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. mw

    I think drug test is a great idea, even if the goverment had to pay 50.00 per test it would still save tons of money. I would guess 25% of people on welfare couldn't pass a drug test. I just wish they would start this program tomorrow, but like most goverment they will have to fight about it for years, I think they should let the taxpayers vote on it.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rcreager

    I think drug testing is a great idea. In addition to those on assistance, I believe that legislators ought to be held to the same drug screening requirements. The results should be public record. Also, I think a breathalizer test should be administered to legislators before they are allowed into chambers. It is about time for the country to have sober legislation.

    June 4, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Priapus

    Good, anyone on welfare doing illegal drugs or prescription drugs no prescribed to them should be cut off of welfare for 1 year. Let hunger and living under the sky be their motivator for self improvement. If they have children that is too bad, they should have thought of that before doping it up and Child Services can take them to a better place.

    June 4, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. bozon

    There you go again CNN.. manufacturing consent for this bozo policy of drug testing..It isn't about saving money.. those drug tests are going to cost 5x more than they'll save.. it's about just being mean and vindictive.. Sounds just right for florida

    June 4, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      It won't cost as much if the state contracts a testing company. With the money that they'll save from people too scared to apply they can't put it to the cost of testing. I think this is a great idea but think they should go a step further. Random testing for people on welfare.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. American Pie

    What Governor Scott is not telling you is that he owns a drug testing company, he signed the ownership over to his wife, so while I understand and agree we should not be giving money to drug offenders, it also is legislation to line Scott's wallet...very lucrative for you Scott...although not a surprise given Govenors Scott's past history with being a crook for profit...

    June 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kron

    I think drug testing is a good idea to a point...BUT most people receiving welfare have children, and if their parents lose their welfare there's just gonna be one more hungry kid in America. I think there needs to be some other consequences especially for those with kids, using drugs, and collecting welfare

    June 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      If their parents are using the money for the drugs, the kids are already hungry. Either way, the money isn't going to the kids.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • DANA in Alaska

      I agree with both of you.But it is time to take more responsibility for yourself and ( YOUR FAMILY !!!!!!! ).NO MORE FREE RIDES,AMERICA>

      June 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • wesleymac

      if they are on welfare and on drugs they should loose their kids!

      June 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DANA in Alaska

    Finally,someone in Politics taking a stand against drugs and drug users.I would rather hear this ,than what I've been hearing and that is Stop the War on Drugs.I have a solution that will end the drug war as we know it today.It will take 3-5 years.

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

    bill does not go far enough .. every public officer or employee, active or retired, or whatever branch, whether active or retired should have to pass a drug/alcoho test as a condition to receiving pay or pension checkl

    June 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathleen Turner

      Thats a great idea. I will be the first in line. I do not do drugs nor do I drink excessively. I work my butt off and each year watch my tax refund get smaller and smaller. As a matter of fact, I have to pay into the system while my neighbor up the road who keeps popping off children got back 9000 bucks for earned income. They bought a big screen tv and blue ray player, a stereo for their car, new tattoos an x box and playstation 3. After about a month of them eating out and buying new clothes they asked if they could borrow some money.

      June 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pain Jane

      In Re to Karen's Reply, you said; "nor do I drink excessively" but you do DRINK. Yet you are fast to jump on the band wagon to persecute people that use a plant given to us by God himself. See Genesis "God gave man all seed bearing plants that he may prosper" Let me emphasize the word ALL there. The Bible also says let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and you have already admitted you are not w/o sin. Unless you do not consider an altered conscience a sin then you have to concede that a milder altered conscience that marijuana gives is not either. If you wonder why I focus on that drug it's because that is who you will catch all other drugs clear the system too quickly. Some of those will be people that "do not use excessively" also.....shall we make your drinking a state issue...what if you lost your job cause you had a little nip at night. Keep thinking that way and don't be surprised when you wake up with NO RIGHTS anymore. MOST people on welfare have a genuine need and are just as honest as you and they should not all be treated like criminals. And P.S. I know taxes and there is no such thing as a $9000 refund unless someone paid in at least 4,000 of it to begin with, which someone in the low income bracket does not do. EIC caps out right around 5,000 and that income bracket usually hasn't had enough wages to have much withholding. I also know if your refund was smaller it was because you made more money or paid less in yourself since Bush's tax rates have us at a historic 60 year low when it comes to tax rates and If this economy is to recover people like you may have to suck it up and start paying at least what ya did under Clinton...zomgosh perish the thought...help other people without being judgmental....why don't you try it sometime!!!!

      June 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dale

    What about the (( drug dealers making thousands of dollars )), they don't use drugs they just sell them, and they collect welfare because they game the system low income.

    June 4, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David Shields

    About time !! Why should a legal taxpayer have to go thru drug screening to maintain his job in order to give welfare dollars to someone that is doing drugs !!!I applaud Gov Rick Scott and I am sure all the other Military and hard workers out there do also.

    June 4, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fredd

    Will they test for alcohol and prescription drugs like oxy too? Or is it ok to be on welfare if you're taking legal RX drugs or are an alcoholic because they're legal?

    June 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kathleen Turner

    Kudos! Welfare was never intended to be a long term solution. It was to provide a person a leg up during a difficult time. Somehow it has evolved into a paycheck for the lazy. I am not opposed to providing those in need. There are those who are in need and I am happy to see them taken care of. But there is a larger portion of people on welfare who have cell phones, cultured nails, cigarettes, satellite tv with big screens, expensive tattoos and an endless supply of beer.

    June 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chronos8

    See, Republicans are for really, really big government...as long as it doesn't target billionaires.

    June 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      I dont necesarily agree on that comment. Maybe for Big Republicians you are correct, however for us everyday folks, we only think that a person should work for their keep and not be lazy and depend on the Govt to support them and their lack of initiative. Especially when all they do is make more babies and consume drugs daily.

      June 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NC Nurse

    As a nurse I have never understood why patients with positive drug screens aren't reported to the police anyway. After all, STD's are reportable, gunshots are reportable, TB is reportable- why not positive drug screens which is obvious evidence of illegal activity? It's about time we stop being so afraid of infringing on the so called 'civil rights' of the dregs of society and start focusing on changing this country for the better.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. Henry

    This is the negative side of it it punishes all for those that really need welfare and are already down on their luck this adds insult to ingury now to have to fore go a drug screening imagine what one must feel being at this point in thier lives to have to go through testing as well. It's pretty sad.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Amy Briggs

      PLEASE, please understand that an incredible amount of drug users are using the welfare system and living high off the hog. When my husband had to take an entry level position at a grocery chain, and was only guaranteed 20 hours a week or less (no benefits for 6+ months) – he frequently had people coming through his line BRAGGING about all the steak, shrimp and general foodstuffs they were getting for FREE! Meanwhile, they were dripping with gold jewelry, perfectly manicured nails, and had NO PROBLEM pulling out a WAD of money to pay for what we, the taxpayers, didn't cover! Meanwhile, we honest law-abiding citizens were eating hot dogs! Yes, I was a pediatric nurse, and I COMPLETELY sympathise with the children (they are the innocents of this abuse), but isn't it better for THEM to have drug-free parents??? I feel that there is NO unfairness in asking receipients of welfare to take a drug test – like people say, many of us are expected to take drug tests for hiring and many companies maintain the right to do random drug screening throughout the course of your employment. Why should our welfare receipients do any less??!!

      June 5, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
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