Shreveport has twice the national average for meth in its sewage

Dr. Nicholas Goeders, executive director of the Louisiana Addiction Research Center

After a report showed that Shreveport’s sewage had twice the amount of methamphetamine in the system than anywhere else in the country, many were shocked. But Nick Goeders, executive director of the Louisiana Addiction Research Center, said that didn’t surprise him at all.

“There is a lot of meth use here. I know downstate opioids are a bigger problem, but opioids are less of a problem here. Methamphetamine has been a problem at least, to my knowledge, for the last ten years,” Goeders said.

Goeders said they were using specialist equipment to detect methamphetamine in sewage and when the results came in for Shreveport he called for a recount.

“Just to make sure our numbers were correct, we sent our samples to two different independent labs that have nothing to do with us, and they got the same results, maybe even a little higher than us” , said Goeders.

In March, the president signed the Methamphetamine Response Act into law that tasks the Office of National Drug Control Policy with identifying the seriousness of the problem and finding solutions. Goeders is optimistic that the law will make a difference for drug addicts.

And while the city of Shreveport’s water system purifies wastewater before it’s reused, Goeders said he’s concerned about rural water systems and how methamphetamine in waters waste could have an impact on the environment and the food system.

“If it gets into our food supply, it could be a huge problem. That’s why it’s so important for us to monitor this and continue to see if it is in fact an environmental contaminant,” Goeders said.

He said that in Europe, studies indicate that methamphetamine in sewage contaminates lakes and has been found in trout.

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