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Can Poppy Seeds Make Drivers Fail Drug Tests?

Dec 4, 2020

Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious offence. But studies have shown that some products that you wouldn’t normally associate with drugs can lead to failed drug tests and positive samples.

Here we look specifically at whether poppy seeds can make drivers fail drug tests as well as some other unexpected products which can also have similar outcomes.

Can poppy seeds make drivers fail a drug test?

The answer to this relatively commonly asked questions is actually yes – consuming poppy seeds can lead to you failing a drugs test.

The link between poppy seeds and failed drug tests lies in the fact that poppy seeds are derived from the opium poppy, the same place as opiates such as morphine.

In 2017, Rip off Britain carried out an experiment with presenter Angela Rippon to see if eating poppy seeds resulted in a failed drug test. Having eaten a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over the course of three days prior to taking a drug tests, the subsequent test came back positive for morphine, derived from opium.

There is significant variation in the amount of morphine poppy seeds can contain depending on when and where they were harvested. But it seems that consuming just a small amount can see you test positive for a drug test.

Whilst consuming poppy seeds can give rise to a positive result for morphine, consuming them would not get you high.

Are there any other unusual things which can cause drivers to fail drug or alcohol tests?

Other unexpected food substances linked to failed drug or alcohol tests include:

Hemp seeds can cause a positive drug test

Derived from the hemp plant a species of the cannabis plant. Hemp seeds can contain traces of THC. THC is a cannabinoid also found in cannabis. And it is this which can be picked up on drug tests. As with poppy seeds however, the levels of THC in hemp seeds are extremely low so wouldn’t result in the individual getting high.

Yeast making drivers fail drugs tests

It is thought that food products such as dough which contain yeast can result in users failing alcohol tests. This is due to fermentation which takes place, the process of which creates alcohol.

Tonic water, quinine and drugs tests

Tonic water contains the ingredient quinine which has been known to lead to individuals failing drugs tests. Quinine is sometimes used to cut illegal drugs such as heroin so the presence of quinine can suggest illegal drug use.

What action can you take as a fleet manager to reduce risks linked to drug driving?

If your business carries out drug testing or has a drug testing policy in place, then it is important to be aware of instances such as these which can lead to false positives. The outcomes of a drug test can be severe for the individual involved so it is important to ensure the process is administered fairly and that results are accurate.

Read more about your legal obligations as an employer and considerations to be made about drug testing.

If you employ people who drive for work, where the outcomes of working under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be disastrous then it is more important than ever to have an agreed policy on drug usage and alcohol usage. Educating your drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regular training on your company policies and keeping up to date with penalties and sentencing guidelines should all form part of your business operations.

At Anthony Jones we believe that an insurance broker should do more for your business than arrange your insurance. That is why we work with our customers to help improve your risk profile and put risk management measures in place. We work in association with DAC Beachcroft and are able to help you to understand how to draft and implement a Driving Policy for your business. Talk to us today to see how we can help your business.

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