Elizabeth Eden who lives in Baltimore, Maryland, was in labor when the doctor comes into the room telling her she tested positive for opiates. Then it dawns on her: was it because of the poppy seed bagel she had for breakfast?
Reported to the State
Until she could prove that it was the bagel and not drug use, she was separated from her newborn for five days. Eden stated in an interview with the local media:
“I was in labour. I was sitting in the bed. I was having contractions. I was on a Pitocin drip, and the doctor came in and said, ‘you’ve tested positive for opiates.’
I said, ‘Well, can you test me again? And I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast,’ and [the nurse] said, ‘No, you’ve been reported to the state.’”
A Traumatising Experience
Instead of having a memorable moment with her newborn, Elizabeth was fighting to keep her daughter with her. She was assigned a caseworker, who as soon as they heard about the bagel incident, they close her file.
Elizabeth said that “it was traumatizing,” adding that when she was in a school health class, she learned that if you ate poppy seeds, it could give a false positive. However, she didn’t think that some poppy seeds sprinkled on that roll of bread would be an issue.
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, people should consume only little amounts of poppy seeds (especially while pregnant) until food manufacturers can reduce the morphine levels in them.
The OBGYN department’s chief stated that anyone who has 300 nano-grams of opiates in a millimeter of blood would test positive for drugs.
The seeds come from the opium poppy plant, which is the one that is used in creating opioid drugs like codeine, heroin, morphine, and Oxycontin, but they don’t give a high and are not addictive.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.