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. SupportAZ

    I totally agree and think it should be required nationwide. There is a real drug problem in this country that needs to be addressed. If addicts are forced into treatment rather than being subsidized by taxpayers, we all win.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • marian atkinson

      Who pays for the rehab? Welfare???

      June 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |


    June 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |


      June 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. us1776

    Rick Scott was the CEO of a healthcare company that was guilty of over $2 BILLION DOLLARS (with a 'B') of Medicare fraud. And he gets off with a slap on the wrist.

    Then he takes all this stolen taxpayer money and runs for governor of Florida. Spending over $100 million in a massive ad campaign. And even with all this the guy just barely gets elected by a few thousand votes. BUT, he did get elected.

    Now this idiot teabagger has decimated the education system in Florida. Thousands of teachers have been layed off.

    It will take 20 years to undo the damage this rightwingnut has caused to Florida.

    And all because we let this GOP thief get away with stealing massive amounts of money from Medicare.

    And so now Scott devises this program about drug-testing people on public assistance.

    What he doesn't tell you is that his wife owns the drug testing company.

    This guy stinks to high heaven.


    June 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. marian atkinson

    I have to say, I think this is one of the most disgusting ideas I've ever heard of. Land of equality? What a joke. Because you find yourself on hard times, you're treated like dirt? What is going on with the politicians in the US?? They tell you waht to eat - no fizzy drinks for people on food stamps in one State! drug-testing for welfare benefits in another! And I won't even attempt to address some of the things on the news about Arizona.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Koppfenjagger

    About time, why should we pay for these loosers to continue getting hi, if you have enough money for dope you don't need our tax dollars.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J.R. Ewing

    I think that those who have control over these issues should be drug tested. I don't have a problem with the drug testing for welfare recipients, but I do think those so willing to put laws on us for whatever purpose should prove that they have the mental faculties to do the job by providing the taxpayers proof that they themselves are living life as they expect everyone else to live by providing random drug testing on all our politicians. This will never happen of course, it seems many lawmakers are quite happy to make laws that affect the average person, but not so keen on laws that put themselves into similar situations. The taxpayers are the employers, and the employers can require a drug test before you can work. They work for us. Yet we live under their rule. The employer has to live under the employee's rules. Now that is a serious problem.

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

    Where is the journalism that points out that Rick Scott owns testing labs for drugs. Why not mention this might be a financial move for him somewhere in an article. This is not a move for the people it is a move to line his pocket. And exactly who is going to pay for all these tests? Will the math work out that the money you deny people will pay for the tests? Do some damn work CNN.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KAinNY

    I agree with the legislation. Invasion of privacy? Oh please, give me a break. The taxpayers FAR outnumber the welfare recipients and WE have rights too – the right NOT to have our money given to those who choose to use drugs, thereby making themselves unemployable since so many employers now do pre-employment drug testing. Why should we enable their drug use?

    To those who cry about the expense of the drug testing as a reason for disallowing it – where did you go to school? Can you even THINK? It is far cheaper to pay $100 for a drug test versus $1,000s in cash assistance, food stamps, medical care, and housing subsidy.

    Bottom line – if you need help through no fault of your own (bad economy, sick, injured, disabled, etc). we WILL help you!!! But if you are need the help simply because YOU choose to do drugs thereby making yourself unemployable – tough luck. That is the consequence of the choice YOU made. Don't like it? Make a wiser choice – get off the drugs!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jim

    @professional looter, sorry bud but here in Missouri we have,for lack of a better word"castle" laws which allows me to shoot you as your breaking in without knowing your intent. Here we're allowed to protect ourselves and our family from drugged out garbage.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jim

    BTW, we also have right to carry laws and we're allowed to protect ourselves in public. Just because you come from a backwards city or state that wants to protect criminals doesn't mean the rest of us do. That's just one reason I'd never go to philly or chicago. Two of the most crime ridden cities in the country and honest people can't protect their family, well at least chicago-not sure about philly's gun laws.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. No Pity for Paris

    First rule for avoiding embarrasing video being released on the internet: Don't record anything you don't want to end up on the internet. A bug DUH there.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim

    @joshua w, just one more reason to shot to kill-no lawsuits to be filed by druggies.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim

    @joshua w, just one more reason to shoot to kill-no lawsuits to be filed by druggies.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim

    What in the world is wrong with you people who keep defending a low life druggy getting welfare,are you totally brain dead. Can't be because your religious-nearly all religions abhor drug use, even Christ didn't teach that we as a society should have to continue to help drugged out people. In fact he taught just the opposite that if you weren't willing to help your self then society has NO responsibility to help you either. As for the children, they should be placed in a CAREING facility and educated, that would be a much better use of the money and it would insure that the money actually was going to help the children and not some druggy's next fix.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jim


    June 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daryl

      Oh my, there goes 1/2 of Obama's voters.

      June 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
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