Poppy Seed Consumption and Oral Fluid Opioids Detection: A Classroom Demonstration of Psychopharmacological Concepts

Shlomit Flaisher-Grinberg



Psychopharmacological concepts such as pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and drug interactions can be difficult to illustrate within the college classroom. In this demonstration, students consume poppy seed-containing food items, assess opioid content in their oral fluid using commercial drug test kits, and relate the findings to learned materials, its real-life applications, and relevant societal implications. This demonstration can clarify processes such as drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME), broaden the review of information relevant to opioids mechanisms of action, and facilitate the discussion of topics such as drug abuse, dependence, and addiction, as well as drug development, testing, policy, and enforcement. Instructors can employ different experimental designs, create dose-dependent/timeline detection plots, or allow students to construct their own experiments, assessing possible mediators of opioid detection. The demonstration can also be utilized to discuss scientific myths, truths, data misinterpretation and misrepresentation. Several optional protocols are provided, required materials are indicated, and discussion points are suggested.