Drug testing and analysis

Morphine and codeine in oral fluid after controlled poppy seed administration.

PMID 25345619


Opiates are an important drug class in drug testing programmes. Ingestion of poppy seeds containing morphine and codeine can yield positive opiate tests and mislead result interpretation in forensic and clinical settings. Multiple publications evaluated urine opiate concentrations following poppy seed ingestion, but only two addressed oral fluid (OF) results; neither provided the ingested morphine and codeine dosage. We administered two 45 g raw poppy seed doses, each containing 15.7 mg morphine and 3.1 mg codeine, 8 h apart to 17 healthy adults. All OF specimens were screened by on-site OF immunoassay Draeger DrugTest 5000, and confirmed with OF collected with Oral-Eze® device and quantified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (1 µg/L morphine and codeine limits of quantification). Specimens (n = 459) were collected before and up to 32 h after the first dose. All specimens screened positive 0.5 h after dosing and remained positive for 0.5-13 h at Draeger 20 µg/L morphine cut-off. Maximum OF morphine and codeine concentrations (Cmax ) were 177 and 32.6 µg/L, with times to Cmax (Tmax ) of 0.5-1 h and 0.5-2.5 h post-dose, respectively. Windows of detection after the second dose extended at least 24 h for morphine and to 18 h for codeine. After both doses, the last morphine positive OF result was 1 h with 40 µg/L 2004 proposed US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cut-off, and 0.5 h with 95 µg/L cut-off, recently recommended by the Driving under the Influence of Drugs and Medicines project. Positive OF morphine results are possible 0.5-1 h after ingestion of 15.7 mg of morphine in raw poppy seeds, depending on the cut-off employed.