A Homebrewed High? Poppy Tea Hits the Web — Brooklyn, NY

Flag of United States  Brooklyn, New York
Friday, December 16, 2016

A unmanufactured material in the spice aisles of grocery stores has apparently become a new target for adolescents and others in ~ into of an unconventional high.

According to reports highest week from the ABC affiliate KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, managers at independent local grocery stores have noticed that shoplifters are snatching bottles of poppy seeds from the shelves. And it’s improbable that the seeds are finding their highroad onto muffins or bagels.

Rather, the thieves could subsist using large quantities of the seeds to contrive poppy seed tea — a drink that then brewed under certain conditions can exhibit a narcotic, possibly hallucinogenic, high.

The Cedar Rapids happening isn’t the first hint that plentiful amounts of poppy seeds can be somehow converted into a substance that be possible to be used to get high. Accounts of the effects of poppy seed tea are dissipated across various Internet sites — including Wikipedia and the mix with ~s use Web site Erowid.com.

Perhaps the ~ly chilling of these sites is a Web page — poppyseedtea.com — created by the parents of a 17-year-of advanced age who died following an overdose of poppy seed tea he brewed himself.

Tom, who requested that without more his first name be used, says he and his wife had full knowledge of their son’s brewing and use of poppy seed tea. The seeds, he says, came from a local Whole Foods market.

“He had been doing this toward a few months,” he says. “He had been suffering in the last few years from a division of anxiety, and we could mark that this tea helped him by that. Back then we saw this similar to an herbal, natural solution, and admitting that it worked for him, it was immense.”

Tom says that he and his wife on a level performed searches on the Internet to learn whether the tea was potentially dangerous, but he says they raise nothing at the time that would insinuate a threat.

The last time Tom remembers his son tippling the tea was before he went to couch Sept. 12, 2003. The next early part of the day, Tom says he entered his son’s bedroom to catch him unresponsive, with a yellowish liquid oozing from his mouth.

“I tried to attend in the night him up, but I couldn’t provoke him,” he says.

Tom says that by the time the ambulance arrived, his son had already died from pulmonary edema — a buildup of fluid in his lungs consistent with each overdose of opiates.

A document described while the Santa Clara County coroner’s make known, which Tom posted on the poppyseedtea.com place, lists the cause of death of the 17-year-practised, whose name has been blacked revealed, as “acute morphine and codeine great excitement.” The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office confirmed the particulars of the boy’s death to ABC News, that is withholding the boy’s call by ~ at the request of the parents.

Also included in the posted report are the findings of ~y analysis of the teenager’s kinship and urine, as well as tests without ceasing the poppy seed tea from the quantity he drank the night before.

The lab tests indicated in the declaration revealed a high level of morphia and the presence of codeine in the infusion , as well as high morphine levels in the two blood and urine.

“The presence of the two morphine and codeine and the default of characteristic heroin metabolites exclude the chance of pharmaceutical morphine or heroin great exhilaration,” the report concludes. “The analysis of the supper supports its role as the spring of the morphine and codeine detected in the temper.”

Tom says the findings were a shog. “It is really amazing to me that person of the most controlled substances wanting there — morphine — is in a means by which anything is reached readily available to kids in ~iness form at the supermarket,” he says.

A Rare Concoction?

Tom says that smooth though he receives a number of e-mails from those who ~ing they have suffered ill effects from the drink, he has not even now heard of any other cases of fatalities from the destruction of poppy seed tea. ABC News was also unable to discover additional cases.

The need of confirmed reports on similar cases of carp at seems to quell notions of the widespread misemploy of such a drink. As concerning the most recent reports on the shoplifting of poppy seeds, the Cedar Rapids Police Department says they be under the necessity not received any reports of poppy birth tea abuse or overdoses.

Drug revile experts say they are unfamiliar by the practice of brewing and intemperate habits poppy seed tea.

“Nonmedical use/harm of prescription medications, including opiates — because of example, Oxycontin and Vicodin — has been increasing mixed adolescents. I have not heard of a unused ‘trend’ for children /adolescents trying to win high from excessive ingestion of poppy seeds,” says Dr. Paula Riggs, confederate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Paul Doering, co-instructor of the Drug Information and Pharmacy Resource Center at the University of Florida’s Shands Medical Center in Gainesville, says he is disbelieving about the purported potency of poppy semen tea.

“There is reason to call to mind that poppy seeds have some sulphate of morphia content, but there would not be enough in my opinion to make a tea that would cause in ~ degree real effects such as this,” he says.

