The Average Cost of Illicit Drugs on the Street

From cocaine to OxyContin, drugs have been easy to find on just about any street corner in any country around the world. As long as there is a demand for these substances, drug suppliers will find a way to get people the drugs they crave. Why? It is because of a concept that goes all the way back to early economics classes: supply and demand. Some U.S. states have decided to take matters into their own hands to try to regulate the problem. For example, states have addressed the legalization of marijuana.

Colorado, California, Maine, Oregon and other states have passed marijuana laws that not only allow people to use the plant but grow the plant on their property as well. There are even classes that teach people how to successfully grow and sell marijuana.

These states regulate the costs of legal marijuana, however. Due to these costs, many people still opt to buy from street dealers because their products often tend to be less expensive, or they do not want to interact with authorities, or for other reasons.

Prices and Values of Street Drugs and the Effects of Drugs

Obviously, like any product sold around the world, street drug prices are affected by the economy and the basic principles surrounding supply and demand. As such, the street drug prices mentioned below should be taken as a rough estimate, not as an exact pricing guide.


Marijuana is often used as a recreational drug, although many people use it for medicinal purposes. Out of all the drugs on this list, it is probably the cheapest and the easiest to obtain. The average street cost of most marijuana is about $15 a gram. The body metabolizes marijuana quickly and the effects can last anywhere from two hours to twenty-four hours.


Heroin has become the drug of choice for a lot of users. It is highly addictive and the prices for just a dose often go from between $15-20. A heavy heroin user can spend up to $200 day. In short, using heroin is not a cheap habit. The high of heroin use might last between 2 to 6 hours.


Methamphetamine (Meth)

Like crack cocaine users back in the 1980s and 1990s, many methamphetamine (meth) users make their own products, often with disastrous results. They might be motivated by the profits, because meth is not a cheap drug. A single gram of crystal meth can cost around $80 at the low end of the scale and can cost as high as $200 for just a few grams. The effects of meth can last from six hours to about a day.



Like marijuana, cocaine is a very popular drug, but unlike marijuana, it is an expensive habit. Just a single gram of cocaine can cost about $100-120. So, if a user buys several grams of cocaine (coke), it can quickly cost thousands of dollars. Unlike many of the other drugs on this list, the effects of cocaine are short-lived. A cocaine high might last only thirty minutes.

Club Drugs

Other drugs such as LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, PCP, and other hallucinogenic drugs are often cheaper than some of the other drugs mentioned above and are referred to as party drugs or club drugs.

Some types of club drugs include:

  • Ecstasy, a form of a drug known as MDMA, became popular in clubs and parties. Users take the drug to experience an instant high. Ecstasy can stimulate its users and make them hallucinate. People often buy ecstasy in pill form. It is a relatively inexpensive drug, as the normal cost of ecstasy is $15-20 a dose. Its effects typically last a few hours.

  • Ketamine — or K or special K as it is known on the streets — is a used as a recreational drug, although doctors and veterinarians also use it as an anesthetic. People misuse ketamine to hallucinate and to distort their perceptions. The drug comes in pill, powder, and liquid forms. The average cost for a dose is $25 and it can produce a high that lasts from four to six hours.

  • PCP (also known as angel dust) is also a fairly cheap drug. It comes in a number of different forms, including powder, capsules, and tablets. The cost runs between $20-30 a dose and the effects can last from a few hours to several days.

  • LSD is a hallucinogenic drug that became popular in the 1960s. Many people who take LSD have a hallucination-filled experience known as trip. Users take LSD in pill or liquid form or ingest it in small squares of gelatin. They also place small absorbent pieces of paper soaked with the drug (blotter squares) on their tongues. One hit of LSD can cost between $5-20 and the effects often last from twelve to twenty-four hours.


A number of factors influence the prices of street drugs. These factors include the public’s demand for the drugs and the ease of making them. As laws and bans continue to evolve, and some materials become increasingly difficult to obtain, the cost of street drugs will rise and fall.


Ultimately, the price of drugs should not be viewed as a dollar amount. Drugs if mishandled and abused can cost people their lives. The true price of doing illicit drugs could be your job, family, mental health and even physical health. While street drug prices might fluctuate, the effects of drugs often do not. Drugs can be addictive and destroy lives. Effective addiction treatment can help treat such addictions.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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