Website Tracks Black-Market Prescription Drug Prices

streetRX.jpg

Ever wonder, "What's the street price of OxyContin in Nevada?"

No? Well, if you ever have, you're in luck. Turns out it's $2-5 for 5 milligrams of the narcotic, according to StreetRx.com. The newly launched site is an attempt to assemble and organize information about the price prescription drugs fetch on the black market. Some of the data comes from official government sources like the Drug Enforcement Agency, but users can add their own knowledge to the database, too.

It might seem unlikely that a site like this would take off. After all, what kind of drug user wants to submit this kind of information? It turns out there are plenty of smart shoppers out there, at least among those who buy marijuana. PriceofWeed.com gets dozens of submissions a day and is considered a good resource for basic information about how much an ounce goes for these days.

StreetRX is run by public health researchers who'd rather not be named. They're interested in this data because it could tell them important things about which prescription drugs are being abused. For example, pharmaceutical companies have been trying to develop "abuse-resistant" drug formulations. OxyContin was designed to provide pain relief over 12 hours, but off-label users realized they could crush it up and snort it for a faster, more intense high. So, an additive was put it in to try to disrupt that behavior. The abuse-resistant version of the drug was approved by the FDA last summer. How well will it work? A great test of its abuse-resistance would be to see if its street price is markedly lower than a standard OxyContin.

Though drug buyers discuss this type of price information n Internet forums, it's hard to analyze without the kind of standardized data structures that StreetRX provides.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In