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. James Ruston

    My guess is that it will cost more to enforce this law than it will save in welfare disbursements. Never mind. It gives the morally pure another opportunity to exhibit their moral outrage.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chris in WI

    I've been saying it for years and this proves it. It's a war on Drug USERS not on drugs. It's about intolerance of anyone who doesn't smoke legal cigs and drink legal alcohol. If you prefer to smoke a joint you are a criminal because a bunch of liers told you it's bad. If drug testing welfare recipients isn't prejudice then I don't know how to what prejudice means. Pre-judging... what a horrible thing for a Govoner to suggest; in the land of individual liberty.

    Cannabis was temporarily put on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. It was supposed to be rescheduled based on the results of the Shafer Commission. In '72 the Commission recommended it shouldn't even be on the schedule and that using it recreationally wasn't criminal.

    Game over, done, why is this a debate. Nixon made the rules and the saif "F" the rules. BS. That was the ruling so the AG should today, now, remove cannabis and undo the damage prohibition has done to our country (not to mention Mexico).

    You watch, not 30 days after we remove Cannabis from the CSA other countries will follow since it's our government preventing them from doing so in the first place.

    Release all those innocent people thrown in jail, for making a choice any adult should be able to make, and start saving us money from arresting, prosecuting, and locking up law abiding citizens who smoke a plant that makes them feel good (and according to cancer dot gov can prevent cancer... not my claim, but our government's).

    Why does our government own the patent on Cannabinoids if it's a Schedule I drug with no medical use? A medical patent on a plant with no medical use?!!? Come on America THINK! I hate to tell ya, the pothead hippies are the ones with science and facts on their side this time!~

    June 2, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Why Use Facts

      Really? We are arresting, prosecuting, and jailing law abiding citizens? Well if you omit the fact that they broke the law then you are correct. Maybe if you weren't high you might be able to understand things better. But yes, legalize pot, it's harmless.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Attacking drug users is evil and only makes it worse

      Those are excellent points, Chris.
      I would like to add that any uncontrollable and overwhelming addiction of anything is a HEALTH ISSUE and not a legal one.
      So any assumption of "guilt" instead of innocence is going to be that much more ridiculous, also.
      Consider, these rabid anti-drug people think this is a criminal thing, yet it is only people trying to cope.
      Why not help these people instead of pretending they are criminals? They already have nothing. How deep must you grind them into the dirt with your hobnailed boots? And over a health issue?
      Really, people, you need to have some Christian compassion for anyone who needs help.
      This thuggery upon the poorest of us all is just a disgusting thing to even think of doing.
      You should all be ashamed of yourselves!

      June 2, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • So is okay to buy cigars and liquor?Brian

      Laws are subjective. marijuana has so many medical properties that it really is a wonder plant but pharmaceuticals companies can't make money off of a plant anyone can grow in their yard and can in fact work better then some drugs they produce so is just more economical for them to Payoff sorry I mean contribute to politician to keep it illegal. Also if you make weed legal toy wouldn't need so much law enforcement because there wouldn't be any crime. also the criminal love it to because thethe great the danger the more they can charge for their product. It's a complicated web of interests that keep marijuana illegal. oh and last on that list is your health because if they really cared about that Tabasco and alcohol would be illegal and many other prescription and over the counter drugs would be better regulated.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan Healy

    Yeah, let's test the cops, firemen and elected officials too. Fat chance hypocrite low life.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Why Use Facts

      Most police and fire fighters are subject to testing, but you are right about politicians needing to be tested. A great number of politicians must be high to dream up some of the garbage they try to pass off as good thinking.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. cat a rack

    Its called rehab.....not prison....not cut me off of medicare/medicare.....u must put people in rehab it they are repeat offenders....prison doesn't work..jail nor cutting ones benefits or rights ...

    June 2, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    Screw the poor.. Thats what republicans like doing best .. They should test themselves.. They are such hypocrites

    June 2, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. cat a rack

    Poor people poor people what the hell does abusing drugs have to do with poor people....poor poor me... rich... poor middle class...they all have problems some where down the line....why do people think you are picking on the poor.....b/c they are usually the one that live off tax payers money instead of working and paying taxes and they can afford their drugs... Oh I understand it all now....nobody has it figured out ...nor do I

    June 2, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. Andrew

    In Canada we would never even contemplate such a draconian assault on personal privacy and lifestyle choice. The U.S. is very cold blooded and ruthless in its dogmatic decimation of human dignity.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      So trying to help the US economy somehow, AND get people into rehab or off drugs is cruel and cold and Draconian?

      June 2, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr No

      Is it cold up there on your high horse? Generalize much? So because of one law from one state that you don't agree with, you're going to paint the whole U.S. as cold-blooded and ruthless? I guess the U.S. has never done anything worthwhile or helped Canada in any way, and I also suppose that Canada has always done everything right. When you have something to say that's actually well thought out why don't you try again.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • God is watching you right this second

