Naval Flight Officer Cleared of Drug Abuse

A Naval Flight Officer tested positive on a two separate urinalysis tests for codeine. Both test results were significantly above the DoD cutoff level. When it became apparent that his test results were not due to the accidental ingestion of actual codeine, we widened our search of possible reasons for the test result. At his subsequent Board of Inquiry proceeding, we presented a compelling case that his test results were due to his consumption of poppy seed muffins purchased at his local grocery store. While poppy seed muffins are well-known to be a possible reason someone might test positive for morphine, it is very rare to test positive for codeine after ingestion. In support of our defense, we presented (1) itemized receipts showing the purchase of poppy seed muffins; (2) expert testimony from two forensic toxicologists establishing that poppy seed ingestion could cause low levels of codeine; (3) scientific studies demonstrating the rise in codeine positive test results due to poppy seed ingestion; (4) DNA test results showing that our client has a rare genetic mutation that impacts his ability to metabolize codeine, and (5) expert testimony from a professor of Nutrition Science at a leading university who explained the impact that our client’s genetic mutation would have on his body’s ability to metabolize poppy seeds and his urinalysis test results. Result: The Board of Inquiry voted 3-0 that our client committed No Misconduct.