Poppy tea is generally brewed from the seeds, pods, and/or straw of the opium poppy (papaver somniferum), grown in Mexico, South America, and Asia. The Poppy seeds and pods contain opiates, including morphine, thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine, with the pods containing the largest concentration. The pods can be ordered online, or purchased at hobby stores where they are sold for flower arraignments. Users crush the seeds, pods, and stems (known as straw) then brew in very hot water creating a tea more potent and potentially more likely to cause an opiate-related overdose than brewing the seeds alone. The tea is very bitter, and the darker the color, the more potent and bitter it is. Some users add a flavoring to counteract the bitter taste. Some users will evaporate the liquid into a concentrate, and powder it out. They will put the concentrated liquid and/or powder into gel caps to ingest. The pods, straw, powder and liquid concentrates are a controlled schedule II drug by the DEA.
Upon ingestion of the tea, it can take from 20-60 minutes to start to feel the effects, and last about four to eight hours. Since this mixture contains opiates it can be addictive with tolerance building up within a week or two of daily use. Effects are similar to opiates and include: warming sensation throughout body, constricted pupils, euphoria, nausea and vomiting, constipation, stomach and abdominal discomfort, drowsiness, and loss of concentration. Adverse effects, which increase with dosage, can include sleepiness, mild stomachache, lethargy, itching, slowed breathing, and nausea. At high doses, death can occur through respiratory depression. A number of deaths have been reported across the US from the ingestion of poppy tea. The tea has also been known to be mixed with benzodiazepines, increasing the negative effects and resulting in death.