How Much Do Illicit Drugs Cost?

The dramatic increase in drug use, specifically the rise in abuse of prescription opioids and painkillers, comes with significant costs. The most striking is the loss of life, the decimation of families, and the destruction of communities. Between the years of 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people in the United States lost their life from drug overdoses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 130 people suffer fatal overdose from opioids every day. Opioid use is at a crisis level in the United States for several reasons, most notably the ease of obtaining them and the quick ability to become addicted and misuse them. 

Outside of opioids, other drugs are still a concern for Americans. Marijuana, meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin, for instance, are also in high demand. Addicts abusing these drugs suffer similar devastating outcomes as those that are struggling with opioid dependence. In addition to the life and quality of life costs that these drugs have on addicts, what exactly are the financial costs? Get a better understanding of the general cost of street drugs described below.


How Much Do Illicit Drugs Cost?An increase in users is being reported as the United States inches towards more and more states legalizing marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes. Many people aren’t as concerned with addiction to marijuana, but it is important to note that chronic marijuana use lends itself to psychological dependence. 

Obtaining a drug comes down to finding a supplier and obtaining the money for the purchase. Studies show that substance use is related to its cost. For instance, as wealthier individuals engage in substance use, the cost of the substance also increases. Marijuana has seen a sharp rise in price.

Those individuals who have a medical marijuana card are looking at prices that include $200-$400 per ounce and $20-$60 per gram. Marijuana on the streets can vary by location throughout the country. Arkansas has the lowest street cost per ounce for a low-grade product at about $138. Washington, D.C. has the highest cost per ounce for low-grade products at $377. High-grade products per ounce can range from over $250 to upwards of close to $600. 

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are a wide category that encompasses many drugs and the cost varies widely to match. A majority of opioids come from prescriptions that have the assistance of insurance coverage to aid with the costs. Interestingly, the most addictive substances have some of the lowest costs while less addicting medications have higher costs. Thus, because the majority of abusers have a valid prescription to obtain these medications, their insurance is effectively aiding their supply by taking the edge of the costs. Vicodin is a good example. For 100 pills with insurance, you are looking at about $126. If you look for Vicodin on the street and with no insurance, 100 pills would run you about $500.

Other common drugs that can be purchased with a prescription include Fentanyl, Norco, Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Suboxone, and Tramadol. Insurance makes Oxycodone the most cost-effective at $0.33 per pill but without insurance, it would cost $20 per pill. A Fentanyl patch is the most expensive with insurance at $9.40 per patch while on the street the same amount would cost about $40. Understanding the costs overtime for an addict, think of taking oxycodone 3 times per day. With a prescription, the cost to the user would be approximately $361.35 yearly but without a prescription, it would run more than $3,000. Opioids will inevitably increase in price for addicts. As one uses the opioid, they will build up a dependence. So, one requires more to obtain the same effect, and as such, they will need to buy more overtime to compensate for this effect. 


This drug is extremely deadly and a concerning trend is taking place where the cost of heroin is decreasing but its potency is increasing. To obtain a baggie, the costs can range between $5 to $20. In 2016, the average price per gram was $152 in the United States according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). A gram can yield about 20 bags and those who have reported their heroin use indicate that they may use up to 15 bags each day. The costs per year would be astounding at $22,810 to $91,250.

Stop Wasting Money On Drugs

If you are an addict spending money on drugs at a rapid pace, you are spending money to meet your demise. Your life has much more value than allowing it to be degraded by drug use devastation. The medical detox and addiction alternative treatment center at Discovery Place can help you stop the cycle of addiction. Located in the serene countryside of Tennessee, Discovery Place’s Tennessee addiction alternative treatment center’s team is here for you  24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

You have nothing to lose by contacting us today. Call our Tennessee detox alternative treatment center anytime day or night at 1-800-725-0922 to get the answers you need and the help you deserve.

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