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  • Heroin is an opioid drug that’s injected, snorted, smoked, or sniffed. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. That means it poses a high risk of abuse and addiction.

    As an illicit drug, heroin is only available on the street. 

    How Much Does Heroin Cost?

    Heroin costs vary depending on factors like purity, type, and availability. 


    Pure heroin usually costs more than heroin that’s been cut with additives.

    However, many drug dealers use additives that resemble pure heroin, such as powdered milk or flour, to trick buyers into paying more for the drug.


    There are three main types of heroin: white powder heroin, brown powder heroin, and black tar heroin. White powder heroin tends to cost the most, while black tar heroin tends to cost the least. That’s because black tar heroin is the least pure. 


    Heroin generally costs more in areas where it’s difficult to find, which are usually rural areas.

    The Average Price Of Heroin

    In New York City, most people pay about $10 for a bag of heroin, which typically contains about one-tenth of a gram of heroin. In other places, though, a bag can cost as much as $25 or as little as $5. That means heroin sometimes costs less than a pack of cigarettes. 

    Heroin Vs. Prescription Drugs

    Heroin also tends to be much cheaper than prescription opioids, which include oxycodone (brand name OxyContin), methadone, fentanyl, Vicodin, and Percocet. These prescription painkillers can cost up to $100 a pill. 

    Many people start using heroin after they become addicted to prescription opioids but can no longer afford them or get prescriptions from their health care providers. 

    As an opioid itself, heroin produces effects that resemble those of prescription opioids. In addition, some people say that injecting or snorting heroin produces a more rapid, intense high than swallowing an opioid pill. 

    To mimic the effects of heroin, some people crush opioid pills into a snortable powder or dissolve them into an injectable liquid. 

    However, in an attempt to decrease prescription opioid addictions, many pharmaceutical companies have started making opioid pills more difficult to crush or dissolve. 

    Although these efforts may reduce prescription opioid addictions, they don’t stop people from turning to heroin. 

    Why Is Heroin So Cheap?

    Heroin comes from the opium poppy plant. In recent years, opium poppy production has risen significantly in Afghanistan, which is one of the world’s largest heroin producers. This increased supply contributes to lower prices.

    Also, as stated above, heroin tends to be cheaper when it’s less pure. The heroin bags that can cost as little as $5 only contain about 25% pure heroin. 

    Other Costs Of Heroin

    Heroin use often leads to drug addiction, also called substance use disorder. While a bag of heroin may be cheap, heroin addiction is expensive. Some people with this disease spend up to $200 a day and over $50,000 a year on the drug. 

    Heroin addiction may also come with other costs, including: 

    • relationship problems
    • trouble keeping or finding a job
    • health problems, such as kidney disease and liver damage, that require costly treatments
    • expensive legal problems if you’re caught buying heroin or stealing money to buy it 

    Although heroin addiction may seem scary, you don’t have to face it alone. Treatment centers across the country provide medical detox, mental health counseling, and other recovery-focused services to help you or your loved one fight the disease of addiction. 

    If you or someone you love struggles with heroin addiction, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our substance abuse and addiction treatment programs. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Heroin use is driven by its low cost and high availability
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - What are the medical complications of chronic heroin use?
    United States Drug Enforcement Administration - Drug Scheduling
    Washington Post - Opium in Afghanistan: How the U.S. failed to end poppy production

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 10, 2022
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