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. Dave

    We shouldn't help people who are extremely desperate and willing to do anything for food, water, or a fix. They can stick to doing it the old fashion way by breaking into your home while you sleep or stabbing you in the stomach over your wallet while your out for a jog. If some one has a problem then we should do everything in our power to make them suffer more until they crack.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Federal Reserve

    just when I thought the united states of israel couldn't possibly get any more facist ,,, along comes another bald guy with a new method of screw tightening on poor people.
    thne there is the worst dreadful dilema,,, people getting high stop believing the jesus fairy tale & deprive the war monster its fun,,, schucks.
    I say legalise drugs & let poor people become not poor,,, and a great way to screw the gangs & taliban,,, or we could play jesus freak & pretend someday folks will Not want to get high.
    can we burn down the churches yet?

    June 2, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry Brookman

      My heart bleeds, the rich against the poor, BS it is about the money spent on drugs instead of bettering themselves and their children. If you can afford cocaine or meth you don't need money from the tax payer.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ian

    what about medical marijuana patients. can they still get assistance ?
    I hope so, they are sick or in pain, they should not be punished for that.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. mlwells

    Requiring those who apply for welfare to undergo drug screening is greatly supported by taxpayers, however, it is inappropriate that the governor of Florida uses his authority to enhance his PERSONAL wealth ... he owns the organization that conducts such drug screenings. So, it's OK that Florida taxpayers further subsidize HIS personal income? Why not require state employees undergo regular drug screening? They, too, receive taxpayer money! Not all druggies are poor, uneducated and sucking off the taxpayers!

    June 2, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MIkinAZ

      Sounds like the SB1070 law here in AZ. Drafted and promoted by who?....well the guy who will profit by filling up his prisons of course. _ before you fall over each other to make this an immigration issue – I was only comparing motivation...greed

      June 2, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Federal Reserve

    I wonder what Gov. Rick Scott 's israeli/ hebrew or real name is.
    he looks more like a jew than an American. ( big difference)

    June 2, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jason Quill

    Yes, let's make it even harder on the children of drug users... NOW they will have only a percentage of the chance at succeeding that they once had.

    More poor souls – More money for the rich

    Why stop with drugs? Alcohol should DEFINITELY be added. Let's add shopping addiction too. Ummm... how about food addiction? yeah. Fatties shouldn't get no bens either.

    Let me sum it up: The rich need MOAR, the poor.......... f*** 'em.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • PHC

      I know you are being sarcastic but thats a great point. Why should tax dollars go to someone who cannot control their eating habits? You should be required to be clean (drug and alcohol), not have a shopping addiction, not have an eating problem etc. I'm good with this. Thanks for bringing it up Jason. Let me guess, you're on welfare?

      June 2, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry Brookman

      Anyone who spends money and commits crime for meth or crack is depriving their own children and the tax payer. That is selfishness on their part not the tax payer. If the children are mistreated by their parents actions let the state take them and raise them, anything but leaving them with parents who don't give a dam about them. All of that is child abuse and they should not be kept in that environment, the cure for poverty is get a job and don't have more children than you can afford. The only victim is the children and the tax payer.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    If i was about to unintentionally have a car accident i'd make sure it wasn't a cop first.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Disapointed

    I would REALLY like to know if she read any of these...and what thoughts if any at all came through her ignorant mind.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. PHC

    If you are receiving my tax dollars, you don't have a right to privacy. Take a wiz in a cup, if you're clean, we'll help you out... for a maximum of 6 months. Anybody can find a job in 6 months. It might not be doing what you want, or what you think you are qualified to do, but let's face it, taking free money isn't exactly something to be proud of.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachire Andel

      Really, Anyone can find a job in 6 months? Im a 15 year Manager of Food service, Licenced and everything. I have been out of work for a year and a half. I wonder if you've been watching the news, or pounding the employment pavement like many of us have. The fact is that there arent enough jobs in the US for everyone, the rich got kickbacks to send the jobs over seas to the "developing" countries. Hooray Globalization......

      June 2, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. Drew Dude

    As long as they test for alcohol too. And prescription drugs too, the big pharmacy companies push their poison also. Alcohol and scripts are far more dangerous then pot, which is what most people would pop on.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Drew Dude

      as a matter of fact other then because of the smoke, pot is not dangerous at all.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. hotlanta

    Actually huwie...I am a government employee..so tax dollars pay me...and I am subject to urinalysis tests about once a month, so why can't these individuals do it...no reason at all...NONE, except that they will soon realize they won't be receiving welfare. Funny how people fight to protect someones rights like this but those same individuls won't fight to help restore what welfare is really for....the needy individuals.. If the money is going to drugs and not to better themselves...then they don't need welfare money. Save the tax payers milions and put it to a better program...such as building bigger jails!

    June 2, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Drew Dude

      I agree with everything you said, except bigger jails. This country is already turning into a prison state. I think all jails should be funded by tax money and never be contracted out to a for profit company. There should never be a profit made from locking an individual up. Those same people who own those private for profit prisons also lobby for BS laws that will ensure the prisons, along with their pockets stay full. Jail and prison should be reserved for the worst and most dangerous people. Remember, just because someone breaks a law does not mean they are a bad person. There are also plenty of really bad people who have not broken a law, just look to Washington. And just because something is illegal does not make it bad, just like some legal things (alcohol for one) are very very bad.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. hotlanta

    What lots of people are failing to realize...the reason for testing for drugs is because THEY ARE ILLEGAL!!!! Alcohol and perscription drugs (assuming the perscription is for you) are not illegal...as for children having a smaller chance to succeed. You may be right, but how about those parents stepping up and taking responsibility and get clean, get a job and earn your keep. If not, turn the children over to the child protective services and the government can help the children then.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachire Andel

      Im sorry, but you really need to re evaluate your statements, Ive been a foster kid, its not at all fun, or helpful, do some research, there is no budget, sending a kid into the state childcare system is no different than instatutionalizing them in Youth Authority or Juvi Hall. I hate it when someone like you actually thinks that sending a child into that emotionnless isolated environment is actually helpful to them. people like you ruin families.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Terry Brookman

    About time, test positive for meth cocaine or opiates and no money. Why should the people who work or have worked all their lives pay for their habit. I would say make pot legal there are plenty of good reasons to do that, it is a medicine, the plant is a better source of ethanol than corn and the rest of it can be used for cloth, paper and animal feed to name a few. I never worked and smoked, same for drinking and if you have a job that requires you to get a drug screen then don't smoke.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Brian

    If I have to be subjected to urinalysis to be employed, and pay the taxes that pay for welfare, it's only fair that the recipient of welfare be subjected to the same.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. MIkinAZ

    These are 2 separate issues – tho they both go to how we treat our least fortunate citizens.

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