From Dr Goeders

Why Loving Solutions? Founder Dr. Nicholas Goeders

Why Loving Solutions?

Dr. Nicholas Goeders

So why do I feel that God has placed in my heart the desire to minister to female meth users?

July 6, 2017 | Dr. Nicholas Goeders

I have been studying drug addiction, primarily cocaine and more recently methamphetamine (meth), for about 35 years. Much of my work has been in a research laboratory, but a few years ago I started going out into the local community to speak to meth users face-to-face. I have met with them in treatment centers, in prisons, and even in my office. I have talked to men as well as women. I can honestly say that I have learned so much more from talking to meth users, and actually listening to them, than I ever did from all the medical books and journals I read.

First, let me assure that I want to help everyone struggling with meth, men as well as women. I don’t discriminate. But there are several reasons for my specific interest in women.

Methamphetamine is a drug used by people all around the world. And while men are two to three times more likely to use most other drugs, women are as likely to use meth as men are.

The reasons for this are not really clear.

Historically, at least until relatively recently, medical and scientific research focused on males only, unless it was research on a female-specific disease such as endometriosis. There were a variety of reasons for this (including bias), but the result was that many diseases were not studied in women for many years.

The same holds true for methamphetamine. This is starting to change now, but if you really dig into the medical and scientific research on meth, you will soon discover that the vast majority of this research has been conducted in men.

One very significant line of research is meth use in men who have sex with men. This research has been conducted because Meth is often associated with sex. Meth tends to increase sexual arousal while decreasing inhibitions. Therefore, safe sex is not often practiced.

Doctors and scientists soon realized that the rate of HIV/AIDS was higher in men who have sex with men and who also use meth. Some research even suggested that meth makes it easier to be infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

So there has been a lot of research focusing on the effects of meth in men compared to research on its effects in women. But there are other reasons for my interest in women.

In my opinion, drug addiction, whether it is meth or even some another drug, is especially difficult for women.

We all know that a woman can become pregnant, whether intentional or not. And when she becomes a mother, she also becomes responsible for her child. In an ideal world, the father would share in the care of the child that he shares with the mother.

But we also know the reality. In far too many cases, the mother becomes the primary caregiver for her baby. What if this mother is also struggling with meth or other drugs? Who is going to take care of her baby if mom is on a three-day meth binge?

Who makes sure that her baby is fed? Who gives her a bath? When she is older, who helps her with her homework and gets her ready for school? Too often the child depends solely on her mother.

So my interest in women is, in part, because of the innocent children that often become victims of meth.

Meth often starts being used as a means to survive. A mother can take care of her children and work a full-time job and become “supermom” if she can just find the energy. Many people unwittingly fall into the clutches of meth because they initially turned to this insidious chemical as an energy boost, and they usually start by smoking it.

And then she tries injecting meth for the first time in an attempt to really boost her energy levels. She can handle it, right?

But then everything changes.

As already suggested, more than most other drugs, injected meth is so often associated with sex. Some women claim that meth produces sexual desire and/or arousal and reduces inhibitions. Some even claim than the euphoria associated with an injection of meth, when it is of sufficient purity and dosage, is very similar to sexual pleasure.

But it is never quite as good as that first time ever again. It can still be quite euphoric – for a while, but just not quite as good. So she continues to use meth, seeking that first high.

It’s as though the drug is calling out to her – but lying to her. Inside her head a little voice tells her that all she needs to do is to inject just a little bit more meth. Maybe she just needs to make the meth solution in the syringe a little thicker. Maybe if she can just find that dealer that sold her the “really good dope” that time…

But as with most things, too much of a good thing often becomes harmful. I think that God created us this way.

Meth increases levels of the brain pleasure chemical called dopamine more than any other pleasurable activity. Other drugs also increase dopamine – that’s why people enjoy using them too.

Meth increases dopamine three or four times more than even cocaine or morphine.

However, the massive amounts of dopamine that meth releases in the brain actually begin to damage the very nerve cells that release the pleasure chemical.

Over time, the user realizes that meth doesn’t make her feel as good as it used to.

So she uses more and more of the drug, trying to find that euphoria she covets. But it’s to no avail. The more she uses, the more her dopamine cells are damaged.

