Poppy seeds are a common ingredient in many food items such as bread, bagels, muffins, and pastries. However, there has been some concern regarding the consumption of poppy seeds and the potential impact on medical, nursing, and other professional licenses when someone who has consumed poppy seeds is later drug tested.
What Do Poppy Seeds Have to Do with Drugs?
Poppy seeds come from the opium poppy plant and contain trace amounts of opiates such as morphine and codeine. While consuming a small amount of poppy seeds is unlikely to have any significant effect, consuming a large amount could potentially lead to a positive drug test for opiates. This has led to concerns regarding the impact on medical or nursing licenses, as these professionals are often required to undergo drug testing as a condition of their employment.
The issue of poppy seed consumption and drug testing was brought to the forefront in the late 1990s when several high-profile cases emerged. In one case, a nurse in Maryland lost her license after testing positive for opiates due to the consumption of a poppy seed bagel. Recently, the Department of Defense warned troops to stay away from poppy seed bagels and other food items or risk failing required routine drug tests.
These cases sparked a debate over whether poppy seed consumption could be considered a legitimate defense against a positive drug test for opiates. In response, the Department of Health and Human Services raised the threshold for a positive drug test for opiates from 300 nanograms per milliliter to 2000 nanograms per milliliter. This change was intended to reduce the likelihood of false positives due to poppy seed consumption.
Impact on New Mothers
Despite this change, there have been cases all over the U.S. where new mothers were drug tested in the hospital, and they tested positive for opiates due to food items they had consumed containing poppy seeds. In many of these cases, the women lost custody of their babies and had to fight to get their children back.
In these cases, the mothers argued that they had no intention of consuming drugs and were simply consuming foods that contained poppy seeds. However, even when their arguments were ultimately successful, they were not sufficient to prevent the investigations or having their children removed from their custody.
While consuming poppy seeds is unlikely to have any significant impact on one's health, it can potentially lead to a positive drug test for opiates. For medical or nursing professionals, this can have serious consequences, including the loss of their license. While the threshold for a positive drug test for opiates has been raised in order to reduce the likelihood of false positives, there is still a risk associated with consuming poppy seeds.
If you have had a positive drug test that you believe could put your professional license at risk, you need advice from people who are experienced in professional license defense. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you defend your credentials. Call 888.535.3686 or go online today to protect your license, your reputation, and your career.