A Woman Tested Positive For Opiates During Labor Because She Ate A Poppy Seed Bagel

Yes, This particular can happen. Here’s what poppy seed lovers need to know.

Posted on August 8, 2018, at 2:10 p.m. ET



You might have heard at some point in which eating poppy seeds could lead to a positive drug test. Turns out, the “poppy seed defense” is usually no health myth — the tiny black seeds can actually alter toxicology screening results, in addition to a pregnant woman learned This particular the hard way.

Elizabeth Eden was in labor back in April at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland, when her doctor came in with some surprising news. “I was in labor, I was sitting on the bed. I was having contractions on a Pitocin drip in addition to the doctor came in in addition to said I tested positive for opiates,” Eden told NBC affiliate WBAL-TV.

Eden, who had eaten a poppy seed bagel in which morning for breakfast, said she recalled learning in which the seeds could alter drug test results in addition to asked the doctor to test her a second time. According to her account, the doctor refused to do another test in addition to told Eden in which she had already been reported to state authorities.

The newborn was kept within the hospital for 5 days in addition to a caseworker was assigned to check up on the mom in addition to baby, named Beatrice, after she went home. “This particular was traumatizing,” Eden told WBAL-TV.

How can poppy seeds — a common topping on breakfast pastries — alter drug test results?

Poppy seeds come coming from a species of poppy plant called Papaver somniferum (commonly called the opium poppy), which has red in addition to pink flowers. People have been cultivating the poppies for culinary in addition to medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

Contrary to well-liked belief, the poppy seeds themselves do not contain opium. The opium is usually found within the milky sap in which oozes coming from cuts in an unripe seedpod — which is usually scraped off in addition to dried, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The rubbery opium resin is usually used to make opiates like morphine, codeine, in addition to heroin — powerful painkillers in which are also used as illicit drugs in many parts of the entire world.

However, the harvesting process can cause opium residue to coat the seeds — the same ones we enjoy on our bagels in addition to muffins.

So yes, although poppy seeds are legal to eat, they can contain enough opium to trigger a positive screening for opiates. This particular is usually called a “false positive,” or a test in which incorrectly indicates someone is usually using drugs. How much do you need to eat? This particular’s hard to say, because the amount of opium coating the seeds varies depending on where the poppy plant is usually grown in addition to how the seeds are harvested in addition to processed. although This particular takes more than a few seeds.

Previous research has shown in which eating a serving of poppy seed cake can cause the morphine concentration in a urine sample to be in “the thousands of nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)” in addition to a bagel topped with the seeds can cause levels to be within the hundreds, according to F. Leland McClure, director of medical affairs at Quest Diagnostics, a major clinical laboratory within the US.

The threshold for a true positive drug screening — or the sensitivity of the drug test — also matters.

Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, the chief of the department of obstetrics in addition to gynecology at St. Joseph Medical Center, told WBAL-TV in which a positive test for opiates at the hospital is usually 300 ng/mL. The low threshold allows doctors to catch as many drug users as possible, Rossiter-Pratt said, including those who may show up as false negatives (meaning they used opiates although have a low enough level in their body to pass the drug test).

In Eden’s case, the hospital’s drug test was so sensitive in which her breakfast led to a false positive screening. Unfortunately, This particular isn’t the very first time This particular has happened. In 2010, a Pennsylvania couple had their newborn taken by local child services in addition to held for 5 days after the child’s mother tested positive for drugs coming from a poppy seed bagel. In 2013, the couple received a $143,000 settlement coming from a lawsuit filed against child services on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

After authorities realized Eden’s test result was a legitimate case of the poppy seed defense, officials closed her case — although not without Eden writing a letter to the hospital asking officials to lower the positive screening threshold or warn expecting mothers about This particular issue, according to WBAL-TV.

So all the poppy seed lovers out there don’t need to panic. although if you do have a drug test coming up, just be aware in which the poppy seeds could potentially influence your results, in addition to maybe stick using a plain bagel for breakfast just in case.

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