Lack of drugs leaves Delaware unable to carry out executions
DOVER, Del. state of Delaware has 17 condemned prisoners facing the death penalty, but no means of executing any of them.
Like other states, Delaware prison officials have found it difficult to get the drugs used in lethal injections because major manufacturers several years ago began prohibiting the use of their products in executions out of ethical concerns and fearing the unwanted publicity.
As a result, supplies of two of the three drugs used in Delaware executions have exp adidas trainers ired, according to records obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. Moreover, prison officials aren’t even trying to get the necessary drugs.
“These drugs can be costly, and these drugs have a shelf life,” Correction Department Commissioner Robert Coupe said. “There is also the challenge of navigating the marketplace because of the attention that this type of purchase gets.”
The source of the drugs is moving to the forefront of the death penalty debate, as lawyers and death penalty opponents seek to find out which companies are providing the drugs. Compounding pharmacies which custom mix prescription drugs for doctors and patients seemed like the answer, but some of them are starting to back away, too. states that allow the death penalty are hav adidas trainers ing difficulty not only in restocking supplies, but in trying to find what alternative drugs might be available and changing their execution protocols accordingly.
“It’s not just the shortage or the inability to find the drug.
The result, according to Dieter, adidas trainers has been a de facto moratorium on executions in some states, such as Arkansas and California. Virginia lawmakers considered legislation this year allowing the state to use the electric chair if lethal injection drugs were not available. In Mississippi, lawyers for a condemned woman sued the Department of Correction this week, asking for more information about the procurement and expiration dates of lethal injection drugs.
“No state has said ‘We’re ending the death penalty, we can’t find the drugs.’ . It’s more of a hold on executions rather than backing out of the whole process,” said Dieter, adding that it’s hard to pin down a number for how many states have had drugs expire.
Delaware prison officials have taken a wait and see approach, in part because no execution dates are expected to be set in the next six months.
The last person put to death in Delaware was convicted killer Shannon Johnson, who was executed in April 2012 after waiving his appeals. The state used pentobarbital as the initial sedative before administering two other drugs.
Currently, Delaware prison officials have only one of the necessary lethal injection drugs on hand, according to records obtained by the AP.
Under Delaware’s current execution protocol, a condemned inmate is rendered unconscious by a sedative or anesthetic before receiving fatal and potentially painful doses of two paralytic drugs, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. manufacturer stopped making it in 2009. The state then began using pentobarbital.
Records show that the Correction Department obtained 50 vials of potassium chloride from Cardinal Health in February 2013, replacing 51 vials that expired that same month. The current supply of potassium chloride, enough for four executions, expires in October.
Meanwhile, supplies of the other two drugs, pancuronium bromide and pentobarbital, expired in July 2012 and September 2013, respectively.
Dieter said he was not aware of any state that had considered using expired drugs. Such a move could be fraught with trouble, and likely would result in claims of cruel and unusual punishment.
“You need something that’s effective as an anesthetic, and if its 90 per cent effective, you might have partial consciousness, partial awareness,” he said. “If it’s past its expiration date, there are just no guarantees. It might work, it might not.”
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