Addiction can impact your entire life — taking a toll on relationships, work and even your mental and physical health. One of the most substantial (and often overlooked) aspects of addiction is the financial impact that it can have. From legal substances like alcohol and prescription painkillers to illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine, the cost of addiction can leave your bank account lacking and even leads some to take extreme measures to keep up with a drug habit.

Don’t let addiction drain your bank account. Recovery (in health and finances) is possible. By leaving drugs and alcohol behind, you can create a new life of financial and mental independence, free from the restraints of substances.

But it’s not always as simple as putting down the bottle or kicking a habit. If you need help moving on from drugs and alcohol, a rehab program like those offered by The Recovery Village can be an investment in your future. Call today to learn more about the resources available to help you overcome addiction and substance use disorder.

Estimated Annual Cost of Alcohol Addiction : $5,000+

For many, alcohol is a casual part of everyday life. For others, it’s an all-encompassing addiction that can rule life and ruin finances. With so many different types of alcohol, it can be difficult to calculate exactly how much you’re spending on a booze habit, especially if you drink in excess. Even drinking a single bottle of beer per night from a 12-pack could end up costing over $300 a year. But if you’re buying top-shelf brews, splurging on wine, getting mixed drinks at dinner or breaking out the liquor, the tab is sure to rise.

Binge drinking can be a dangerous precursor to addiction. Binge drinking is usually defined as consuming five or more beverages at a time for men, and four or more for women. With 18 percent of American adults binge drinking regularly, the personal economic impact is huge. While prices are typically higher in larger cities, if you binge drink once a week and pay between $5 and $10 a drink, you’re looking at an annual cost of at least $1,000, if not more.

For those struggling with severe alcohol addiction, the cost can be astronomical. While it may be difficult for some to comprehend, a person suffering from alcohol use disorder can consume multiple bottles of wine in a night, a case of beer in one sitting or upward of 10 shots of vodka at a time. Even drinking $10 worth of alcohol a day can leave you with a $3,650 tab at the end of the year. Realistically, someone struggling with alcohol addiction could consume over $5,000 worth of booze over the course of a year, if not more.

Estimated Annual Cost of Marijuana Addiction: $7,000+

While there is debate on marijuana’s addictive properties, recent research presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that 30 percent of marijuana users exhibit some form of marijuana use disorder. Marijuana dependence often results in withdrawal symptoms. Addiction is a natural next step from dependence, resulting in a substance becoming an all-encompassing priority in life. Although marijuana may not exhibit all of the same risks as more potent drugs like heroin, it is still a powerful substance that can impact your behavior and piggy bank.

The cost of marijuana depends on where and how it’s purchased. In states where marijuana is legal, prices are typically lower at dispensaries and retail locations, while illicit versions can be pricier. It is important to note that purchasing pot illegally can be dangerous as it is not regulated.

While costs vary from region to region, the average marijuana price ranges from about $300–400 for an ounce, $40–60 for an eighth, and $10–20 for a gram. Similarly, dispensary prices are different depending on location, but average about $200–300 for an ounce, $30–50 for an eighth, and $5–15 for a gram.

A typical joint contains about a third of a gram of marijuana, meaning a joint costs roughly $5 depending on the quality and strain of the weed. If a person smokes pot once a day, that equates to an annual expense of $1,825. Although some may only use marijuana a few times a week, those who are addicted may smoke several times a day, raising the expense upward of $7,000. Marijuana addiction can be emotionally, mentally and financially debilitating. But recovery can lead you to psychological clarity and even financial stability as you refocus your efforts on other productive tasks, hobbies and expenses.

Estimated Annual Cost of Prescription Pain Pill Addiction: $32,850+

Like marijuana, prescription opioids are often seen as harmless, medicinal drugs used to treat pain. The term “opioid” is often used to refer to both natural opiates (derived from opium found in a specific poppy plant) and synthetic opioids (manufactured to work like their natural counterparts). But despite the fact that these painkillers are usually dispensed by doctors and pharmacies, they are still highly addictive. The price of a prescription pain pill addiction can vary greatly and often hinges on whether or not these medications are obtained with or without insurance. It also depends on whether they are purchased legally through a pharmacy, or bought illicitly from friends, dealers or others.


With a prescription, opioids are typically sold in a bottle with a set number of pills. On the street, they can be purchased in multiples or as single pills. Prescription opioids include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab and more. The potency of each medication varies and so does the effect. For some long-term users, a higher dose is required to feel the desired euphoric effects.

