PICKENS COUNTY — Following multiple arrests in a months-long drug sting, the Pickens County Sheriffs’s Office has announced they’re partnering up with Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County to further combat the use of methamphetamines.
BHS Director of Research Elizabeth Chapman said while fighting the addiction can be challenging, help is out there — a research study is currently being conducted to help people kick the habit.
“We are not law enforcement,” Chapman said. “We just want to help.”
The BHS study 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.
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.
“We also pay you for your time, because we consider it valuable,” said Chapman.
Additionally, the medications are paid for and participants receive a full physical and an EKG.
“There’s two fronts to this (methamphetamine) problem,” said Sheriff Rick Clark. “It’s not simply a matter of arresting people — we’re not going to arrest our way out of this situation.
“I’ve seen what meth can do to a person, what it can do to a family. This is a serious problem and it needs to be approached in a broad manner,” he said.
Clark said contrary to popular belief, most of the meth in the Upstate is not produced here, but brought in.
“It’s economics. Now, that sounds funny to be talking about drugs and bringing up economics but that’s the plain truth,” he said. “Nowadays, it’s cheaper for it to be shipped in than to be produced here locally.”
Clark said it would be “foolish” to think the problem was going to just go away — even with the recent arrests.
“I want people to seek help however they can, if someone goes to Behavioral Health Services and stops using — that’s a win for everyone,” he said. “The after effects of meth affect the theft-rate, they affect children in a home. It degrades the entire community.”
BHS has been conducting clinical research trials since 1999. It is the organization’s fifth time conducting methamphetamine research studies.
The study is funded by The National Institute of Health and The National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Those interested in taking part of the clinical research study should contact the Behavioral Health Services research division at (864) 898-2992.