We’ve all heard those “facts” that end up being complete fabrications. For example, some of us grew up believing that if we swallowed watermelon seeds, an entire watermelon would grow in our stomachs.
This is, of course, not at all true.
One new mom, however, found out that poppy seeds causing a positive drug test is no myth.
Elizabeth Eden was having contractions and preparing to give birth at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. A doctor come into the room and explained that she had tested positive for opiates.
Eden had heard the rumor that eating poppy seeds could skew a drug test but, like most people, she didn’t think much of it. She had a poppy seed bagel for breakfast that morning, but when she tried to explain that to the doctor and asked for a second test, the doctor said it was too late.
I said, ‘Well, can you test me again? And I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast,’ and she said, ‘No, you’ve been reported to the state.’
The doctor refused to perform a second test. Instead, she reported Eden to state authorities.
Eden’s infant daughter, whom she named Beatrice, was held in the hospital for five days before she was allowed to go home with her mother. Once the two arrived back at home, a caseworker came and checked in on them.
Eden called the whole experience “traumatizing.”
People pointed out that this is more common than you might think:
It’s more common than you would think! But with all the opioids being missed used, the baby safety should come first, until it can get cleared up! Sorry it happened though!
This happens often. Sometimes it’s just a false positive drug screen, which are inherently unreliable, and kids are taken away from their parents forever.
— whitelion (@whit3lyon) August 9, 2018
The poppy seeds themselves don’t contain opium. But harvesting processes sometimes leaves a residue of opium on the seeds, which can result in a “false positive” during drug screenings. Opium can be found in drugs like heroin, codeine, and morphine. And, apparently, sometimes in trace amounts in muffins and bagels.
There is no magic number of how much, or how little, can trigger a false reading on a test. Sometimes it depends on the origin of the seed, harvesting and processing, and the drug test itself.
Still, for someone to register a false positive, they have to eat quite a few poppy seeds, right?
I thought @MythBusters tested this and found you would have to eat a LOT of poppyseed bagels to have a test turn positive?
— Indomitable Wisdom (@alyse_wisdom) August 8, 2018
You'd probably need a bucket load of seeds before experiencing any affects!
— lynne clarke (@LizzieClarke00) August 9, 2018
People shared similar stories and confirmed that this does, in fact, happen:
This is 100% TRUE! My ex-husband & I lived in Clearwater FL. We used to eat at Hungry Howies Pizza they let you choose crust toppings, we always got PoppySeed. He failed a drug test at Anheuser-Busch for opioids & you couldn't get this man to take more than an aspirin for pain.
— Kiley (@HotkyFem) August 8, 2018
I have a clean-cut buddy that this happened to 25-years ago. It was funny to us, he was terrified. He was going to work at a nuke plant.
— Michael Gove (@Gove77) August 8, 2018
Think twice before grabbing that poppy seed bagel. The results might be catastrophic:
— Adin Pasic (@Paidn_With_Adin) August 9, 2018
State authorities closed the case once they realized Eden was telling the truth about her test delivering a false positive. Eden wrote a letter to the hospital, expressing concerns and recalling what she experienced, in hopes that physicians would educate future moms-to-be, and the hospital would improve their testing.