Amid Execution Drug Shortage, AR AG Calls System “Completely Broken”


States are running out of the drugs they rely on to carry out death sentences as alternatives for how to secure them quickly diminish, reports the National Journal. No one wants to innovate in the execution industry. As the medical community works to distance itself from the science of killing people, states are attempting to forge a difficult road ahead, one fraught with litigation, international tension, and uncertainty. Florida this month used midazolam hydrochloride, a sedative that had never before been used for a U.S. execution. Some politicicians are questioning whether capital punishment is worth the growing avalanche of legal and practical headaches. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said, “Our system is completely broken, and I don’t know how to say it more bluntly than that. It’s a complete impossibility. I can no more flap my arms and fly across the state than I can carry out an execution.”

Florida is one of several states scrambling to update or refine its capital-punishment protocol amid a sudden shortfall of its lethal injection drugs, resulting in an unprecedented inconsistency in the way U.S. inmates are executed. Even as a steady majority continues supporting the death penalty, the difficulty in obtaining new lethal drugs, associated legal hurdles, and a gaping void of better execution alternatives has left capital punishment in America with an uncertain future. Florida corrections secretary Mike Crews contended that “the procedure has been reviewed and is compatible with evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society, the concepts of the dignity of man, and advances in science, research, pharmacology, and technology.”

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