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Shortage forces Texas to switch execution drug

Shortage forces Texas to switch execution drug

POSTED: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 9:59am

UPDATED: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 11:09am

Texas is changing one of the drugs it uses to conduct executions in the nation's busiest death penalty state
because of a shortage of a drug it's used for nearly two decades.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said Wednesday that they plan to substitute pentobarbital for sodium thiopental in the three-drug cocktail used for lethal injections.

A shortage of sodium thiopental has forced multiple states to scramble to find substitutes. Texas has used the drug since becoming the first state to do lethal injections in 1982. The Texas supply of sodium thiopental expires at the end of this month and an execution is set for early April.

Prison agency spokeswoman Michelle Lyons says the new drug has been used for executions in Oklahoma and has survived court challenges there.


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