Citation: lolliebedlam. "I Almost Killed Myself: An Experience with Poppy Seed Tea (exp108185)". Erowid.org. May 20, 2017. erowid.org/exp/108185
I used a pound of poppy seeds funneled into a 2L bottle. Then I funneled 30 oz of store bought iced tea in. I just kinda tilted the bottle back and forth for half an hour, strained out the liquid and then added another 30 oz of tea into the bottle over the same seeds and tilted it back and forth for half an hour.
Here's exactly what I had posted on reddit copied and pasted.
I'm posting this because a nurse and a doctor at the hospital where I was treated suggested sharing this story with the internet to hopefully prevent others from almost accidentally killing themselves.
I have a bunch of health problems and one of those is that I tend to get at least two kidney infections a year. I don't have symptoms of a UTI. I just suddenly get a specific type of severe back pain, exhaustion, and a bit of nausea. I knew I had another infection about two weeks ago and made an appointment with my primary care physician. She does a dipstick test in office, confirms I have an infection and sends out for a urinalysis. I tell her I'm in a lot of pain. She gives me a seven day supply of painkillers and ten days of an antibiotic.
When I get a kidney infection, the pain usually lasts longer than the course of antibiotics. So I knew I was going to be miserable after those first seven days when I ran out of painkillers. Here's where the fuck up starts.
I had previously read about poppy seed tea being a good pain reliever. I do a bit of research on it and decide it's worth a shot. Poppy seeds are legal to buy and I couldn't find anything about brewing tea out of them being illegal. So I order a big bag of poppy seeds online. They come Friday just one day after I ran out of prescribed painkillers. I'm of course still in massive amounts of pain, so I was excited to try this.
I brew the tea as per the instructions I found online. It tastes bitter and absolutely horrible, but I figure if it helps the pain, I can deal with it. Since it tastes so bad, this is where I make the major fuck up. I chug it as quickly as possible. Everything I had previously read said to drink slowly and see how it affects you. I probably downed about 32 oz.
At first I thought this poppy seed tea was the best thing ever. My pain was gone. My mood was pretty amazing. I was just talking to friends online and hanging out with my boyfriend and a friend of ours. My boyfriend went to take a nap before his night shift, so it was just my friend and I hanging out on our laptops.
Maybe four hours after drinking the tea, I start to feel a bit woozy. I went to the bathroom and felt incredibly dizzy. I walk back to my chair and knock over a can of pop on the side table and collapse into my chair. The last thing I remember is my friend asking if I was okay. I think I nodded yes.
Apparently I passed out. My friend thought I just fell asleep. My boyfriend woke up shortly after this to get ready for work. My friend tells my boyfriend I'm passed out but he can hear me breathing so he thinks I'm okay. Well, suddenly I make what they called a 'death rattle' and stopped breathing. A few seconds later I gasp for air. They're trying to rouse me and I'm completely non responsive. My friend even tries a sternum rub with no response. They know now that shit's fucked and call 911.
The EMTs and police would not believe that all I had was poppy seed tea. They jammed an intraosseous cannulation line into my knee (basically a big ass needle to administer emergency medicine when there's no time to fuck around with an IV) to get Narcan in me.
I have vague flashes of memory from the ambulance. They keep asking what I took. I keep telling them poppy seed tea. They keep asking what I really took. Did I take heroin? Did I snort some pills? Nope, just the tea.
Did I take heroin? Did I snort some pills? Nope, just the tea.
It's the same thing in the emergency room. The nurses and doctors are asking what did I really take. They're telling me I need to tell them the truth because I just went into respiratory arrest and almost died and they need to know how to treat me. I tell them I just drank poppy seed tea. They ask if I took Vicodin or Tylenol 3 because they found empty bottles of those at my apartment. I say no, the Tylenol 3 was from when I had a horrendous three week long period in January. The Vicodin was for this kidney infection, but I ran out the day before.
They get me stabilized and have me on oxygen. They let my boyfriend in to see me. I'm still woozy and half out of it. A nurse comes in and asks how I feel. I tell her I feel terrified and stupid. She says, 'Good. You should.' Aside from her, everyone else was really nice though.
A doctor comes in to get my side of the story now that I'm coherent. I tell him the exact process for making the tea, how much I drank, how I felt, and the last thing I remembered. I guess they finally got my tox screen back and saw I wasn't lying.
I had to stay for two days while they monitored me. Also I was on the wrong antibiotic for the kidney infection so I'm going to be in pain for at least another week. My white blood cell count when I was admitted was 23,000 after 8 days of taking an antibiotic. They think I may have sleep apnea as they took me off the oxygen last night since my levels were normal. In the middle of the night they dropped significantly, so they put me back on it. So now I have to schedule a sleep study. Oh I also had to talk to a social worker to confirm that this wasn't a suicide attempt. It definitely wasn't. It was just an attempt to not be in horrible pain from an infection.
I was the talk of the hospital though apparently. Every shift change, the new nurse and tech would ask to hear the story. Then they'd tell me that because of me this hospital and their EMTs now know you can treat a poppy seed tea overdose with Narcan successfully. One nurse kinda laughed at me and told me the last time he heard about anyone making poppy seed tea was in 1974.
I felt like a huge jackass for accidentally overdosing. I put my boyfriend through emotional hell. I did a lot of crying this weekend.
The moral of my story is you should probably avoid trying to make poppy seed tea. The amount of active drug you brew out of each batch can vary widely even from the same bag of seeds. If you do make it, I would highly suggest learning from my dumbass mistake and not chugging a bunch of it at once. Also if you happen to live in a state where you can get Narcan over the counter, it might be smart to keep it on hand if you're going to try it.
TL;DR - Made poppy seed tea for the first time in an attempt to treat pain from a kidney infection. Chugged way too much as it tastes like bitter asshole. Felt amazing until five hours later when I went into respiratory arrest and came very close to dying, scaring the hell out of myself and my poor boyfriend. Now I'm dealing with kidney infection pain as well as horrible pain in my knee from having a needle drilled into it as an IO line for emergency medicine to save my life. Feeling grateful to be alive, but ridiculously stupid for putting myself in a situation where I almost died.
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