Best Characters Created While Authors Were High On Drugs

It’s probably an understatement to say that most artists have taken drugs at least once in their lives. Even though some authors maintain a stuffy air, most can party as hard as anyone else. (Every beat author could have taken up a spot.)

The interesting thing about the authors on this list of famous drug addicts is that they don’t all just write in one genre, or exist in one time period. There are authors who were all baked out of their minds on their drug of choice while they sat with their quills in hand and set their words to paper. You’ll see a few drugs of choice on this list – most of them are chemicals that were designed to keep someone up and working long past their bedtime, and a good number of those pills, liquids, etc., don’t even exist anymore.

Even if you’re living your life drug free, take some time to get to know these famous writers who used drugs, because their work is astounding no matter how it came to be.

So put on your groovy fringe vest and dig on this of famous authors who used drugs and did their best work while high.

Sal Paradise from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The mythology surrounding Jack Kerouac’s most famous work, On the Road, is that he wrote it in a non-stop three week period. Which is sort of true. But the thing historians tend to shy away from is that Kerouac was taking benzadrine (basically speed) in order to fuel his writing. This was a nasty habit that would follow him to his death.


William from Junkie by William S. Burroughs

Heroin is so synonymous with William Burroughs that it feels weird telling people he took drugs. In fact, Burroughs was on and off junk so often it’s shocking that he lived into his eighties. But back to the heroin, he was injecting it steadily throughout the 1950s while he worked on Junkie and Naked Lunch.


Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Of all the writers on this list, Thompson probably took the most drugs. In fact, there was even a schedule for his drug intake that made its way into his biography. His daily habit included everything from cocaine to Halcion.


Jack Torrance from The Shining by Stephen King

Stephen King, the master of horror, has been open about not only his alcohol abuse, which was the basis for The Shining, but also his heavy cocaine use that lasted from 1978 to 1986. Despite some of his best material coming out in that time frame, he openly admits that his final book written while cruising the snowy highway, The Tommyknockers, is one of his worst.


Howard Roark from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

In order to finish her masterwork, The Fountainhead, Rand turned to Benzedrine and finished one chapter a week. She continued to take the drug for the next three decades, so now we know what to blame for Atlas Shrugged.

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