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How Much Does Meth Cost?

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Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that acts very much like amphetamines such as Adderall. Its influence on dopamine levels in the brain makes it easy to form a dependence on the substance and very difficult to get and stay clean. You cannot measure the cost of meth use only by how much a hit costs but also by the serious and long-lasting health issues, crime, and economic ruin that it causes. Meth addiction creates devastating impacts on users, their families, and communities, as well as a huge financial cost due to its widespread use.

If you or someone you love is struggling with meth addiction or any other substance abuse disorder,  Guardian Recovery can help. Our experienced, compassionate team will work with you to develop an individualized and effective program to help you recover from addiction and get you on the road to long-term recovery. We believe in the benefits of a full curriculum of clinical care, beginning with medical detoxification, transitioning into a higher level of treatment, and concluding with personalized aftercare planning. Our program also offers nutrition therapy to help you with a healthy recovery from weight loss and nutrient deficits. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options in your area.

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Street Prices & the Cost of Meth by Gram

The street price of meth varies depending on the type and purity of the drug, as well as geographic location and availability.

Methamphetamine can come in several forms, including crystal, powder, and liquid meth. In general, pure crystal methamphetamine (also known as “ice”) will be more expensive than powder forms of meth, with prices ranging from around $50 to $100 per gram in some areas. Powder meth is typically cheaper than ice, but prices vary widely between states and locations. Generally speaking, a gram of powder meth can cost anywhere from $20 to $60. Liquid meth is often more affordable due to its lower purity level. One of the most popular weights of meth is 3.5 grams — often called an 8-ball — usually sells for between $70 and $90.

Methamphetamine Prices & Availability

Prices for methamphetamine may vary significantly between cities, states, or even neighborhoods. Cost is often a reflection of availability – if meth is more difficult to obtain in a particular area, its street price will likely be higher than in areas where it is more readily accessible.

Dealers may charge different rates for different levels of purity, but it’s important to note that they often add adulterants to increase the quantity of their product, so it’s important to be aware of these potential risks when purchasing meth. Some common bulking agents include:

  • Baking soda.
  • Baby powder.
  • Powdered milk.

Dealers will also cut meth with other drugs to enhance its potency. Common substances used for this purpose include:

  • Fentanyl.
  • Caffeine.
  • Acetaminophen.
  • Ketamine.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Methamphetamine

Prices for methamphetamine may vary significantly between cities, states, or even neighborhoods. Three primary factors affect the cost of meth.

Availability

Most methamphetamine is produced in illegal laboratories run by Mexican drug cartels or criminal gangs. These criminal organizations have developed supply channels for precursor chemicals, making it easy for them to produce large quantities of meth quickly and cheaply. The product is then smuggled into the U.S. by criminal networks that specialize in drug trafficking.

Purity

The more pure or potent the product, the more a dealer will charge for it. Methamphetamine is usually mixed with other substances to increase quantity and potency. Many of these additives — like fentanyl — make the drug even more risky to take and can put you at a greater risk for overdose.

Where Does Meth Come From?

Most meth is produced in Mexico, but there are also “cookers” in Southeast Asia, particularly China. Some meth is manufactured in U.S. clandestine laboratories, usually making much smaller quantities than in other countries.

In Europe and North America, methamphetamine produced overseas is smuggled via sea routes by criminal networks. Overall, there are no geographical boundaries when it comes to meth production and trafficking, as criminals have found ways to operate across borders despite law enforcement efforts.

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How Methamphetamine Is Sold & Distributed

Methamphetamine is typically sold on the street by drug dealers, who peddle their wares at “raves” or other parties, and in public places such as parks or parking lots.

Over the past several years, the internet has become an expanding market for dealers. It can also be sold through connections with organized crime syndicates or trafficked across borders by drug cartels.

The Economic & Social Impacts of Methamphetamine Use

The economic and social costs associated with meth use may outweigh the cost of getting high. Methamphetamine users are more likely to commit crimes, overdose, experience homelessness, succumb to addiction-related illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, and suffer from mental health problems – all of which take an immense toll on families and communities alike.

In addition to this human cost, there is also the financial cost: meth has been estimated to cause losses of over $23 billion annually in the U.S. alone due to lost productivity, criminal justice costs, child welfare services, healthcare costs, and other associated expenses.

Methamphetamine-related crime and related criminal justice costs, including imprisoning people convicted of meth-related offenses, cost the United States an estimated $16 billion annually. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, an estimated 65% of the U.S. prison population has a substance abuse disorder.

The financial impact of meth use on health care is similarly high. According to a recent study, the healthcare sector spent over $26 billion in 2010 to treat substance abuse disorders. Of that total, $13 billion was attributed directly to methamphetamine. In addition, emergency room visits related to meth soared from 130,000 in 2005 to nearly 400,000 in 2011 – an increase of more than 200% over six years. The medical costs associated with treating complications due to long-term use can be even higher.

Health Risks Associated with Using Methamphetamine

Using methamphetamine can have a range of dangerous physical and psychological effects, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, hyperactivity, anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, confusion, aggression, depression, and anorexia. Long-term use has been associated with serious health problems such as stroke, organ damage or failure (especially the liver), kidney disease, and damage to brain cells that control moods and emotions.

Once the euphoric feelings of a meth high dissipate, you will experience a “crash,” often accompanied by intense cravings, depression, and fatigue. This can lead to further drug use as a way of dealing with unpleasant feelings.

The economic and social costs associated with meth use and addiction are staggering. From lost productivity and criminal justice expenses to increased healthcare costs and damage caused by violence or property destruction related to drug activity, the cost of meth goes far beyond its street price.

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Methamphetamine is highly addictive and can potentially cause severe dependence. While a single dose of meth may not seem expensive, the cost of maintaining an addiction can run into thousands of dollars yearly. But, the price you pay in damage to your health and relationships and any potential legal costs if you run afoul of the law may be higher still. No matter the substance, the best way to overcome addiction is with the help of experienced, trusted professionals like those at Guardian Recovery. We provide comprehensive treatment, including medically-assisted detox, therapy, specialty programs, and reintegration support. Our caring and skilled administrative, medical, and clinical teams will guide you through every step of your recovery process from the first time you call. We provide a complimentary assessment and a free insurance benefits check and help coordinate local travel to our facility. All you have to do is ask; we will take care of the rest. Contact us 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.

  1. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Methamphetamine-2020_0.pdf
  2. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/13973/
  3. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Methamphetamine-2020_0.pdf
  4. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine
  5. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/how-methamphetamine-manufactured
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883188/
  7. https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs44/44731/44731p.pdf
  8. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/secured/wdr/Prices_ATS.pdf

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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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