National leaders from Arkansas are banding together to stop the sale of the kind of deadly, morphine-laced poppy seeds that killed a Fayetteville man two years ago.
Senators John Boozman (R) and Tom Cotton (R), along with Congressman Steve Womack (R), introduced companion bills to stop the sale of morphine-laced poppy seeds.
The bill classifies poppy seeds that contain a harmful level of opiates as an adulterated food and prohibits their sale directly to consumers, a news release from Cotton’s office states.
Most poppy seeds are harmless, but some manufacturers sell seeds laced with morphine at a cost far higher than normal seeds, according to the news release.
“These seeds can contain more than 20 times the therapeutic dosage of morphine. To date, there have been more than a dozen confirmed deaths from morphine-laced seeds,” the news release states.
All three leaders acknowledged Stephen Hacala Jr., who died as a result of such poppy seeds.
“The sale of unwashed poppy seeds is a threat to the safety of Arkansans and all Americans,” Boozman is quoted as saying in the news release. “Approving this bill would honor Stephen Hacala Jr.’s memory by preventing other consumers from falling victim to dangerous, toxin-laced poppy seeds sold online.”
Hacala, a Fayetteville resident, died on April 3, 2016, from morphine intoxication caused by morphine-laced poppy seeds purchased from Amazon.
“As many as 20 other Americans reportedly have died from overdoses caused by morphine-laced poppy seeds sold directly to consumers,” the news release states.
A Sam Houston State University research team studied the morphine content in different bags of poppy seeds and found that some bags contained morphine levels many times higher than a fatal dose.
The bill’s text can be found here.