As Texas prison officials face the likelihood that one of the three drugs used in the nation’s busiest execution chamber might no longer be available, they are facing the reality that the cost of executions is skyrocketing as well, reports the Austin American-Statesman. A year ago, it cost the Texas Department of Criminal Justice $83.35 to carry out an execution. Since the state was forced to switch from one powerful sedative to another, the cost is now $1,286.86.
That means that the 12 executions carried out so far with the new drug have cost taxpayers more than $15,400, instead of $1,000. “The cost of all three drugs has gone up, but the overall increase is because of pentobarbital,” said corrections spokesman Jason Clark. Nearly a year ago, the state replaced sodium thiopental with pentobarbital in its three-drug execution cocktail after the maker of sodium thiopental stopped producing it amid international protests over its use in executions. Now, the state faces the same dilemma again, after the manufacturer of pentobarbital said it will seek to block its use for executions. Officials in Oklahoma, Ohio, Mississippi, and South Carolina have confirmed they are paying higher prices for execution drugs, just like Texas.