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. Cal

    I am all for it. Yes, definitely require drug test for all assistance. It is about time! I worked in public health sector in California and we are beginning to do drug test. If one fails the drug test, no more meds for them. I believe some patients are selling them out on the street instead of using for themselves.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tldixon

    I count myself as a proud liberal but I'm also a hardworking person who is bummed to see my tax dollars eaten up by the weak and lazy-I say weak because that's what prevents people from giving up drugs-weakness as a lack of will power-give folks an incentive to get their lives straitened out-I work in healthcare and am sick of watching drug seekers on medicaid getting their fix off my back-if folks want help from me they should also be willing to help themselves

    June 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cal

    I am all for it. Yes, definitely require drug test for all assistance. It is about time! I worked in public health sector in my state and we are beginning to do drug test. If one fails the drug test, no more meds for them. I believe some patients are selling them out on the street instead of using for themselves.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dog Eat Dog

    Kick 'em when their down! Yeah, show that blood lust! Never be satisfied until they're in the grave!

    Is that your soul?

    How about: drug testing for people on welfare and if you test positive you get mandatory drug treatment. And then, and only then, if you fail the treatment you lose your welfare cheque.

    The USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world per capita mainly because pot is illegal for irrational reasons. This is in the land of the Free? Yeah, that turned out well. Don't worry: you can forget about this comment soon and go back to your usual "America! Bleep Ya!"

    June 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • drk

      i am republican, in favor of legalization of marijuana, but not if it means all the other drugs will be too.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dog Eat Dog

      No, pot has a proven history of being safe and not addictive. That's reason. But politics does not see that reason. I agree with you: very few drugs should be legal for recreational purposes: right now that is alcohol and cigarettes. I'd like to see pot join that list for one reason only: the damage of keeping under prohibition is way more than the damage of legalizing it – especially when you compare it to cigarettes. Some drugs, like crack and meth are the true scourges government should be fighting, and filling prisons with the people who deal them while providing treatment for the people who use them: for the purpose of really winning the "war" not just filling prisons.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amunaka


      The pot smokers will be the ones hit ...alcohol and street drugs get out of your system rather quickly ..pot on the other hand not so much ...

      June 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • naz13

      Mandatory drug treatment? You are very misinformed. Addiction treatment must be voluntary. People mandated to rehab are almost never successful, because its not them, its their parole officer who wants them to "get treatment". You cannot medicate and therapize the addiction out of somebody. However, you can bar their criminality by not giving them free funds. If they are using drugs, they obviously don't need the taxpayer funded check!

      June 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    Not a big fan at all of Rick Scott but I agree with this law. If you can afford drugs you can afford food or other things to take care of your family

    June 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. anonymous

    i do only one kind of "drug", am unemployed, but do not take government assistance. that said, i firmly believe all people seeking unemployment should have to submit to a drug screening.

    June 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kelly

    Good Job Gov Scott! I hope this can serve as an example to other governors out there. They should take it a step further and include drug tests and background checks for people who receive medicaid and other types of medical and financial help from the government.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Knows Everything

    You know, by CNN's reasoning here, that most people like Rick Scott's draconian initiative, we should all just be watching fox news and going to their website instead, it is more popular with alot more people. if you are on welfare you probably shouldnt be paying for Cable or Satellite TV, I think everyone here can think of something to contribute to this list, and pretty soon the poor will only have milk, cheese and bread. But those Wall Street guys snorting blow and screwing us all over are golden. I think Mr. Scott had an OK idea, he just needs to apply it to the rich as well as the poor.
    We should drug test all citizens so we catch not only the poor man and his lowly marijuana cigarettes, but also catch the rich man and his rockinated cocaine and insulfflated heroin. Lets take Mr. Scott's proposal and apply it to the rich and the poor, then watch how fast it all goes away, because it is better to let a poor man wallow than stop the rich from robbing all of us on cocaine fueled binges to crash the markets.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knows Everything

      McDonalds is the most patronized restaurant in the world, I'm sure that means it has the best food and serving paradigms! Our government should be run by polls instead of pols, how could it get any worse?

      June 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • G.

      Yeah... Drug tests for ALL.... (Including the ruling class)

      June 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Hi Knows Everything. I need an anti aging potion and a time machine please. Oh and if I had those would it matter? Please let me know since you know everything.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. keylargo

    Drug test state, county, and city officials too. Its not right for tax payers to support drug use in govt. believe me it happen too!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Right on keylargo! Drug testing all around! We can hire yagermeister girls to walk around with trays of plastic cups.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lefty avenger

    Rick Scott should just say what he feels. He doesn't think that White people should pay for black people's welfare anymore. It's not fair for people to work 60 hours a week and pay a boatload of taxes to support people who don't want to work ever. Some of us are surrounded by hundreds of thousands to millions of people on welfare every day. I'm sure that Rick Scott also wants to terminate social security, medicare and food stamps. America will go fascist eventually, in the south first.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Refudiator

    Can't see how this could possibly backfire. Instead of druggie keeping to himself, now they can be hungry and turn to crime to satisfy their hunger for food/shelter and drugs. Snickers anyone? Prison probably sounds better than going hungry. So much for saving the state money...

