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. OP

    sigh... the same idiot responses demonizing poor people for an economic climate that is no doing of their own. How about we drug test the rich psychopathic elite and if they fail we confiscate all their assets?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      Im not demonizing the poor, because I am poor. Liberals like to pretend there aren't any people out there who could work, but choose not to. The typical conservative position is usually "get your hands off my money". We need to meet in the middle. People that polarize issues are the reason nothing gets done. Im looking at you.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • elflander

      Um....(scratches head)...because the money...(squints to think)...belongs to them already?

      June 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ohhiya

      What good would drug testing them be? They would pass.

      Many of the Wel-Fare sponges wont.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      well, saying the money belongs to them already is a bit of a misnomer. Seeing how most investments nowadays are zero sum gains where one person loses for another person to gain. It creates nothing.

      So yes, it is destructive when those investors look for ways to take from one group to benefit themselves.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marie Pearle

    This should be done for *all* states. People committing crimes should not be getting tax payer dollars.

    Should they be getting medical help? Yes, but not our money. When they get free and clear of drugs, they can get tax payer dollars.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe Rather

    I have no problem with the idea. Tax dollars should go to helping less fortunate feed their childred and take some of the anxiety of the receiver of these dollars. My problem goes to where the tests are done, our beloved Gov owns a great many of these drug testing centers, and he would profit directly from the testing procedure. JUST SAYING !!!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marco

    The sad truth is that we're already subsidizing drug addiction by making it illegal, to the tune of billions of dollars.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. OP

    Remember the old motto....

    If you are poor, that simply means you are lazy, unproductive, and are simply a bad person.

    But on the other hand, if you are wealthy, that means you are a hard working person good person everyone should revere.

    There is no grey area if you read these boards. It's always framed this way. God forbid we put the blame on people wrecking the economy for their own gain. I mean seriously. What's worse? A few hundred lazy under productive people leaching 200 bucks a month for food stamps, or a handful of billionaire rich psychopathic investors wrecking the economy for their own gain?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tracy

    Well aside from the fact that I think some welfare programs are being abused and are not supervised properly by the federal and state employees who run them. That being said I question whether this program can even be enforced the incompetence of the average governmental employee I have had to deal with in my years. So given all of that I support this law for all the reasons everyone else supports it. If my employer is going to drug test me so I can show up and work my butt off for a paycheck then why should someone getting free federal or state assistance get the same dollars and cents without having to be drug tested? How is that fair?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. denise

    So does this state have a problem with drug abuse in those that recieve welfare? And what happens to the people that are found to be drug users? Do they receive treatment or are they just left out in the cold? Very interesting that it is expected that someone who needs financial help is expected to pay for the initial test out of their own money. Whatever tha cost of the test the person in need would be better off to use t he money to look for a job or to feed themeselves and their family

    June 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      the people on drugs won't get benefits anymore. Instead, they'll commit a few crimes and end up in jail. So isntead of costing us 200 to 500$ a month in subsidies, they'll cost us $30,000 to $40,000 in jail fees. And when they get out of jail, they won't be able to find a decent job and will be back on government subsidies because you can't survive alone in america getting paid less than 10 bucks an hour. How about we find way to improve society, rather than punish poor people for an economic climate they have no control over?

      June 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TXmomThinks

    This is a great idea in theory, but I think there are more grey areas than people are considering, like which drugs are going to e included?
    Just the hard stuff – regular street drugs, like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines, which are usually not detectable in blood or urine tests within 2 – 3 days? (Hence the term: weekend party drugs)
    Or will you also include marijuana, where it's still illegal? Is it fair to say to someone who's trying to turn their life around, and quit smoking pot a couple of weeks ago, that they'll need to wait another month or so for the drug metabolites to stop eing released from their fat stores, before they're eligible to get food for their children?
    And what would you do about the people who abuse prescription drugs, which are starting to out-number the number of street drug users in most areas?
    How would you handle situations where someone's drug test produced a false positive?
    It's not that I'm totally against the idea – I just think it would have to implemented with care, to avoid undermining its efficiency, and usefulness. You'd almost have to have them monitored regularly by physicians, with required random drug screenings (which are difficult to enforce), or use expensive, and sometimes unreliable, hair follicle tests. I guess my point is, this is easier said than done.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. EMERSE

    Think it a GREAT idea! We should learn from Florida and do the same in all states! It is not fair to other tax payers to let these people suck money from the state while they buy drugs! I also think the government should not let drugs back on the street but thats a whole other issue.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mermaid

    No test – no wage. Need to control the problem and not enable it. I'm required to test my employees and they actually work for a paycheck.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      Here's a better idea!

      How about we decriminalize drugs like tobacco and alcohol. And the only time you become a criminal is if you abuse the drugs and harm another being. Plain and simple.

      This entire war on drugs is the biggest waste of money EVER. Another part of crony capitalism where are tax dollars are funding private contractors which eventually gets funneled back into the politicians pocket.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 5dogs

    And when these people who fail drug testing are not getting any financial help? what are the plans then, to do after you have removed their assistance? supply them with a place to steal the things they need to survive? maybe send them to mexico in the back of trailers? Or, does everyone think that these people are going to just curl up and die, or perhaps, suddenly grow a good education, self esteem, and a decent job?
    They will turn to more serious crime in order to survive. what then, will be done? perhaps genocide?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Daniel

    You don't need drug testing just take the money out of their hands! Instead of giving them X amount of money every month you have them submit their bills and they get food stamps and a gas card or public transport card. At that point they are limited to trading what they have for drugs which at least slows them down. What this program fails to take account of is the extra cost conducting drugs tests incurs! Right off the bat the costs of administering welfare just went up and will stay there until they actually disqualify anyone. Further I am willing to bet they are conducting the cheapest urine option instead of the more expensive blood or hair ones. That saves money but beating a urine test is as easy as a pot of coffee and vitamin B. Therefore they are now spending MORE money on a test that is ineffective and unreliable.

    What very few people know is that government offices are where good ideas go to die. While this might have sounded like a good idea. The end result is going to be more money spent and not the other way around. I promise you that will be the end result, we all live here, we all know how our government works. I challenge anyone here, conservative or liberal, to deny me that will be the result.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ben

    This should be expanded to allow random drug testing throughout the period a person is on public assistance of any sort. I would also expand it to include all persons paid via public funds, ie: public employees. This includes teachers , fire, police and politicians. Many of these are already subject to testing. Let's make sure we add the politicians.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jay

    bout damn time this starts happening! i could careless between the difference between public n private. if the taxpayer has to take a drug test to work then hell yeah make them junkies take a hair test! i could careless bout their excuses why they need gov money. my life sucked to u dont see me using gov money to get high. ur kids need food n diapers?? hmmmm, maybe heres a thought quit smokin dope n get a job!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. twalk

    No welfare for people to lazy to work. No welfare for people that keep having babies they cannot support. etc, etc.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
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