Texas, Leading Capital Punishment State, Running Out of Execution Drug


Texas, the nation’s most active death penalty state is running out of its execution drug, reports the Associated Press. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said its remaining supply of pentobarbital expires next month and no alternatives have been found. It wasn’t immediately clear whether two executions scheduled for next month would be delayed. The state has already executed 11 death-row inmates this year, and at least seven more have execution dates in coming months.

Texas switched to the lethal, single-dose sedative last year after one drug used in its three-drug execution process became difficult to obtain and the supply expired. Other death-penalty states have encountered similar problems after some drug suppliers barred the drugs’ use for executions or have refused, under pressure from death-penalty opponents, to sell or manufacture drugs for use in executions. Some death penalty states, most recently Georgia, are turning to compounding pharmacies, which make customized drugs that are not scrutinized by the Food and Drug Administration, to obtain a lethal drug for execution use. Missouri wants to use propofol, the anesthetic blamed for Michael Jackson’s 2009 death, even though the drug hasn’t been used to execute prisoners in the U.S.

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