MISSOURI FINDS A DRUG OPTION FOR EXECUTIONS
May 18, 2012: Missouri finds a drug option for executions: Propofol. The Missouri Department of Corrections said this week that it now will carry out death sentences with propofol, a widely used surgical anesthetic that also was a factor in singer Michael Jackson’s death.
Attorneys representing some of the state’s death row inmates learned of the plan after corrections officials met with some inmates and informed them of the new protocol.
Missouri is the first state to formally adopt the use of Propofol, also known by the brand name Diprivan.
Missouri’s last execution took place in February 2011 using Pentothal.
Since shortly after that, the state has been unable to obtain new Pentothal.
Officials also had been unable to obtain an alternative drug, Pentobarbital, that some states had adopted to take its place.
In February 2011, Ohio began using pentobarbital by itself to execute prisoners.
Earlier this year, Arizona became the 2nd state to switch to 1-drug executions using pentobarbital. Dieter, with the Death Penalty Information Center, said pentobarbital has been used, either by itself or in combination with other drugs, in the last 48 executions in the United States. But last July, its Danish manufacturer announced that it was imposing restrictions on how pentobarbital was distributed to prevent its use in executions. Since its on-hand supply of thiopental expired in March 2011, Missouri had been unsuccessful in finding it or pentobarbital. In announcing its new protocol this week, Missouri Department of Corrections officials did not comment on when they obtained the new drug or where it was obtained.
According to Missouri’s new written protocol, inmates will be injected with 2 grams of Propofol. An area anesthesiologist said that amount is 10 times the dosage that would be used in a surgical setting for a 220-pound patient. With news that the corrections department had obtained a different drug, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to set execution dates for 19 inmates. (Sources: Kansas City Star, 18/05/2012)