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. Dan

    So I am assuming that all Florida residents who get a tax deduction will be required to have a drug test. And all employees of all business that get deductions as well since that is "free money"

    June 2, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • BRB San Deigo

      Hey Dan you are an idiot. I am a long time democrat and liberal, but this is really the best idea the moron pubics have come up with. Fail drug test and you don't get a check from me. Dan FYI – employees and people with deductions are working you moron while the welfare cheaters are hanging, doing drugs, a generally being idiots like you because they have fried what little brain capacity they had.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • dan

      what an idiot. there is a difference from getting a tax deduction and getting welfare.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lana

    My hometown is flooded with people who sell their food stamps for drug money so they can buy their Oxycontin and meth. The government thought they were smart by issuing debit like cards with pin numbers instead of paper stamps. Well now the losers just let someone use their card and they are rarely asked for an I.D. How do I know this? I have several family members who do this along with their friends. Reporting them does nothing because of lack of evidence. People will say that this will hurt the children but the money doesn't go to the kids anyway. Our tax dollars go to these losers who won't work because the government gives them more than they would make having a job. Remember the more kids you have the more you get and this is what they count on.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. beano

    i am not going to get into weather or not i agree or disagree with this topic. what i will say though is that if this dont clearly spell it out that if you want to suck off the govt you are now a slave to the govt. so get used to it if thats how you decide to live.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. BlueSky

    It is a crime to allow drug users to have welfare.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. j

    As long as they include alcohol!!!!!!! and Cigarettes, candy, fatty foods, beer, name brand clothes, cars etc etc.....

    June 2, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. donna

    I think it's a good plan. But I would also want an offer for assistance getting off of drugs for people who would test positive.

    Qev, I disagree. If people are getting public assistance based on a lack of money, then they should not be spending money on drugs. State employees are people who are financially taking care of themselves, and we have no reason to object to their spending money on drugs.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jon

    Damn right! I knew a pot dealer who got busted in Des Moines, IA. She got a slap on the wrist and still gets to live on welfare and have joint custody of her kids!! She's gone back to smoking and dealing pot while her kids are over every other weekend. SICK! I just love how states are cracking down on these low-life losers.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mom

    This sounds perfectly fine. However, I strongly believe that corporations that destroy the environment, kill employees as a result of gross negligence, ... should not receive 'FREE' money. I also strongly believe that our elected servants should receive mandatory drug testing ... .

    June 2, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Equalty

    Unless there is mandatory drug testing for all, then this is class warfare – plain and simple.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Equality

      For those who say fair for everyone. That is already happening if you are working. Most emplooyers do a drug test before hirng and while you are EMPLOYED. Oh yes that silly word which means taxes are coming out of your check that you did a drug test for to pay for those choosing to not work and buy drugs with your tax money. Sound about right. What is fair about that. Chciago is trying to have those living in the free housing to get tested as well. If you live off the govt and the taxpayers than you have no leg to stand on to complain about anything. If you don't like go start working. Oh wait they will drug test you there as well.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Maurice

    Why would somebody want to start an expensive habit BECAUSE they do NOT have the money to afford it? That is just plain retarded. Now in America, all you have to do is get injured at work and the doctor will prescribe highly addictive meds, get you hooked, and you won't be able to get welfare for it? People who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol should also be exempt from welfare because they throw just as much money away if not more on their "legal" addictions than many people throw away on their "illegal" ones.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. miss wisconsin

    This idiot sounds a lot like our Wisconsin Gov Walker. They forget people have rights. We are also inocent until proven guilty. Sure, drug test the ones you know have a record or a history. Leave the upstanding, just trying to get by(because the republicans screwed us in the first place) people have their due. It's an all and out war against the poor class, but guess what. We, the poor, shall inherit the earth. Jealous much rich rebubs..you should be....we will own your butts....Lucky you the poor care about their fellow man so we wouldn't let you(no matter how nasty you were) suffer.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. erica

    Not everyone on assistance is lazy or weak. im on it and have not worked LEGALLY since 08 when i lost my job bc of the economy which STILL hasnt improved in this area. i tried to start my own business, but even that failed. SOME people do need help that would gladly not accept it if they could. as for our disabled vets...whoever made that comment...GROW UP! there is no comparison to a person who fought for our country and a junkie and how dare u say something so ignorant! i agree with the drug tests although i think it should be HAIR tests instead of urine bc u cant hide that unless ur completely shaved. i also firmly believe their should be limits on new vehicles, clothes, jewelry, etc and the # of kids u have from men u dont remember...OHH and if u or ur kids arent healthy then the state should get involved IMMEDIATELY! there is NO excuse 4 that kind of neglect when u are GIVEN a way to fix ur life..im not sure if crime would escalate though..druggies will do what they want regardless.theyll just deal more

    June 2, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Equality 1

      Nothing wrong with having children. If you loose your job, collect wlefare na dyou have a child prior to loosing your job, then I have no problem in helpoing you out. Now if decide while on welfare to crank out children like a pez dispenser, that is fine to, your choice, but don't expect the taxpayers to keep paying more. You sign up with one child, that is what you get. Not 5 yrs later and 5 more children. never working in between.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. sean

    good, they finally have a law where drug users can't get welfare. and no if you fail the drug test they cant arrest you, you just out the money for the test and no welfare. if you wanna do drugs you have no right to free money and really you shouldn't be using drugs if you have kids because you will get your kids take away and look at what your teaching them its okay to use drugs sorry but things are getting worse for people that use drugs pretty soon just to get a job at a fast food place you gonna get tested.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dustin S

    Half of the people who are on welfare are doing something else for cash anyways. Audit them and if there is another source of income (legal or otherwise) make them pay it back with interest.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tom California

    As recovered drug addict (I dont say recovering because I nolonger have any desire to be around the stuff) I know the taking away their welfare will not stop them from doing drugs. I used for years, half that time I had no job and I have never recieved welfare. I supported my habbit by doing odd jobs, recycling, selling whatever i had of value, and sometimes by means which were illegal. I dont want to go into details but I alienated my friends and family for a fix. This measure will not help the addicts quit and it will cause a spike in crime. Not only that many of those addicts have children who are not drug users. Would you punish the childrens for their parents misdeeds?

    June 2, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
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