Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Arizona is Changing the Drugs Used in Executions

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

click image Closeup of sodium. - UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES
  • Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Closeup of sodium.



After it took convicted murderer Joseph Wood nearly two hours and a lot of doses of lethal injection drugs to die over the summer, those who witnessed the execution were so traumatized—according to their testimonials, the guy kept gasping for air, choking, etc.—the state had to mandate an independent investigation into how people are being put to death. 

Wood's lawyers said his execution was botched, but a report said it wasn't.

Still, now the state Department of Corrections won't administer the two-drug combination it had been using.

The Associated Press reports:

The state Department of  Corrections will instead try to obtain drugs that were successfully used for many years but have become obsolete and difficult to obtain. If the state cannot get those drugs, it will use a different three-drug combination that will include midazolam, the sedative used in Wood's death.

The state now has put other executions on hold, while it waits to get other drugs for the process.

In 2011, European pharmaceutical companies stopped supplying the U.S. with the key component in lethal injections, sodium thiopental—in part because of the EU's stance against death penalty—which led Arizona and other states to find different options for the execution cocktail. And that, now we know, didn't work out.

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