      Yeah Sharky,
      We should take EVERYTHING away from poor people, children, drugs, beer, soda, cigarettes, tv and internet. Maybe THAT will teach them not to be poor. IN FACT, all poor people should be spayed and neutered like dogs... or mandatory abortions if you get pregnant and don't make over 30K a year. Maybe we can make all the poor people commit suicide because we've taken everything away from them and then we won't have any poor people left.
      And let's make sure no one hires them 'cause they're druggies, and let's take away their driver's licenses and refuse them bus passes and just grind them into the dirt because we're such great "Christians".
      Yeah, Sharky, you are so wonderful and caring. So American to take away any freedoms and rights poor people might want to use – because you don't use them you think they are worthless.
      Why don't we just shoot them all? Isn't that what you REALLY want? You hate them and don't care how you show it.
      You hate poor people who never did anything to you, couldn't afford the bus fare to even get close to you in your pension-paid house, and would likely starve to death before they could even ask you for money.
      Yeah, let's kill 'em all. That would sure help the economy even more!
      Cruel, cold, and draconian is just the nice way of saying it.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. sharky

    Wow is there any solution people will NOT complain about. Mainly liberals/Dems complain about the "War on Drugs" Well guess what people if people did NOT do drugs there would be no war. Next the country is financially strapped, BIG TIME, and since people complain SO MUCH about sending drug addicts to jail saying that is a waste of money, well so is tax payer dollars going to drug addicts that will only snort up, shoot up, drink up, smoke up that money. Ergo tax payers are enabling and facilitating the addictions.

    So Jail is wrong, War on Drugs is wrong, taxpayers funding addicts well it looks like the left loves that because they care about everyone, even if the money in this country is being depleted, and our deficit is going through the roof. So would incentive, STOP DOING DRUGS and get your welfare money. Go to rehab, work to stay off the drugs get your welfare money.

    Those who object, well guess what it means you want these people to stay on drugs and to continue to be addicts and NOT get help. That is sick.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry M

      You should be ashamed of yourself. These addictions cost only pennies a day in most cases, a few dollars a day in others.
      There is no giant hit to the economy at all. The huge costs are only associated with your hounding these people to death as you violate their privacy and paint them as criminals when they are just in need of medical care – which you don't want to pay for either.
      Well, I'd be willing to watch you suffer and die, too. I think scheming vicious people like you deserve to have everything taken away from you a billion times more than any addict needs to be oppressed over their medical problems.
      You are one of the most disgusting humans I have ever read a post from. I wish people like you did not exist, for you make these problems all by yourself through ignoring actual facts. You lie and base your thinking on lies.
      You are the criminal. Not those other people. You should be arrested for conspiring to violate the civil rights of every poor American.

      June 2, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. israel

    i refuse to allow my tax dollars to pay for a drug addicts addiction, there are tons of people i see everyday that i know use welfare checks not to put food on the table but instead to buy their crack or their heroin with, just go to waterbury, CT aka crackbury....perfect example right there

    June 2, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry M

      I bet you can't do it without violating their civil rights, you sanctimonious !@!

      June 2, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dixie

    two years ago I was laid off from my job, My husband and I have three children, we had a house, two cars, nothing big and fancy just a home. unemployment while much appreciated just wasnt enough. after two weeks of filling out applications with no luck at all I went to get assistance. I was turned down because my husband made $200 more than allowed. the lady before me who was so drugged she couldnt hardly talk or walk for that matter, managed to walk out of there with full assistance. (and before anyone says she could have been ill not on drugs, my husband is a drug and alcohol abuse counselor so I know the difference). we lost everything, there were times when I would only eat a piece of bread a day just so my kids would have enough. Do I think I was more deserving of the assistance than the other woman, you damn straight I do, do I think I am better than people like that, same answer, yes I do, and I think Gov. Scott's plan should be everywhere. Help those who want to help themselves get back on their feet, not the ones who help themselves back to the couch for another month.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. BOB

    like all goverment help its is out of control you can get SS and diability both if you are a drug user that includs booze allso get a doctor to say you are a alcoholic now you have a disease which now you can draw money from the goverment to support your habit a lot of people will not like this next statment but 99% of alcoholics will not die if you take away there booze they might think they will but they won't it is a self inflicked disease not somting that there is no cure for people feel sorry for them if you could see just how much money is sent out by our goverment to support there habit welfar and food stamps ect ect were put there to help people threw bad times not to live off from for the rest of ther life

    June 2, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. anita

    "The poor will always be with you" – Jesus Christ

    June 2, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. battergrl

    Invasion of privacy?! When you ask for a helping hand the "privacy" aspect goes out the window.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. hlub87

    Two THUMBS WAY UP FOR Rick Scott. What's your excuse in life for the path you have chosen?

    June 2, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. costal-CA

    Avoiding the moral issue(s) here. Drug abusers without any money turn to crime. Testing, capture and prosecutions are significantly more expensive to the state. (not to mention to the victims). There is a lot more abuses of the medicare system then of the welfare system, but you don't see anyone asking everyone on medicare to take a drug test. A better Idea would be to require testing and rehab enrollment and still hand out the check.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • dean IN

      You either have never been anywhere close to the cons on welfare or you are a recepient and don't want to lose all the freebees

      June 2, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
    • nick2

      You are a breath of logic here. Punishing people who are drug addicted, borders on cruelty. They are already in bad shape – what they need is help and rehabilitation – not more systemic abuse. This kind of knee-jerk ignorance is more likely to create violent criminals than deal with a huge societal problem.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry Brookman

      Forty seven thousand a year to keep on person in a prison and rehab is even more expensive and it only has a 20% success rate. England made heroin legal with a doctors prescription and very cheap, addiction dropped by 70%. Why not make it all legal, most would overdose and there would be no profit in dealing. If they will not get treatment then let them die, that is where they are going anyway. Is that a heartless response then tough s**t, we are getting to the point where the government has to babysit us and the cost in money and personal freedom is way to much.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
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