Texas is running out of lethal drug used to execute death row prisoners
The most active state for executions has confirmed supplies of pentobarbital will expire in September
Texas, America’s most active death penalty state, will run out of the lethal drug pentobarbital used to complete executions when supplies expire in September.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced on Thursday that they will be unable to use their current supplies after they expire. The single dose sedative replaced the three drug execution process after maintaining supplies of all three became difficult.
“We will be unable to use our current supply of pentobarbital after it expires,” spokesman Jason Clark said. “We are exploring all options at this time.”
It remains unclear whether the two executions scheduled for next month will be delayed as a result.
Pentobarbital is commonly used as a sedative and as a treatment for severe epilepsy.
Drug supplies become harder to maintain as some manufacturers object to them being used for capital punishment, or because of mounting pressure from death penalty opponents.
Since the Supreme Court reintroduced the death penalty in 1976, Texas has executed more inmates than any other state. 502 people have been executed by lethal injection since 1982.
Some death penalty states, most recently Georgia, have announced they will turn to compounding pharmacies, which make customized drugs that are not scrutinized by the Federal Drug Administration, to obtain a lethal drug for execution use.
Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center said: “When Texas raises a flag that's it having a problem, obviously numerically it's significant around in the country because like they're doing half the executions in the country right now.”
“The states really scramble to go all over to get drugs,” he said. “Some went overseas, some got from each other. But these manufacturers, a number them are based in Europe, don't want to participate in our executions. So they've clamped down as much as they can,” Dieter said.
As of May 2012, Texas had 46 of the 2.5-gram vials of pentobarbital, presumably enough to execute as many as 23 prisoners since each execution requires a 5-gram dose. The execution on Wednesday of an inmate convicted in two road-rage killings was the 20th lethal injection since that date.
Additional reporting by AP
- 1 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...