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What's the Street Value of the Extra Painkillers in my Prescription?

You're hardly the first cash-strapped senior whose eyes have wandered from "Breaking Bad" to the medicine chest.

Following hip-replacement surgery, I was given a prescription for 160 painkillers called “Hydrocodone/APAP 5-325.” I’ve taken only one tablet. What’s the street value of the remaining 159? For some reason, I feel you might know. Call me…

—Looking to Supplement My Social Security

When you've been in this business as long as I have, you learn to see the deeper subtext that lies beneath the surface of any given question. In this case, that deeper subtext appears to be, "Hey, do you wanna buy some drugs?" (The plaintive "call me" at the end is a particular red flag.)

As you've probably surmised from the fact that I'm replying to you here rather than texting you from a burner phone at 2:35 am, I can't help you directly. (This is actually good news for you, since I would have tried to convince you that the street value of your whole stash was $8 and half a tuna sandwich.)

Still, you're hardly the first cash-strapped senior whose eyes have wandered from Breaking Bad to the medicine chest as the mental wheels began to turn.

What you're contemplating is highly illegal—and your plan to sell drugs by writing to the newspaper suggests you're not the type to stay under the Man's radar.

Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you that each 5 mg Vicodin you're sitting on could theoretically command up to $5 on the retail market.

But that's retail. Realistically, you're not gonna park by the schoolyard in a clown costume, inviting kids into your ice-cream truck one at a time. You need a Jesse Pinkman to your Walter White, and that guy's gonna give you maybe $2 a pop—hardly worth it. Especially since punks like that roll on you in a heartbeat.

QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com