Homemade Poppy Tea May Have Killed College Student

Cops: Steven Austin Underhill drank tea from store-bought poppy seeds
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2016 7:35 AM CST
Homemade Poppy Tea May Have Killed College Student
Photo from the GoFundMe page for Steven Austin Underhill.   (GoFundMe)

Dose matters, and a 21-year-old engineering student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., may have learned that lesson in the most irrevocable of ways. Steven Austin Underhill died Sunday, and police say it's possible a lethal concentration of homemade poppy tea is to blame. While a toxicology report has yet to be delivered to police, Harrisonburg Lt. of Special Operations Chris Rush tells the New York Daily News, "We know based on the research we've done that [the tea] does have lethal effects and that the victim consumed it." It's legal to purchase poppy seeds in bulk, and the opiate drink that can be made from them can induce a state of euphoria, reports WHSV.

Underhill was a member of Phi Gamma Delta and was found dead in the house used by the fraternity, but Rush says "there's nothing to indicate there was any kind of initiation," adding it's the first such case in the area. Even so, some local business owners are taking it upon themselves to restrict the sale of poppy seeds in bulk as a precaution, WHSV adds in another report. Meanwhile, Underhill's friends have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the funeral, while his grieving family took to social media to remember the college student and soccer player. "It is still hard to believe our precious child is not here, but have to believe he is in a much better place," his father, Gary, wrote on Facebook. (The poppy seeds in the bread this woman ate before going into labor got her into serious trouble.)

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