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Execution Drugs In Short Supply

Nebraska's death chamber and adjacent room where drugs will be administered. Nate Jenkins/AP hide caption

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Nate Jenkins/AP

The Arizona Republic reports two of three medications used to carry out executions aren't readily available. They are thiopental sodium (better known as sodium pentothal) administered to put the condemned to sleep, and pancuronium bromide, the drug that paralyzes the body.  (The third drug is potassium chloride, the poison that stops the heart.)  Hospira produces the two necessary medications: the company says there's been excessive demand for pancuronium and trouble with manufacturing for thiopental.  Arizona has no scheduled executions, although 133 prisoners are on death row.

Ohio now uses only thiopental sodium to execute prisoners and the state had trouble locating enough of the drug to put prisoner Michael Beuke to death in May. Ohio Corrections officials procured the required amount.

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