Texas switches to 1-drug execution due to shortage

10:07 PM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
A lethal injection execution chamber
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DALLAS (AP) - Texas is the latest to switch to single-drug executions as a drug shortage has left states scrambling for acceptable alternatives.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says it will begin using a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital to carry out death sentences. It had been using that drug in combination with two others, but its supply of one of the other drugs expired.

Now, pentobarbital is in short supply after its Danish manufacturer said it would try to prevent its use in executions.

Texas officials said in May they have enough doses of pentobarbital to carry out 23 executions. No one has been executed in the state since.

In Oklahoma, an inmate has asked a federal court to halt his upcoming execution because that state has only one dose of pentobarbital left. His lawyer says Oklahoma has no backup plan if the drug doesn't render his client unconscious, and that creates a risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

Death penalty opponents claim single-drug executions may be less humane.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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