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. kristen

    I do not see a problem receiving welfare to help them and get them back on their feet.(And no I have never received it). People get caught in tough situations and it really helps some people out. I do believe that people applying for welfare should do a drug test. I would rather use my tax dollars to give drug tests out and if they're dirty they don't get the thousands and thousands of dollars in welfare they will receieve for how ever many years. Like others said I had to do a drug test to get a job and receive my money I WORKED for. So should people that are receiving free money.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Klaark

    Oh, too funny! Yes, take away the druggies welfare money. I'm sure they won't find ANY way to buy drugs! NO WAY are they going to end up in prison! Psst, it costs a lot of money to keep people in prison...

    Just when I think people can't physically be any stupider, I'm proven wrong.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Hurricane season is supposed to be awful this year. If we are lucky Florida will wash away and attach to Cuba.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vince

    I am a pure Liberal, and I do agree with this law 1000%. The only thing I have against this new law is the reason this crook of a Gov. this ignorant state of Fl has, is because he owns all the clinics that do drug testing. He has invested 75 million dollars to be elected. He has to pay back investors. So Yes it is a great idea but for his own personal gains. But yet when Obama proposed this the GOP immediately shut him down saying to much taxpayer money will go to drug tests.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. guest

    They should add a few more to the list too: men & women who don't pay child support, people who drink alcohol , people who smoke, those that aren't going to school or in a job training program. Why? There are so many people out there ready to throw a drug addict under the bus but the guy who drinks all the time still gets a free ride? The woman who is on welfare and runs out to buy a pack of $5.00 cigarettes everyday...wrong still! If you are going to pick one group, then you might as well pick them all! Oh yes, and lets not forget the hugely obese people who buy more soda pop than fruits and vegetables with our welfare money. They need to get pulled to. Maybe they should have to lose some weight before our tax dollars go to feeding their food addiction.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • another guest

      You forgot politicians. If the citizens of Florida have to to prove they are drug free, so should the Governor. How much did the medicare fraud perpetrated by his former company cost the taxpayers of this country? I'd be willing to bet he has his crooked fingers in the companies that will be doing the drug testing.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Dude

    The Irony will be the Tests will cost more than the benefits denied.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Homer10

      The cost has risen to $200.00-$300.00 a test. If multiple drugs are tested for, the cost goes up higher. If you believe in these tests then you are an ignorant DS. Drink 3-4 (8) Oz glasses of water before the test, and urinate a few times before giving a sample will gaurentee a negative test. How do you think truck drivers do it? There all buzzing on crank like crazy, yet they all have to be tested. The test is too easy to beat.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tim

    i have no problem with this idea, as long as "drug" testing includes alcohol and nicotine both of which have done MUCH GREATER damage to america than all other drugs combined.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Good point Tim! Alcohol is a drug and so is nicotine. If we are are going to ask our government to run drug tests, then we should test for everything.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roland

      @ Guest Below: so is caffeine, so no coffee or sodas.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      i agree think of all the waste tax dollars on their medical care. this is what makes medical care so expensive. So if these people want a free ride thay need to shape up.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    The children of drug users suffer enough. If you take away the parents' welfare money, they will start selling their children to sickos in exchange for drugs. It's already happening. Look at what happened to poor little Shania Davis and Zahra Baker. If we do this program, we also need to start mandating birth control. We don't have to rely on birth control pills anymore. If people want free money, they will need to have some kind of long-term birth control so they don't keep having more and more children, who are abused and neglected. It's just a vicious cycle. Those children will either be dead or grow up to be another burden on the system. Meanwhile, the most highly educated of this country are choosing not to get married at all, or if they do marry, they have no children. On the converse, the poor, uneducated drug users are popping out 6 kids. What will happen with the next generation? If there are no well off people growing up, how are we going to support all of the others who cannot or will not support themselves? There is a breaking point here.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    @OP, except for maybe pot nearly all illicit drugs cause people to be more violent, as a result it causes more crime so all your arguments about this bill creating more crimes is baseless. If anything if this bill is passed and it forces recipients off of drugs then it will in theory create less crime but small minds can't comprehend that concept.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ThinkAgain

    How about no radio shows for drug users? I'm talking to you, RUSH!

    June 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sal

    And we should not give welfare to people who have cancer. Drug addiction is a real illness. Drugs have taken over the users mind and body. Many people try to escape this nightmare with just will power but yet the disease is far gone in some that they can't. We will have to find a cure. I have seen ladies beg god to help them stop drugs only to later see them fail. We have to as country need to treat this as illness and have treatment programs for people all income to try.II have never tried drugs but I do know that more people who are on them really want to get off of them.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The Dude

    Can't you just smell the Freedom!!!?? Or is that boot leather?

    June 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. The King

    Typical right wing, short sighted, nonsense. "No welfare for drug users", there is its! Problem solved in a neat little nutshell with a bow. Honestly, I don't know how anyone with an IQ over 90 subscribes to anything that comes out of Fox "news". Think it though people, it won't work. Not every issue in this country is a binary right/wrong situation, its chess, not checkers.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jim

    @mike children shouldn't be in those homes anyway. It's time for society to step in and really help those children instead of continuing this d amn nonsense of giving their parents endless amounts of money so they can continue doing another line or two. I'd much rather see all that money go to building GOOD orphanages where the children will be truly cared for instead of letting them continue to live in a drug den.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. thecentrist

    The government does not want to deprive people of much needed money for themselves and their children's livelihood. Nor is it an attempt to invade personal privacy. What is problematic and what this is obviously geared toward is to stop people from using food stamps and other assistance as a commodity in order to get cash. There has been cases and is cases where someone who receives a EBT card gets about 2/3's of its worth in cash. Then uses that money to purchase drugs, essentially manipulating a much needed government program into a drug subsidy.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. percysmama

    yes yes yes cut off the drug users. I am all for helping them clean up in a program, but not supporting them with a roof over their heads so they can do drugs and not get a job. Welfare has become a right to these people, as opposed to a way to get back on your feet. Welfare is not you birth privilege. I also think people should not be morbidly obese on welfare either. We just pay a ton in medical bills for both these groups. hey if they took some personal responsibility they probably would not be on welfare. Having said that there are a very small number of people who use the system to get on their feet or raise productive educated kids. Yeah to you people.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
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