Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Georgia's Execution Drug Confiscated

It seems an odd discussion given prevailing attitudes about how we penalize killers or how we die (see comments about the condemned deserving of inhumane treatment in comments below), but there should be growing concerns about how we conduct capital punishment -- or rather, if we should continue to do so at all. It's through another lens that we can examine the efficacy of execution drugs: the test kits of Kevorkian, Nitchke and Final Exit.

Assumptions that dying is easy, that the dying deserve no means of escaping unnecessary pain, and that all death is the same are laid bare in the examination of how we kill the "guilty." What, again, is the test of a humane society?

From the AP:

The Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed Tuesday that the agency seized the state of Georgia's supply of a key lethal injection drug because of questions about how the stockpile was imported to the U.S.

DEA spokesman Chuvalo Truesdell said he didn't know if other states' supplies of sodium thiopental were being collected. The seizure comes less than two months after a convicted killer in Georgia was executed, despite raising questions about where the state had obtained the drug and whether or not it had expired.

Truesdell wouldn't elaborate on exactly what worried the DEA.


Sodium thiopental, a sedative that is part of a three drug cocktail used in executions, has been in short supply since the sole U.S. manufacturer decided to stop producing it.

The shortage has delayed executions in several states, and an Associated Press review found that at least five states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia and Tennessee — had to turn to England for their supply of the drug. Nebraska, meanwhile, secured a stockpile from an Indian firm.

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