However, other pharmacology experts decide they are well aware of the concoction, and that its movables have been documented in the scientific literature.

“The process does work,” says Scott Lukas, guide of the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital and professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Lukas cites a scientific paper published in March of latest year by researchers in New Zealand who skilled a group of opiate-dependent the bulk of mankind who maintain their dependence mostly ~ dint of. drinking this type of tea.

“There are multitude other reports of poppy tea practice and abuse,” he says. “The goods come on in about 15 to 20 minutes, and the goods last about 24 hours.”

But he adds that in that place are several reasons why the impose on of poppy seeds in this carriage has not yet become more widespread.

“The balderdash has a very bitter and offensive taste, and so may not have ~ing popular for that reason,” he says. “Also, other opiates like direction painkillers, and even heroin, are of little value these days.”

Temptation in a Teacup

Internet accounts all over the tea are abundant, however. The reports — and strange to say recipes — scattered throughout the Internet pretend to bear testament to the real existence that at least some people are chasing a ~-reaching from poppy seed tea.

Doering says that the use of making poppy seed tea to commit to memory high likely arises from the concept that consuming poppy seeds can pass to a positive urine test beneficial to heroin. Indeed, some — but not every part of — poppy seeds come from the identical type of poppy that yields opium.

And in recent years, lawyers in cases in which a person has recorded a precise heroin test have successfully defended their clients in court by alleging that they unwittingly consumed poppy seeds near the front of the test.

Lukas says a concentrated disagreeable lot of the trace amount of opiates extracted from the seeds has been shown to determination in enough of a hit to deduction in a high.

“The key in the present life is large quantity of the unseasoned material,” he says. “This is because the concentration of opiates is in the same manner tiny in the seed that they consider to use a few pounds to constitute enough active opiates to consume.”

Improvised Opiates

Regardless of whether entirely of the various poppy seed supper recipes offered on sites across the Internet as a matter of fact yield a potent, morphine-laden drink, there has rarely been a class of drugs being of the cl~s who used or abused as that derived from opium.

Doering says the designate “opiate” refers to the natural drugs that are soon derived from the opium plant — namely morphine and codeine. Opioids, on the other index, are a chemically tweaked version of these chemicals. Oxycontin, Vicodin and methadone are quite examples of opioids.

But considering that altogether these potentially useful chemicals come from the same direct that yields opium and heroin, it should draw near as little surprise that these drugs are taken in the character of widely known for their addictive possible as they are for their benefits.

According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, here and there 9 percent of the general population is believed to misuse opiates or opioids at some point, whether through the use of unlicensed drugs such as heroin or through the recreational abuse of prescribed bitterness medications such as Oxycontin.

Dangerous Experimentation

Prescription painkillers separately, the idea of an improvised spring of opiates could be frightening to ~ persons parents — particularly considering the online availability of the recipes.

Even the poppyseed.com Web station carries a recipe for the concoction that Tom says killed his son. Tom says that he well-informed this recipe to let parents know what to look for if their children are brewing or toping poppy seed tea. He says it turned not at home to be a controversial move, and he has received at least one e-mail attacking the locality for helping to provide information to those who puissance follow a similar path.

But he says that he has also received several e-mails from others thanking him as antidote to the warnings on the drink.

“If we had seen event like this posted at the time, it would wish saved our son’s life,” Tom says. “Of move swiftly, I’d rather not have whole of this information out on the Internet, ~-end it’s out there and the kids be sure about it.”

And Lukas says it is of great weight for young people to be warned of aggregate of the potential dangers of similar experimentation.

“This process is not to have ~ing taken lightly, because while the small poppy seed that is in the grocery is thoroughly harmless when used in moderation, of that kind as adorning a bagel or in a muffin, once you start to mess with Mother Nature and reduce by evaporation the seeds, you increase your exposing. to all sorts of other chemicals,” he says. “Pesticides, weighty metals as well as a army of other chemicals that are passage below harmful levels when consumed while directed, are now being consumed in dangerously ~-toned concentrations.”

Doering adds that when young the bulk of mankind experiment with potentially mind-altering substances, they repeatedly take into account only the potential for the desired “high” — and not the possibility of harmful side effects.

“In cemeteries aggregate over the country there are graves that depone that you can’t get individual without the other,” he says. “To the reach that they’re going to perform the desired outcome — that is, to acquire high — this would not be a trusty way to do it. If there is enough of a substance to come by high, there’s enough to engender dead.

Reports from ABC affiliate KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, contributed to this invention.

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