Ohio officials want to use a revamped combination of lethal-injection drugs to begin executions again next year, but critics are raising concerns about the drugs’ suitability, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Ohio Public Defender Tim Young said the new drug protocol outlined yesterday by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation “raises new questions” about the state’s bid to resume executions in January — about three years after the death chamber was last used. One drug — rocuronium bromide, a paralytic agent — never has been used to carry out the death penalty in the state, Young said.
The other two drugs, midazolam and potassium chloride, were used in a “botched” execution in Oklahoma in which the killer’s death was prolonged and potentially painful, Young said. The inmate died in 2014 after the execution process was stopped following the administration of drugs. He died of a heart attack about 40 minutes later. Ohio prison officials said the problem was not with the drugs involved but how they were administered intravenously. Prison officials said the new drug protocol described to a federal judge is similar to the combination used in Ohio between 1999 and 2009. Young and others say the bromide-class drug that is proposed differs from the prior substance. The state has set 28 execution dates for January through 2020 amid an ongoing inability to obtain the lethal drugs needed to conduct executions. Prison officials would not say whether the state has the needed drugs.