June 12, 2018: Can consumption of home-brewed poppy tea be lethal?

This question was prompted by the death of Stephen Hacala and recent comments from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton to Congress about the regulation of unwashed poppy seeds. Hacala, a 24 year-old Arkansas man, was found dead in his apartment on April 3rd 2016 with no obvious cause. The only thing out of place detectives discovered was a 5-pound bag of unwashed poppy seeds (see Figure 1) along with a 33-ounce bottle filled with poppy seeds and water. The medical examiner later confirmed high amounts of morphine and codeine with a trace amount of thebaine in Hacala’s blood on autopsy.