Inspired by the principles of crowdsourcing, StreetRx is a one-of-a-kind program that identifies and tracks the street value of prescription and illicit drugs. StreetRx gathers user-submitted data to map the street price of a variety of drugs across the country.
StreetRx users can anonymously post, view, and rate submissions, shedding new light onto the often muddy waters of the black market. By providing invaluable information about the preferences of users, health communication specialists can adapt the outreach efforts to the local needs of their community.
Lortab at a Glance
Lortab is a brand-name medication of a hydrocodone/acetaminophen combination. It is typically used for the treatment and management of moderate to severe pain. Like all drugs containing hydrocodone/acetaminophen combos, Lortab is classified by the FDA as a Schedule II drug requiring a valid prescription.
Lortab on the Street
Today, Lortab is primarily used as an alternative painkiller in place of Vicodin or Percocet. As with many other opiate analgesics (painkillers), there are risks associated with Lortab, especially when it is misused. It is the misuse that has caused the FDA to place restrictions on the legal procurement of Lortab, driving many people to buy it on the street or otherwise acquire it through the black market. In order to build a better understanding of the underground market for this drug, StreetRx collects data on the street price of Lortab and has found that the average street price of Lortab is approximately $1.20 per milligram.
A Brief History of Methadone
First developed in Germany in 1937, methadone offers patients longer and more potent analgesic effects than many other painkillers. First introduced to the U.S. market in 1947 by Eli Lilly and Company, methadone is approved as a reliable and effective analgesic (painkiller). In the United States, methadone is also used to treat opioid dependency because of its ability to block the euphoric highs of drugs like heroin or morphine. Due to the drug’s potency and long-lasting effects, methadone is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance by the FDA.
Methadone on the Street
Despite the regulations implemented by the United States government, methadone is still a widely used drug for the treatment of pain and opioid dependency. When a person is unable to procure methadone through traditional channels, he or she may turn to the black market. In order to develop a better understanding of the underground market for this drug, StreetRx collects data on the street price of methadone and has found that the average street price of methadone is approximately $1.00 per milligram.
A Brief History of Morphine
First isolated from opium in 1804 by the German pharmacist Friedrich Serturner, morphine is a potent opiate analgesic most often used to manage pain before and after major surgery.
Morphine was first distributed by Serturner in 1817; however, it wasn’t until 1827 that the pharmaceutical company Merck began selling the drug commercially. After the invention of the hypodermic needle in 1857, morphine became the gold standard in opiate analgesics due to its ability to relieve even the most severe pain. Despite its benefits, morphine has a high potential for addiction and dependency.
Morphine on the Street
The feeling of euphoria that opium induces in the user is the leading reason for the abuse and misuse of this controlled substance. For this reason, the United States government classified morphine as a controlled substance under the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, making the possession of morphine without a prescription a criminal offense. In order to obtain morphine, many people turn to illegal distributors and the black market. In order to better understand the underground market for this drug, StreetRx collects data on the street price of morphine and has found that the average street price of morphine is approximately 55¢ per milligram.
A Brief History of Oxycodone
Developed in Germany in 1916, oxycodone was one of several semi-synthetic opioids created to improve upon the existing selection of opioids. Scientists hoped that oxycodone, which is derived from thebaine, would become a viable treatment alternative while maintaining the analgesic effects of morphine and heroin without the dependence. One year after the drug was developed by German scientists Martin Freund and Edmund Speyer, oxycodone made its clinical debut. After its introduction to the U.S. market in May 1939, oxycodone became widely used to treat acute postoperative pain. After two decades, the United States government classified oxycodone as a Schedule II narcotic. It was the government’s hope that these new restrictions would aid in the fight against improper use and abuse of oxycodone. Today, oxycodone is an active ingredient in a number of brand-name pharmaceutical products, including Percodan, Endodan, Roxiprin, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet, and OxyContin.
Oxycodone on the Street
Today, oxycodone is widely used to treat pain resulting from cancer treatments, major surgery, and more. While oxycodone has proven effective in the treatment of acute pain, it has been found that a dependency may occur in some patients. As such, the government has implemented certain restrictions, which in some cases may compel those who cannot obtain oxycodone through proper channels to seek the drug on the black market. In order to better understand the underground market for this drug, StreetRx collects data on the street price of oxycodone and has found that the average street price of oxycodone is approximately $1.40 per milligram.
