PICKENS — Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County is conducting a research study available to area residents who wish to reduce or eliminate their use of methamphetamines.
“We’ve been doing research since 1999 with the clinical trials network,” said Director of Research B. Elizabeth Chapman. “This is a national thing that Pickens happens to be a part of so it’s an honor for us to be a part of that — for them to pick us as a site.”
The study itself is a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial “evaluating the efficacy of extended-release naltrexone plus bupropion as a combination pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine use disorder,” reads the trial.
Participants selected will be randomly assigned to the active medication combination group or matching placebo group and will receive medications over the course of 12 weeks with follow-ups occurring in weeks 13 and 16.
“This is our fifth methamphetamine research study,” said Chapman. “And as you’re probably aware, our community has a big problem with that (methamphetamines).”
The research sites are selected based on whether or not an area has enough population to sustain the study, she said. Pickens was one of seven selected across the country.
“They want to be able to help people,” Chapman said of the study that’s funded by The National Institute of Health and The National Institute of Drug Abuse.
“If we have some people who would like to stop or reduce their use of methamphetamines by way of using a couple of pharmacological interventions — two medications — they should contact us,” she said. “There’s research going on all the time across the United States, but this is the only one I’m aware of in our area that’s trying to help people on methamphetamines.”
Participants selected for the trial would be provided with the medications free of charge as well as be compensated for their time, Chapman said.
She also said a similar study conducted on a smaller scale had shown positive results.
“It is a placebo-controlled study so even if you’re selected you’re not guaranteed to actually be receiving the medications,” Chapman said. “But the overall goal is to help people — and this is the best way to go about doing that.”
Chapman stressed all information obtained through the study would be confidential — no law enforcement involved.
“That’s not what this is about,” she said. “We’re trying to help people who want to get off of it (methamphetamines). That would not serve our purposes at all.”
Those interested in taking part of the clinical research study should contact the Behavioral Health Services research division at (864) 898-2992.