Last updated: 28 November 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon
Crack cocaine is an illicit stimulant that has been a primary target of the war on drugs since the late 70s. Crack’s relatively low cost and widespread availability mean that many people who try it become addicted.
Many users will buy crack in individual doses, known as hits, which are significantly cheaper than weight amounts, often as little as $15.
When a substance such as crack becomes a target for law officials, drug manufacturers will tend to limit production in order to avoid getting caught, which may rise the cost.
As with availability, where drugs are produced dictates their price. Crack is relatively easy to produce in large quantities when compared to other drugs.
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What is the street price of crack?
The cost of a hit of crack - Many users will buy crack in individual doses, known as hits, which are significantly cheaper than weight amounts, often as little as $15.
The cost of a gram of crack - A Vice article published in 2016 placed the average cost of crack at $65 per gram, with an addiction costing around $225 per day in Canada. Other research into the cost of crack puts the average price at around $60 to $100 per gram. This differs greatly from the price of a gram of coke, which averages at around $120.
The cost of a kilo of crack - It is very rare that a kilo of crack will be bought at street level. Instead, large quantities of pure cocaine are bought and then made into crack rocks.
Crack cocaine, often referred to as “crack” or “rock”, is the crystallized form of cocaine. It is less pure than powdered cocaine and produces a short yet intense high, and often costs significantly less.
Both pure cocaine and crack are illicit stimulants that cannot be obtained legally. This allows drug dealers to price the substances depending on availability, meaning crack may cost more in areas that don’t have high levels of drug manufacturing.
Crack is often smoked through glass pipes but can be used in other, much cheaper ways such as by heating on top of aluminum foil and inhaling the fumes through makeshift tubes.
What affects the price of crack?
Like with all illegal drugs, there are a variety of factors that affect the cost of crack. The main areas that change crack costs are:
Illicit drug production and distribution is an illegal activity that costs the government billions of dollars per year in prevention. When a substance such as crack becomes a target for law officials, drug manufacturers will tend to limit production in order to avoid getting caught.
This in turn makes buying crack on the street more difficult and drug dealers will increase the drug costs to offset the risk.
Crack 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 crack with other stimulants such as meth or Adderall increases the risk of overdose and can be life-threatening.
Drug dealers and manufacturers will often use cheaper alternatives to pure cocaine in order to increase quantity and profit, as the cost of cocaine makes it expensive to make pure crack cocaine.
As with availability, where drugs are produced dictates their price. Crack is relatively easy to produce in large quantities when compared to other drugs. However, sourcing the cocaine used as the primary ingredient is more difficult in some areas than others.
Most forms of cocaine are sourced from south of the border and states that are further south such as Florida and California tend to have easier access to it, therefore making crack more readily available.
The cost of crack addiction vs treatment
crack addiction may not appear to be a financial burden when looking at the price of a single hit, but the short-term effect of the drug can make it very expensive. The euphoric feeling or “high” from crack tends to only last around 15 minutes, making people who abuse the drug take regular hits in order to keep the feeling going. This can lead to heavy costs for crack addicts which may be maintained by pursuing illegal activities or getting into financial debt.
Stimulant addiction treatment centers can offer help and support for those suffering from all types of substance use disorder, including crack and cocaine addictions. Though many see them as too expensive or inaccessible, getting treatment for a substance abuse disorder is always less than the cost of supporting a drug addiction and there are many treatment options available. If you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction, contact a treatment provider today.