Heroin Facts

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  1. Heroin Market Value$68 Billion

Information about heroin addiction and the trafficking of heroin worldwide. Data about heroin abuse is collected from drug treatment centers, criminal justice programs and other public information sources.

Criminal justice agencies in Iran have reported that 570 tons of illegal drugs were seized across the country during the Iranian fiscal year, which fan from March 21,2013 to March 20, 2014. The types of illicit drugs confiscated included opium, heroin, morphine, and hashish. Over 70 percent of the seized narcotics were opium.

According to security forces, over 70 percent of the drugs that were seized took place on the country’s eastern borders, which lies next to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghanistan supplies over 90 percent of the world’s opium supply, and the trafficking of opium is estimated to contribute up to 15 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP.

(What is the price of heroin around the world?)

Source:  “Iranian Official: 70% of Illicit Drugs Confiscated along Eastern Borders,” Tasnim News Agency, April 14, 2014.

In early 2014, federal security administrators reported that more heroin grown and produced in Mexico was entering the United States. Officials stated that this was occurring due to the decrease in marijuana that was being sold by Mexican traffickers.

Based on intelligence and media interviews, the wholesale price of marijuana sold in Mexico has dropped within the past 5 years. In 2009, a farmer growing marijuana in Mexico was able to receive up to $100 per kilogram of wholesale marijuana. By 2014, the wholesale price of marijuana dropped to less than $25. Farmers state that the push towards marijuana legalization has contributed to the downfall as more people buy higher-quality marijuana that was grown in the United States.

As the price of marijuana decreased, Mexican drug cartel have begun looking for new revenue streams. It appears as if they have found a replacement in heroin.

With reports from criminal justice programs stating that heroin abuse increased by 79 percent in the US between 2007 and 2012, Mexican cartels are increasing their supply in order to meet demand. Back in 2007, border security agents seized 367 kilograms of heroin that was being smuggled into the United States from Mexico. In 2013, security agents seized 2,162 kilograms.

A contributing factor to the high heroin abuse rates in the US is driven by prescription drugs abuse. With heroin being cheaper than prescription drugs, many users are continually switching to heroin due to its cheaper cost. For example, a prescription drug sold on the black market in can be sold for up to $80, with the effect of the pill wearing off after 4 to 6 hours. A hit of heroin can be sold for as little as $4.

Farm workers in Mexico are cashing in from the increase in heroin demand. Farmers in the Northern Sierra Madre earn up to $30 to $40 per day cultivating poppies on farmland. The poppy farm is reportedly the best paid farm in Northern Mexico.

Farmers sell a kilogram of opium for $1,500. The wholesale price has doubled in 2013 from the year before. The raw opium is sold to middlemen who cook the opium into heroin. After being smuggled across the border, a kilogram in the Northern United States can be sold for $60,000 to $80,000.

(How much does heroin cost per gram?)

Source:  Nick Miroff, “Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls,” Washington Post, April 6, 2014.

Based on information submitted to Havocscope, the following is the reported prices of heroin when sold in the Washington DC area of the United States.

According to our reader, the basic unit of sale for heroin is through increments of a tenth of a gram. Thus, .1 gram is sold for $10, .2 of a gram is sold for $20. $50 will get a user .5 or half a gram, and a full gram is sold for $100.

However, due to competition amongst the areas drug dealers, the actual price of heroin sold varies depending on how good the product is and whether the dealer and the customer has a previous relationship. In terms of actual amount, a half gram can actually hold only .35 to .5, with the bag being sold for $45 to $60 depending on the quality of the heroin.

The same price variation occurs when dealing in full grams. The actual price of a gram of heroin sold in the DC region can vary between $80 to $120.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  User submitted information, received on April 6, 2014.

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According to a former heroin abuser in Ireland, the following information is the street prices of illegal drugs available for sale on the black market of Ireland.

Cocaine:  High quality cocaine sold for €100 ($138) per gram.

Ecstasy: €5 ($6.93) per tablet, or 10 ecstasy tablets for €40 ($55).

Heroin: A bag of heroin that is filled with 0.3 grams of heroin is sold for €20 ($27). The price to buy 2 grams of heroin is €100 ($138).

Marijuana: Poor quality cannabis resin is reportedly sold in 7 gram batches, which is available for purchase for €25 ($34). Marijuana weed is sold in 6 gram units, which goes for €100 ($138).

Prescription drugs: 2 milligrams Xanax bars sold for €3.50 ($4.85) for each tablet.

(See all of crowdsourced data about the black market here.)

Source:  User submitted data, received on April 1, 2014.

A reader of Havocscope submitted information through our Crowd-Sourced Data form to explain the prices of the heroin market in Denver, Colorado.

According to our reader, the heroin dealers in the Denver metro area are mostly from Honduras. The heroin is bagged in half gram portions, which are sold for $30, and $60 for a full gram of heroin. Dealers in Denver do not offer heroin for less than half a gram. The heroin is a light brown powder that is sold inside little black balloons, and is usually of mid-grade quality.

Most heroin users in the Denver area purchase half a gram when using. The half gram balloons are commonly called “pager dope,” meaning that a call to the dealer will lead it being filled in 5 to 15 minuets.

Higher end dealers also sell heroin that costs $40 for half a gram to $80 per gram. These bags are of higher quality.

According to our reader, who states that he or she is a heroin addict, heroin can be purchased in areas north of Downtown Denver, and in the suburbs cities of Thornton, Westminster, and Broomfield.

(More prices of heroin per gram around the world.)

Source:  User Submitted Data, Received by Havocscope on March 24, 2014.