OxyContin, the brand name for oxycodone, is a common prescription painkiller used as an extended-release painkiller. It is designed to treat moderate to severe pain for long periods of time, so its effects are long lasting. It can be purchased in 10 mg increments. Depending on the prescription, a script may include 30–60 tablets, or more. Prices vary from $75–180 for 30 tablets (10 mg per tablet), with an average cost of about $3.50 per tablet. On the street, a 10 mg tablet typically ranges from $5–10.

Because OxyContin is an extended-release medication, doctors typically prescribe it in 10 mg increments, increasing only if necessary, and slowly. Some people with extreme opioid tolerance can take up to 120 mg. Taking this much OxyContin once a day can bring in an annual bill of $15,330 when purchased from a pharmacy, or $32,850 when bought on the street. This doesn’t even begin to take into account outliers who may take higher doses, or other prescription opioids. One study found that those with private insurance accrued $17,768 worth of prescription opioids between 1998 and 2002, a number that has likely risen in the years since, making prescription painkiller addiction one of the most costly drug habits.

Estimated Annual Cost of Heroin Addiction: $18,250+

The illegal big brother of prescription opioids, heroin is an opiate derived from morphine in the opium poppy plant. But this drug is no bed of roses. Heroin is often used by people whose opioid addiction began with a dependence on prescription painkillers.

In many cases, heroin is cheaper and easier to come by than legal (and regulated) prescription pain pills. It can be smoked, snorted or taken intravenously, and is found throughout the country. Prices vary from city to city, but a bag of heroin can be purchased for about $10 in some states, or for as much as $30 or $40 in others. A bag of heroin usually contains about 100 mg of the substance.

The cheaper varieties of heroin are often cut with other substances, including drugs like fentanyl, making it increasingly risky. The amount of heroin used in a day fluctuates from person to person. If you were to use five bags of $10 heroin a day, you’d spend $18,250 a year. Some even report using over $200 worth of heroin in a day. Although heroin is easy to come by and relatively affordable in many places in United States, the long-term implications and short-term risks of potentially contaminated drugs are extremely costly. And because it’s at the heart of America’s opioid crisis, it’s costing lives and families throughout the nation.  

Estimated Annual Cost of Cocaine Addiction: $5,200+

Cocaine is a stimulant that is usually inhaled, snorted or injected. It is derived from the coca plant, but is far from natural when it reaches consumers as it often goes through a rigorous (and potentially dangerous) manufacturing process utilizing a number of potentially hazardous chemicals.

Cocaine has historically been a popular illegal drug, with diverse pricing scales across the country. Typically, a gram of coke can be purchased for $60–150, with an average cost of about $100. For a regular cocaine user, a gram can create anywhere from two to eight lines, or 20 to 30 bumps (small mounds of cocaine usually snorted from the end of a key or fingernail). If you’re using one gram of cocaine a week, you’d end up spending about $5,200 a year. If the habit increases to one gram a day (a potential lethal dose to those who have not developed a tolerance), the bill could be almost $40,000 a year.

While the amount spent on cocaine depends on the amount used and the area where it’s purchased, there’s no denying the financial and health expense of this illicit drug. Not to mention the legal ramifications of cocaine and other illicit drugs.

The Real Cost of Addiction

Over a lifetime, a drug habit can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — enough to buy a car, house or other large investment. But there’s more to addiction than just the financial blow. Addiction can result in missed work and loss of funds, increased healthcare costs, jail time, fines and fees from DUI incidents, and deteriorating family relationships. But the greatest expense can be your life. In 2015, overdose deaths took nearly 60,000 American lives, making drugs the leading cause of death for those under the age of 50 in the United States.

Addiction doesn’t have to cost you your life. An investment in a treatment program like those available at The Recovery Village can save you thousands over the course of your lifetime, and prevent years of heartache, legal trouble and lost wages. Taking your life back starts with a phone call and we’re here for you, call 352.771.2700 to speak with a caring admissions representative today to learn more about medical detox and rehabilitation programs across the country.

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The Addiction That Costs More Than a New Car
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Renee Deveney

About Renee Deveney

Renée Deveney is a Florida-based writer dedicated to helping people overcome addiction and substance use disorder. A Southern girl at heart, she loves wraparound porches, chicken biscuits and overusing the word “y’all.” When she’s not writing for The Recovery Village, you’ll find Renée dreaming of her next travel destination, painting or catching up on classic films.

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The Addiction That Costs More Than a New Car was last modified: August 17th, 2017 by The Recovery Village