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Government and Politics

Ohio seeks new options for lethal injection drug
Facing empty vials, and an upcoming execution, state changes policy on lethal injection drug

Karen Kasler
In The Region:

The state’s prison department has to come up with some new options, now that its supply of the drug it uses for lethal injections has run out and it can no longer be sold for use in executions. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

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In 2009, Ohio became the first state to use a single drug for lethal injection. With the execution of Harry Mitts last month, the state ran out pentobarbital, the drug it has been using for the last two years to put condemned inmates to death. The drug’s maker will no longer allow it to be sold for use in executions. So the state has announced it will now permit the prisons department to get pentobarbital from compounding pharmacies. Those facilities have been controversial because of problems with the drugs they custom make – including a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis that killed more than 60 people. A similar change in Georgia resulted in a lawsuit, and a legal challenge in Ohio is considered likely. And that could affect the next scheduled execution on November 14, when Ronald Phillips is set to die for raping and killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993.

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