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. harry

    I work in a 32 bed psychiatric unit and 90% of those beds ae taken by drug addicts while people with real mental health issues go without medication or treatment, why? Because we coddle the addicts. Most are there for free food and drugs when they run out of welfare money. They are immature, selfish, lazy and will act out to get what they want and guess who foots the bill? They are a drain on taxpayers. If a drug test is required for assistance then fine, but let's go a step further. Require high school then college or vocational training, random drug tests with continued support dependent on negative results and a partial repayment plan when gainfully employed. NO MORE FREE RIDES!

    June 2, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • kat420365

      @Harry-You seem to be very gung-ho about helping mentally ill clients. I wonder why your empathy doesnt extend to the diseased addict? I am a A&D counselor and believe me, addiction is a disease. Some are even genetically linked, same as say, a mental illness can be. Addiction is the only disease people get blamed and mistreated for having.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. JBC

    I agree with Gov. Scott's decision. I don't think that anyone who receives assistance should be able to waste the states money by using it to buy drugs; that's just common sense. Now having said that, Rick Scott has had his fingers in Floridas medical system for years, remember he was the CEO of HCA when they got busted for millions in medicare/medicaid fraud. He is also one of the founders of Solantic Urgent Care and just days before he assumed office he transferred his 62 million in Solantic stock to his wife. Why? So he could push this legislation through while avoiding the "conflict of interest" between the contract recipients and the Gov. office. Wathc him now try to set up his "former" company (Solantic) up with one of the state contracts to conduct the now mandatory drug testing. Drug testing for welfare recipients is a great idea, it's just unfortunate that a crooked politician trying to grease the pockets of his wife and former buisness partners is the only one with the backbone to do it.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. dan

    people that are on welfare should be drug tested. its my taxpayer money and it should not be going to drugs.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • So is okay to buy cigars and liquor?Brian

      so is okay to buy cigars and liquor with your tax money? Willl you pay for them to screen for those drugs with your tax money?

      June 2, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. tom c

    Worked for a major drug and alcohol rehab. We were a not for profit and funded by the state. As a result, the mission went from helping the really needy who wanted help to a receptor of drug court "clients". They were all given welfare and medical benefits. Got their teeth fixed, worked out in the gym, ate three major squares, slept well. They got a tune up, and when finished, just went right back out there. With state cards. GFF!

    June 2, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Peter Q Wolfe

    The only thing is that tests similar to this are usually voided by street methods of evaiding detection. However, it is a good way of detering small pity criminal first time users though and might stabilize them at home. However, I think medical marijuana should be exempted in the future if Florida ever passes it. I also think that it could be a conflict in som medicines that come into your system via legal means or medicines you have immitating cocaine, opiuds, etc as well that could cause a prblem. I'm just saing that it isn't as simple as it seems that is al. Also, it is not the invasion of the privacy when you live in Section 8 housing by the government by tax payers.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. AntiObama

    Th drug tests will pay for themselfs...

    June 2, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Viper

    The next step will be to test for virginity before qualifying for certain benefits. Can't wait to see how that's going to go over.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. MARY

    Why not just test the people that have been on welfare for 2+ years? If they can't get a job, or have gone thru some kind of training program or schooling in 2 years time then that might be a clue that something may be wrong! Once you've been on for those 2 years then do random drug testing ( should NOT be allowed to be done at the govenors business) The first positive test give a warning, second positive test insist on some form of treatment and 3rd positive test your off welfare until you have shown proof of a going thru some type of treatment program (of course that costs money so there will need a fund for that, but NA & AA are free let them try that first. But if they go back on assistance they must continue random testing. It may take a few times but when an addict starts to see that life IS better clean and sober, sobriety will become part of their lives. You can't just yank them off welfare and expect everything to go smoothly. An addict HAS to believe, see, feel that life is better without drugs. That's the key, that's the motivation! I know, what I'm talking about I'm an addict.~MARY~

    June 2, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Right

    I agree with the new law. If someone is a drug addict and is afraid to take the test, then don't take the government's money. If they are an addict then that explains where most of their income is going so they don't deserve free money at the expense of the taxpayers. I think the democrats that are against this don't want these people to actually have to take some responsibility for themselves.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. turtlesoup

    Requiring drug tests for welfare recipients sounds like a mistake to me, at least in its current form. I'm assuming welfare cash help in Florida is only granted to families, though I might be wrong. People who are on welfare are already at the absolute bottom, and it wouldn't shock me at all if many were abusing drugs. If they want to require a drug test, instead of denying aid outright aid should be be coupled with immediate required drug treatment, continued testing, and a check into the health and safety of the applicant's children.