Eventually she gets to the point that she feels like she has to inject (“slam”) meth just to feel normal – just to get out of bed.

She feels helpless and lost and so afraid.

But there’s more.

If a man first “introduced” a woman to meth, sometimes he can gain tremendous control over her. The euphoria is so sexual, women often resort to sex to get meth. In addition, men are typically bigger and physically stronger than women to begin with, and if a man is the source for meth, women will often do anything to get more meth.

I have talked to men as well as women. Many of the men were in prison and told me about their exploits with women. But men on the outside told me many of the same things. I often heard of instances where a man was able to convince women to do literally anything that he wished or demanded – all for just another shot of meth. They’ve shared their stories with me – men and women alike.

I have heard of so many cases where women ended up as prostitutes or in other forms of sex trafficking after becoming addicted to meth.

That’s slavery and it’s wrong! Sex trafficking is a real and growing problem in the United States – and meth is often a contributing factor.

I have also heard, primarily from women, about how injecting meth is different from smoking or snorting the drug – especially with respect to the sexual effects I mentioned above. Everyone tells me about this difference, but you won’t find it mentioned in any medical book or journal. I intend to change that.

Most people in this field, unfortunately, do not take the time to actually listen to the people that they are trying to help. They just run more tests and prescribe drugs. How sad!

I have asked some of the women I have talked to if they had ever discussed many of the things that we talked about with their counselors. They almost always say no. When I ask why not, they tell me that they were never asked. In my opinion, that’s just tragic.

I want to make a difference and change things. Women matter to me – people matter to me! And like I always say, if I can just help one person, then it has all been worth it.

I honestly believe that God has placed this mission in my heart.

Dr. Nicholas Goeders

dr. nicholas goeders shreveport louisiana

Nicholas E. Goeders, Ph.D.
LSU Health - Shreveport 

Professor and Head | Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Neuroscience
Professor | Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine 
Executive Director | Louisiana Addiction Research Center (LARC) 

Dr. Nicholas Goeders is the founder and chairman of the board for Loving Solutions - a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping women struggling with methamphetamine achieve long-term sobriety.

Why Loving Solutions IS My Passion

I have just completed the 40-day challenge of the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It was amazing how reading this book, and praying and meditating about my life and how God has led me to this place helped to focus God’s purpose for me!

Then tonight we watched the first episode of Andy Stanley’s Follow series [Jesus invites you to Follow Him – no matter what you believe, no matter how you behave]

This was about Matthew the tax collector and how Jesus walked up to him and simply said, “Follow me.” [Matthew 9:9-13]

Being a tax collector, Matthew was an outcast, the worst of his culture – everyone hated tax collectors. But Jesus said to Matthew, “Follow me.”

He went to dinner at Matthew’s house with other tax collectors and other sinners – imagine what everyone else must have thought of that! But Jesus felt comfortable with them – and people naturally felt comfortable with Jesus.

And He told Matthew, the tax collectors and the sinners, as well as His followers – and the Pharisees outside – that the healthy are not in need of a doctor, but the sick are.

And he told the Pharisees [those learned scholars] to “Learn” what this means – I desire mercy, not sacrifice [from Hosea 6:6], and I have come to call on sinners, not the righteous.

Jesus came to earth to die for the sins of everyone. God wants all of His children to be saved. That is why Jesus spent His time on earth with tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners and the sick, including lepers. He did not spend time His precious with emperors or kings or the rich and famous! He came to show us – to show the world – that everyone deserves forgiveness. We are all human after all – every one of us!

And Jesus loves all of God’s children – unconditionally.

God has placed a very specific calling in my heart – rooted deeply in my heart so that I cannot ignore it, even though I am also a sinner. Maybe it’s because I am a sinner. But I have been called to help women addicted to Meth.

Many have lost everything to the evil Meth is – the devil. They often feel like today’s outcasts – at least that is how our society treats them. They are God’s lost children of today!

It seems to me sometimes like every other group of people has someone looking out for them – to help them or to call attention to their plight. There is the run for the cure for breast cancer (among many others), fundraisers for muscular dystrophy and the March of Dimes, Wounded Warriors, Alcoholics Anonymous, prison reform for unfair sentences – especially crack cocaine, legalization of marijuana, and millions upon millions of dollars being set aside to “fight” the opioid epidemic! Give me a break – do they really think that throwing money at heroin and oxycodone is going to really make a difference? Really?!

