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. Bob Olson

    It is a good law. Some say it is bad to put someone down and out on a worse trip by testing them. I say it is good because some of these people are 4th and 5th generation welfare. my god man get a freeking job and help out. While you are wanting (free money) you will have to get tested for drugs.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    And whats next after they fail? They starve to death go homeless. Oh i forgot the job economy is booming wrong. Sure there are people that have abused the system for years . And while we are at it lets send a drug test kit to every country we send money too and food aid etc. Hell lets not stop there if you fail just put them in big camps and they can just die in there. Reading some of these comments sicken me beyond disbelief. Is this the America anymore.

    June 5, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • MBS

      No,
      They lose there stamps for a year, maybe just maybe, they will figure out what their real priorities in life are and get straight. Thats the problem with our society, we dont know how to make people responsible for their own actions and make them have to endure a little struggle, a challenge. Dont get me wrong, there are a lot of people who need welfare, I got it, but there is probably a bunch who dont and are just lazy. Break the chain, do something positive with their life.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Danielle

    I like it, it's about time. The majority of companies out there require you to go through drug testing to get hired for a job. Why shouldn't people have to be tested to for free money? Some welfare recipients out there sell there welfare food stamp card for cash to turn around and buy drugs. That's complete bull. I think it would be a good idea to test people applying for unemployment. If you're not doing drugs...then it shouldn't be a problem, right?

    June 5, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. JLD

    all states should do this. i have to date a drug test for on the job. so to get my money to live i have to take. so they getn paid like me. they should have to do drug testing as well. tax payer should not have to pay for a person on welfare to site home on drugs. also one person said it is like kicking a person down. well the drugs keep them down. with out it it may help them find work. alos it may help reduce crime & the money we spend on 911 calls or people in the jails. really. they a drug head on welfare sitting around need more drugs will still & or fight ot kill for money for more drugs. so more of a plus that people think.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. MBS

    Its about time....Be a responsible citizen, what the heck is wrong with that....If you need it get tested. Welfare should be limited anyway, too many people ride this program for their LIFE and pass it to their children whom both parties are able to work and carry their own load. Instead they want the easy way out and responsible taxpayers endure the load. Break the chain, make something of yourself, is it really that hard.......

    June 5, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. eric

    if these people have nothing to hide then what's the problem? i'm a disabled veteran and to recieve my monthly pain meds i have to take a drug test every 6 months and random ones in between. i have no problem with it since i have nothing to hide. i realize not everyone on welfare uses drugs, but there are plenty of babies mommas and their ghetto boyfriends that not only use drugs but sell them that live in public housing, get welfare checks, and are on food stamps. it's time to weed them out and make them work like everyone else.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • MBS

      Exactly.......
      No harm No foul......Did anyone force anyone to smoke that pipe or pop that pill? This should be the standard for all states if you want any assistance, maybe we could help keep the drugs out of this country if we make people earn their keep.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Angie

    What about the children. Recently I overheard three boys in the grocery store. They had a list. The older of the three, said,"if we don't buy it all now, she will smoke it all" How will they make it!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • MBS

      Exactly,
      How does she "smoke it all up"? Its sad but if people stopped misusing the program in the first place, we wouldnt be here now.

      June 5, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. ann gibson

    1- if u are on welfare where is the money coming to get drug test thats going to take away from a bill being paid .. 2 - if u live on walfare u cant afford DRUGS . drugs cost money 3-do u know how many kids will suffer 4-their are desent ppl gettin welfare its already degrading enough to have to go though the process already their are ppl that want even go to get help bcause of this .. all these ppl who have jobs dont understand what its like to not have a job or a low paying job ppl get real THE only thing wrong with rick scott is that he dont have all the money to misused 4 his budget so get off the poor and start cutting at the top AND WHAT REALLY BRUNS ME UP IS THE GOVERMENT WOULD RATHER SEND AMERICAN MONEY TO OTHER COUNTRIES THAN TO KEEP THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AT HOME WHERE WE NEED THEM NOW SOMEONE EXPLAIN WHERE THE PROBLEMS ARE TO ME ???? and yes rick scotts family business will be getting the money 4 the drug testing.. and it dont take no college edcation to figure that out and i have worked all my life

    June 5, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • MBS

      Ann,
      I do agree that we need to start taking care of this country first and stop sending money to other countries. But, Welfare IS the problem, to many people who dont deserve it ride it forever. I will try to help answer some of your posts.

      1. If you pass the test, you get a refund. If you have to worry about getting money for the test, most likely the bills are not on your mind and probably aren't getting paid anyway.

      2. Not true.

      3. This is the sad part and i agree that the kids are going to be exposed, but maybe the parent will change (probably not) maybe the kids will break the chain. This is one of life's lessons that everyone should be exposed to.

      4. I disagree with this one, if you are clean you have nothing to hide.

      All I can say is that if you dont have a job, figure it out, is it your pride that wont let you take that 8 dollar an hour job when you have no or little skills or are you just waiting for that 30 dollar an hour job to come find you. When times are hard, you have to make tough decisions, sacrifices, but most people cant live without that cellphone or big screen TV. I hate that I have to work my can off to provide for my family and make hard choices to have something in this world, while alot of welfare people have it easy eating steak and lobster using their stamps (or card) while driving their new car, nice clothes....Welfare and new cars should never be in the same sentence........I thought times were hard for people to be on welfare???? Its out their....

