Can Poppy Seeds Cause a False Positive Drug Test?
Poppy Seeds and Opiate Drug Tests
If you have been in addiction recovery for any length of time, you have likely heard that consuming foods that contain poppy seeds can lead to false positive drug tests. Is this true, and if so, what can you do to prevent false positive drug tests from occurring?
Yes – consuming foods that contain poppy seeds, like poppy seed bagels or lemon poppy seed muffins, can result in falsely testing positive for opiates. An individual could test positive for both of these opioids for up to one entire day after consuming a food containing poppy seeds. Every part of the poppy plant is known to contain or carry opium alkaloids like codeine and morphine. However, consuming foods that contain poppy seeds will not result in any form of a physical or psychological high – unless unwashed poppy seeds are boiled into a tea, which can have psychoactive effects when taken in high doses.
It is highly recommended that men and women who are in early recovery or who are being drug tested regularly for any other reason entirely avoid poppy seeds in all forms. But what happens if you forget, and you do eat something that contains these small black seeds? It is not the end of the world – but there are some steps you should take to prevent unnecessary consequences.
What Happens When You Get a False Positive Drug Test?
Even just eating one bagel, piece of cake or muffin that contains poppy seeds can be enough for a false positive drug test result. If you have a slip of judgment, and you snack on something that contains Poppy seeds, the best thing to do is to inform your counselor and your outpatient treatment center (or whoever it is that administers your drug tests) as quickly as possible. Mistakes do happen from time to time, and there is a good chance that whoever administers your drug test will be understanding of your situation as long as you are open and upfront as quickly as you can be.
Studies show that opiates can be detected in as little as two hours after the food is consumed, and if more poppy seeds are consumed then there is a higher chance that a false-positive test result will occur. However, trace amounts of codeine and morphine generally only stay in the bloodstream for 60 hours or less, meaning that if you have scheduled drug tests at the same time every week, you will be okay so long as you consumed the food two or three days before the test. It is still important that you inform whoever is administering the drug test just in case.
Taking Necessary Precautions in Early Recovery
For those who are in early recovery, it is best to get into the habit of being as cautious as possible. Be cognizant of the foods you are eating and what you are drinking, and avoid anything that has the potential to interfere with the results of a drug test. Drug tests are given to keep men and women who are new to recovery as accountable as possible, and this accountability is compromised when foods like poppy seeds are eaten – we are all liable to make a mistake or two, but you must continue to learn from your mistakes and avoid making the same mistake twice.
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Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
Cayla Clark, BA
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.