According to a report by Bloomberg, users who are addicted to painkillers turn to heroin due to the costs. One pills of Vicodin sold on the black market costs around $5 to $6. As a user becomes more addicted to the pill, more pills are necessary to satisfy the craving. One user stated that she was taking up to 10 Vicodin pills a day for a cost of $50 per day.
The Sinaloa cartel, on the other hand, was offering one-tenth of a gram for $10. Due to the strength of the heroin, two to three hits of heroin could last the same user for the entire day, cutting down on the costs. The Sinaloa cartel’s heroin is 94 percent pure, according to security services, and is a point of pride for the cartel.
Up to 50 metric tons of heroin is produced in Mexico each year. Nearly half of all heroin abused in the United States is produced in Mexico, with the remaining heroin being smuggled in from South America and Asia.
Source: Andrew Martin, “Cartel Hits Midwest With Heroin Killing Chicago Youth,” Bloomberg, November 12, 2013.