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. MIkinAZ

    Lets require ALL state employees undergo regular drug screening? They, too, receive taxpayer money! As long as we are at it...We should also test any lawyer and their entire firm who participates in any case where they are reimbursed with any tax payer money? Let's also include any stockbroker or wallstreeter and their entire firm who in any way touches any bailout money. This whole idea is just a way for the rich bald white guy to make money and at the same time keep the less fortunate...less fortunate...after all his testing company will profit...and from taxpayer money – Ironic

    June 2, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
    • MIkinAZ

      thats what the rich white bald guys call a win-win

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

      Funny. At least the rich "bald white guy" stands there and tells you to try to make something of yourself, while the white democrat does everything he can to keep you stuck on the system. And every four years you fall for the same promises they told you 4 years before. Pretty interesting how you keep believing someone else can make your life better.

      June 2, 2011 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
    • O

      At least the rich "bald white guy" stands there and tells you to try to make something of yourself

      Yeah, like become the CEO of a huge health care conglomerate that defrauds the American taxpayer out of hundreds of millions of dollars like Scott did? Wow, that bald white guy really made something of himself. How ironic. Instead of being in jail, the idiots in Florida elected him governor. It is not a coincidence that the crook has involvement in the firms doing the drug testing. This isn't about saving the taxpayers money, it is about lining his own pockets.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tim

    Every state in the union, should require drug testing to receive assistance. If you fail, it will be noted and then you should be sent to some type of rehab to get you clean. You are in no condition to take care of yourself or others if you are addicted to drugs. I understand the present job market and that people need assistance, especially these young unwed mothers. My mom made it with 4 of us boys living with her without assistance and child support. It can be done. An addiction is not a disease, it is something you aquire on your own. If there was no crack there would be no crack babies.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Paolo

    Republicans are individuals who are driven by fear.
    The reality is that drug policies have failed for the last 50 years ... yet, Republicans support doing more of the same, knowing it will fail to solve the drug addiction problem, It makes sense, what they think is that fear will get them elected, which of course gets priority over doing the right thing. That's exactly what communists do.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Scott

    Well Duh! If Republicans stuck to common sense issues like this they would be a dominating force in American politics. Unfortunately, they are not very smart and they let liberals bait them into the most ridiculous positions. I actually find it hard to believe any thing this intelligent is coming out of Florida. This should be national policy immediately.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. R Burns

    This article (or the legislation) doesn't go far enough to explain the options available to those addicted to illegal drugs. To just close the door on an addicted drug user is to put them on the street, and possibly a danger to themselves and others. To offer rehab, financial and vocational training to get them back on their feet is the only real solution if we are interested in keeping society on some civilized level. Isn't that what welfare is supposed to do anyway? The idea behind the law, not offering a free ride to anyone who obviously has found a way to support a drug habit, is a good one. Maybe not thought out thoroughly.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Thomas

    It seems to me that for any optional government funded program there ought to be a right to reasonable refusal. That is, we ought to be able to refuse to accept to be a part of the program without it ruining our lives, and without being punished for it. For a program like welfare, however, many do no have the capability to reasonably refuse. The mentally or physically disabled, as well as those simply incapable of finding or being eligible for work in other ways, do not have a choice as to whether to sign up for the program without ruining their lives. As such, I believe that tacking on tests to the program that do no have any relevance to the effectiveness of the program itself is invasive in ways that would be unreasonable to the people who are using the program. Essentially my point is that if we made an optional drug testing policy for people not on welfare, we could all reasonably refuse. However, if the conditions for refusing to use that program were that you were barred or otherwise made incapable of supporting yourself or your loved ones, then it would seem like the program is an abuse of government power. For the people on welfare, this program is little different. If the government is not allowed to abusively invade our lives when we are not on welfare, then to abusively invade our lives conditional upon our membership in a program that is not option for those using it is the same thing.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kemp

    Not a big deal. I had to get drug tested for my last three jobs. When on active military duty I was subject to random drug testing every couple of months.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. the white democrat

    Who? OK. What?

    June 2, 2011 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. fred

    What if they're addicted to pharmaceuticals prescribed by an MD? Do they still get welfare?

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

    Some of those abusing certain drugs may also be self medicating because they are unable to afford a doctor or have mental issues, which could have been brought on by employers treatment of employees during this recession and everything else that has gone along with it.

    It is easy for you Mr Scott coming from your high horse, to snub those people less fortunate than you, thinking that anyone whom has a drug problem does not want to work or find a way to get over it.

    Maybe you should be offering further assistance to those that are on drugs, but taking away their ability to live or eat, well why don't you just hang them instead by their toenails before they committ suicide, because after you take away their last hope, they will turn to crime or take their life and it will cost Florida alot more in the long run.

    I am sorry but I passionately disagree with this, I can understand the man wants to save the state some money, but I think rehabilitating is alot less expensive than your rather morbid option.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. lord vader

    Its only fair that the private industry does the same, why not for public assistance? Of course the liberals would oppose this because more than half of their supporters are drug users anyway.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. fred

    So what about the millions of Americans who have been prescribed FDA approved 'short-term use only' drugs for so long, that they have become addicted? What? You thought the druggies were a sub-culture? Drugs are our culture now. We spend more on drugs than we do on national defense. Maybe welfare should "borrow" some money from the Pentagon and give it to the druggies..

    June 2, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Professional Looter

    @Joshua W. As far as our current laws go, the penalty for breaking and entering isn't getting shot. We used to use firing squads back in the day, but now we use drugs mostly. (as i stated above)

    June 2, 2011 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Professional Looter

    Breaking and entering is against the law, and comes with a penalty. So does shooting someone. A jury would decide if the person you shot entering your home was after your life, or just after your TV.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Professional Looter

    If you shoot me in the back for stealing your TV, your crime outweighs mine. I wanted your TV dude, not your butt-ugly wife. Any jury would reach this conclusion. Don't kill me just because I pretend to be an official searching tornado victims bodies for identification! Detain and process me. Or does everyone go along with the idea of murdering suspects now that Bin Laden is dead.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Craig S.

      Actually, Looter. In my State, I can shoot you for stealing my TV, and I would gladly do it.

      June 2, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
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