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Two Moms Reported to Child Services for False Positive Drug Tests from Poppy Seeds

Today, two women filed lawsuits against Garnet Health Medical Center alleging that the Middletown, New York, hospital drug tested them without their consent when they were giving birth. They both tested “presumptive positive” initially, but later tested negative—as did their newborns—and the false positives were the result of eating poppy seeds.

The women allege that hospital staff interfered with their ability to breastfeed, despite their newborns testing negative. The hospital also reported their unconfirmed, false positive results to the state, and child welfare authorities conducted unnecessary and invasive home visits. The suits allege that not only does Garnet Health conduct drug testing without informed consent, but it uses opiate testing thresholds far lower than the levels the federal government uses for workplace testing—300 ng/mL versus 2,000 ng/mL—levels the government raised more than 20 years ago, specifically because of false positives.

This is truly unconscionable.

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