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Hunter S. Thompson's Daily Drug Regimen

Updated September 23, 2021 248.9k views17 items

The outlaw newsman Hunter S. Thompson will forever be remembered as the pioneer of gonzo journalism, a veritable rock star of writing, a champion of the Constitution, and an eccentric, misanthropic crown prince of madness. However, if there's one aspect of his infamous life and legacy that may be more well-known than his acclaimed writings - like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hell's Angels - or his long-form, genre-bending editorials, as well as missives for Rolling Stone, it's his propensity for almost unimaginable substance abuse.

His alcohol and hard drug intake was unrivaled even by the most outlandish rock gods, movie stars, and Beat poets. Some of his friends recall his love of smoking weed out of a human skull, while others remembered his habit of downing an entire bottle of whiskey every day. Truly, Thompson's daily intake of an immense number of substances sounds like it would doom a normal human, but Thompson was anything but normal. To truly appreciate the depths of his now-legendary love of vice, here's a breakdown - from observers, reporters, and even the man himself - of what he consumed on a daily basis, from the time he woke up to whenever he went to bed the next morning.

  • High-Grade Weed To Take The Edge Off

    After hours of cocaine, Dunhill cigarettes, cocaine, Chivas Regal whiskey, cocaine, and then some more cocaine, Thompson liked to relax with some top-shelf weed to ease his nerves (and paranoia and mania).

    According to Carroll's account of Thompson's daily routine, at 6 pm it was time for some "grass to take the edge off the day."

    Thompson himself often espoused the merits of the drug and was an advocate for its decriminalization: "I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits."

  • Two Margaritas, Two Heinekens, And More Coke With Dinner

    Thompson knew a thing or two about decadent dining. In Carroll's rundown of his daily habits, she described what lunch was like for the gonzo journalist whenever he'd go into the small town near his Owl Farm compound in Colorado.

    "Woody Creek Tavern for lunch," Carroll wrote of the frequent outing, which she described as taking almost two hours. "Heineken, two margaritas, coleslaw, a taco salad, a double order of fried onion rings, carrot cake, ice cream, a bean fritter, Dunhills, another Heineken, cocaine."

  • For Dessert, A Snow Cone Doused In Four Jiggers Of Whiskey

    Thompson would finish off his massive lunch with a "snow cone" for the ride home, a term he used for his favorite drink, which was described as "a glass of shredded ice over which is poured three or four jig­gers of Chivas."

    He was known for his beloved snow cone concoction and didn't just drink it at the end of a long meal. In fact, he seemed to enjoy it as his drink of choice when he was behind the wheel. According to a biography of Thompson by William McKeen, he'd often take visitors for rides in which he "drove his car 110 miles an hour with the lights off after midnight with his snow cone (Chivas over packed ice) between his legs."

  • Serious Cocaine Use After Dark

    While Thompson would use coke throughout the day in small doses, it wasn't until he'd already been up for six or seven hours that he'd really dive in. Carroll's breakdown of his daily routine said that, at 9 pm, Thompson "starts snorting cocaine seriously," and notes that he'd go for it again at around 11 pm.

    In 1990, Rolling Stones columnist Mike Sager flew out to Woody Creek, CO, to join Thompson as his temporary assistant. Sager recounted the writer's prodigious coke use, both in the evening and at the start of the day:

    This was in the old days, when coke was rocky, and crystalline. He had a blender that was kind of like a grinder you use today for marijuana. It would turn the rocks into powder, suitable for snorting. I would dump the entire quarter ounce into the grinder, and grind it all up until a snow drift would form on a mirror below. Then Hunter would take one of those old Bic Pens, a long plastic tube, and he’d remove the ink cartridge. It makes a perfect straw. He’d bend over the snowdrift and do a huge snort.