How Much Does Heroin Cost?
Although lower street costs may seem initially appealing to users, heroin’s heftiest, most deadly costs are hidden.
Many users start using heroin after their prescription painkillers (such as Oxycontin) become too pricey.
While turning to heroin appears to be a less expensive opioid substitute, often the hidden costs of heroin are discovered only when it’s too late to undo the consequences of a dangerous, newly formed habit.
It’s important to learn how much heroin will cost you – not only on the street but also from the hidden financial, physical and personal chaos that results from this destructive drug.
The following information will also help you better understand how to best help someone who might be battling a heroin addiction.
The Street Cost of Heroin
How much does heroin cost on the street? The price of heroin depends upon a number of different factors – including the type of heroin, how available the drug is to the public at a given time and how the heroin is “cut” and processed.
- The average cost of a single dose (0.1 g) of heroin purchased on the street has been reported as approximately $15–$20 in the U.S. state of Ohio.
- The heroin price per gram depends upon its purity and the availability of the drug in the area at that given time.
- Someone with a “hard-core” heroin habit may pay $150–$200 per day in order to support his or her habit.
The reason for such a high daily spending habit has its roots in the nature of heroin addiction. As individuals become more dependent on the drug, they build tolerance to it – meaning that it takes more and more heroin to get high. This leads to an expensive habit – and the constant threat of overdose.
The Hidden Costs You Pay
While the street price of heroin may appear cheap, you will end up paying more than just the street price of heroin out of your own pocket, especially depending on how much your healthcare plan covers for you.
Costs can include lower income levels, higher medical and legal expenses, relational costs and physical/emotional costs.
Below are some of the additional hidden costs you may face as a result of your heroin use.
Heroin use will often lower your total income – either by causing you to neglect your job responsibilities or by removing you from an income-earning environment.
- Unemployment: Using heroin may lower your desire and ability to find and keep a job.
- Lower earnings: Poor job performance and incarceration can decrease your overall income.
Medical Care Expenses*
A variety of physical consequences may result from using heroin that require important medical attention and treatment.
Emergency room visit
No insurance = $740–$3.4K
Insurance = $150–$320
Ambulance ride (L.A.)
No insurance = $1K–$1.3K
Insurance = $200–$260
Doctor’s office visit
No insurance = $38–$396
Insurance = $32
No insurance = $10K
Insurance = $2K–$5K
Heroin abuse facilities
No insurance = $1K–$3K+
Insurance = $0-$1K+
Widely variable costs, depending on individual circumstances
*Costs and ranges are U.S. averages and estimates in U.S. dollars for all types of medical needs, unless stated otherwise; costs vary by city, medical organization, type of health insurance and individual medical needs.[2-9] Values followed by “K” are in units of 1000.
Physical / Emotional Costs
In addition to financial consequences, one of the greatest price tags of heroin is its ability to destroy and even take your life.
- Decrease in emotional maturity: Long-term heroin use can lead to inability to handle stress without the drug.
- Withdrawal and detoxification: Symptoms range from depression to irritability.
- Death: Heroin addiction and overdose can kill you.
Heroin affects more than just the heroin user – relational dynamics with others can severely change for the worse when you use heroin.
- Damage to relationships with loved ones: Reliable, trusting and loving relationships with friends and family may break down.
- Loss of child custody: If you are a parent who uses heroin, you also risk losing custody of your children for legal reasons such as neglect or abandonment.
The legal costs of heroin use may include prison time, along with federal and state fines. You may also find yourself getting caught up in child custody disputes, in the event that you have children and are charged with abandonment or neglect.
Possession of heroin
1st offense – 1 year in prison and a $5,000 fee.
2nd offense – 2 years in prison with a $10,000 fee.
7 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fee.
Manufacture, sale or distribution of heroin
1st offense – 15 years in prison with a $25,000 fee.
2nd offense – Up to 30 years in prison with a $50,000 fee.
10 years tolife in prison and a $100,000 fee.
Child custody disputes
Child custody disputes can result in fines between $3,000–$40,000.
*Estimates are typical costs and can vary by state and by type of child custody dispute.[10-11]
The Hidden Costs Society Pays
There is another way in which to look at heroin costs, and that is the overall “societal cost” brought about as a result of this drug’s presence in our cities and towns.
The U.S. Government has estimated that the nation’s overall annual expenditure on heroin was roughly $27 billion dollars in 2010. Most of this tremendous figure is due to productivity costs of heroin users (mortality, unemployment, incarceration, etc.).
Medical complications and conditions such as AIDS resulting from heroin use account for society’s next largest set of costs, followed by heroin-related crime costs and medical care costs.
Help for Those with a Heroin Problem
If you or someone close to you shows signs of suffering from heroin addiction, it is important that you reach out and help.
Finding a drug intervention is often the most effective way to get the addicted individual into a heroin rehab program.
In these meetings, the individual is “confronted” about heroin addiction by friends and family who communicate how serious the issue has become.
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- T. Mark, G. Woody, T. Juday, H. Kleber. The economic costs of heroin addiction in the United States. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2001;61(2):195-206.
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Help for Heroin Addiction
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