A Brief History of Percocet
Percocet, which contains oxycodone and acetaminophen, is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Originally produced in Germany in 1916, oxycodone was used as an alternative to morphine as a treatment for acute and chronic pain.
In the 1950s, pharmacists began mixing oxycodone with acetaminophen (aspirin) under the name Percodan, which became the most heavily prescribed painkiller in the United States at the time. Due to the fact that Percodan could not be used for postoperative pain, it was replaced by Percocet, which then became the leading painkiller in the country, in 1974. While Percocet was proven to be effective in treating pain, it became widely overprescribed. In 1995, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that Percocet be sold in limited amounts, as it had been found to be associated with liver damage. In 2000, an FDA study revealed the misuse of Percocet was the cause of almost 400 deaths per year due to overdose and liver damage. This caused the FDA to classify Percocet alongside other opiate-based painkillers as a Schedule II narcotic, tightening restrictions on availability.
Percocet on the Street
Despite government attempts to control and monitor the use of Percocet, it is still widely misused and abused. For those unable to procure Percocet from a physician, the alternative is often to find the popular painkiller on the street. The street market for prescription drugs like Percocet comprises a large underground economy that is poorly understood and has been studied very little. This gap in knowledge has allowed the prescription drug black market to expand and thrive. In order to better understand the underground market for this drug, StreetRx collects data on the street price of Percocet and has found that the average street price of Percocet is approximately $1.75 per milligram.
A Brief History of Tramadol
Tramadol was first developed in the laboratories of Grünenthal GmbH, a German pharmaceutical company, in the late 1970s. Since then, there have been over 55 different brand names for tramadol worldwide, including Ralivia, Ryzolt, Tramal, and Ultram. Tramadol is widely used for the relief and management of moderate to severe pain. Despite tramadol being classified as an opiate, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider it to be a controlled substance in the United States. Because of this, one may obtain tramadol with a standard prescription. It is even possible to obtain tramadol from an online pharmacy as long as the pharmacy is properly licensed in the United States. As a synthetic agent, tramadol is less addictive than some other opioid analgesics and it is unlikely that a dependency will occur when the drug is used for an extended amount of time. This makes tramadol a good solution for many people with pain from an injury, illness, or operation.
Tramadol on the Street
While tramadol is not a controlled substance and is widely available, there is still a considerable black-market demand for the drug. In order to better understand the underground market for this drug, StreetRx collects data on the street price of tramadol and has found that the average street price of tramadol is approximately 12¢ per milligram.
First introduced to the United States in 1978 by the German pharmaceutical company Knoll, Vicodin has become a common treatment for those suffering from mild to severe pain. A combination opioid-narcotic drug, Vicodin contains both acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Vicodin is an intermediate-strength Schedule II analgesic, approximately twice as potent as morphine when taken orally.
Vicodin on the Street
Since its introduction, Vicodin has been used to treat both acute and chronic pain. The FDA has classified Vicodin as a Schedule II drug with the hope that the restriction will limit the misuse or abuse of the drug. For those looking to obtain Vicodin without seeing a physician, the alternative is often to look toward the black market. The street market for prescription drugs like Vicodin comprises a large underground economy that is poorly understood and has been studied very little. The mission of StreetRx is to elucidate this underground drug market and use the knowledge obtained to aid in the reduction of prescription drug abuse. For this reason, StreetRx collects information on the street price of Vicodin and has found that the average street price of oxycodone is approximately $1.45 per milligram.
Cannabis goes by many names, including weed, pot, marijuana, and more. The drug is derived from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and is made from the dried flowers, leaves, stems, and seeds of the plant. Dried cannabis can be smoked, although it is often added to food or beverages, as well. Legalization in several states has made cannabis more accessible for medical and/or recreational purposes. Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that can be both a stimulant and a depressant. It often causes a euphoric feeling, or high. Ongoing use can cause respiratory problems, heart attack, and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Derived from the coca plant, this drug comes in many forms, most commonly powder and crystal. Also referred to as coke, this stimulant creates a brief but intense high punctuated by feelings of euphoria related to the release of dopamine in the brain. In powder form, cocaine is typically snorted, although it can also be dissolved and injected. The crystal form of cocaine is known as crack, and it is smoked. Cocaine use can cause problems like nosebleeds and increased heart rate, as well as more serious concerns like hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and death.