    June 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • nibbz

      ya i forgot about that..so true. crime just went up 50% in Fla.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nibbz

    total mistake, the means isnt going to justify the benefits. and the cost are going to be more than what they save by turning people down that fail. i never believed in drug testing at work randomly and i sure dont approve of this.
    amazing how many people are so willing to give up more basic rights every day. its the guilty till proven innocent
    you people who support this law are morons, if you wanna give up ur rights then go ahead, but dont push ur believes on us who dont. funny we give bilions in aid to other countrys and yet are willing to cut our own peoples rights. to save a dollar.
    why arent we griping about the billions we give away somewhere else every day?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knows Everything

      "amazing how many people are so willing to give up more basic rights every day. its the guilty till proven innocent
      you people who support this law are morons,"

      According to CNN, most people commenting agree with Mr. Scott, so most people are morons?

      Actually with the way people keep voting for the idiots that are screwing us all over in Washington, I think you are about right. We deserve what is happening in this country when most can't even see Mr. Scott's bad intentions for what they are. Be afraid for the USA, problems will not get fixed now that there is a critical mass of ignorance going around.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • IowaVoter

      First of all, I'm pretty sure most people ARE morons.... too often they are heartless, cruel morons. I prefer kind, friendly morons.

      Anyway... there should be LESS drug testing, not more. I think random drug testing should be illegal in all cases. Except in prison, perhaps. The only drug testing that should be allowed at work is if you had an accident on the job and they need to determine if it was because of some drug/alcohol use.

      Smoking pot is good for poor people. It makes them feel happy and relaxed even if they have nothing in their life to look forward to and no hope of ever improving their situation in life. It helps ease pain, when pain relievers are too expensive, it calms the nerves, it relaxes the body and the mind.

      The working poor, which make up the vast majority of public assistance users (but less fun to poke fun of on TV) don't need your rules and regulations. They don't need your disdain and snide remarks. What they need is something to look forward to in life... hope. And if they can't have that, then drugs and a beer might be all they have to escape. If a guy works 10 hours a day and comes home to his 4 children and his exhausted wife who works 2 part time jobs needs food stamps and medicaid for his kids and then after they go to bed wants to smoke $5.00 worth of weed a couple of times a week so he can ease the pain from his hard labor and sleep at night then what kind of business is it of yours?

      Empathy in America is DEAD.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gary

    I'm really appalled at the ignorance of people on this board. I work in drug treatment, and anyone who uses the term "weak" or "lazy" to describe individuals with an addition is showing how little they know. Denying public benefits to someone who was born to a drug addict, grew up in awful surroundings with violence, drugs, and abuse, and who was never given a chance will only add to the problem. What do you think that person will do to get money? No, a better solution, one that doesn't come from rich white men in their white capital buildings (I'm white so don't start getting racist – you know who you are you morons), is to get those individuals who test positive into a drug rehabilitation program. That would be the right thing to do, not just deny the benefits and force someone with no skills, no training, no education to find another way to survive. My only hope is that anyone on here who thinks that drug abuse is a choice or that addicts are lazy and weak finds themselves dealing with substance abuse in their own family and friends. Only then will your eyes be opened, and you'll look back at how you felt with dread and regret.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • nibbz

      agree 100% with ya, children are the ones who s gone suffer the most , its a lose lose situation for everyone.
      this will actually cost more money in the long run, bet no one can prove me wrong there

      June 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. L.O. Benton

    reply to huwie. There are a lot of people on the Government dime required to complete mandatory drug screening as a condition of employment. All branches of the military, transportation workers, various civilian agency employees, law enforcement personnel etc. If I had to submit to random urinalysis to stay in the Coast Guard (and would have suffered prosecution or discharge in the result of a failed test) why shouldn't this be a condition of living on the tax payer's money? This law is a great idea, long overdue and should be adopted widely across the country. r/LOB

    June 1, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SSampson

    Of course this does nothing to help those addicts with mental illness – of course there are people that take advantage of the system. But like everything, there needs to be some balance. Mental illnss often gets overlooked because SO many people think that it is mostly an imagined illness. You need a good sized tumor – or be bleeding heavily – before most will admit that the person is suffering...

    MULTIPLE stuides over the years have shown that peoples impressions of the number of people who actuall take advantage of the system is vastly overestimated....

    Perhaps we would be better served financially if we went after white-collar crooks that take billions of dollars from people – As George Carlin once said.... If you want to have an impact on drug use, start handing out the death penalty to those bankers that launder the drug money – the punishment may be a bit over the top... but the idea is right – go after the people at the top of the supply chain rather tha hunting down those at the bottom....

    Regardless.... I am not entirely opposed to the idea... but I DO hope that this doesn't make more people who DO need help slip through the cracks... Without a doubt, one side-effect of this WILL be in increase in crime – addicts (mentally ill or not) will resort to other means to upport their habit – I would doubt that rehab followed by a normal job will be the path for most – after all, rehab costs money they don't have.......

    This IS a politically good move though – we beat up those low-lifes we hate- the OBVIOUS targets – and then our focus is taken off of those that really cause us financial damage – our fears always play us like a fiddle...

    June 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
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