Another Poppy Tea Death

July 22, 2009

Damn. A Twitt from @abelpharmboy alerted me to this article in the Denver Post.

A 19-year-old man was found dead in Boulder on Tuesday morning, and authorities suspect poppy tea as the cause.
If so, it would be the second death in five months of a young person in Boulder who drank opium tea, police said.
Jeffrey Joseph Bohan, a 2008 graduate of Fairview High School in Boulder, drank the powerful psychoactive brew with his older brother about midnight, authorities said.
His brother found him unresponsive at 6 a.m. in a home

Abel Pharmboy had written some comments about that first death of a young man in Boulder. In the first post, Able overviewed a bit of the history of the medicinal (and recreational) preparation of products from the opium poppy.

The sad fact is that we’ve known for over 200 years that this is a bad idea: based upon growing conditions, harvest time, and extraction method, the resulting concoction can provide an extremely variable dose of these compounds. Used medicinally as one of the strongest analgesics (“painkillers”) we know, in higher doses the opiates can impart a warming sense of euphoria but, at even higher doses, suppresses the respiratory control center of the brain stem, resulting in death.

Abel also mentioned a website created by a father of yet another kid who overdosed on poppy tea. The point of Poppy Seed Tea Can Kill is, quite obviously, to educate people on the risks of home-brewed poppy tea. It includes a redacted version of the drug panels run on his son postmortem which is a great thing. I wish all the parents / closest relative of the folks who die from “Ecstasy” would do similar- this kind of information goes a long way toward addressing controversy over what did and did not kill the individual.
At any rate, it is very sad that this seeming fad in recreational drug use is resulting in fatalities. It seems that it is doing so almost entirely because the dose is so hard to control / appreciate under the typical use circumstances. Perhaps publicizing this hypothesis widely would go a long way toward harm reduction by inducing a bit of caution in the user population. I can hope, anyway.
This was originally posted at:

No Responses Yet to “Another Poppy Tea Death”

  1. leigh Says:

    this stuff is tragic.
    my post on opiates is far and away the most-hit page on my blog. some of the search terms that land people there are “what would happen if” questions that rather disturb me.
    i’m of the strong opinion the public needs to know more about pharmacology in general.


  2. Greg Laden Says:

    Your post after this one is borked. I’ve notified HQ.


  3. Funky Fresh Says:

    Are we on a bridge?


  4. Scicurious Says:

    Heartbreaking. I agree with leigh, the public needs more info, especially on things like “teas” which people just assume are harmless.


  5. silly Says:

    it’s a shame to hear of these deaths which might have been prevented had these drugs been available legally with the dosages standardized.


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