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Beating poppy seed defense: New test can distinguish heroin use from seed ingestion

Date:
January 7, 2014
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Heroin is one of the most widely used illegal drugs in the world, but drug testing has long been challenged by the difficulty in separating results of illicit heroin users from those who have innocently eaten poppy seeds containing a natural opiate. Research explores a new test which may present a solution to this so-called ‘poppy seed defense.’

Heroin is one of the most widely used illegal drugs in the world, but drug testing has long been challenged by the difficulty in separating results of illicit heroin users from those who have innocently eaten poppy seeds containing a natural opiate. Research in Drug Testing and Analysis explores a new test which may present a solution to this so-called 'poppy seed defense.'

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The team sought to identify an acetylated derivative which is known to be present in street heroin, but would not be found in either poppy seeds or medicines containing opiates. The authors identified a unique glucuronide metabolite (designated 'ATM4G') which could be used as a marker of street heroin use. A high frequency for the presence of ATM4G in urine strongly suggests that detection of this metabolite may offer an important advance in workplace drug testing and forensic toxicology, providing a potential solution to the poppy seed defense.

'This research report addresses a longstanding analytical problem in forensic toxicology and workplace drug testing, by identifying a urinary marker that differentiates street heroin users from those whom have ingested morphine present in poppy seeds,' said Dr Andrew Kicman, from the Department of Forensic and Analytical Science at King's College, London.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Chen, R. A. Braithwaite, C. George, P. J. Hylands, M. C. Parkin, N. W. Smith, A. T. Kicman. The poppy seed defense: a novel solution. Drug Testing and Analysis, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/dta.1590

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Beating poppy seed defense: New test can distinguish heroin use from seed ingestion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093031.htm>.
Wiley. (2014, January 7). Beating poppy seed defense: New test can distinguish heroin use from seed ingestion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093031.htm
Wiley. "Beating poppy seed defense: New test can distinguish heroin use from seed ingestion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107093031.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

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