receiving this kind of aide to begin with. The others types are mostly free loaders and druggies who need to be taken off. I've worked hard all my life since I was 16 and still do and always will have to and I'm SICK of paying for drugged out bums while I see my parents not even getting a cola on social security. Also sick of paying into medicare and social security just to watch the government steal from it and give it to lazy druggies.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andre

    If the government stop letting drugs in the country maybe the problem wouldn't be so serious. Let the Governors and congress pay for the on health care and see how much money we could save. Don't forget about the cars and the perks the book marked programs.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nikki

    Follow the money trail. Who benefits financially from this the most?

    June 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. angeldust

    Either way we are screwed, if all these welfare mommas start to get a real job than we won't have one! However if they collect free funds than they should have to earn it like everyone else such as getting a drug test every quarter,stop having kids,tie their tubes until they can get on their own two feet (mandatory), make sure their kids are fed, go school with good reports an attendance etc. My mom only wanted me for a free paycheck!

    June 1, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tony

    Submitting to a drug screening is something that should have been done a long time ago, however, we must consider who this is ultimately going to harm! It's not the crackhead mother who is going to suffer because she no longer qualifies for welfare but the 3 children who didn't ask to be put in that situation who are going to be going hungry! We've created a catch 22 with this whole welfare bit. If you can't afford to feed your children because you're on crack then you should thrown in jail and your kids placed with people who will take care of them. I'd rather pay for you to sit in jail than pay for you to eat well while you steal my lawnmower to sell it for crack. The children will be better off and I can continue to live in a false sense of security 🙂

    June 1, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
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