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. NHLady

    I wish all states signed this legislation into law. What right do drug-abusers have to my hard-earned tax dollars? If my money is going to help people than it should go towards people who are spending that money on getting their life on track and supporting themselves, instead of funding their drug habits. I am independent and often vote democratic, but the democrats are nuts if they believe this is an invasion of privacy! If money I worked to earn is going towards people on welfare I would like to DEMAND that they are drug-tested. If they use drugs, but they REALLY want the financial help from the welfare system, than they should have to take responsibility and decide which they want more. If they decide they want drugs more, well tough. These people went on drugs in the first place because no one probably ever held them accountable for their actions. It's time for them to grow up and it's time for us to drug-test them and hold them accountable for once! I'm all for some social programs (Planned Parenthood, for instance, provides contraception that keeps these drug-abusing idiots from breeding and bringing unwanted, uncared-for babies into this world)... but this is our taxes paying into the welfare system, and this is NOT a charity!!

    June 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. stormsun

    In my opinion, every state in the union should adopt similar laws. Furthermore, every able-bodied person should be required to work at state-supervised tasks for at least 4 hours daily until they no longer require public assistance. The do not get to choose the kind of work; they just have to do it to continue to receive support. Drug testing would be a regular, unscheduled part of this routine. Single mothers would be included; their children would be in state-run day-care during their work shift. SOMETHING FOR NOTHING IS A BANKRUPT IDEA THAT HAS TO GO.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      something for nothing? Sounds like investor trading of stocks by computers. You realize there are tons of computers using all sorts of fancy logarithms to trade stocks non stop when they rise just a slight amount. It's wealth creation with no work. Most big time investors can fit into your little rant about do nothing gooders who get somthing for nothing.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kevin Cantu

    All of you are commenting about drug screens for welfare recipients but NONE of you are saying anything about drug testing for Politicians like the governor......Wonder why that is....Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • hi

      I support that too Kevin. You must not have read the comments.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lee Oates

    You can expect the crime rate to soar out of sight within 6 months of it being enforced. Expecially thefts an Break & Enters. Neglect of children will rise resulting of a greater load of foster children dependent on the state. You will realize little savings if any.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • OP

      That's exactly what he wants. A higher crime rate so he can funnel more of our tax dollars into the recently privatized jails down here in florida. Funny timing of this article. NOt to long ago florida privatized more of it's jail system.

      You think subsidizing people outside of jail was expensive lol. Wait till you see the new costs to jail them.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      The benefits are still issued to the children through a third party. It is a crime now for them to spend money on drugs that were meant for the children. I don't think the requirements for getting welfare be any less than applying for a job.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Fair

    No welfare for drug users
    Lets get a nation wide poll going. I agree a drug test should be administered if you are on welfare.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      What if they paid taxes for years>?

      June 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robrob

    I know bumper sticker solutions have an allure for certain types of shallow thinkers but the facts are pretty obvious; if an addict can't get better through some sort of social program they can't work. If an addict is still addicted and can't work, how do you THINK they are going to support their drug habit? Either start supporting rehab programs or start accepting welfare as "insurance" so you don't have to buy a new car radio every other week.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Paul

    The problem with this law is of where to draw the line. Does anyone receiving gov't funds have to pay to take a drug test. College students getting loans, seniors getting medicare, medicaid receivers, etc Legislators?? What about the wing nut Republican that wants anyone tested that takes any drugs from a prescription, drinks alcohol, smokes, etc. Some may want them tested if they don't attend church on a regular basis. What about the fact that Gov. Scott owns interests in companies that do the testing??????

    June 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Youravgjoe

    This law is superficial and stupid. Welfare keeps roofs over people's heads. Drug addicts who become homeless see their addictions get worse not better. Drug addicted people on the streets commit more crimes. They get caught by cops, and they get sent to jail, where tax payers pay $30,000 per year instead of the $8- $12,000 they were receiving on cash assistance. Drug addictions are addictions. They are a health issue not a criminal issue. Lots of research shows that drug addicts cannot kick the habit on the street, and stable housing is a necessary step to getting clean.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Let the weakest of our herd die, it's better for the species over time.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Hey they are Christians in Florida.. their actions make complete sense to me considering..

      June 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheVoice

      AMEN!

      June 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BIGPUCK

    I would say the most beneficial result of requiring drug tests before unemployment benefits are payed is that it ensures the recipient has passed the first qualification most employers require of applicants, that they are drug free. This helps to ensure that they are moved back into the work force as quickly as possible.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • leftlamb

      How about breathalyzers at the Senate door?

      June 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Dude

    Not enough crime in your State? What morons these people are. It is better to have a Crack Addict able to get is drugs rather than making them shank granny at the ATM to get their fix.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jim

    @justANidea, that's just stupid you pay for Medicare throughout your life time-even when your drawing social security, besides when you're old and infirm you're prescribed drugs to ease the pain of various diseases so your argument has no correlation to drugged out lazy bums.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Regnad Kcin

    The single most dangerous drug is alcohol.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Dude

    People are thinking too much about the stupid money (less than 1% of the budget) and are ignoring the social implications. Sure you will feel better knowing that that 1 cent out of your taxes isn't paying a crack head.. you may have second thoughts when you or someone you love comes between them and a fix.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim

    Well any drugged out bum goes breaking in my house their going to get blown right back out.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      But then you must clean up the mess. Brain matter is no fun cleaning up.. I think it would be better to spend that 1 cent .

      June 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WatchDawg

    If you watched the CNN report, they stated this only applies to about 6% of people currently on government assistance in Florida. My question would be what is the amount of money being spent by this 6% of the population.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
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