Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ohio Changes Lethal Injection Protocol for Upcoming Execution

Ohio prison officials, forced to revamp the lethal-injection process for the third time since resuming executions in 1999, have sorted out which drugs are best and where to get the drugs, reported the Columbus Dispatch.

Ohio’s policy was modified to allow two other drugs, Midazolam, a sedative, and Hydromorphone, a strong opiate, to be used intravenously in case pentobarbital is unavailable. The two drugs previously were to be used only for direct intramuscular injection.

Ohio has authorized obtaining the drugs from compounding pharmacies. Several other states, most recently Texas, have turned to compounding pharmacies as suppliers. Colorado, Pennsylvania and South Dakota have either obtained or investigated buying drugs from such pharmacies.

Ohio is in the same boat as several other states, including Missouri, which recently got the go-ahead from the courts to conduct two upcoming executions using propofol, an anesthetic best known as the drug that caused pop star Michael Jackson’s overdose death. Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas are also dealing with lethal-drug issues.

Ohio has adopted the new procedures in time for the Nov. 14 execution of Ronald Phillips, a Summit County man who confessed that he raped, beat and killed the 3-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.

The state’s supply of pentobarbital ran out at the end of September, after the Sept. 25 execution of Harry D. Mitts Jr. of Cuyahoga County. Some drug manufacturers are forbidding distributors to sell pentobarbital to states that use it for executions.

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