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. jim

    Phsyciatrists call every thing a disease, that's how they make their living, it doesn't make it so though.

    June 2, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. pfunk long

    before we attack american citizens .we need to make sure only citizens get welfare..then go after whom ever ..the system is over run by immigrants not drug abusers

    June 2, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ramon Baez

    I'm in Newark New Jersey, city with so many economical problems, and we're feeding so many lazy peoples, must of them are drug dealers and users, the worse thing is that they go to the grocery stores in the area, and ones they run out of money in the "family card" they ask the guy to keep $150.00 in coupons if He get $50.00 in cash, those are the same peoples who don't work for $8.00 an hour. plus the females have a newborn every year, they know who's or where He lives and the real peoples in need they are rejected. GOD BLESS AMERICA,

    June 2, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cibaito

    I forgot to say that the only job they do from 10:00 am to 4:00 am is: selling drugs in my neighborhood

    June 2, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cibaito

    Congratulations Governor welfare should be given as a help just for 6 Months, and after that they are on they're own, I know 3-4 generations of a family on welfare

    June 2, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sandy

    It sounds like they’re giving them a choice or at least an excuse for that lifestyle! I don't understand...is it they don't want to offend possible voters that might make a difference in an election? My head is shaking!! The only people that are going to cause a scene about it are those taking drugs!!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. EspressoJoe

    I happen to be one of those addicts. I've been free from drugs and alcohol (alcohol is a DRUG) for over 8 years. I have never collected public assistance either. I work a minimum of 40 hrs a week at the same job for over 5 years. I agree anyone receiving government assistance should be drug tested. I am sick and tired of working my ass off while people collect FREE money. My wife and I work our asses off to put twins through college, pay our bills and taxes. I also believe people collecting assistance should be working for what ever town or county they live in. I know in my town there are public areas that could use some maintenance.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Salome

    If we're going to go down this road, what about alcoholics? Should they get welfare benefits?

    June 2, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. EspressoJoe

    I happen to be one of those addicts. I've been free from drugs and alcohol for over 8 years. I have never collected public assistance either. I work a minimum of 40 hrs a week at the same job for over 5 years. And none of this would be possible if it were not for a doctor who diagnosed my DISEASE. I agree Welfare and anyone receiving government assistance should be drug tested. I am sick and tired of working while people collect FREE money. My wife and I work to put twins through college, pay our bills and taxes. I also believe people collecting assistance should be working for what ever town or county they live in. I know in my town there are public areas that could use some maintenance.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. CaffieneGene

    We have generations of people totally dependent upon welfare who have never known any other way of life. They have no motivation to better themselves because of it. Welfare is slavery, in this regard. A whole generation of people who are wholly and totally dependent upon government welfare programs is a real problem for our society, and in the final analysis, a real disservice to the people that welfare was designed to benefit. It will be difficult to effect change because these people must VOTE for whomever will keep the free money flowing. The politicians know this.

    In my opinion, we should do away with ALL federal welfare programs. Replace them with state and private charitable organizations. Let working people keep the money they earn. I find it outrageous that our government uses its police power to FORCIBLY take the money I WORKED FOR to feed MY family, and give to someone else so they can continue their downward spiral living for free at the government teat.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • CaffieneGene

      I'd like to clarify one point. I don't blame welfare recipients for taking the benefits. I feel that they, along with the working taxpayers are the ultimate victims of this bad policy. I blame our government for allowing these abuses to get to the point where any viable solution will cause a whole segment of our society to have to change their way of life, the only way they know.

      June 2, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Maria

    I guess it makes total sense that children of drug users don't deserve food or shelter for picking the wrong parents and should pay for the addiction of their parents with hunger. Great idea!

    June 2, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • CaffieneGene

      If you supply the parents of these children with free food and shelter without any obligation, they and their children become perpetual wards of the state with little hope of ever breaking the cycle and bettering themselves. The children grow up in an environment where they have no reason or motivation to become productive members of society. Continuing the welfare-go-round is ultimately perpetuating the suffering for another generation. Eventually, we will have to endure some pain for this wound to heal.

      June 2, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Robert

    Yes, let them spend their government handouts at the bar for $5 mixed drinks which go undetected on drug screenings. let's go after the potheads who spend about 50 cents each time they need to escape.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. dave watson

    What about people addicted alcohol? To cigarettes? Children living in the house of a smoker are much more likely to develop asthma, infections and other long term complications that place a burdon on the medical system. This could be a slippery slope. While I understand the frustration with welfare for people who abuse the system, I also know that children of addicts will suffer under this bill. It is not the children’s fault that the parents choose to use drugs, yet they will be the ones who suffer. We need a better system, not sure this is the answer.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Scott

    Good Law needs to go a little bit further. Alcohol and Cigarettes need to be added. If you need the Gov to pay your bills then I don't think you should be using Drugs, Alcohol, or Tobacco. Not have a problem help a person out when there willing to help them selves out also.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Monica

    I totally agree with Gov. Rick Scott signing legislation, requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening...Congratulations for your decision

    The welfare system needs to be modified, it is corrupted and needs to be scrutinized. I will say that 80% of the people receiving welfare assistance doesn’t need it, and are taken advantage of the government system. Please, force them to do some community work (like painting schools, cleaning parks, highways etc.); it is better to provide them some education that give them money.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      The amount of money that this self-enriching drug testing policy of Scott's will save taxpayers is absolutely miniscule in comparison to the $2 BILLION DOLLARS that his company stole from U.S. taxpayers.

      Scott's wife BTW owns the drug testing company.

      .

      June 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
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