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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    View attachment 37381 Oklahoma pharmacy's agreement not to provide drugs for an execution in Missouri represents a new roadblock to lethal injections — one that has some death penalty advocates saying states must come up with another method a squeamish public can stomach.

    Missouri insists it will still be able to impose the ultimate punishment on child-killer Michael Taylor next week, but the latest litigation underscores the growing difficulty states face in obtaining chemicals to use on death-row inmates.

    Prisons have turned to compounding pharmacies for the lethal solutions because anti-death-penalty manufacturers — many based in Europe — have stopped selling to them.

    Now, it seems, some loosely regulated pharmacies may be deciding the sales are not worth the trouble. The trade group representing compounders says it wishes correction officials would find another place to buy the drugs.

    "I have been telling folks for years that this cat-and-mouse thing is going to become too exhausting for the states," said Dudley Sharpe, a Houston-based victim rights advocate who supports capital punishment.

    "Theyre going to have to not just switch drugs. They’re going to have to switch methods."

    While some lawmakers have raised the spectre of a return to firing squads or electric chairs, Sharpe says those methods are too "gruesome" for modern American sensibilities and will never come back.

    Instead, he thinks executioners should use nitrogen to "peacefully" asphyxiate condemned prisoners. Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, envisions a "depressurizing chamber" that would induce deadly hypoxia.

    "I think the dirty little secret is states will come up with an alternative that is unchallengeable," Rushford said.

    At the moment, though, states are focused on defending their drug protocols and ensuring supplies for the almost two dozen executions that have been scheduled nationwide so far this year.

    Until about 2010, most death-penalty states used a three-drug cocktail that was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court: the anesthetic sodium thiopental, the paralytic pancuronium bromide, and heart-stopping potassium chloride to stop the heart, causing death.

    In 2011, Hospira, the sole U.S. producer of sodium thiopental, stopped making the drug, and the European manufacturer balked at exporting it to the U.S. if it were to be used in executions.

    Manufacturers of substitute drugs like pentobarbital have also refused to supply it for executions, forcing states to turn to compounders, who mix specialty drugs from their basic components.

    Defense lawyers argue that's illegal, claiming the lack of oversight prevents jailers from guaranteeing an execution won't be agonizing enough to violate the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

    They have attacked states' attempts to keep the names of the pharmacies secret — Georgia's highest court is set to decide soon whether it's legal — and it's easy to see why.

    After the name of one Texas supplier, Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy, became public in October, the pharmacy found itself "in the middle of a firestorm" and demanded that the state return the drugs.

    This month, lawyers for Taylor, the Missouri murderer, filed suit against The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, Okla., which has been identified in court papers as a supplier to some death-penalty states.

    On Monday, the compounding pharmacy settled the suit by agreeing not to provide any drugs for Taylor's Feb. 26 execution. "We are gratified by that result," said Taylor's lawyer, Matthew Hellman. Sarah Lees, a spokeswoman for the Apothecary Shoppe, would not say if it was getting out of the death-chamber business altogether. "Legally, I cannot answer your question," Lees said, refusing to comment further.

    The International Association of Compounding Pharmcies says it has no "formal position" on its members supplying executions, saying it's up to each druggist.

    Nevertheless, it said in a statement that states "should work first with the pharmacy services providers — the companies that provide medications to prisoners within their systems — to source or compound drugs for executions before soliciting a traditional compounding pharmacy."

    Missouri officials said they can proceed with the execution without the Apothecary Shoppe's help, but would not say whether they obtained pentobarbital from another. The state also has a backup protocol: a cocktail of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone, but that could come with its own set of legal obstacles.

    When that mixture was used in Ohio last month, convicted killer Dennis McGuire took 25 minutes to die and reportedly gasped for air — prompting the governor to halt the next execution until an investigation is complete.

    Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, said despite the problems, states are still figuring out a way to execute inmates.

    "They're creative," he said, suggesting that prisons may eventually create their own compounding pharmacies to ensure they're always stocked.

    "My sense is that as long as the death penaty is constitutional, there will be a way to carry it out. It won't be stopped because we just can't figure out a way to kill people."

    February 19, 2014, NBC News

    Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/death-lethal-injection-faces-new-hurdles-n33126

    Photos: Google Lethal Injection/ NBC News

    NewsHawks Crew

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. D0pe
    Her in my state they switched to a Single injection rather than multiple injections. Which makes no sense to me at all.. Not to mention the validity and source of these drugs from a foreign manufacturer that produces lethal injection drugs.. Why do they need to come from some low grade company.... It was a big issue over here.. As there has been very few lethal injections in my state ""Probably count them on my hand in the last 3 decades"

    Then there is the morality of what method is more cheap, effective, and more humane... Killing someone is not humane in my opinion, So its all political talk in this area. I think if any Lethal injections that are carried out in the USA should be a 3 chemical lethal dose.. Enough to pretty much make them dead 3 times over...

    I remember sitting in my cell when one of the Few inmates in our states was being executed not more than a foot ball field away "In the same building"... I remember that they had every single person on a strict lock down procedure.. Then they killed the power a few times.. Just a few minutes from Midnight.

    The death from the Single dose injection took allot longer than the 3 dose concoction... So maybe there is some debate over if its right or wrong. Then agian if a person is sentenced to Death what is the point if its a Drug, Combination of drugs, or a bullet..

    And what baffles me even more is... Why do they even clean the injection area with a alcohol pad ? Or use a sterilize the needle ? Like the Inmate might get a deadly infection in the last hours.. Most of it is politics and human rights.. But there is no rights when it comes to Lethal Injection ?..

    I have also head that it takes several people to push the button that kills the inmate... Only one button works.. That way they have no idea who actually executed the inmate.. Taking into consideration the guilt of the executioners..

    Unrelated: What if a inmate could chose how he goes out ? Gas Chamber, Firing Squad, Electric Chair or Torn apart by horses.. Or even chose the substances that will kill him.. ""fill out a bubble sheet"" I think i would take a non lethal dose of Benzo's, A high but close to lethal dose of Heroin, Then finally to top it off a lethal fast dose of Sodium Thiopenthal.

    Sodium Thiopenthal: ""The single dose Lethal injection drug used in our state.. That is expired and comes from a foreign supplier.
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