Del. Woman Fails Drug Test, Fired After Drinking Herbal Tea - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Michael Lopardi

Del. Woman Fails Drug Test, Fired After Drinking Herbal Tea

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Delisse Coca Tea comes from Peru (Photo: WBOC) Delisse Coca Tea comes from Peru (Photo: WBOC)
Ashley Beardsley said she believes an ingredient in Delisse Coca Tea is also found in cocaine, triggering the positive result in her drug test. (Photo: WBOC) Ashley Beardsley said she believes an ingredient in Delisse Coca Tea is also found in cocaine, triggering the positive result in her drug test. (Photo: WBOC)
LONG NECK, Del.- A Sussex County woman drank an herbal tea she thought was good for her health. Turns out, it wasn't so good for her career.
 
Ashley Beardsley, 23, of Long Neck, said she was fired from her position as a cook at the American Veterans Post in Long Neck after unexpectedly failing a drug test. The test showed a positive result for cocaine, even though Beardsley insists she doesn't do drugs. She believes an ingredient in Delisse Coca Tea is also found in cocaine, triggering the positive result.
 
"I knew something was immediately wrong and I told them something was wrong as soon as I seen the paper," Beardsley said.
 
The coca tea is one of several herbal teas Beardsley said she drank in the last few weeks.
 
The former cook, who spent more than five years in her most recent position, said she is paying for blood work after her requests for a follow up drug test were denied. Beardsley said she took to the Internet hoping to find some answers only to find other people in the same situation.
 
"We found out that other people had lost their jobs due to the tea," Beardsley said.
 
Information on the particular brand of coca tea is vague. A search of the Drug Enforcement Agency's website yielded few results. Coca products, made from the coca leaf, are banned in the United States unless they are decocainized, according to the DEA. Coca leaves are a main ingredient in cocaine. Cocaine is considered a schedule II controlled substance under federal regulations.
 
Beardsley said she bought the tea bags at a farmer's market in New Castle County making it difficult to trace the original seller. The box doesn't offer many answers either.
 
A small Peruvian flag on the bottom left indicates the product was made in South America. Peru is one of the largest producers of coca leaves and cocaine in the world, according to published reports. Internet searches of the listed manufacturer showed no results.
 
Herbal teas, long popular in indigenous cultures, have gained supporters who claim the drink provides numerous health benefits.
 
"I do not do cocaine," Beardsley said.
 
Beardsley said she would take her job back at the Post but had doubts it would be offered, even if she's cleared. Her managers could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
 
The results of the blood test have not arrived yet. Beardsley said she had trouble finding a lab to test the tea to see if it actually contains cocaine because the process is expensive. On Wednesday evening, a Salisbury University chemistry professor volunteered to test the tea. It's unclear if Beardsley will take him up on the offer.
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