From: brumstik.interaccess.com (broomstick)
Date: 01 Jan 1996 20:56:59
Subject: Poppy Seed Question. was Re: Hemp Myths
>As for the poppy-seed question; i have heard--and have inferred from the pre-testing interview for my last piss test--that half of one of those big poppy-seed muffins is enough to give a positive for opiates.
*>sigh<* here we go again....
Poppy seeds DO contain minute quantities of opiates. If you eat enough of them you WILL test positive on a "piss test" for drugs. How much is too much? Well, that depends on
1) How sensitive the test is ("common testing levels" vary enormously from lab to lab, test to test, area to area, and also varies according to WHY the test is being done - airlines have more stringent rules than, say, a school district testing their custodial staff)
2) On your own metabolism - some folks process this stuff faster than others. This can vary with age, gender, body weight, and, for women, whether or not you are pregnant (When working in the drug rehab field we occassionally saw pregnant addicts who could take 50mg of methadone (an opiate) in the afternoon and test negative for methadone the next morning, afternoon, the following morning.... Rare, but it happens). People with liver and kidney damage can show postive at much lower doses for much longer than people without such damage. And so forth.
3) How much you eat. A few poppy seeds on a hot-dog bun is very unlikely to give you trouble. "Big poppy-seed muffins", on the other hand, COULD be a problem.
>Remember, they are not testing for large amonts typical of a chronic user.
Well, actually, not ALL chronic users are in fact using large amounts. You can be just as addicted at a low dose as at a high dose, and there are addicts whose daily dose is less than that used to medicate some folks for legimate reasons. In other words, in some cases the amount of codeine prescribed for dental work can be greater than that "needed" by some addicts.
>The common testing levels are so low for most drugs that false positives a a *common* occurance.
While false positives do happen this is not always due to how sensitive the test is. Many over the counter drugs can trigger false positives (for instance, Nyquil (dextramethorathane) can trigger a false PCP positive), prescription drugs can certainly trigger a positive (codeine for dental work will CERTAINLY generate a postive for opiates because it *is* an opiate), and sometimes it "just happens".
There is also the dilemna of choosing between either a test that will catch virtually all of the guilty BUT generate false positives -OR- a test that isn't likely to generate false positives but WILL have false negatives, that is, won't catch all the guilty. Just remember, NO test is 100% accurate.
>I was told by someone who did drug testing that, at commonly used testing levels, you have a 50-50 chance of testing positive for cannabis whether or not you have *ever* smoked the stuff.
There's this thing called a "contact high". Since THC remains at detectable levels in the human body for up to three weeks, this can cause problems at times for those getting tested.
If this sort of exposure is not the problem (i.e. you have a 50/50 chance even if you've NOT been exposed in anyway) I'd say the "testing" this person was doing is BOGUS and there's something wrong with the lab, not the people peeing into little bottles.
Back when I was involved in this sort of thing we'd occassionally send fake samples to the lab to see if they would catch them - if they didn't, we got another lab.
>That is why the Washington State government (at least) mandates retesting for all positives.
Actually, re-testing IS the common practice and many labs will automatically do so at no extra charge.
From: penny.neca.com (penny newbury)
I'm sorry I missed the beginning of this thread, but wanted to add my .02, in some small, single-poppyseed sort of way: In the criminal justice and substance abuse field, where I work, the old poppyseed muffin/I only inhaled it/I had some pancake syrup/I had Nyquil excuses just don't cut it any longer. The calibration of the test, plus the particular assays used, pretty much guarantee against positives caused by all but a bucketful of poppyseeds/cough syrup, etc. Not that some labs aren't lackadasical. We, too, have sent "test" urines to labs to keep 'em on their toes. But now with the feds interested in urinalysis for a variety of reasons (airlines, trains, federal offenses, etc) the system of chain of custody and mandatory retesting of positives pretty much insures that you won't be doing hard time for a hard roll.
Also, if the testee observes common sense and avoids potentially "dangerous" foods, the test should be accurate. I believe that the law now requires notification beforehand of any testing except in criminal justice/substance abuse treatment cases, OR in cases where the employer has ample reason to believe the employee is under the influence. I'm not taking a position on the violation of privacy involved; I'm just saying that the technology has advanced to a point (scary indeed) where they know where you've been, and watcha been eating.