HPD warns: drug called 'poppy tea' can kill, students largely unaware

File photo (cropped) of poppy seeds and seed pods (courtesy of: Avriette)
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- The Harrisonburg Police Dept. (HPD) said investigation of a student death over the weekend led them to find a drug cocktail new to the Valley. The mixture is potentially deadly.

It's easy and inexpensive to make: using just poppy seeds and water. But, police warn, it's also very dangerous.

I interviewed several students at James Madison Univ.(JMU); none of them have ever heard of poppy tea.

"Have you ever heard of poppy tea?"

"No --is that a rapper?"

"Do you know what poppy seeds are?"

"You put them on bagels."

It is not illegal to purchase any of the ingredients, but the outcome is an opium-related solution that can produce a euphoric state.

And, officers call the mixture potentially deadly. There is no way to regulate the strength of the poppies; therefore, there's no way to tell how strong the concoction is.

Police are hoping to spark a conversation about the dangers of drinking the substance.

"This is not something that should be played with, it's not something that should be used recreationally, it's certainly a major concern, and there can be significant repercussions," said Jason Kidd with HPD's criminal investigations division. "It could be a whole host of problems... including death, and we have major concerns for the community."

As WHSV reported [ here ], poppy tea might have led to a JMU student's death. HPD officers say the investigation is ongoing; officers are waiting for a toxicology report to determine if poppy tea may have been a factor. They are not releasing any more details at this time.

I also called JMU for more information, but have not heard back. We'll continue following this and bring you any new details, as soon as we get them.