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26 January 2023 : Case report  USA

Opioid Use Disorder from Poppy Seed Tea Use: A Case Report

Unusual clinical course

Glenn R. Kauppila1ABCEF*, Kellene V. Eagen ORCID logo2ABCDEF

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.938675

Am J Case Rep 2023; 24:e938675


BACKGROUND: Unwashed or unprocessed poppy seeds may be an underrecognized substance that can lead to dependence, abuse, and an opioid use disorder. Poppy seeds can be purchased in an unwashed or unprocessed form, and these seeds can be contaminated with the opium alkaloids morphine, codeine, and thebaine on their surfaces. Poppy seeds that are commercially available, such as those used for baking and in other food products, are legal to purchase, as they do not contain the opium alkaloids on their seed coats. Purchase and possession of the unwashed or unprocessed seeds are not legal in the United States. These contaminated poppy seeds can then be put through a process in which they are washed, and the supernatant (tea) is collected and consumed to experience its intoxicating effect or for the treatment of pain or opioid withdrawal.

CASE REPORT: A 65-year-old man with a history of alcohol use disorder, cannabis use, and chronic pain began using this poppy seed tea for treatment of chronic pain after his provider had stopped prescribing opioid pain medications for him. He developed a dependence on the tea. He had reached out for assistance as it was his desire to stop using the poppy seed tea. The diagnosis of an opioid use disorder was made using the DSM-V criteria. He was successfully induced and maintained on a buprenorphine/naloxone product.

CONCLUSIONS: Poppy seeds in their unwashed and unprocessed form can be misused and could lead to an opioid use disorder. This disorder can be treated with buprenorphine/naloxone products.

Keywords: Opioid-Related Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders


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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923