First, while alcohol abuse has existed in American society throughout the twentieth century, the argument suggests that transformations in the illicit drug market in the 1 980s qualitatively altered the impact substance abuse has had on the lives of the poor. The arrival of crack in the mid-1980s offered poor people a cheap alternative to alcohol, "making the pleasures of cocaine available to people who had very little cash and were likely to spend it on the first high they could afford."34 Indeed, Jencks estimates that by 1991, around 30% of all homeless single adults used crack regularly.35 The relationship of crack (and heavy drugs more generally) to homelessness is two-fold. First, homelessness may lead to crack and drug addiction because "big-city shelters are full of crack, and so are many of the public places where the homeless gather." Second, however, heavy drug and crack use can conversely cause homelessness directly by making "marginally employable adults even less employable, eating up money that would otherwise be available to pay rent, and making their friends and relatives less willing to shelter them."36 Moreover, drug addiction and crack use helps keep the homeless on the streets, as the drugs increasingly consume most of their disposable income. Drug use, however, is in most ways a personal decision. Therefore, many people feel that the homeless who do abuse alcohol and drugs are largely responsible for their own predicament.
Another effect is obesity, which is widely observed in people who like watching TV and eating snacks everyday (there is even a term “TV snacks” to refer to fast food that is suitable for eating in front of the TV).
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