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. fernace

    My friend & I have discussed the subject of drug abuse & SSI compensation. We know people who regularly abuse their prescription meds, & have reported it. Nothing gets done because, they pass their U.A.'s! They aren't smoking crack or shooting heroin, they're just buying & selling meds that are popular on the street. They also self & over-medicate , aka. getting high on meds thatare supposed to help a condition. It's really twisted! In other News, I got Nothing!! for Paris! As far as Trolls go they can be annoying, but they don't bother me. I'm not Forced to read their posts, & many times they are funny, in a silly, ridiculous way. And I admit I have trolled 1ce or 2ce myself, under an alias, of course! I think we have more important things to worry about, than trolling. So, Trolls rule forever!!

    June 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BB

      If they pass their UA's then this should be reported to the doctors that prescribe for them so they can cancel the prescriptions! So tired of people working the system!

      June 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey

    Where are all of my trolls? Aren't you jealous of me anymore?
    Come on–highjack me!
    I love it!
    It's flattering. Steal my name!

    June 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. laura

    Not only should they be drug tested, but they should not be allowed to own luxury cars either.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      You're exactly right. Trailer with an Escalade outside.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    No welfare for drug users? Shouldn't it be no drugs for welfare users? Yeah. I'm sure that's what it should be. The penalty for illicit drug use isn't having your welfare check held back. It's facing a judge and possible jail time. At least it used to be.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mr.tohio

    I know people who use welfare income as well as food stamps to buy drugs. i've reported them on several occasions . They sell their food stamps $50.00 for a $25.00 drug purchase. Each time I report this to welfare they are sanction then in a short period are back receiving full stamps n welfare You can take your food card to a Arab store where they will sell cigs. at a markup grocery sell($40.00 cigs. for $50.00. This is a fact and happens every day across the country.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joe d_Ohio

    Very good step in the right direction! And if it is struck down then there should be no drug tests given by employers either. It's nonsense. I have a Captains license to run ships, random drug testing. My employer requires drug testing. Don't do drugs and you have no worries.

    I bet you'll be amazed at how many get off welfare now.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bryan S.

    First, the whole darn thing leaves a serious Orwellian "Big Brother" taste in my mouth (figuratively speaking), that's just wrong – you can't just automatically INFER that people receiving assistance (financial or otherwise) are potential drug users & just decide that this inference somehow(?) gives the government the right to drug test people who are in need.

    If the ALCU doesn't total squash this draconian, cheapskate, 'anti-welfare', class-warfare nightmare = probably sooner rather than later – all these "punch the hippie" (who happens to be poor) folks... Will eventually see the results it has on folks & it'll likely be someone they know.
    Only THEN will they realize how heartless this is, and have to come o terms with the dark, soul-less cruelty of the people who are cheering for it now.

    And beyond There's a couples things most folks don't (apparently) seem to realize...
    1. All those tests cost money = they aren't cheap.
    2. The miserable SOB – IS in the drug testing business – (not technically) = Because he gave all his stock to his wife just before the election to make it all 'legal' and/or 'not a conflict of interest'... JUST BARELY!

    But it still stinks – a lot worse than anything – that anyone – might be smoking. And lets get this straight = that's all they would be likely to catch is some pot-smokers, **at the low-low price of only a few hundred millions of dollars a year!** yes that was sarcasm.
    And checking the news today the ALCU – IS suing over it and the "But, I gave my stock shares to my wife" Defense, Yeah, That won't likely pass by any judge as anything other than a HUGE conflict of interest. And, FWIW – Rick Scott's approval rating dropped down to 29% in the latest Quinnipiac poll... So there's that too.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 66

    If Republicans want to drug test the unemployed or welfare parents , then Republicans should create the jobs promised during the campaigns , Remember more jobs creation if elected .........

    June 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DC

    I firmly believe this should be a federal law. Its about dang time someone starts passing this type of law..to protect my tax money from subsidizing this type of nonsense.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brett

    Hip Hip Ho ray for this small bit of sanity!

    June 1, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. D. Crockett

    How about no welfare or food stamps for nicotine addicts? If you have enough money for cigarettes, you don't need money for food.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • I agree

      Good idea mr. Crockett! How about you work a little harder on being more intelligent and less snake like. 😉 drool

      June 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Muppet Show

    I've been on public assistance and agree to testing everyone who applies for welfare. I was trying to work and ended up making $3,000 one year so the state took my medical away. If I was some loser popping out babies and smoking pot all day the state would cover my medical. This country stifles productivity while rewarding the lazy and uneducated. It's time we change this.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. angela

    wonder if thay know how easy it is to pass a drug test if given notice.....

    June 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • I agree

      Hair tests, blood tests, or random will fix this. Some people are so stupid they will fail even if given notice.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    how about drug testing for everyone then who gets tax breaks from the government. Wall Street, farmers, big corporation executives....where do we draw the line? Oh yeah, of course, the poor, of course, take it and the rich get different rules

    June 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • I agree

      Nice try John, but the middle class still pays 60+% of the taxes and they are getting tired of being bled dry by the government, the rich and the poor layabouts that have no goals.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Knows Everything

    i agree with D. Crockett, people on foodstamps should be tested for nicotine and alcohol, if you are on food stamps then you dont need to be spending your money on booze and smokes either. Sodas should also be restricted.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • drk

      you're an idiot. cigarettes are not illegal. neither are sodas

      June 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snookie

      maybe the gov and purina could come up with a gov issued people kibble for those on welfare 🙂

      June 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
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