Falsifying Prescriptions & Mixing Up Drug Cocktails for Lethal Injection


After European-based drug manufacturers banned the United States from using their drugs to carry out executions, states have been trying never-before-used drug combinations, or are seeking variations of the banned drugs from loosely regulated pharmacies. A complaint filed in October has alleged that officials from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have even go so far as to falsify prescriptions for pentobarbital, one of the drugs used in lethal injections.

Death row inmates across the country have filed lawsuits to delay their executions, arguing that using untested drugs violates the Eight Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. In Ohio, Ron Phillips was set to be executed on November 14th 2013 through lethal injection. The State was going to use a two-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative, and the pain-killer, hydromorphone, a combination that has never before been used for an execution. Governor John Kasich stayed the execution, pending review of the possibility of organ donation. Last month in Florida, the execution of William Happ took 14 minutes using a new combination of drugs, compared to the 7 minutes it took with the old drug protocol.

This morning, Joseph Paul Franklin, who targeted and killed minorities and shot Larry Flynt, was executed after the Supreme Court denied his request for a stay. Franklin’s lawyers argued that Missouri was unable to research the risks and effects of their new one-drug protocol, pentobarbital. The lethal drug was administered at 6:07 in the morning and Franklin died ten minutes later.

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