People who buy prescription drugs on the black market know that the prices vary depending on what you’re buying and where you’re buying it, but that information tends to be localized to their town or social network. StreetRx offers a wider lens for understanding the relationships between product, place, and price, making that information available in real time. This information can be used to better understand the drug abuse epidemic, such as studying whether abuse-deterrent formulations are sold at lower prices on the black market than non-abuse-deterrent formulations, indicating decreased demand and that the abuse-deterrence mechanism is effective.

Differences in black market prices for prescription drugs raise important questions about how these markets function and how that influences people’s health and wellbeing. For instance, the prices of alprazolam (e.g. Xanax, anxiety medication) and hydromorphone (e.g. Dilaudid, pain medication) are higher in Vermont than in New Hampshire. Conversely, methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin, ADHD medication) and methadone (Methadose, pain and narcotic addiction medication) are cheaper in Vermont than in New Hampshire. Despite a porous border between those states, there seems to be a clear difference in what people will charge and pay for prescription drugs on the black market.

Could this be an effect of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs influencing prescriber behavior? Maybe there are differences in the availability of other opioids or benzodiazepines in each state that drive down prices. These are important questions to answer, and StreetRx provides us with a first look at the shape of black markets in our communities.

Average street price of prescription drugs
Data collected 11/1/10 – 3/31/16

If you have any questions about how these data are created and analyzed, let us know at info@streetrx.com, or visit StreetRx, which was visited over one million times in the past year!

StreetRx is part of the RADARS System.

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