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. kazzu

    they Should also test lawmakers. I mean if they get taxpayer money should we know who's using and who isn't?

    June 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      I agree with that. Add law enforcment, judges, and any other public servants.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • TestLawyersToo

      They should test lawyers too... MOST of them are "somewhere else" while consuming your hefty retainer fees.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike ryder

      Amen to that kazzu lawyers bankers every body get tested Testy for alcohol too and witchcraft and lupis and ciccle cell anemia and republican and aids Test for them all and we'll all just perish in our own zeal

      June 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. VBobier

    I get SSI(Supplemental Security Income), Drug Testing should only be done on those who have a criminal record and only to make sure they don't waste the money their getting, In any case I've never abused any sort of drugs, SSI is My only income and without It I'd be homeless, Which the far Right Loonies like Ryan and Boehner want to balance the budget on My back, As where would I and My Cat go? Most of My relatives that could take Me in are dead, the four that are left either can't or in the case of My sister in law says She won't have a stranger living under Her roof, No surprise really, She divorced My brother and then took back Her maiden name, While My brother lay dying I was allowed to stay overnight on the carpeted concrete floor in a spare bedroom, After He died, I'm only allowed over while Her 3 grown kids are there at Thanksgiving and Xmas. I can't wait for the 2012 elections to get here. Republicans seem to be anti jobs, Paid by Big Oil, Anti Senior and Anti Disabled... I didn't realize this country that I grew up in and whose Ancestor served in the Union Army in the Civil War as a Major General(His nickname was Pearl and I have a photo of Him in His Uniform from back then) was slowly becoming a hateful/spiteful nation that doesn't tolerate those that can't actually work for a living, But then they killed the Disabled as they said they were a burden on society. My family came to this country in 1850 from France via Ireland(settled in Ireland around 1690, Left for America in 1850). Oh and I use a spell checker and a Cane, Of course I'm about to turn 51 years old in July.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      they are talking about welfare, not SSI. You sound pretty sorry for yourself.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • cb

      VBobier- I am sorry for what you are going through.
      Unfortunately this country has been taken over by people like percysmama who have a complete lack of compassion for their fellow citizens. Welcome to the United States of Me Me Me. It's all about greed and looking out for only number one. People are guilty until proven innocent.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mountain man

    I have to take random drug screenings for my job. I work my tail off. Why should I have less rights than welfare folks. Suck it up if you want welfare.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Don't get mad at them you are treat like chattle, that is your choice.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      Dude it is their choice to apply for welfare. It is our money and drug addicts should not get it.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      well, tecnally, it is not lawful for a company to drug test, but the facest courts have sided with righ business over the common man, and ruled that due process is only required by the government.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Epica

      I am a government worker and we are drug tested. Pretty much everyone drug tests these days. I completely agree that people receiving assistance should be tested. Why should our money go to drug users when it can go to people that need the help and actually want to better themselves and not live off it for their entire lives.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Dude

    Well at least the sh!t state of Florida is the testing ground for this social nightmare. The deserve it for the 2000 elections.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. EconomicMorass

    Besides the problem of paying for all the tests, what do you think the people who fail the tests will do when they're cut off from the government teat? Uh, yeah, marginalized into a life of crime. Have fun with that Florida!

    June 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      They will change their minds after their orphanages are full, their homes are broken into and their government goes bankrupt from having to support all of those in prison. If they are going to offer testing they should also offer rehabilitation as well. A drug addict without food and a roof over their head is still a drug addict.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      I think the druggies will not have such an easy time maintaining their habbit and some will reform and others will not go down that path.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      failing a government drug test is probible cause, they could be arested and fined/jailed, I think this system is doomed.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Common Sense

    Legalize it... that way you can save much more money drug testing individuals, as well as generate billions of tax dollars to spend on programs such as healthcare and education. Don't know why more people don't use common sense these days.

    I'll be here all week with more great ideas.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      I agree we should legalize drugs and tax them to death to pay for all the medical care.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike ryder

      let them eat their cake ........legalize it control it dispense it and tax the daylights out of it watch the shift happen increased revenue decreased expenditures in fighting it .....no more black market/ organized crime .......fewer and fewer people would be using the hard drugs after so many idiots end up killing themselves off who are we to begrudge a person their fix as a matter of fact here have dome more and now your dead no more problem

      June 1, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ellis

    Bob! I miss you! You are my only friend. Please come back.

    June 1, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    @IowaVote, don't you read? I Wasn't talking about poor people, I was talking about drugged out losers-why should any child be forced to live that way, that's no life. Oh let me see so some druggies can feel good about themselves. And do you reall ybelieve that garbage about drugs being good for welfare recipients because it makes them feel "good about themselves".

    June 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MARY

    I think its odd that the govenor didn't mention that he owns several drug testing facilities.I went for an interview a one of those drug testing sites here in WA. They were getting paid minimum wage and got bonuses for running a certain number of tests on their shift. They site was dirty, in an old run down building nothing like you would think it should be. I could see at that facility the potential for major mistakes and mis-read tests. Remember, the more tests they did the more money they got! I don't know what should be done, but again poor people are getting screwed again! I think it would be more appropriate to give those on welfare, most importantly those that have been on for years education, job skills. That is what we should be demanding from our politicians. And if they don't take the education or a decent job or job skills then take them off of assistance. I was on welfare some years ago and put myself thru nursing school! ~MARY~

    June 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Thank you Mary for telling us what this is really all about. Another money making venture for another crooked lawmaker. This isn't about welfare recipients getting benefits. It's about greedy lawmakers.

      June 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GE

    You are all missing the most important point, what are these people going to do for money when they can't get government assistance? Do you really think they are just going to sit around starve lamenting about their failure to get assistance or do you think they will somehow magically be given the kind of security and job skills needed to secure an income? Or will the smarter ones just take a masking agent and fake the test results? People will suffer and the government will just have to spend even more money cleaning up the mess left by the uptick in child welfare cases, thefts, and incarcerations.
    Let's not forget the fact that this law does nothing to stop the government from supporting drunks, even though there are scores more alcoholics using the government to support their addiction than there are drug users doing so.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jim

    @public servants, legalize what? Crack, Pot, Meth? Nearly all drugs except perhaps pot causes people to be more violent so legalizing it would in the end cause that which we're trying to stop, so how exactly is that a good idea.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sarwar

    i used to work in florida as a pharmacist, i think this is perfectly right and other state should follow it. if you think about taxpayer money, NY medicaid covers brand oxycontin, what a big incentive !!

    June 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Teri

    Unless all states implement the same policy, the drug users will just up and move to another state. Bus tickets are cheap. Of course, FL would be thrilled with that outcome as well. Neighboring states need to get this policy going pretty fast or the FL trash will just move up the road and suck them dry.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim

    Oh wouldn't mind cleaning up a little brain matter if it meant one less violent druggy won't hurt or kill anyone else.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Trip

    Just looking at this piece of crap makes me want to tear him and his wallstreet buddies to shreds! Mark my words your day is coming soon, the protesting you see going on in the world is only a heart beat away.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike ryder

      when and where ......ya f yeah when................where............ we're Ready

      June 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • )o(

      Amen to that. The irony of this POS complaining where taxpayers dollars are spent, after the fraud that his company foisted on the American taxpayer. This guy should be in jail..but the voters of Florida sent him to the Governors mansion instead. Go figure.

      June 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
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