Followers of the hit sitcom “Seinfeld” might recall the episode wherein Elaine (performed by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) hilariously examined optimistic for opium after consuming a muffin containing poppy seeds — which acquired her kicked off a piece journey to Kenya.
However for 2 pregnant ladies in New Jersey, the real-life repercussions of consuming poppy seeds after which testing optimistic for medication weren’t almost as humorous.
The ladies ate bagels with poppy seeds final yr earlier than heading to 2 separate hospitals to present start to their kids. Hospital workers administered drug assessments to each ladies — which got here again optimistic for opioids, as a press launch from the New Jersey ACLU indicated.
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The hospitals reported the ladies to the New Jersey Division of Youngster Safety and Permanency (DCPP) for attainable abuse and neglect.
Now, the ladies are suing the hospitals for discriminatory practices. The New Jersey ACLU’s press launch shared the filed complaints for every girl.
Constructive drug assessments result in investigations, lawsuits
The ladies filed lawsuits in opposition to the 2 hospitals, Hackensack College Medical Heart in Hackensack and Virtua Voorhees Hospital in Voorhees Township, for giving them drug assessments with out their information or consent and “within the absence of medical necessity.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU) filed two complaints on March 8 to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights on behalf of the ladies.
Hospital workers administered drug assessments for each ladies (not pictured) in New Jersey — which then got here again optimistic for opioids. (iStock)
The complaints cite a violation of New Jersey’s Legislation Towards Discrimination (LAD), which prohibits illegal employment discrimination primarily based on intercourse and being pregnant, in line with the identical press launch.
There may be additionally a federal Being pregnant Discrimination Act (PDA), which “prohibits discrimination primarily based upon being pregnant, childbirth or associated medical circumstances,” and “requires that ladies who’re pregnant, or affected by associated circumstances, should be handled in the identical method as different candidates or staff with comparable skills or limitations.”
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“Nobody ought to be subjected to pointless and nonconsensual drug assessments,” mentioned ACLU-NJ workers legal professional Molly Linhorst in a press launch.
“Due to what occurred, I reside in worry of medical assessments and the way they is perhaps used in opposition to me as a mom,” mentioned one of many ladies in New Jersey (not pictured), as a press launch from the ACLU famous. (iStock)
“Our purchasers are sending a transparent message to hospitals that these testing and reporting insurance policies are unacceptable.”
She additionally mentioned, “Discriminatory testing insurance policies like these upend what ought to be a time of pleasure for households, and so usually topic them to additional trauma and unwarranted investigation by the state.”
“Nobody ought to be subjected to pointless and nonconsensual drug assessments.”
One of many ladies, named within the grievance as Kaitlin Okay., mentioned in an announcement that she feels violated.
As a result of poppy seeds come from the opium poppy plant, which can be the supply of opioid medication, the seeds are coated with hint quantities of the illicit substances. (iStock)
“This complete ordeal has been extraordinarily tense and has turned our lives the wrong way up and now, due to what occurred, I reside in worry of medical assessments and the way they is perhaps used in opposition to me as a mom,” she mentioned, because the ACLU press launch famous.
“I came upon later that the lab used a testing threshold far, far decrease than what the federal authorities makes use of.”
Why do poppy seeds set off optimistic drug assessments?
Opiates could be detected in urine drug assessments for so long as two days after consuming meals containing poppy seeds, in line with Winchester Hospital in Masssachusetts.
Opiates could be detected in urine drug assessments for so long as two days after somebody eats meals containing poppy seeds. (iStock)
“Poppy seeds may cause a urine drug check to display optimistic for opioids resembling morphine, codeine and heroin,” mentioned Dr. Fara Khorassani, well being sciences affiliate medical professor on the UCI College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences in Irvine, California, in an e mail to Fox Information Digital.
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As a result of poppy seeds come from the opium poppy plant, which can be the supply of opioid medication, the seeds are coated with hint quantities of the illicit substances.
“If somebody is consuming massive quantities of poppy seeds and has to get a urine drug display, they need to keep away from consuming the poppy seeds inside 48 hours of the drug display,” mentioned Dr. Khorassani.
“In any other case, most assays [laboratory tests] won’t detect the hint quantities of opioids from poppy seeds.”
Any given drug check’s end result will depend upon the “cutoff focus,” a physician informed Fox Information Digital. In medical settings, the cutoff tends to be decrease. (iStock)
Along with bagels and different pastries, some poppy-based teas may cause optimistic urine drug assessments for opioids, the physician famous.
“Apart from that, hemp-containing meals might trigger urine drug screens optimistic for THC, as they’ve variable concentrations of cannabinoids,” she mentioned.
Outcomes depend upon drug check ‘cutoff’ tips
Any given drug check’s end result will depend upon the “cutoff focus,” Gary M. Reisfield, M.D., affiliate professor of the Division of Dependancy Medication on the College of Florida, informed Fox Information Digital.
“For instance, in most office drug testing packages, the cutoff is 2,000 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), which might display out most (however not all) outcomes because of poppy seeds,” he mentioned.
Poppy seeds come from the opium poppy plant, which can be the supply of opioid medication.
Nevertheless, in medical settings resembling hospitals, the cutoff could also be as little as 300 ng/mL.
“At this decrease cutoff, it’s really fairly straightforward to check optimistic for opiates,” mentioned Dr. Reisfield. “Quite a bit relies on how a lot you eat and the opiate profile of the meals — which isn’t posted on the package deal.”
A few poppy seed bagels, a bigger poppy seed muffins or a bit of poppy seed Danish may yield a optimistic end result, he mentioned.
Prior false positives from poppy seeds
Pregnant ladies in a number of different states have filed comparable fits difficult hospital drug assessments.
In January, a grievance was filed in opposition to Saint Alexius Hospital in Chicago after a pregnant girl was drug-tested with out consent, as detailed in a press launch from the Illinois ACLU. The lady had eaten cake containing poppy seeds earlier than coming to the hospital.
The check was optimistic for opioids, resulting in a three-month investigation by the Division of Kids and Household Providers (DCFS).
“Poppy seeds may cause a urine drug check to display optimistic for opioids resembling morphine, codeine and heroin,” a physician informed Fox Information Digital. (iStock)
In 2021, two pregnant ladies had been drug-tested with out consent at Garnet Health Medical Heart in Middletown, New York, in line with a press launch from The New York Civil Liberties Union and Being pregnant Justice, a New York-based nonprofit that goals to guard pregnant ladies’s rights.
Each ladies, who had additionally eaten meals with poppy seeds, examined optimistic.
The hospital reported them to the State Central Register of Youngster Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR), which led to searches of their properties.
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“It’s our customary strategy to not touch upon pending litigation,” Daniel Moise, a spokesperson for Virtua Vorhees, mentioned in an emailed response to a Fox Information Digital question.
“As a well being system devoted to offering protected, complete and equitable care to the group, we’re totally dedicated to reviewing this matter.”
“This complete ordeal has turned our lives the wrong way up.”
Fox Information Digital additionally reached out to Hackensack College Medical Heart however didn’t obtain an instantaneous response.
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Hackensack College Medical Heart’s web site states that the hospital helps The New Jersey Legislation Towards Discrimination.
Fox Information Digital additionally reached out to the New Jersey ACLU for remark.