Texas Joins Handful of States Using Single Drug in Lethal Injections


Texas will join a handful of states that use a single drug in lethal injections, reports the Texas Tribune. “Implementing the change in protocol at this time will ensure that the agency is able to fulfill its statutory responsibility for all executions currently scheduled,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark. For Yokamon Hearn’s scheduled execution on July 18, officials plan to administer a lethal dose of pentobarbital instead of the three-drug cocktail that has been used since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982.

Clark said the decision to change the protocol came because the state’s supply of one of the other drugs that had been used — pancuronium bromide — had expired and the state was unable to obtain more. Ohio was the first state to switch to the single-drug protocol using pentobarbital in March 2011. Illinois-based Hospira Inc. sent death penalty states scrambling last year when it announced it would stop selling sodium thiopental, part of the three-drug cocktail used for lethal injections.

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