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. Kelli Jenkins

    As long as Gov. Scott requires that Corporations who receive welfare in this plan, then I have not problem with it. ANYONE who receives tax payer funds should be drug tested, not just the poor.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. William E Higgins Jr

    I strongly support this screening test. Those that test positive will need to provide the information of how they obtained the substances that caused the positive test and from whom. If not, a percentage of the benefits they receive should be cut, since they do not need them for basic needs. A cut could be avoided by enrollment in a proper drug treatment program, with drug testing.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Drug test

    Becoming depressed is a natural reaction to what we see going on in the world. We live in stressful times...of course we should be feeling stressed. But we do not like this feeling, so we complain to docors and they prescribe drugs that take-away this feeling. Or we self medicate for the exact same reason. We even choose churches that make Jesus appear to be your 'feel-good' buddy. We numb our minds with mind-altering drugs in order to hide our natural feelings from ourselves! Who did you think you were conning?.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Craig S.

    This is excellent legislation. It is a nice compromise. I would actually abolish all forms of welfare, and would lean heavily towards forced sterilization.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. victor corcino

    All the comments for not having the drug test are probably coming from those who are on drugs. Test these that are commenting cause their probably also on wefare. I've come to learn that no one should be trusted. Look at our politicians!

    June 2, 2011 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jo Ann MacDonnell

    Yes, test for drugs. Test for nicotine also. Anyone who can afford to buy cigarettes doesn't need taxpayer money to buy food.

    June 2, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dayna

    Drug tests before receiving welfare ... what took them so long?

    June 2, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Larry N. Johnson

    Great start. But, not strong enough. Include tobacco, alcohol. All of these increase impact on tax-payers. If you want me to support you then by gosh you should be trying to live as healthy as possible.

    June 2, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chuck Pavlik

    I agree but I wonder if this will include illegally used pharmacueticals. Recently Scott vetoed a bill for a pill mill data base. Our drug problem in Florida isn't the pothead eating twinkies on the couch but the pill popper breaking your house for the drugs. If this law doesn't reflect that reality its just lip service to the base. I say while he's at it though take engery drinks off the EBT program.

    June 2, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. westfsu

    It's about time some common sense was used.. All the political correctness is killing our Country..
    Here is the Deal, We the Tax payers give you Money..You prove you are not doing drugs illegally.. If you are a drug addict maybe just maybe this way we can get you the help you need, and then maybe you can get a real job
    and stop being a tick draining the life blood out of our country.. Perhaps this drug addict well actually become a productive person in soceity..Imagine that.. Keep up the Good work GOV !
    Welfare for the Drug free is the least we as a society should demand.. westfsu

    June 2, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Iowan

    For working Americans that are subject to random drug tests the new legislation is a ray of hope. Working Americans pass the test, to go to work, to pay the taxes, which let welfare users sit at home using drugs? Please. Is there even a question America. Hate to sound like the master stator of the obvious but, make them pass the drug test.

    Iowan

    June 2, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    Great start, now lets eliminate food stamps and WIC. I'm sick of hearing all these crybabies complaining about falling on "hard times", wah wah! I did too, now I have 2 jobs to make roughly 1/2 but still support a reasonable lifestyle. Also, lets banish repeat criminal offenders to Somalia, its cheaper than giving them shelter, food, and healthcare in prison.

    June 2, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jai C

    What is the government coming to?!!!! I mean how are you going to sign a legislation like this?!!! Really?!! When people are ignorant about certain topics, they tend to make rash decisions. According to research and doctors, substance abuse addiction is a disease, just like diabetes. So, if a person has diabetes because of their poor eating habits, will they refuse them welfare? Will they not give them Food Stamps because they will not buy the proper healthy foods? You must obtain knowledge and an understanding before making decisions that will not just affect certain people, but ALL Americans!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Cut the crap buddy, people don't choose to have diabetes. People choose to abuse drugs which leads to their addiction. It's 110% their own fault, let survival of the fittest finish those people off.

      June 2, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ann Shoemaker

    I would rather pay for a drug test (let's not make it cost more then it needs to) then pay these welfare frauds for doing nothing!!!! They certainly can remain drugfree if they want free food and health care benefits!!! and If they can drug
    test all of us at/in our workplaces randomly...why not welfare recipients???? Pretty certain that the recipients that truly need the welfare assistance would not object!! PS why would the ACLU think that this a violation of welfarers rights when they are using my tax dollars? If anything it is a violation of the tax payer it is that we do NOT test these welfarers!!! And while we are at it , No more free methadone!!!

    Would be interested to know how much the government thinks a drug test would or should cost. Urine and blood free!
    certainly they can keep this test under $5 a head !!! Maybe if we got welfare agents out on the road checking out
    the welfare home , we could prevent fraud!! and Welfare needs to be based on HOUSEHOLD income not individuals
    income. Many of these people have "boyfriends" with good jobs! they just don't marry!!! Why wasn't I this clever?

    June 2, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. jim

    @andrew, go back to canada. As for all you drugged out welfare people on here-time for you to get off your collective as ses a either get a job or do the equivalent in community service. Also sick of you idiots that say we should continue giving them money because they may commit more crime-that's called extortion if you did know, it's a major felony. TIME TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH. P.S. Medicare isn't the same as welfare as I've stated before idiot.

    June 2, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
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