FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2019
DEA Confirms: Unlawful to Sell Morphine-Laced Poppy Seeds That Killed Arkansan
Washington, D.C. — The Drug Enforcement Administration has clarified that selling morphine-laced, unwashed poppy seeds—the kind that killed Arkansan Stephen Hacala Jr.—violates the Controlled Substances Act.
Earlier this year, Senator Cotton introduced a bill banning the sale of the seeds and asked the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice whether the Controlled Substances Act prohibited the sale of morphine-laced seeds. Following that inquiry, the Department of Justice agreed to investigate the Hacala case.
“Stephen Hacala Jr. died from an opioid overdose because of a dangerous gap in our nation’s drug laws. After years of work by Stephen’s loving family, the DEA has finally acted to close that gap. Now, anyone who sells unwashed morphine-laced poppy seeds will face the full force of the law and can no longer hide behind legal technicalities,” said Cotton.
· On April 3, 2016, Stephen Hacala Jr. died from morphine intoxication from unwashed poppy seeds sold through Amazon.
· A research team led by Dr. Madeleine Swortwood, assistant professor of forensic science at Sam Houston State University, studied the morphine content in different bags of poppy seeds. The researchers found that some bags of poppy seeds contained morphine levels many times higher than a fatal dose.
· Since then, as many as 20 other Americans have died from morphine-laced seeds sold through retailers.
· Companies have continued selling morphine-laced seeds to consumers due to perceived ambiguity in the Controlled Substances Act.
Original article source: http://www.cotton.senate.gov?p=press_release&id=1271 | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council