In 2013, criminal justice officials in the United States estimated that between $19 Billion to $29 Billion is being smuggled down to Mexico from illegal drug sales in the United States. The sales and revenue from marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine is included in that total.

In terms of enforcement, the US Immigration ad Customs Enforcement seized $411 Million in cash that was being transported into Mexico.

The Former Governor of Sinaloa stated that up to 62 percent of the economy in Sinaloa was based on drug trafficking money.

Many of the drug cartels invest in legitimate businesses in order to launder their illicit proceeds. Cartels place investments into shopping centers, hotels, residential developments and various types of economic activities.

Source:  John Burnett, “At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South,” NPR News, March 20, 2014.

Through the use of our User Submitted Data Form, a reader of Havocscope submitted information about the illegal drug trade in Cambodia. According to the reader, the prices of drugs in Cambodia vary depending if the buyer is a local Cambodian or a tourist / foreigner. In addition, an expat who is closely connected to the drug trade will generally receive lower prices compared to a tourist or backpacker traveling through Cambodia.

The following prices for drugs were reported to Havocscope:

Methamphetamine:  The maximum retail price for a gram of methamphetamine in Cambodia is $100. As is common among black market sales, if the buyer does not have a scale, the dealer can short-change them and only provide .70 to .90 grams. In general, a customer can expect to pay between $80 to $90 per gram. Most buyers of meth in Cambodia pay $20 for a bag of meth. The buyers assume that .20 grams of meth is included in the bag, yet most dealers only offer .17 grams. Thus, a meth dealer is usually able to sell up to 6 bags of meth per gram, making up to $120 per gram in revenue.  (See more prices of meth worldwide.)

For meth dealers, an ounce of methamphetamine in Cambodia would cost them about $1,500 (for roughly 30 grams). The price to purchase a kilogram of meth is between $25,000 to $30,000. The sources for the kilo of meth include various producers, such as local meth producers, to Nigerian smugglers and the Vietnamese Mafia.

Yaba tablets are offered for $2.50 to $5 to a yaba delaer, with the price rising to $5 to $15 for a tourist or foreigner.

Heroin: According to the data submitted, the $5 rate of heroin as reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is incorrect. In the streets of Cambodia, a gram of “China White” heroin sells for around $40 to $70 per gram, depending on the amount bought. Most heroin users in Cambodia pay $20 for a bag of heroin (same method as meth), thus allowing the heroin dealer to make up to $120 to $140 per gram.  (See all heroin prices worldwide.)

Ecstasy: An ecstasy tablet with roughly .10 grams of MDMA sells for $15 in Cambodia. Dealers are able to purchase ecstasy tablets for about $8. For a gram of MDMA, the cost in Cambodia is $100 retail, with $79 to $80 being paid by dealers. (See all ecstasy prices worldwide.)

Cocaine: Most of the cocaine for sale in Cambodia is “garbage,” according to the data. Many dealers attempt to pass of heroin as cocaine. If a dealer was able to find a legitimate source, then a gram of cocaine in Cambodia would cost about $75, with users paying between $100 to $200 per gram for cocaine.  (See world cocaine prices.)

LSD: $20 to $25 per hit.

Ketamine: It is legal for local Cambodians to buy ketamine at the pharmacy. However, the sale of the drug is banned to foreigners. Thus, vials from the pharmacy cost between $12 to $15 for a half gram. These vials are then sold to foreigners for $18 to $25.

Other Prescription Drugs: The pharmacies in Cambodia are barely monitored, thus many prescription pills in the West are available for over-the-counter purchases in Cambodia. For example, 30 pills of Valium (30 mg per pill) is available for $1, and codeine is widely available. However, stimulants such as Adderall are not imported and not available in Cambodia.

Source: User Submitted Data to Havocscope, received on March 13, 2014.

Statistics released by the Medical Examiner showed that 195 people died in 2013 from overdosing on heroin in the Cleveland metropolitan area of Ohio. The number of heroin deaths in 2013 was a record high. In 2012, the number of reported heroin deaths was 161. Back in 2007, the number of heroin deaths in the Cleveland area was 40.

(How much does heroin cost?)

The rise in heroin deaths in Cleveland follows the trend across the United States. In 2007, there were 373,000 heroin abusers across the country. By 2012, the number of people who were using heroin in the United States climbed to 669,000.

Along with the rise in users, the number of heroin overdose deaths increased by 45 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Source:  Alex Rogers, “Heroin Deaths Spike in Cleveland Area,” TIme, March 14, 2014.

The Government of Kyrgyzstan estimates that 10,000 people in the country inject illegal drugs. Roughly 10 percent of the drug abusers in Kyrgyzstan are women.

In 2013, security services closed 281 drug crime cases, compared to 213 in 2012. Law enforcement also seized nearly 5.2 tonnes of illegal drugs in 2012. Heroin seizures consisted of 12.6 kilograms of the illicit drugs seized.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  Asker Sultanov, “Kyrgyzstan fights drug trafficking,” Central Asia Online, March 12, 2014.

A man from Pakistan was arrested in Indonesia while he was attempting to smuggling packs of heroin to Thailand. When arrested at the airport, the man had 767 capsules in his stomach that contained 966 grams of heroin.

(How much does heroin cost?)

According to criminal justice officials, the man reportedly stated that he was paid $15,000 to swallow the capsules and transport it from Indonesia to Thailand.

(More earnings from illegal jobs.)

Source:  “Drug smuggling ‘controlled from Thailand’,” Jakarta Post, March 7, 2014.