Special Assignment: Junkie Junkets


Julie Halpin sells a lot of houses for Blanchard and Calhoun, and she knows sometimes, that means showing a home to a lot of people.
"I would say a good open house would be about eight families."

She would take those eight families on a tour, "and normally, I would be with them every step of the way," says Julie. "But if somebody were to say to me, can I use the bathroom? I would say, go right ahead. That would be their chance."

That would be their chance to steal prescription pills.

"People don't realize just how common it is," says Tim Robinson, the Clinical Director of Bradford Health Services in Augusta.

He treats junkies who have gone to these so-called "junkets."
That's why he knows they aren't doing this for fun or for a quick high.
Robinson says it's because they're hooked. "It really prompts people to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that they can maintain their addiction and not suffer and go into withdrawal, and that kind of thing."

Meanwhile, real estate agents like Julie, had no idea this was going on until News 12 brought it to her attention.
"Never," says Julie. "It's never crossed my mind. It's brand new to me and everyone else I talk to."

How would they know?
Deputies haven't arrested anyone for this in Columbia County or anywhere else in the area. We only learned about it by talking with drug counselors.

Plus, most of the drugs that go missing are extras.
For example, you had a prescription, didn't use all the pills, and saved some, just in case.
You won't even know those are gone.

Also, these people aren't giving real names to real estate agents, if they give a name at all.

Plus, with all those people in and out of the house all day, how could you even narrow it down if you do notice some pills are missing?

You can't.

Here's something you can do, though.
Hide your pills.

That's what Julie's telling her clients. "Just put everything away, not just in a closet because they look in closets. They want to see the space."

It's an easy way to keep your home an open house, but a closed pharmacy.


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