Thursday, December 6, 2007

~ my poppy seed habit

Tonight, I’m giving a speech at the VIVAIDS Annual General Meeting. VIVAIDS are a [drug] user advocacy group whose purpose - as far as I can tell – is to stand up for the rights of junkies.

It’ll be a casual affair, held in a Fitzroy hotel, so I’ve written a short introduction recapping the standout drug-related story of the year [Bindeez, of course] and thanking the heavenly powers for the demise of the Howards and their prehistoric drug policies. After that, I’ll read an old story of mine called Seed Habit which describes the misadventures of a mad young man with a desperate poppy seed habit.

Poppy seed habit, you say? Well, the individual on whom I based the story was drinking between one and two kilos worth of poppy seed tea per day and - judging by his pinprick pupils - it was getting him thoroughly wasted. It used to amuse me; there was something desperate and ludicrous and strangely enterprising about the whole thing. He would obtain the thirty kilo seed sacks he required
by posing as an independent baker with a small business in the heavily forested Bairnsdale hills.

In my wildest dreams, I never suspected that I would come to suffer the same fate. Early this year I made an attempt to wean myself off buprenorphine and completely clear my system of pharmaceuticals. I went down to Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula, where a friend rented a big old house with a bungalow.

The first few days were fine. I dosed myself up with doloxene and tramadol. I found myself experiencing very little in the way of withdrawal symptoms. And things were looking positive – until I had the bright idea of driving down to the supermarket to buy a few small packets of poppy seeds ... just to ease the tension a little…

I soaked 300g in a plastic water bottle for half an hour, drank the resulting solution, and was shocked to find myself comfortably stoned.

Well, I thought, these are merely poppy seeds. They won’t get in the way of my recovery. So I bought some more the next day, and the next, making certain they were
always the Australian kind - as Australian poppy seeds are known to be the most potent of all. It is said they wash them at the factory and maybe they do - but I can vouch that plenty of alkaloids are being left behind.

A few years ago in the US, an employee tested positive to opiates and lost her job. She appealed on the basis that she had eaten a bagel smothered in poppy seeds the morning of the test. The fact that they were proven to be Australian poppy seeds lent much weight to her case, though I can’t recall if she was successful.

By the time, I arrived home, I required a big daily dose of seed tea in order to function as a human being. I found myself in pretty much the same bind as the subject of my story. I trawled shopping centres for spice shops, delis… tested different brands… and eventually found an Asian supermarket which could service my needs, selling kilogram bags of the most potent seeds.

Jenny, to her annoyance, would find them scattered throughout the house. Though I did my best to confine my tea-making to the laundry, the tiny seeds have a tendency to get into everything. In the garden, wherever I tossed the wet used-up seeds, a thick grass of seedlings emerged. [They are quite fertile, despite what you may have heard. To my understanding irradiation is used - but in their breeding programme to force mutation.]

Unfortunately the supply was limited. Over the weeks it became increasingly difficult to find seeds that worked. After a little research on the internet, I learned that the Tasmanian poppy companies were successfully breeding for high thebaine levels, [rather than morphine]. Thebaine is used as base for the new generation of opiates that includes buprenorphine, and is more valuable to the pharmaceutical industry than morphine. Thebaine it isn’t much fun to ingest. The only noticeable effect is a mild headache.

I think that’s what happened to my seed supply. Too much thebaine. Not enough traditional opium. After a last few desperate shopping trips to unfamiliar suburbs and obscure ethnic enclaves, I at last relented and once more, sadly, became a hollow-eyed slave to buprenorphine, [this time with a naloxone chaser in the form of Suboxone].

In the yard, a few of the poppies have survived into the summer. They are a joy to behold - with their beautiful purplish flowers and their nodding grey-green pepper pots ...


Useful technical notes:

For someone with no opiate tolerance, 300-500g of the good Tasmanian poppy seeds is sufficient. If these are unavailable it might just be worth tracking down the New Zealand kind, which I once had; they are weaker - but I guess you could double the dose.

Make a funnel out a sheet of paper and use it to pour the seeds into a plastic drink bottle [a litre is about the minimum size for this]. The seeds are very fiddly, so the funnel is a good idea.

Then add cold water to well above the level of seeds, close and shake. Let it rest for half an hour, shaking occasionally if you wish. Then use a rubber band to fix a square of chux over the opening, pour and squeeze.

If it's good it will taste heavy and bitter. With the rise of the thebaine mutants, though, bitterness cannot be used as a guarantee that it will work. If it's not bitter, then your seeds have been washed and you won't feel much.

Generally, you'll feel the effect between twenty minutes and half an hour after drinking the tea.

If you're onto a good thing, it can be worth doing a second wash.

A pity good seeds are hard to find. If used sensibly, they can obviate the need for methadone, pharmacies, doctors and all the rest ...

Please feel encouraged to relate your experiences by making a comment

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Anonymous said...