More commonly known by street names like molly and ecstasy, MDMA is a synthetic stimulant and hallucinogen that typically comes in pill form, but can also be powdered and snorted or dissolved and injected. This drug affects brain chemistry in several ways, stimulating the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This results in feelings of euphoria, increases energy, and alters social behavior, such that users experience heightened feelings of trust and empathy. Nausea, dizziness, and sweating are common side effects, as are increased heart rate and blood pressure. Anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness are common after using MDMA.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), also known simply as G, is a central nervous system depressant that is used as a treatment for narcolepsy and cataplexy. It is also used illicitly as a recreational drug and has been associated with instances of date rape because one of the common side effects is amnesia. It is a white powder that is usually mixed into a liquid, where it becomes odorless and tasteless, for consumption. The effects of GHB include intoxication, disinhibition, and euphoria. Nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness are common side effects, although unconsciousness and even death are possible. Effects can last up to several hours, depending on the amount consumed.
Mitragyna speciosa, or kratom, is a tropical evergreen tree native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand. It is part of the coffee family and is known to produce opioid-like effects when ingested. The leaves are typically chewed, added to food, or brewed into tea, and it has long been used in traditional medicines in its native regions. In small doses, kratom acts as a stimulant, but in larger doses it becomes a depressant. Effects can last up to several hours. Nausea, vomiting, and constipation are common side effects, and respiratory issues, liver damage, psychosis, and seizures are possible with continued use.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), often simply called acid, is a hallucinogenic chemical derived from the ergot fungus, which grows on rye and related grains. The major effect of this drug is sensory hallucination. Users often believe they see, hear, and feel things that are not present. Altered thoughts and feelings are also common. The effects can last several hours, and side effects typically include dilated pupils, dry mouth, sweating, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. Some users experience paranoia, delusions, and anxiety that may continue after the initial effects of the drug have worn off, and some people experience flashbacks later on.
Mescaline, often referred to as peyote, is a hallucinogenic substance derived from several different cacti, most famously the Lophophora williamsi, or peyote cactus. Peyote buttons are cut away from the roots and dried for consumption. The plant can be eaten, but it has a bitter flavor, which is why it is more often brewed into a tea or ground into powder to create capsules. Mescaline has a long history of use in Native American ceremonies, and although it is an illicit drug in the United States, it may still legally be used in specific ceremonies registered by a Native American church.
This powerful but short-lived stimulant is extremely addictive and causes significant damage with long-term use. Meth, crystal, or crystal meth, as it’s commonly called, is made by mixing pseudoephedrine, a decongestant found in many cold medicines, with a variety of other chemicals, many of them toxic. The powder can be ingested, snorted, smoked, or injected. The effects are similar to what users might experience with other stimulants, such as cocaine. Over time, continued use of methamphetamines can cause weight loss, oral health problems, and skin sores, along with mental-health concerns like paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, and even delusions and hallucinations.
Originally developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic, phencyclidine (PCP), also known as angel dust, was discovered to cause significant neurotoxic side effects, leading to the discontinuation of medical development and usage. The white, crystalline powder has since become a recreational drug that is typically smoked, snorted, ingested in a capsule, or dissolved in liquid, such as alcohol. PCP reacts with a variety of receptors in the brain, including NMDA, glutamate, dopamine, opioid, and nicotinic receptors. It can cause hallucinations, numbness and loss of motor function, feelings of strength and invincibility, amnesia, hostility, violence, and psychoses similar to schizophrenia, among other effects. Seizures, coma, and death are possible.
This psychedelic substance occurs naturally in certain types of mushrooms, and produces hallucinogenic and other effects when the mushrooms are consumed. Often, users simply eat them as is, but mushrooms can also be added to food or brewed into a tea. Referred to as magic mushrooms or just shrooms, psilocybin mushrooms can alter perception of time, produce feelings of euphoria, and cause users to see, hear, and feel things that aren’t real. During use, it is common to experience side effects like dilated pupils, nausea, and vomiting. Continued use may cause ongoing or worsening side effects such as panic attacks and even psychosis.
Although salvia is not currently classed as an illicit drug in the United States, it has hallucinogenic properties and is used as a recreational drug. Native to a specific region of Mexico, salvia is a plant in the mint family that contains opioid-like compounds. Leaves can be brewed as a tea, but many users simply chew or smoke the leaves. It takes only a few minutes for the drug to take effect, producing changes in mood, emotions, and sensory perception, particularly sight and touch. Many users claim to experience a trancelike state, which may explain its long history of use by Mazatec shamans during spiritual ceremonies. Little research has been conducted on the potential long-term effects of salvia.