Busting the Poppy Seed Legend – Drug Testing Myths Exposed

NO amount of poppy seeds can result in a positive drug test. Let’s set the record straight on this old school train of thought. Additional support of this article can be found at: www.nida.nih.gov .

To put it simply: people once thought that ingesting poppy seeds could render a positive drug test result for Opiates.

This is a myth. Drug testing laboratories certified to perform workplace drug testing utilize GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) confirmation testing to rule out interfering substances. GC/MS confirmation testing is SPECIFIC for morphine, codeine and heroin, the three primary constituents of the Opiod class.

How long does opiates stay in your urine

Workplace drug testing is a 2 step process: Initial immunoassay screening test to identify true negative samples followed by GC/MS confirmation testing of samples resulting in a “non-negative” screening test if necessary.

Excessive poppy seed ingestion may result in a positive immunoassay screening test at the 300 ng/mL cutoff level (which is no longer utilized according to DHHS guidelines), however, confirmation testing by GC/MS will only be reported as positive if true morphine, codeine, or 6-acetylmorphine (heroin) is detected at or above the confirmation cutoff level.

Several years ago the Department of Health and Human Services screening and cutoff levels for the Opiate class were raised from 300ng/mL to 2000 ng/mL to eliminate interference with initial immunoassay screening tests as a result of dietary ingestion of poppy seeds.

While poppy seed resin is a primary component in the formulation of morphine, codeine, and heroin, the chemical composition of these semi-synthetic opiate derivatives at the molecular level is both unique to the individual drug and quite different from the chemical makeup of the poppy seeds contained in common food products.

GC/MS confirmation testing identifies drug metabolites at the molecular level thereby eliminating false positive test results due to dietary intake of poppy seeds.

CRG Laboratories, a drug testing facility located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has helped me set the record straight on some common questions and concerns regarding drug testing. If you have additional questions about the drug test you are taking, I recommend contacting the facility administering your test.

How long do opiates stay in your urine?

Drug detection periods can vary based on the particular opiate in question, the quantity of the drug taken, and the person’s metabolism. Opiates are not detectable in a urine sample after 4-5 days.

Can you tell me how much drug is present?

Immunoassay screening tests can provide semi-quantitative results. However, for definitive quantification, GC/MS confirmation testing must be performed.

Will medicine I am taking cause a positive test?

There are several prescription and over the counter medications that can interfere with the screening test. However, GC/MS confirmation testing will exclude any substances that are not actually in the class of drugs being tested.

Do I need to bring copies of my prescription medications when I take my drug test?

No. All workplace drug screens that result in a confirmed positive are reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO is a doctor with special training in drug testing. The MRO will evaluate test results and contact you to discuss your test.

If the results could be due to prescription medication, the MRO will ask that you provide a copy of the prescription. If the prescription provides an alternative explanation for the test results, the MRO has the authority to rule the drug test negative.

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