      June 5, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • ann gibson

      some ppl think they got all the answers but , u dont know how it goes until u walked in their shoes and mbs i have worked all my life being a high school drop out quit cause ppl would not leave me alone and i supported my kids with no welfare u have a point cause i also know ppl that get walfare and food stamps and yes they live better than me im just sayin that maybe the ppl who are in charge of welfare need to get out of the com-fie offices and stop the abusers of the system and if u go get welfare u dont have money to waste yes u get ur money back but what will u lose in the proess im just sayin if u have never been in their shoes dont judge its not so black and white

      June 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dennis

    Currious on if a parent fails a drug test, what happens to the children under them.. Meaning if the parent has a disease (drugs) is the children further punished by taking the income away and thrown aside also.. Drugs are a part of life and you cant stop it... We must understand it and treat it not crimialize citizens. START TESTING AT THE TOP (government officials)

    June 5, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. Richard

    this is alot like probation or parole meetings.....the subject knows hes got a meeting so stops using before so they are clean for there testing. sure....a few get caught but most know how to avoid the negitive results. also....majijuana is the longest lasting drug in the system....all others like meth and cocaine leave the system in 72 hrs and alcohol is gone in 24 hrs. So really if you think about it....you wont be saveing millions by getting drug users off dope to eat...youve simply added the cost of testing onto the state and added alot of profit to his and his wifes pocket books since they do own a large stake in the bigest testing facility in florida.
    this law is also flawed if the fact that there are just as many if not more alcoholic types reciving services yet the law dose not address this issue. Why...cause beer and wine are leagal? and what of the folks who are abusing there leagal prescriptions? you cant really say they are doing somthing wrong unless you invade there privacy and count there pills...these folks will always test hot for a narcotic so what we are really doing here is attacking those who abuse illeagal drugs but if you abuse the leagal ones its ok ...we will feed you?...lame
    bottom line...there is no fair way to to inforce this law....not without millions in discrimination law suits wich like most cases will be handled out of court as it cheaper the settle the suit then to fight it...these cases the tax payers will never be told about but will certinly pay for.
    I say the number of illeagals drawing services out number the number of drug abusers on the system and would of been a much better if more contraversial place to start.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. lynn

    I think it is a good idea if these people are sent for treatment to kick thier habit. I don't think that it is right that the screenings are being done by a company that is owned by Rick Scotts wife.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. tron

    If they were working they would most likely have to take drug tests. If they have kids they should have them taken away from they until they can pass a drug test, for some this would wake them up. Since they are breaking the law they should be put in prison camps and be made to work for their keep until they can pass a drug test.

    June 5, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ray

    It's about time. Every job my wife and I go to(we work as industrial electricians), we have to submit to a UA or hair folical test, which is fine with us. It keep's those who could get us hurt or killed out of the work pool. Welfare money is Our money, and we shouldn't be supporting the druggies habit.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie Kerenski

    Right, stop the welfare for the drug abusers and other cheats, and they will stop it.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Amanda

    I realize those folks down in Florida are too ignorant to allow medical marijuana. However there are many states that have wised up and and made it legal for medicinal uses. The problem with Florida's plan is it will mainly catch marijuana users, and many of those users have a MEDICAL NEED. I don't want to hear about all the legal narcotics either because the side effects and problems and addiction rates on those are far worse than anything anyone could ever claim about marijuana, and oxycontin and morphine are not drugs every person in pain can even handle taking!!!! A person should be able to use whaat works for their pain and nausea without government interference. I am tired of the criminalization of private activity. In Zurich they give Heroin to the Heroin addicts through a government program and it has DECREASED their addiction rates, drug death rates, and drug crime rates. If you take welfare away from the dependant then don't be suprised when your local florida crackhead robs YOUR store cause their only income has been quashed. Life is checks and balances and if you just cut these people off don't be suprised when your state looks worse with more drug addicted homeless commiting more crimes. Some of them will turn to abusing prescription drugs instead but then they keep their welfare and guess what then it is ALL coming out of the government pool. The only rational way to deal with our drug problems in this country and through out the world....is to switch to a system of Regulation, Taxation, and control through Legalization. The "War on Drugs" has Failed and cannot win. It is a fact of life that people will feed their desires, and just saying no hasn't stopped everyone nor will it. We have too many people imprisoned in this country welcome to the land of the imprisoned, can I get a ticket to russia please...yes that is how bad this country is...a worse police state than RUSSIA. I don't care who you are that is reading this, someday it will be your Sister, Brother, Son, Daughter, Niece, Nephew, Cousin, Aunt, Uncle, Mom, Dad, or Best Friend that will get busted with some kind of drug, do you really want the government handling it and imprisoning your loved one for up to 10 to 20 years. Or would you rather see more rehab options that actually attend to the Health Problems in this country that leads to most drug addiction! If they have money to spare on this testing program seems to me it would be better spent on rehabs, and actually helping people for once in this country!

    June 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • crybabytoo

      amanda ur a pinhead problem is u cant rehab crackheads molesters with nice rhab talk sessions , u gotta put these people on da chan gang and let them swing sledgehammers and pitchforks and shovels all day, so they can sweat it out with some good ol fashioned hard labor un up to sunset then after 6-8 months let um out and see how many come back, maybe 2-3 outta 100,liberals allready have spent their own paychecks and now their babys paychecks on programs in rehab pitty partys and guess what einstein IT DONT WORK, so go take YOUR paycheck and give it to the crackhead under the bridge would ya?

      June 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • crybabytoo

      p.s. swim to cuba,russia,china and see how it is there in the REAL WORLD, after they took ur cash see how nice they are to you , the worst day in the usa is the , well maybe the BEST day ud have elsewhere, go to middle east live amoungest the muslims see how they treat their woman and liberal viewpoints PINHEAD

      June 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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