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. ADDGUY

    This country is BROKE and cannot afford WELFARE for every MISFIT looking for a FREE RIDE.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JustAnIdea

    Perhaps requiring seniors to take drug tests to get Medicare reimbursements would be a good idea as well? I guess when your budget crisis does not allow you to build more jails, you need to do SOMETHING to show you are tough on crime.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rum Dumb

      The two are totally unrelated.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      Apparently your idea of being tough on crime includes continuing to give working taxpayers' money to drug addicts. What's the theory? That they will have to rob and steal a bit less to feed their habit?

      June 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustAnIdea

      Of course they are unrelated. It is simply offered as point to show how ridiculous it is to make broad assumptions about a group of people, but I suppose all is fair in love and class warfare, right? It would be much more pragmatic to require these drug screenings for known drug users who also apply for public assistance vs. requiring every person asking for public assistance to take a drug screening. It is a waste of money and a further insult to people who are at the end of their rope. I know the idea of freeloading is especially unpopular these days, with the bad economy, but thank your lucky stars you are not in the same position some of your fellow Americans find themselves in...you know, THOSE people.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kate

    I think politicians, cops for sure. How about folks that are chronic pain patients that have a scrip

    June 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Beefburger

    All of you yap-dogs worrying about this-that-and-the-other, NO the person found using drugs is not having it used against them in prosecution, neither are they going to loose benefits for their family, they just have to have someone else responsible for the reciept of benefits. The kids deserve better than to have crack-addict daddy smoke up the money that they need to have a decent chance at a better future with. This legislation I hope catches on like wildfire!

    KUDOS FLORIDA!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Phyllis

    Yeah what a great idea, nothing, and I mean nothing has been able to stop the drug epidemic. Idea after idea crafted by people who have never experienced addiction, but oh yeah this one will stop people from using. So when the addict's start breaking into your houses and stealing more of your stuff, we will just hire more police, buy more guns and shoot them on site. Oh by the way 60% of the mentally ill self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, and don't work, because really do you want them working with you, oh never mind they can't function on that level anyway. Yeah the best thing we can do is cut them off and make them more desperate, then maybe good law abiding citizens will get to spend more time with them as they find new and even more dangerous ways to feed the habit. Let's just be honest and say we have no idea and no answer to solve this problem, and all the ones we think up cause more problems.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • stormsun

      No, Phyllis, you seem to have expressed the utter hopelessness of society nicely. Nothing works, therefore we should try...nothing. As an advocate for the meaninglessness of life, you are quite eloquent. Do you actually have a solution, or do you just like to moan about how futile everything is? For the record, Nihilism went out of fashion decades ago.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jesse

    I'm a drug user and I think it's great,if you can afford drugs then buy groceries first. Also people very effective drug test are sold for ten dollars so the expense is being blown way out of proportion

    June 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OP

    Funny reading all the comments demonizing poor people as lazy, unproductive, drug abusing moochers. Just what this rotten politician wants.

    I'm gonna start labeling the investor class as destructive psychopathic elites!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    If we as a nation can't afford social security and medicare when we pay into those programs then we sure as h ell can't afford to keep paying some da mn lazy a ss for not working. TIME TO END WELFARE NOW.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      And you will not be able to afford the consequences of having millions of desperate, starving people in this country. Ever hear of Haiti, Mexico, the French Revolution? Those are the results when you don't help out people down on their luck. Or, perhaps you prefer the South African solution...anyone with bucks has to hire armed security guards due to kidnappings. But, in your viewpoint, at least kidnappers are working for a living!

      June 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FLweedsciguy

    I'd be willing to bet money that a majority of those who are complaining and whining about this are the same people who would fail the drug test.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      and I'd be willing to bet the people who tie poverty to drug use are the same people who fail to tie psychopathic billionaire investors with crony broken capitalism

      June 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Amen. The rich always seem to put a spin on how the misery of others is always their own fault. And they wonder why people are so downright gleeful when bad things happen to the rich.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tweedle

    So, are they exempted from going to the drug testing clinic that Scott owned and was handily signed over to his wife?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Susan

    I think it's a good idea but perhaps maybe it could be allowed if they are going through a drug rehab program. After all, most of them need as much help as they can get.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim

    @OP, You just don't get the point, this isn't a legalization issue. What WE are tired of is paying lazy, dead beat,drugged out, non contributors to society, money so they can continue being drugged out leeches.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      I don't get the point? Did you even read your message? Talk about a broad generalization of poor people. Let's be fair and balanced here. If you can label poor people like that, why not label rich investors as psychopaths willing to wreck societies for their own benefit? ANd it's not all about contributions to society. Let's look at whose more destructive. Just like cancer, the one rich destructive investor elite is much worse than thousands of unproductive cells doing nothing.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Not surprized one bit.

    Dont you realize what one has to allow and the same token not to even think twice as in to not? Dont you remember what dear old dad tried to teach you in not allowing the government to even think about going that far with verypersonal rights and freedoms? And there is no place in the bedroom for the government-come on now guys enough is enough!! It all comes down to drawing that line in the sand-donot allow our governments to seperate the masses and in the process allow everybody to become nothing more than a third-class citizens in the due processes of things that will probably be.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hi

    Im tired of you being everywhere I go and deciding what I may choose. Thank you so much for deciding what's good for me.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tony

    I know this is not the topic of this article however Rich Scott the current Florida Goveror has had a hand in passing a unfair bill that requires a person to own a automobile before they can cash in scrap metal. It's decriminalizating against all thise people who can not drive or unable to drive. How does someone who doesn't have any other way of working except scrap metal recycling and doesn't currently own a car have chance to even work to obtain one? Welfare is important for the homeless and drug screening should not be necessary for all recipients. It's time to stand up say something and take action to stop the goverment's new bills and laws that are passed that take away from us and give nothing back in return.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
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