By Edmund Murphy

Last updated: 18 May 2024 & medically reviewed by Dr. Jenni Jacobsen

Prescription drugs are the most widely used substance in the United States and one of the most abused. Prescription drug abuse has led to increased demand on the street, with users often purchasing fake versions of market drugs that may contain harmful substances.

Key takeaways:

  • How much prescription drugs cost on the street depends on several factors, most notably what type of drug is being purchased.

  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin) street price: between $12-80 per pill

  • Xanax (alprazolam) street cost: $2 to $20 per pill

  • Ambien street price: $2 to $20 per pill

The Street Cost of Prescription Drugs

Street price of prescription drugs

Prescription drugs are the most widely used substances behind nicotine and alcohol in the USA. As of 2021, 66% of US adults take prescription drugs.[1] 

While most people carry out their prescriptions in the recommended dosage, a growing amount of people either abuse the drugs they are on or become addicted to them through increased tolerance and dependence. 

This has led to many people seeking out prescription drugs on the street, as their average amount is no longer enough or their prescription finishes. With this increased demand, dealers have become able to charge more for prescription drugs that have been obtained illegally, or worse creating counterfeit versions that contain harmful substances. 

Others may resort to buying prescription drugs on the street if they can’t afford them legally. This may be due to losing their health care or their insurance provider removing the drug from their cover list. 

How much prescription drugs cost on the street depends on several factors, most notably what type of drug is being purchased. The main types of prescription drugs purchased illegally are opioids, benzos, amphetamines, and antidepressants.

Street price of prescription opioids

Opioids are some of the most widely abused prescription drugs, owing to their euphoric effects and high dependence rate. This makes them also one of the most commonly purchased black-market drugs. 

The average price for opioids on the street:[2][3]

Fentanyl street price: around $99 per gram

Hydrocodone (Vicodin) street price: $6-8 per pill

Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) street price: ranges between $2 to $150 per pill

Morphine street price: approximately $5 to $50 per gram

Meperidine (Demerol) street price: $2.50 to $6 per dose

Oxycodone (Oxycontin) street price: between $12-80 per pill

Tramadol street price: $1 for a 50mg pill to $5 for a 100mg pill

Street price of prescription benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are also widely abused, with many who start taking the drugs to control anxiety symptoms soon becoming dependent on them. Benzos are also widely abused for their sedative effects, meaning even those who don’t need them take them recreationally. 

Common prices for benzos sold on the street:[2]

Ativan (lorazepam) street cost: $1 per pill

Klonopin (clonazepam) street cost: $2 for a 1mg pill

Valium (diazepam) street cost: $2 to $7 per tablet

Xanax (alprazolam) street cost: $2 to $20 per pill

Read here to learn more about the cost of Xanax on the street, including fake Xanax.

Street cost of amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulant drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleep-related disorders. These drugs are widely abused as they cause increased energy, focus, ability to stay awake, and euphoria. Unlike illicit stimulants, the street cost for prescription stimulants tends to be much cheaper. For instance, the cost of a gram of cocaine is on average $120 in the US, compared to $3 for an Adderall pill.

Street prices for prescription amphetamines:

Adderall (dextroamphetamine-amphetamine) street price:$3 to $15 per pill

Ritalin (methylphenidate) street price: $1 per tablet

Vyvanse street price: $3 to $30

Many other types of prescription drugs are purchased on the street and abused. Some of these, such as anticonvulsants like gabapentin, are used alongside other drugs in order to boost their effects.

Some of these prescription medications include:

Ambien street price: $2 to $20 per pill

Flexeril street price: $1 to $10 per pill

Gabapentin street price: $2 to $20 per tablet

Trazodone street price: typically below $20 per pill

Wellbutrin (bupropion) street price: $1 to $5 for a 100 mg pill

Zoloft (sertraline) street price: $1 or less per tablet

zopiclone (Imovane) street price: $1 per pill

What affects the street price of prescription drugs?

All substances purchased on the street have factors that affect their cost. These include availability, quality, local laws, location, and type of drug being purchased.

While these variables affect the price of prescription drugs as well, there are other factors that affect the price of these drugs. For instance, some prescription drugs that have been on the market may become banned or discontinued. This can make them harder to find and therefore more expensive to buy on the streets. A famous example of this is Quaaludes, a sedative drug that was incredibly potent and addictive. It was banned in 1985 and became a popular black market item, made famous by the film The Wolf of Wall Street.[5]

Treatment for prescription drug addiction

Increased levels of prescription drug abuse in the United States has led to a rise in the need for treatment resources. Many rehab centers have treatment programs that are designed to deal with different prescription drug types (opioids, stimulants, benzodiazepines, etc.) and can incorporate various treatment models to treat multiple drug addictions. 

Types of prescription drug treatment include:

As well as the above evidence-based treatments, there is also a range of holistic and alternative treatments that are often offered alongside proven addiction treatment methodologies. Holistic prescription drug addiction treatments can include music or art therapy, equine therapy, and nature retreats.