David Carr Answers Our Burning Question: Why Are Some Junkies Fat?

Carr, in his husky stage.
Carr, in his husky stage. Photo: Nytimes.com

Among the many, many things that David Carr reveals in his drug-addiction memoir, The Night of the Gun, an excerpt of which will appear in The New York Times Magazine this weekend, is the fact that there was a point during his addiction where he weighed close to 300 pounds, or, as he put it, he was "a touch on the amazingly obese scale." Reading this earlier today, we found ourselves wondering something that we have wondered before: Cocaine is a notorious appetite suppressant. People sometimes do it to lose weight. So what's with these junkies who gain weight, such as John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Jim Morrison? Aren't you, at that level of addiction, so tweaked out you no longer care about food?

We probably could have Googled, but instead we e-mailed David Carr to ask. And he had a theory! Sort of.

Here is what he told us:

My girlfriend at the time, Doolie, said Tom Arnold and I were the only people she knew who got fat on coke, but there are probably a few others out there. (And I didn't get sorta fat. I got huge. I could barely walk. I had to borrow pants from another fat guy if I had to get out of sweats and go out into the outside world. True story. And looking at those pix, I was not, um, a good looking fat guy.)


Here's my bs theory. Drunks and junkies are people who like sticking things in their mouths. Bottles, pipes, pills, other people's body parts. But when consuming mood altering substances and other activities depart the scene, the reflexive activity continues. in my case, I developed an intimate relationship with all the major food groups while in treatment and discovered that while fake mash potatoes are not an intrinsically interesting food, they are a more the sufficient conveyance for getting great gobs of butter down yer piehole.

Now we know. Cocaine and Hungry Jack — a destructive combination.

Related: Go Ask David Carr