Can poppy seeds really make you fail a urine drug test?

We’ve all heard that poppy seeds can make a urine drug test turn positive, but is that the truth?  The “poppy seed defense” has been used among those that have had a positive drug test result.

The poppy plant, “papaver somniferum”, is grown for poppy seeds for the food industry, and is also a source of opium for the pharmaceutical industry.

Opium is a milky fluid inside of the poppy seed pod.  Opium is used to produce morphine, codeine, and also contains an ingredient that is used to manufacture oxycodone, oxymorphone, and other synthetic narcotics.  Opium is also used to manufacture heroin.

Poppy seeds do not contain opium but are coated by it.  Poppy seeds are commonly on bagels, muffins, and nutritional bars.

Fortunately, there are two levels of drug testing.  If a test is positive for opioids, and the person being tested states that is is from poppy seeds, a second definitive test can be performed, which will show if there are other substances in the urine such as oxycodone or heroin.

So yes, poppy seeds can create a positive initial urine drug test, but the definitive drug test is then performed to identify whether there are truly drugs positive on the test, and to rule out a “false positive” from poppy seeds.

It is best to avoid poppy seeds prior to drug testing.


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