    This would accomplish the state's goals of keeping state money from going to drug abuse while actually helping those that are addicted get help and get cleaned up. It would also avoid the risk of allowing the children of addicts to end up homeless with their "parent" or shuffled into an overburdened foster care system (probably more expensive long term than rehab for mom or dad!) when there might be a hope of a better outcome.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. mskitty

    YEAH!!!FINALLY A politician with "jevos"/////to stand up to whats right!!!! im tired of standing in line at the grocery store, watching the young welfare freeloaders, spend my hard earned money on the things i can't have, because in don't have govt. help/subsidies.......because im caucasian, speak english, and don't have a kid every year....

    June 2, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • kat420365

      Why are you a racist?? I'm a 37yr old, educated, under-employed black female wih no kids. I can not recieve welfare. And boy how it would help pay these student loans if I did. My 52yr old, highly educated, retired Navy white boyfriend can't find a job right now because his company went under....should I get him to apply for welfare? We could really use the $$. I get mad too when I shop and see ppl use EBT cards to get stuff I can't afford but also know there are WHITE and all other ethnic groups on assit. out here. It's rough as hell right now. Anything can happen to put u down an out, no matter what color, or class ststus u think u are.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Concerned

    I understand the logic of not wanting to give tax dollars to drug addicts, but I worry that the children of these addicts (who undoubtedly already suffer a great deal as a result of their parents' conditions) will be hurt most by this policy.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jack

    But they should get some kind of help. If they use drugs they obviously are in need of some type of rehab or assistance. You can't ignore people who are dealing with poverty and addictions. It effects our whole society, and turning our backs on it won't make it go away. Republicans are such cold-hearted evil people.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. battergrl

    Gary, drug treatment is ""Only" doable if a user "wants" to get off of drugs. So many have been to rehab numerous times. Agree w/testing and some ppl need to get off of their lazy *****. Stop generational welfare! I'm Black.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brian

    So your going to test tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people every year. How much is every drug test? Is it really going to save money? As for testing,i will assume,you test every year at around the same time you fill out you form for renewal of welfare, We can assume random testing for so many will to difficult and costly therefore people will just stop smoking pot 2 months before hand and pass. Other harder drugs dissipate faster in the body so what is the point? Is smells to me the governor, who has a track for having sticky fingers has some sort of interest in the testing for personal financial gains. But seriously folks welfare is not a blessing it is a ball and chain that keep the poor poor.Instead of sinking all this money into stupidity and special interest pockets how about we improve schools in urban areas and rejuvenate these communities so these kid won't have to pee in a cup to get welfare.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • kat420365

      Great post dude

      June 2, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      So you would prefer people stay addicts, and the taxpayers paying for their supply. Oh well done, Love your thinking.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jen B

      Couldn't agree more. While I do agree with the principle–i.e. drug users shouldn't be supported by public funds–I don't see how the execution will be cost-effective or productive. Sounds like politicians are just fishing for easy votes.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Lol if you think this is about addiction and people.It's all about money. If they really cared About addiction this a really poor way of trying to stop it. It's just a easy way for us to dehumanize the poor. say they are lazy taking advantage of the system drug users and create a wall between us and them so people like governor Scott can pad pass more of this type of legislation. Drug test realistically can only test for marijuana because other drugs break down quickly, but what about all those that abuse alcohol, It is a drug that cause many violent acts and directly and indirectly kills hundreds of thousand of people each year. Will it stop the the pharmaceutical cartel form addicting so many with there drugs. It's all moral hypocrisyto make the rich richer on taxpayer money.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
    • It's about lining his own pockets

      One of the more popular services at Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, is drug testing, according to Solantic CEO Karen Bowling.

      Given Solantic's role in that marketplace, critics are again asking whether Scott's policy initiatives – this time, requiring drug testing of state employees and welfare recipients – are designed to benefit Scott's bottom line.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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