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How Much Does Cocaine Cost Gram?

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Due to its euphoric and stimulating effects, cocaine is one of the most popular illicit drugs in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2020, approximately 5.2 million individuals aged 12 or older reported past-year cocaine use. Among these, 1.3 million had a cocaine use disorder. (1) Because of its short duration of effects, those who misuse cocaine tend to engage in frequent, repetitive use and are at an increased risk of dependence, addiction, and overdose.

Any use of cocaine can be dangerous, and regardless of the method of administration, it can cause deleterious short- and long-term effects. If you are a cocaine user, be aware that curbing this expensive habit can reduce your risk of many health complications and the potential for existing issues to worsen. It’s fair to say that overcoming cocaine use disorders is often challenging for individuals to achieve alone. Fortunately, this condition is very treatable, and symptoms can be managed. Guardian Recovery is available to help individuals begin the recovery process and provide them with the therapies and support they need to sustain long-lasting sobriety and foster a healthier, more fulfilling life.

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How Much Is a Gram of Cocaine in the U.S.?

Although Cocaine in the U.S. has significantly waned in the last few decades following its peak in 1982, its persistent popularity cannot be denied, as it continues to have millions of active users. (2) According to the 2016 World Drug Report, “the number of heavy cocaine users in North America has declined,” suggesting “an overall shrinking of the cocaine market, although the number of (recreational rather than regular) cocaine users in several emerging markets continues to rise.” (3)

Cocaine continues to be one of the most expensive illicit drugs found on the black market, having long been referred to as a rich man’s drug, and for good reason. However, the price of a gram of cocaine varies by location and quality, so determining it can be challenging, and reports from government agencies differ.

Statistics on the Average Cost of One Gram of Cocaine in the United States

Other data gathered from surveys and governmental research places the retail price for cocaine per gram at anywhere from $25-$200, indicating an extensive range based on purity, location, and other factors.

Price for a “Bump” of Cocaine

A “bump” or “key bump” is a small dose of cocaine scooped out using a fingernail or key for snorting. On average, there are approximately 25 bumps (doses) of cocaine in a gram. Because cocaine prices are so unpredictable, determining how much a bump would cost is difficult. However, some sources indicate it may be obtained for just a few dollars.

Price for an 8-Ball of Cocaine

An 8-ball is about one-eighth of an ounce (about 3.5 grams). More often than not, an 8-ball is purchased for the use of multiple individuals. As a result, people are more likely to go in on it together to lower the cost per user while getting more of the drug per person. When sold by a dealer for individual use, an 8-ball consists of approximately 16 doses. (7) Like many other estimates on cocaine costs, reports are limited, conflicting, and vary widely.

Price Per Kilogram

Kilos of cocaine (1,000 grams) increase in price as they are processed, adulterated with cutting agents, and cut into grams. According to Tom Wainwright, author of “Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel,” when cocaine arrives in the U.S., “it’s worth about $20,000 per kilo.” (8) He further explains, “By the time it makes it to dealers, it’s worth maybe more like $70,000, $80,000.” When it finally retails, it’s “worth more like $150,000 per kilo.” (9)

Crack vs. Cocaine Prices

It is widely believed that the crack version of cocaine, which is typically smoked, is cheaper in comparison to powder cocaine. This may have been true in the 1980s, but research has since determined this may not be the case. According to a study in the journal Addiction, “crack is neither more nor less expensive per pure unit than powder cocaine.” (10)

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Can Cocaine Prices Be Influenced by Location?

The DEA estimates approximately 90% of cocaine production occurs in Columbia, South America. (11) The closer you are to the drug’s location of origin, the lower the prices will be. In other words, if you are in the U.S. and you purchase cocaine from Mexico, another large producer, in theory, it will be less expensive than Columbian cocaine.

Also, cocaine tends to cost less in cities with an extensive urban sprawl compared to rural areas. This is because most drug dealers, traffickers, and cartels are located near cities, and higher drug supply leads to lower prices due to stiffer competition within and between territories.

Can the Price of Street Cocaine Influence Addiction?

The price of drugs—like any legal or illegal product—can influence rates of misuse, particularly among those with limited financial resources. Refined drugs with intense effects are more desirable than cruder versions, and this is reflected in the price. In addition, drugs in limited supply will cost more than those widely available, and where a substance is cultivated and produced will also be a factor in its cost.

That said, addiction is driven by much more than just the cost of supporting it. There are reasons why some people with substance use disorders turn to illicit activities—because they are the option they have to earn money needed to feed their habit.

Also, it’s important to note that cocaine use and dependence are not limited to any socioeconomic group. For decades, cocaine has gained a reputation as a rich man’s drug due to the prevalence of use among young, white-collar professionals who either use cocaine as a premium “party drug” or as a way to boost confidence and energy, even if it’s only for a short time. This implies that the street price of cocaine is also affected by how those with disposable income respond to a price increase, which in some cases, may not be much at all.

How the Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Influence Addiction & Lifetime Costs

Cocaine’s frequency of misuse among regular consumers is directly related to its intense but short-lived effects, which generally last less than 30 minutes. Also, when cocaine’s elating and energizing feelings wear off, the “comedown” users experience can be highly unpleasant and include profound depression and malaise. Therefore, users are motivated to ingest increasing amounts of cocaine to combat these effects.

Unfortunately, this intensity of misuse can easily result in chemical and emotional dependence, and feeding this habit can become extremely expensive over time. It’s not uncommon for a person to require as much as 5 grams per day to sustain their addiction, which can amount to thousands of dollars each month.

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Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease, and despite what some continue to believe, the condition is not the result of poor moral character. Due to the complexity of substance use disorders, chemical dependence, and the many factors that drive them, they are most effectively treated using an integrated, evidence-based approach that includes a variety of therapeutic strategies and professional support.

If you’re ready to overcome a cocaine use disorder, curb destructive drug-seeking behavior, and reclaim the healthy life you deserve, reach out to Guardian Recovery today. You can speak to a skilled Treatment Advisor who can explain more about our streamlined admissions process, comprehensive programs, personalized treatment plans, and full continuum of care. Contact us for a free, no-obligation assessment and health benefits check, and begin your recovery journey today.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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