But my point is, who is looking out for the women fighting against the devil itself in Meth? People tend look down on meth users. What about the junkie shooting heroin every 4 hours? What about the drunk neglecting his family at the corner bar? OK, people often also look down on the drunks and heroin junkies too, but there are treatments designed specifically for them. Is a Meth user supposed to go to AA? People in AA have no clue what demons a meth user is fighting. Neither do heroin users [although some people use meth sometimes and heroin sometimes].

Heroin injections and opioid pain pills produce that mellow, laid back, more relaxed kind of high, they say.

Meth produces a speedy high, full of energy and euphoria, racing thoughts and paranoia, aggression and, of course, especially in women – those sexual feelings.

Is that the key? Could it be this sexual side – especially in women? Men are expected to be sexual and make conquests. When a woman is sexual she is a loose woman or a prostitute – a whore.

Even today these stereotypes still exist.

So women meth users often feel profound shame – not only because she has allowed a drug – meth – to control her, controlling her to the extent that she has lost her job, family and friends, children, money and even her dignity. But she also feels such shame because she also knows how meth makes her feel sexually and how society looks down on a woman and her sexuality (no matter how liberated our society pretends to be).

She doesn’t go to the hospital due to her overwhelming shame; not because she is poor or alone – but because she feels like everyone is looking at her – looking down at her, knowing why she was shooting meth. And that she has allowed the devil – Meth – to control her for those very sexual pleasures that are also bringing her such shame.

She looks around and sees that the heroin users have treatments tailored for them.

And even so our government and society is still spending millions upon millions more to fight this “epidemic.”

Alcoholics go to their AA meetings and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and socialize and have mentors and accountability.

Meth users are just forgotten.

Many “scholarly” people will even say that meth is no worse than Adderall, a drug prescribed for children with ADHD. I have even had meth users try and convince me that they live normal lives, perhaps self-medicating their own ADHD or whatever with meth. Maybe that could describe some people…

But what about the woman who injects meth for the rush – that intense feeling that can only be described in sexual terms.

She gets to the point where she does not even enjoy the rest of the intoxication anymore (the “high” where she has energy for hours and hours). She will inject/shoot meth over and over again, even with plenty of meth still flowing through her veins, just to feel that rush again – again and again until she is gasping for breath and her heart sounds like a freight train in her ears.

Until she is so intoxicated that she cannot get up – but will not let anyone call for help because she does not want the people in the emergency room to see the track marks. They’ll know why she was shooting meth and she cannot bear that shame. She would rather die instead.

But none of that matters to God. Jesus loves her anyway.

No matter how much meth she might have injected into various places on her body in the search for a vein that still works – or why she did it. And God has placed it firmly in my heart to bring her to Him – to teach her about and to show her the unconditional Love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That He died for MY sins and still loves me – and if He can love a sinner like me, He can certainly love her. It’s never too late!

God doesn’t care what she has done and neither do I. She has never had anyone who would stand up for her, would serve her, and would love her after Meth got its claws into her. But I will! I will show her that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, and when she believes that He died for her sins and was raised from the dead and is her true and Living God, she will be saved and all of her sins will be wiped clean – as simply as that.

This IS my mission. This is my passion. This is Loving Solutions!

-Dr. Nicholas Goeders


dr. nicholas goeders shreveport louisiana

Nicholas E. Goeders, Ph.D.
LSU Health - Shreveport 

Professor and Head | Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Neuroscience
Professor | Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine 
Executive Director | Louisiana Addiction Research Center (LARC) 

Dr. Nicholas Goeders is the founder and chairman of the board for Loving Solutions - a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping women struggling with methamphetamine achieve long-term sobriety.

Get Help, Give Help

Application for Program

Application must be filled out by the applicant. Residents admitted agree to high a standard of living and a zero tolerance policy for many things including drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and you agree to abide by house rules.

Donate to Drug Recovery in Shreveport LA

Contributions to Loving Solutions go directly toward fighting the methamphetamine epidemic by assisting us in helping women overcome their addiction by making lasting, positive changes in their approach to methamphetamine recovery.