Prescription drug abuse, now the fastest-growing drug problem in the country, has created a ballooning street market for highly-addictive pain relief, anxiety, and depression drugs.
Given the money involved, it’s no wonder.
Here’s a sampling of the street prices for a single tablet of some commonly trafficked drugs, compared to their retail prices:
–Oxycontin: $50 to $80 on the street, vs. $6 when sold legally
–Oxycodone: $12 to $40 on the street, vs. $6 retail
–Hydrocodone: $5 to $20 vs. $1.50
–Percocet: $10 to $15 vs. $6
–Vicodin: $5 to $25 vs. $1.50
Those street prices were gleaned from the latest data put out by federal law enforcement agencies, and the retail prices were from pharmacychecker.com.
As is typical in illegal drug sales, demand is driving the business.
Prescription drug abuse is spreading nationwide, but it is particularly rampant in cities like Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and New York, federal officials say.
For decades, Marijuana was the gateway drug for first-time drug abusers in the United States. But two years ago, prescription drugs won that dubious distinction, according to Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“It’s a significant shift in trend,” Payne said.