Last updated: 26 November 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon
The cost of cocaine in the US averages at $120 per gram, though costs vary depending on location, purity, and local law enforcement. Read here for more about the cost of cocaine by weight, what affects these costs, prices around the world, and the cost of addiction treatment.
- Cocaine is usually sold in gram weights, with a single gram costing $120 on average.
- The cost of cocaine can vary dramatically depending on several factors including location, state law, and purity.
- No matter how much cocaine costs, the price of addiction treatment will always work out more cost-effective than a lifetime of cocaine abuse.
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The price of cocaine by weight
The cost of cocaine varies greatly across the United States. There are many reasons for variation in cocaine cost between states including the purity of the drug, the types of cocaine being purchased, the socioeconomic status of the area, the popularity of the substance, its purity, and the presence of crime.
As with all substance abuse, the cost of supporting addiction always outweighs that of receiving treatment.
The price of a gram of cocaine
The most common street price for a gram of cocaine in the US is around $120. However, this can vary drastically by state, how close to cocaine manufacturers it is bought (a gram of cocaine in Colombia costs as little as $4), and how close to heavily populated urban areas it is bought. Some areas report that cocaine can cost as much as $200 per gram. Crack cocaine is more regularly abused in lower-income areas as crack has a lower average price per gram than cocaine.
The price of a kilo of cocaine
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime puts the average price of a kilo of cocaine in the US at $28,000, though other estimates suggest it is as high as $70,000.
As with the price of a gram of cocaine, the cost of a kilo changes depending on the area in is bought in, even within the same state. For example in Massachusetts, one kilo of cocaine in Boston usually costs between $29,000 and $39,000, $31,000 and $38,000 in Springfield and around $30,000 to $36,500 in Worcester.
The price of an 8 ball of cocaine
An 8-ball of cocaine, or other drugs such as meth, is a weight measurement of the substance that is equal to 3.5 grams, or an 8th of an ounce.
Most reports suggest that an 8-ball of cocaine will cost between $120 and $300.
Selling drugs such as cocaine, crack, and heroin in 8-ball weights has been popular since the 1970s as many drug users will prefer to have larger quantities of the drug and most dealers will offer a special price for 8-balls.
The price of a zip of cocaine
A zip also called a 'zone', is a 1 ounce measurement, equivalent to 28 grams. The term 'zip' comes from the 'z' in oz, the abbreviation of ounce.
A zip of cocaine may cost as little as $450 in some areas and over $2,000 for purer cocaine.
What affects the price of cocaine?
As with all illegal drugs, there are a variety of factors that affect the cost of cocaine. The main areas that change cocaine costs are:
Purity - cocaine can be mixed with a variety of other substances that can cause different side effects and feelings. Most of these combinations make the drug even more dangerous to take. For example, mixing cocaine with other stimulants like meth greatly increases the risk of overdose. These dangerous drug combinations also tend to increase prices. Crack cocaine, which tends to be full of impurities, is far cheaper than powder cocaine.
Type - While most users seek to purchase white powder cocaine, there are actually many types of cocaine available, though some may not be easy to acquire. Cocaine variants such as brown cocaine (brown-brown) are not normally sold in the US and may therefore come at a steep price.
Availability - Illicit drug production and distribution is an illegal activity that costs the government billions of dollars per year in trying to control it. Increased law enforcement tends to force drug manufacturers to limit their production, making the sale of substances like cocaine riskier and therefore higher.
Location - As with availability, where drugs are produced dictates their price. Cocaine tends to be produced in South America as that is where the materials for making it originate. It is then trafficked into North America, most commonly through drug cartels in Mexico. This means states in this area tend to have more access to the substance. The same is also true of larger cities, where crime rates and drug dealing tend to be higher, making the substance more readily obtainable. Read here to learn more about how cocaine is made and why it affects cost.
Cost of cocaine around the world
There were over 284 million people recorded globally to have used illicit substances in 2020, of which 21 million used cocaine, according to the latest version of the United Nations World Drug Report. The global use of cocaine has risen in the past decade (despite a slight decrease during Covid-19) with global production and new shipping routes seeing purity increasing with prices decreasing across mainland Europe and beyond.
Areas such as Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Northern Africa have long been through routes for cocaine trafficking, and new methods to avoid detection and increased quantities being smuggled have seen cocaine use increase dramatically across the continent. While areas such as the UK and France have seen a decrease in prices in recent years, regions with stricter drug regulations and harder-to-reach trafficking ports have seen an increase in costs.
For example, Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and U.A.E have much stricter drug control laws, making buying a gram of cocaine difficult for users. This means that it will cost around $533 US dollars to buy a gram of cocaine in Saudi Arabia, nearly five times the price compared to mainland Europe.
European countries such as Poland, Italy, and France pay comparatively little compared to countries where drug trafficking is riskier like Australia ($242 per gram). Portugal has a considerably lower price ($38 per gram) than the rest of Europe but this is due in part to the country's substantial decriminalization of class A (Schedule I) substances like cocaine.
Cocaine addiction vs the cost of treatment
Cocaine addiction can be incredibly expensive. For example, a person with a severe cocaine addiction can spend $170,000 per year on buying the drug. This can lead to heavy financial losses and crippling debt.
Visit here for more information on the cost of addiction.
The financial cost is not the biggest loss a person with cocaine addiction faces, however. As with all forms of substance use disorder, cocaine addiction greatly impacts health (both mental and physical), relationships, family, work, education, and just about all areas of life. Once a person has developed a dependence on cocaine they will often find their lives spiraling out of control and may find it hard to recognize and hold onto the important parts of themselves outside of their addiction.
Addiction treatment centers can offer help and support for those suffering from all types of substance use disorder, including cocaine. Though many see them as too expensive or inaccessible, getting treatment for a cocaine use disorder is always less than the cost of supporting a drug addiction. If you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction, contact a treatment provider today.