Sam, reading this made me feel so sorry for you, how desparate you must of been to get high. I'll think of you whenever I eat anything with poppyseeds in it, I've always loved "orange&poppyseed cake", maybe I know why now haha!
Take care,
love Amanda said...

sam: i was at the vivaids agm. and whilst i didn't get a chance to tell you this in person, i want to let you known that i was blown away by the eloquence of your writing, and of your 'in situ' delivery: and in particular the piece about seeds [although the bindeez piece was an absolute fuckin' hoot, hopefully purple can let us know if the ravers have a secret stash...]. i won't elaborate here, as i fear my own prose risks becoming overblown and, dare i say it, purple, but i want to thank you - i wasn't expecting, um, that. cheers, mate!

Sam Sejavka said...

amanda, I wasn't really trying to get high, just trying to stay functional ... not that I'm adverse to getting high... I just can't really allow myself the luxury much these days

incinerare, thanks for such a positive response. Shame there wasn't a microphone - my voice is still a little hoarse. Who's purple?

angel wings and hearts said...

sam, i do so love reading your blog. i am gradually getting my way thru reading the lot. i will forever be looking at poppy seeds in a new light. i am quite impressed by the flowers you said grew from seeds in your yard. my my, how age changes us. i am no longer interested in the effect on the flower and of course the beautiful seed pod that remains after the flowering of the poppy. thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I found the same problem with the seeds. After Feb 2007 the seeds I used to buy from the supermarket started being washed and the tea that came from it was almost clear. In late '07 I noticed the same 240gram package from the supermarket was unwashed (darker colour) - but the effect was completely different, that of thebaine - a bad headache and mild nausea. So I found some pods from a local grower through a popular online auction site. I made a large cup of tea and got a new dose of a stronger headache and very bad nausea. I think after 13 years since they were created - the mutated strain of poppies and seeds grown in Tasmania (for thebaine) have ended up in our supermarkets and gardens.

Sam Sejavka said...

it's harsh when the pods themselves are useless. I guess that's probably it for a nice cheap source of opiate relief

Sam Sejavka said...

Damn, I deleted a rather good comment from anonymous. Anonymous, if you're out there, could you upload again?

Anonymous said...

Ever go to Sam's Club?

Sam Sejavka said...

Sorry, can't decode it. Sam's club? If it's any reference to Sam Walton, let me say that I believe the man's company profits from slave labour, is a bane upon small business and a blight upon the Earth.

Do they sell good poppy seeds?

Poppy Prince said...

Oh Yes, Sam's Club does sell good poppy seeds. You can order them from the bakery and they come in 10 pound boxes. Very potent.
I must admit, I've had to ween myself off them...if you don't respect mother opium, she'll bite you with a vengeance.
They last quite a long time and second washes can be done as well.
I too told the bakery woman that I own a small independent bakery.

Anonymous said...

Thebaine can easily be converted to oxycodone type pharms. I actually used to enjoy the huge shot of energy id get on different gear. Youd come home shoot up and do the housework with an occasional nod. There must be a ideal mix thebaine to heroin. Of course I dont use much anymore nazi society has won. Im beaten. Given the choice though id use

Anonymous said...

If you're curious about poppy seed tea then
go to this link and see for yourself how dangerous poppy seed teas is and the misery it has caused

You'll think twice!

Anonymous said...

Jake said...

oh yeah, read if you want to hear the immediate response from a mom whose son died because he stupidly OD'd on PPT.

Because people always screw up a good thing by jumping into it with no knowledge whatsoever.

Not to say it's not dangerous, but it should be approached with knowledge and information - which you yourself lacked and thus led to no knowledge of its addictive qualities.

Information is power.

Anonymous said...

The tea is great works well and is NOT deadly. Like many things if too much at one time is ingested it can be harmful. I highly recommend but 30 minutes of soaking is not necessary. Shaking for a minute or two works great. Soaking too long can make the poppy seed soak up what you are trying to wash off lol!


Anonymous said...

there are many different alks in poppy and their seeds. You must understand that some are what is called volatile. The prime side effects of volatile alks are headache, vommiting, cramping, and dizzyness. You have no control over the content unlike the good alkaloids because they very dramaticaly based on the growing medium, weather, harvest time. A good strain of poppy will produce consistant percentages of good alkaloids, but the bad stuff varies. It is not illegal in the US to grow poppy. If you are going to drink poppy tea then do the legwork and grow the poppys yourself. 3 days before harvest turn the lights out and add salacitic acid to the soil. This simulated stress will put the poppy's defenses into overdrive, the amphetamine content will plummit and the opium alkaliods will sky rocket. This will give you strong and consistant results. It is 100% legal to grow and dry poppies, take the seeds and the crushed pod to make your tea. Afterwords burn everything. Unless it is proven you used the poppy to make a drug this is a legal high.