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 (pehn-toh-BAR'-bih-tahl) 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.
APPHOTO OKSO105: In this photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Michael E. Hooper is pictured in a photo dated June 29. 2011, in McAlester, Okla. Hooper, scheduled for execution Aug. 14, 2012, said he fears that he would be subject to cruel and unusual punishment if the sole dose remaining in Oklahoma of a sedative used in executions isn't enough to keep him from feeling pain as he is put to death. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections) (22 Jun 2008)
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